Yesterday I had an earth-shattering realization: Recumbents are just bikes and the people that ride them are normal, friendly people.
OK, I’m exaggerating a little…I never actually thought they’d be abnormal or mean or anything….it’s just that we all know how a certain stigma exists between ‘bent and upright riders. I have long been curious to experience the ‘bent scene and finally got my chance yesterday.
Back in November I met Michael Wolfe at the PUMP Swap Meet. Michael is a bike nut. He’s got all types of them and he’s especially fond of recumbents. When he realized I’d never ridden a recumbent he offered to loan me his and show me what they’re all about.
On Sunday I finally caught up with Michael and some of his friends (Carolyn, Dave, Kirke, Cathy) from the Oregon Human Powered Vehicles (OHPV) club. Instead of easing into it, we decided to do it right and ended up putting in about 35 miles. We rode from Gateway Transit Center, out Springwater Corridor to Gresham and onto the Sandy River into Troutdale and back home via Marine Drive. Here are some thoughts from the ride:
- I found the relaxed position made it much easier to socialize.
- Descending is a blast. I would just tuck my head under the fairing and hold on.
- Funniest part of the ride: A roadie friend of mine passed by and noticed me riding a recumbent. This prompted someone to yell, “you’re in trouble now Jonathan”, as if getting “caught” on a recumbent would somehow sully my reputation.
- There’s not much slipstream behind a recumbent. My legs are sore from trying to follow Dave’s wheel.
- Those colorful covers are called “socks” and they provide many benefits including rain and sun protection, aerodynamics and increased visibility.
- Starting from a stop on a hill can be tricky.
- People tend to smile and wave to you more in a recumbent…I think this is because they feel guilty that you’ve caught them staring at you with a puzzled look on their face.
It was a great ride (see all the photos) and I couldn’t have asked for better hosts than Michael, Carolyn and their friend Dave (aka “Slug”). Look forward to doing it again sometime (and Michael, next time I’ll take you up on the post-ride hot tea and biscuits!).