Learning Time

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by Dave Harney, May 6, 2003.

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  1. Dave Harney

    Dave Harney Guest

    I suspect this question has been asked many times, but I've just found this newsgroup. So, what are
    some experiences of older riders (I pasted the 60 mark a couple of years ago) who have biked on
    uprights forever and then switched to recumbents for the usual reasons of lower back pain, etc.

    I'll get my new recumbent in a few weeks. I took the demo bike for a short test ride and felt like
    an absolute fool. Especially when starting (or attempting to start) the bike into some semblance of
    forward motion. My balance on an upright (both single and tandem) is well honed after 30 some years
    of steady biking - the recumbent experience was humbling to say the least. However, I am very
    determined to re-educate my body to balance this critter.

    I've been told that most people need a month or so and about a hundred miles to develop a decent
    sense of balance. Others have told me about horror stories of constant falls and eventual
    abandonment of the recumbent.

    All experiences and training tips will be appreciated.
     
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  2. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > I suspect this question has been asked many times, but I've just found this newsgroup. So, what
    > are some experiences of older riders (I pasted the 60 mark a couple of years ago) who have biked
    > on uprights forever and then switched to recumbents for the usual reasons of lower back pain, etc.

    At 56, I'm not sure I count as an old fart, but I am not too far behind you. I've been 'bent almost
    4 years. I had no compelling reason to leave DFs, but the 'bent concept appealed.

    > I'll get my new recumbent in a few weeks....However, I am very determined to re-educate my body to
    > balance this critter.
    >
    Which one? LWB, SWB, CLWB, High BB, Low BB all have different characteristics. Some specifics can
    apply to a unique 'bent flavor.

    > I've been told that most people need a month or so and about a hundred miles to develop a decent
    > sense of balance. Others have told me about horror stories of constant falls and eventual
    > abandonment of the recumbent.

    A Month or 300-400 miles is a good rule of thumb. I know of no one falling at high speed while
    learning to ride. Most learning falls usually are the slow speed (not going fast enough to balance)
    kind of falls.

    > All experiences and training tips will be appreciated.

    My suggestions:
    1. Find a clear flat open parking lot to get your bent legs.
    2. Your right foot may be dominant. If it is start with the left on the ground and the right pedal
    at 10 o'clock
    3. There is a tendency to over steer at first, Do not grip the H/B in a death grip. Try using only
    the fingertips to steer. This is especially important if you have a SWB and the front wheel is
    under your knees.
    4. With your feet now out in front, it is possible to hit a bump and your feet will drop suddenly
    to the pavement and your leg get sucked under you causing serious damage. As soon as you are
    comfortable with the basics, move in to a pedal restraint system like SPDs or Eggbeaters.
    5. After you have mastered the parking lot, find a small hill and practice starting and stopping in
    the middle of the ascent.
    6. Learn to spin lower gears rather than 'mash' the pedals in big gears. A Bent can be less
    forgiving of the knees.
    7. Glucosamine is recommended by many Drs. and this 'bent pilot for knee pain.
    8. Go find some DF roadies and reel 'em in. Casually mention as you pass that today is your 63d
    Birthday. They won't be too talkative at 25 mph.
    9. Go find some big hills. Climb them before you go screaming down the other side.
    10. Try not to think about the next 'bent for at least 6 months. 11 Wipe that grin off your face.
    (well that is a lost cause).

    --
    Cletus D. Lee Bacchetta Giro Lightning Voyager http://www.clee.org
    - Bellaire, TX USA -
     
  3. Akensmith

    Akensmith Guest

    >All experiences and training tips will be appreciated.>>

    What Cletus said, plus.......... When learning to ride your new bent, don't look at your feet in
    front of you, or the front of the bike, or the ground immediately in front of the bike. Rather cast
    your eyes somewhere out in front of the bike--waaaay down the road. When approaching a turn, look
    around the corner in the direction you intend to ride. The bike will naturally follow.

    Good Luck with your new bent. And do report back to us how it's going.

    Norm
     
  4. Paul Harris

    Paul Harris Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, Dave Harney <[email protected]> wrote:

    > I suspect this question has been asked many times, but I've just found this newsgroup. So, what
    > are some experiences of older riders (I pasted the 60 mark a couple of years ago) who have biked
    > on uprights forever and then switched to recumbents for the usual reasons of lower back pain, etc.
    >
    > I'll get my new recumbent in a few weeks. I took the demo bike for a short test ride and felt like
    > an absolute fool. Especially when starting (or attempting to start) the bike into some semblance
    > of forward motion. My balance on an upright (both single and tandem) is well honed after 30 some
    > years of steady biking - the recumbent experience was humbling to say the least. However, I am
    > very determined to re-educate my body to balance this critter.
    >
    > I've been told that most people need a month or so and about a hundred miles to develop a decent
    > sense of balance. Others have told me about horror stories of constant falls and eventual
    > abandonment of the recumbent.

    Hi Dave:

    Welcome to the "club."

    I remember almost wobbling off the road into the curb, when I first took a recumbent for a ride.
    Don't feel like a fool!

    I'm 57, and started on a bent 4 years ago. I rode a BikeE for three years, and bought a
    long-wheelbase Sun EZ Sport last fall. When I initially started on the BikeE, I found it to be very
    unstable at low speed, and somewhat hard to control at most speeds. Rather than just gradually
    adjusting, I struggled with it every day, then woke up one day after around three weeks of riding,
    and all of a sudden it just felt totally normal, and right. Everything just clicked, all of a
    sudden. It felt wonderful. Oddly, there didn't seem to be any gradual transition.

    I haven't fallen yet, with close to 5,000 km on the two recumbos I've owned.

    When I bought my EZ Sport, it felt totally controllable right from the start. Probably some of this
    feeling was transferred from the initial experience on the BikeE, but I don't know how much. Just
    keep riding, and very soon your recumbent bicycle will feel totally normal to you.

    Good riding . . .

    Paul Harris
     
  5. Azqaz

    Azqaz Guest

    "Dave Harney" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>... <snip>

    > I've been told that most people need a month or so and about a hundred miles to develop a decent
    > sense of balance. Others have told me about horror stories of constant falls and eventual
    > abandonment of the recumbent.
    >
    > All experiences and training tips will be appreciated.

    Well, I'm only in my upper 30's, but I'll offer what I can.:) I got my bent last year, and the first
    10 minutes were a trial. I swore I was going to wipe out, damage my new $1300 bike and send myself
    to the ER. Then I decided if that was going to happen, I couldn't stop it, so I relaxed, leaned back
    into the seat rest, and... became really stable. I can't stress enough that relaxing and not
    fighting the bike was a must for me. A few times since then I have gotten tense on the bike, mostly
    when traffic is bad, or the roads are wet, and I've noticed the bike becoming twitchy and sensetive
    to steering input.

    Bryan

    p.s. If I didn't mention it relax, and enjoy the ride.

    p.p.s. Did I mention relax, relax, have fun, relax, have a blast, and RELAX.

    p.p.p.s. By the way, what bike did you order?
     
  6. Don

    Don Guest

    Dave, Welcome to Bentsville. It might help if you mentioned which bike you bought. There may be some
    bike specific recommendations.

    I understand just where you are coming from when you talk about knowing just what to do on a DF.
    Cornering becomes automatic and you do it without thinking while carrying on a conversation with
    other riders. Speaking from my Haluzak experience I can tell you that if you get the right bike you
    will become one with the bike and feel totally relaxed and comfortable.

    Learning curves will vary with the rider and bike style but after each ride you will feel more
    confident than you did at the beginning. My best advice is to not expect too much too soon. Don't
    let horror stories from others discourage you. And the biggest thing----RELAX. The worst thing you
    can do is get tense and have a death grip on the bars.

    Start out riding by yourself on a familiar and easy route. No pressure to keep up or converse or
    navigate difficult areas. Let be fun, not a chore.

    That said, I have been test riding different bents and feel like a clown all over again on each one
    I try. But it quickly passes and the learning curve is much shorter now. Good luck. Don
     
  7. Mike S

    Mike S Guest

    "Dave Harney" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I suspect this question has been asked many times, but I've just found this newsgroup. So, what
    > are some experiences of older riders (I pasted the 60 mark a couple of years ago) who have biked
    > on uprights forever and then switched to recumbents for the usual reasons of lower back pain, etc.
    >
    > I'll get my new recumbent in a few weeks. I took the demo bike for a short test ride and felt like
    > an absolute fool. Especially when starting (or attempting to start) the bike into some semblance
    > of forward motion. My balance on an upright (both single and tandem) is well honed after 30 some
    > years of steady biking - the recumbent experience was humbling to say the least. However, I am
    > very determined to re-educate my body to balance this critter.
    >
    > I've been told that most people need a month or so and about a hundred miles to develop a decent
    > sense of balance. Others have told me about horror stories of constant falls and eventual
    > abandonment of the recumbent.
    >
    > All experiences and training tips will be appreciated.

    Your inquiry must consider different factors. What type of bike did you ride? Under what conditions
    did you ride it? What advice, if any, were you given? How did the bike fit you? Etc. For a lot of
    us, a diamond frame is a diamond frame is a diamond frame. With a recumbent, the bike type
    (longwheelbase, compact longwheelbase, or shortwheel base), the steering (underseat, above seat,
    happy hamster or superman handlebar position), the configuration (low racer, semi-low racer, more
    traditional), frame size, seat, etc. are all factors. That is why we say ride as many as you can
    before deciding. You will get off one bike you can't manage around the parking lot and sit on
    another that you feel at home on immediately. New riders have a tendency not to lean back in the
    seat and relax. They tend to oversteer. There are some models that have higher learning curves than
    others. I have over 10,000 recumbent miles but for some reason find it very difficult to ride a low
    racer. The only one I could begin to navigate with some confidence on my first attempt was the
    Sunset Lowracer (thank you Tom Sherman for letting me try yours). The bike I first rode was a
    compact long wheelbase bike (BikeE) which is an easy bike to learn on. I felt confident after about
    25 miles. From there the transition was seamless to a RANS V-Rex and now to a Barcroft Virginia GT.
    Even with all those miles behind me, when we added a Barcroft Columbia tandem there was another
    break-in period before I was confident with that. But the common theme here is relax and keep
    riding. I also picked up pointers by watching other riders and how they handled shifting and
    manuvering (especially with the tandem). For the first 25 miles I felt I had made a big mistake.
    After 50 miles I thought things would be okay. After 75 miles you couldn't pry me away from the
    bike. It just requires patience and practice. Welcome.

    Mike S. St. Louis, Mo.
     
  8. Carl

    Carl Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (azqaz) wrote:

    > Well, I'm only in my upper 30's, but I'll offer what I can.:) I got my bent last year, and the
    > first 10 minutes were a trial. I swore I was going to wipe out, damage my new $1300 bike and send
    > myself to the ER. Then I decided if that was going to happen, I couldn't stop it, so I relaxed,
    > leaned back into the seat rest, and... became really stable. I can't stress enough that relaxing
    > and not fighting the bike was a must for me. A few times since then I have gotten tense on the
    > bike, mostly when traffic is bad, or the roads are wet, and I've noticed the bike becoming twitchy
    > and sensetive to steering input.

    I'll second this. The big fund-raiser for the club I belong to is the "Bike Swap" - sort of a big
    community bike garage sale. A number of recumbents were there for sale. The adults who ride upright
    road bikes all the time had a terrible time riding them. The kids would just jump on and ride. Let
    the seat take your weight, relax, and just go.

    -Carl
     
  9. Dave Harney

    Dave Harney Guest

    Actually, we bought two bikes from http://www.hostelshoppe.com a central Wisconsin bike shop that
    specializes in recumbents. We traveled 150 miles to buy from them because of their excellent
    reputation and willingness to help a new recumbent buyer. We really appreicate their assistance and
    the scope of their recumbent oriented products. The bikes are:

    Club Volae, Hostel Shoppe's private label bike: both wheels are 23-650c on a 45 inch wheel base and
    a total bike length of 70 inches; seat height is 26 inches and the BB is 32.5; the bike weighs 27.5
    lbs; the component set is Ultegra and 105 level stuff; it has OSS and we will use our Frog pedals.
    Gearing is 30/42/52 and 11-32 9 speed. The frame is actually made by Vision.

    Tandem Vision as customized by Hostel Shoppe: pretty much like the Vision VR85 but the shifting
    stuff matches the Volae and some of the other components are supplied by Hostel Shoppe. Wife only
    rides on a Tandem due to a balance disability issue.

    The plan is for me to ride the Volae for about a month before we hang up our daVinci tandem (which
    we truly love) and my wife joins me in the recumbent world. Our plan is to finish a couple of 50
    mile fund raiser rides on the daVinci and then set a goal to ride 70+ miles in the Door County
    Century right after Labor Day on the Vision. Wife's heart is already suffering withdrawal pains
    thinking about the daVinci hanging in the garage all alone - but her lower back is looking forward
    to a recumbent (mine too).

    "Don" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Dave, Welcome to Bentsville. It might help if you mentioned which bike you bought. There may be
    > some bike specific recommendations.
    >
    > I understand just where you are coming from when you talk about knowing just what to do on a DF.
    > Cornering becomes automatic and you do it without thinking while carrying on a conversation with
    > other riders. Speaking from my Haluzak experience I can tell you that if you get the right bike
    > you will become one with the bike and feel totally relaxed and comfortable.
    >
    > Learning curves will vary with the rider and bike style but after each ride you will feel more
    > confident than you did at the beginning. My best advice is to not expect too much too soon. Don't
    > let horror stories from others discourage you. And the biggest thing----RELAX. The worst thing you
    > can do is get tense and have a death grip on the bars.
    >
    > Start out riding by yourself on a familiar and easy route. No pressure to keep up or converse or
    > navigate difficult areas. Let be fun, not a chore.
    >
    > That said, I have been test riding different bents and feel like a clown all over again on each
    > one I try. But it quickly passes and the learning curve is much shorter now. Good luck. Don
     
  10. Derek

    Derek Guest

    I would not use your Speedplay Frogs until you get used to riding bent. Pedals that have a platform
    on one side and clipless on the other help help a lot for starting and stopping your bent, and would
    be a worthwhile investment for the learning process IMHO.

    Cheers, Derek
     
  11. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    "Dave Harney" <[email protected]> wrote:
    > Tandem Vision as customized by Hostel Shoppe: pretty much like the Vision VR85 but the shifting
    > stuff matches the Volae and some of the other components are supplied by Hostel Shoppe. Wife only
    > rides on a Tandem due to a balance disability issue.

    Remember there are some fantastic recumbent *trikes* available... perfect for
    balance-challenged folks.

    Gary
     
  12. Dave Harney

    Dave Harney Guest

    I really was intrigued by the tandem trike - especially ones like the Greenspeed with the great hill
    climbing ability. The problem for us was the transportation and storage issues of these big
    machines. As wife is no longer interested in biking solo under any circumstances, the balance issue
    is a moot point on the tandem - as long as my balancing ability is up to par.

    If a tandem trike could readily be transported in the back of my pickup and be packed for European
    air travel, it would have a lot more appeal. The Vision has some challenges in this regard, but it
    is acceptable - not too much different from our daVinci.

    news:[email protected]...
    > "Dave Harney" <[email protected]> wrote:
    > > Tandem Vision as customized by Hostel Shoppe: pretty much like the Vision VR85 but the shifting
    > > stuff matches the Volae and some of the other components are supplied by Hostel Shoppe. Wife
    > > only rides on a Tandem due to a balance disability issue.
    >
    > Remember there are some fantastic recumbent *trikes* available... perfect for
    > balance-challenged folks.
    >
    > Gary
     
  13. Seth Jayson

    Seth Jayson Guest

    Some 'bents are are easier for beginners to take their first few pedals on than others, depending on
    the beginner. (Like a sun EZ1, for instance, that is so mild-mannered, I think my dog could ride
    it). But after 20 miles on that bike, they might already be hankering for something sportier. You
    sound like the kind of person who can use the performance of that Volae, and it will become second
    nature shortly enough.

    My wife can't pedal my Rans Rocket for even two feet. But my 58 year-old father got on and followed
    me on a 10-mile run no problem, and he had the misfortune of having to go slowly to stay with me.

    I think that folks who've ridden motorcycles or scooters or other 2-wheelers with a lower center of
    gravity placed further back have a much easier time on a higher bottom bracket bent.

    That said I always say this to people who try my 'bent and say "No WAY."

    You didn't just get on your first bike and pedal away. It took hundreds of miles for you to feel
    *completely* comfortable. That's the way it will be with a 'bent.
     
  14. watsonglenn

    watsonglenn New Member

    Joined:
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    Is a LWB significantly easier to ride than a SWB?
     
  15. Tom Sherman

    Tom Sherman Guest

    mike s wrote:
    > ... There are some models that have higher learning curves than others. I have over 10,000
    > recumbent miles but for some reason find it very difficult to ride a low racer. The only one I
    > could begin to navigate with some confidence on my first attempt was the Sunset Lowracer (thank
    > you Tom Sherman for letting me try yours)....

    Mike,

    Other than getting started out, you did not seem to be having any real balance or steering problems
    riding my Sunset. The Sunset is certainly user friendly for a lowracer, however.

    However, Mike is neglecting to inform us of his real recumbent learning mistake, which is do not buy
    your wife a fairing and bodysock for her GRR. ;)

    Tom Sherman - Various HPV's Quad Cities USA (Illinois side)
     
  16. Tom Sherman

    Tom Sherman Guest

    Dave Harney wrote:
    > ... The frame is actually made by Vision....

    Actually the frame is made by Advanced Transportation Products (ATP). "Vision" is a brand name used
    by ATP for their line of bicycles. [1]

    [1] Another division of ATP is Winkle Wheel.

    Tom Sherman - Recumbent Pedant Quad Cities USA (Illinois side)
     
  17. Cletus Lee

    Cletus Lee Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > Is a LWB significantly easier to ride than a SWB?

    That was my experience when I first ventured into bentdom 4 years ago. It is easier to oversteer a
    SWB where you are essentially sitting over the front wheel. Now I am a 2 SWB pilot.
    --

    Cletus D. Lee Bacchetta Giro Lightning Voyager http://www.clee.org
    - Bellaire, TX USA -
     
  18. watsonglenn wrote:

    > Is a LWB significantly easier to ride than a SWB?

    Not what Cletus said. My first two-wheeled recumbent experience was with an Avatar 2000 and I
    couldn't keep it upright at all. Since then I've tried assorted home-brews, a Tour Easy, Peer Gynt,
    Linear, MicWic and possibly one or two others and found them all a bit hairy.

    Dave Larrington - http://legslarry.crosswinds.net/
    ===========================================================
    Editor - British Human Power Club Newsletter
    http://www.bhpc.org.uk/
    ===========================================================
     
  19. Jay

    Jay Guest

    in article [email protected], Dave Harney at [email protected] wrote
    on 5/7/03 4:34 PM:

    > I really was intrigued by the tandem trike - especially ones like the Greenspeed with the great
    > hill climbing ability. The problem for us was the transportation and storage issues of these big
    > machines. As wife is no longer interested in biking solo under any circumstances, the balance
    > issue is a moot point on the tandem - as long as my balancing ability is up to par.
    >
    > If a tandem trike could readily be transported in the back of my pickup and be packed for European
    > air travel, it would have a lot more appeal. The Vision has some challenges in this regard, but it
    > is acceptable - not too much different from our daVinci.

    The Greenspeed GTV (tandem trike with S&S couplers) breaks down to go into two suitcases and can be
    transformed to a solo.
     
  20. John Foltz

    John Foltz Guest

    watsonglenn <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > Is a LWB significantly easier to ride than a SWB?
    >
    I don't think a LSB is easier to *ride*, but it may be easier to *learn*. The reasons being that the
    seat is usually more upright and the feet are usually closer to the ground.
     
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