Saturday, October 13, 2007

Recumbent bicycles: Threat or Menace?

Excerpts from EZ Biker :-)

Dear EZ Biker, we are having an issue with the Diamond Frame bunch verses an ex DF cyclist, now riding a recumbent. There are a few recumbent cyclists, (Including my husband) that are constantly being teased and basically are shunned by others, because of their bike choice. It’s as if they are lepers or something. My concern is that our bicycle group will not want to have anything to do with us anymore. What to do?

Diane, this is actually a question I get asked often about and have done tons of emails in response to the issue. There are just so many opinions out there concerning this. My initial response is basically this: The HARDEST THING to learn about recumbents is how to deal with either being accepted or spurned by your fellow cyclists. Most groups are tolerant towards recumbents, but then there are those other types...

Well, that certainly says a lot, doesn't it? EZbiker doesn't have a comment field, so I'll have to make a response here on CycleDog. As you all know, CycleDog offers a comprehensive view of bicycling, placing an emphasis on a fair and balanced portrayal of potentially divisive issues. So, in that spirit of honest, unflinching discussion of all things related to cycling, I offer the following:

Recumbents are the spawn of Satan. Oh, the people who ride them look like ordinary, relatively normal human beings, but don't let that fool you. They're demonic imps, bent on global domination. They often form up in packs and they'll box you in on the road, endlessly haranguing you about the supposed benefits of their outlandish machines, until, like a trapped muskrat, you find yourself considering gnawing off a limb to escape. Other desperate diamond frame riders succumb to the pressure and drink the 'bent Kool-Aid (or maybe it should be called Kook-Aid), becoming yet another recumbent zombie. Then they go out to infect others.

A crucifix will not ward off the recumbent horde. It's just not effective on them like it is on vampires. No, what you really need is a Campagnolo T wrench as shown above. Recumbent riders are repulsed whenever one of these appears, so be sure to keep one handy, particularly on group rides when the danger posed by groups of 'bent riders is greatest.

Another attractive option is to apply one of these stickers to each butt cheek - more or less at eye level for a recumbent rider - in the unlikely event that one of them overtakes you. I guarantee they'll give you plenty of space, but it's a small concern because they seldom catch up with a diamond frame rider anyway.

Never allow 'bent riders to draw you into their favorite topic -the alleged 'conspiracy' that excludes recumbents from competitive cycling events. They get an uncomfortable gleam in their eyes as the extol the advantages of their machines, advantages that would supposedly allow their usual riders - short, bald, middle-aged guys with beer guts, ancient Skid Lids, and baggy shorts - to ride as fast as any professional cyclist. Some sort of recumbent magic would turn them into sleek, road-going missiles. They've had more than a cup or two of Kook-Aid. Don't let them offer you one too. Like a nut ball street corner preacher, shouting at passerby who hurry along without making eye contact, they'll try to proselytize until you join them. Never make eye contact, and if necessary, line your helmet with aluminum foil to ward off harmful geek radiation.

You'll be thankful you did.

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Blogger Fritz said...

We get quite a few of them out in the land of the geeks where I live ;-)

12:20 PM  
Blogger James said...

A guy on a recumbent rode by our house not long ago (a fairly rare sight down south I might add). My 4 year old was out in the yard with me and he ran over laughing like crazy. He wanted to make sure that I did not miss the "silly long bike on our street". It wasn’t enough to call it silly once. He felt the need to follow up with, “Daddy, can you believe how silly that is?”

Now, don’t get me wrong; I like bikes of all types. I have even posted some innovative recumbent designs on my blog. I guess my point is that he didn’t learn to point and laugh at recumbents from me. Obviously he was acting on pure instinct at the time. Intolerance toward the aesthetics of a recumbent bicycle is something that most people are just born with. To be fair, I did show him some pictures of full fairing recumbents later that looked like rockets, all of which he thought were a lot cooler than any of my bikes. But seriously, what does what does a 4 year old know? Anything can look good if you cover it with fiberglass and glossy paint, right?

4:47 PM  
Blogger Fritz said...

I guess you've seen the "Switchbike" everybody's been talking about for the last few days?

7:06 PM  
Blogger Ed W said...

Yes, I've seen those bikes, Fritz, and I'm guessing that the 'gee whiz' factor is the main selling point. It looks mechanically complicated, possibly heavy as a result, and as we all know, complexity is NOT a good thing in an everyday commuter bike. The more parts you add, the more likely something will go wrong.

Still, it looks like a fun bike.

9:16 PM  
Blogger lee said...

Actually when I'm riding my recumbent, most kids and teens will look surprised and say "wow, that is a really cool bike". Most adults (not bikers) are just oblivious.

5:01 AM  
Blogger EZ Biker said...

EXCELLENT COMMENT CycleDog! Better then mine!
You have a nice site as well and I'm adding it to my links!

FUNNY you should make mention of a SKIDLID... Check out a link I'll have when I post about your site.

Ken aka EZ Biker :-)

7:20 PM  

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