All You Need to Know about Recumbent Bicycles

An Introduction

recumbent bicycler

Photo by Robert Baker

A recumbent bicycle is a type of bicycle where the rider is in a reclined position. Cyclists go for this type of bike for various reasons:

  1. The weight of the rider is equally distributed over a larger surface area.
  2. The rider is supported by both the back and buttocks while riding.
  3. It is one of the most comfortable bikes to ride.
  4. They are very easy to use.

As compared to regular bicycles, this type of bike is fantastic. Remember with a traditional bike the bodyweight rests on a small surface area and thus it is not equally distributed. With recumbent, this is not the case. Recumbent bicycles also come in various configurations. You may find long or short wheel-based, large or small wheel-sized, over-seat or under-seat, and rear or front wheel drive recumbent bicycles--numerous options to fit your needs.

How to Ride a Recumbent Bicycle

Although recumbent bikes are easy to use, there is a bit of learning when it comes to balancing, starting, and stopping this type of bicycle. Once you master the tricks of riding the bike, you will likely enjoy it.

  • To start training, you need to find good place that is clear and free from obstacles. If possible, choose a paved surface rather than loose material like gravel which can easily slip. An empty parking lot is mostly preferred. As a beginner, you may find it difficult to train in an uphill slope.
  • Next, consider putting your bike in a low or medium gear. This is advisable because starting with a high gear when you are a starter can be tricky.
  • Mount the bicycle and sit with your feet on the ground. Your hands have to be on the handlebars.

  • Consider adjusting the seat to your desired height. Amend the height until your feet reaches the ground and pedals in a comfortable way.
  • If the bicycle you own has a kickstand, make sure it is up. The kickstand is usually placed behind you, so it is very easy to forget.
  • Apply both brakes and make sure you place one foot on the pedal.Consider pulling the pedal backwards using your toe until it is almost straight up. While riding, you will push back against the seat instead of using yourbody weight to push the pedals.
  • Know where you are going. Look on the direction you are heading to. Most of the recumbent beginners will look at the bicycle instead of the road. This makes them lose their sense of orientation.
  • Use your hands to steer partly. Remember you are a beginner so you do not steer to the fullest.
  • Start pushing the pedal as you release the brakes. Also, lift the other foot off the ground and you are ready to go.
  • Now practice riding without trembling. Try to make a few laps up and down the street to see if you have gained balance. Like regular bikes,moving slowly will make you wobble more. So, try to move a moderate pace. You may change to a high gear if you like.
  • You should practice slowing down and stopping. For stopping,consider applying both brakes at once and get your foot ready to touch the ground.
  • You also need to practice turning. As with the upright bicycle,you should apply little brake and stop pedaling when you are turning. As you get used with a recumbent bike, you will be able to turn at a fairly highspeed.
  • Be aware of road conditions. Due to its reclining nature, it maybe hard to spot potholes and debris ahead of you, especially if you are at highspeed. So, you need to be keen on road signs to avoid causing accidents.
  • Be patient to learn. Do not expect to learn faster like with a regular bike.

What to Look for When Choosing the Right Recumbent Bicycle

recumbent bicycle

Photo by fotoinsight

There are several things to look at when scouting for a recumbent bicycle that is right for you. First of all, you need to consider the wheelbase. Bikes with short wheelbase are said tobe lighter and more responsive to steering. They also have higher crank-sets,which position the rider in a good pedaling position. On the other hand,bicycles with long wheelbase position riders between the wheels. Choose one that feels comfortable for you.

Next, consider the steering of your desired bike. You can choose between over seat and under seat steering. The former is good because it provides a better place for a mounted rear view mirror than the latter. A rearview mirror is necessary because turning around to look backwards while riding a recumbent bike is not easy. On the other hand,under seat steering is comfortable and easier to. With under seat steering, getting on and off is easier since there is not handlebar to block you.

Again, consider the wheel size.The essence of proper biking is choosing a light-weight bike that has efficient wheels. Actually, a bike with large wheels is more efficient than one with small wheels. Large wheels roll better and may enable you to have better gearing.

Lastly, you will want to check on the kind of seats your desired bike has. Note that seats come in many different sizesand shapes. Consider going for a bike with seats that best fits you. Choose one with seats that are made from durable materials that can last long. For comfort,go for seats that can recline or position you the way you want.

Back to the general guide