Saturday, May 26, 2012

My bike vs. my trike

Now that I've had the recumbent bicycle a couple of days, I can run down the benefits of each!

Benefits of the recumbent bicycle relative to my recumbent trike:

1.  It's lighter.  But about ten pounds - 32 pounds for the bike, 42 for the trike, before throwing the other garbage on it.

2.  It's easier to manhandle.  It's around the dimensions of an upright bicycle.

3.  You can use normal bike racks for transportation.  Which is nice.

4.  It can easily be brought inside the house for security and protection from the weather.

Advantages of the recumbent trike over the bicycle:

1.  I can ride it.

Like, whoa, riding a recumbent bicycle is more than a little weird.  After three days, I have finally gotten to the point where I can ride a little bit in a straight line.  Leaning back and keeping your balance is . . . well, I'm not used to it.  But to go at all, you've got to lean back, as far back as you'd be in a recliner, and pedal outward, not down.  So, my balance is weird and I don't know where to put my feet.  I thought my experiences with trike would help me - I'm used to leaning down and pedalling out! - but that turns out not to be the case.  So I suppose I should put down the rest of the advantages the trike has over the bike, hehe.

2. More comfortable - only by a little, the trike is more comfortable.

3. More cargo space.  Important since I want to use the bike/trike to pop down to the store.

4. More stable.  No balance required.  Get on and go, every time.  Which also means there is basically no hill you can't go up so long as you can go up it even a little.

I've heard that some of the problems with my particular recumbent can be fixed by getting wider, softer tires.  It is currently running a 26" x 1.25" in back and a 20" x 1.25" in the front at 80 psi.  If I go wider tires - 1.75", used in mountain bikes and BMX bikes for back and front - and go down to 60 psi, I hear the stability goes up considerably.

But right now, there is no way I can use the recumbent bicycle to ride.  But I came up with a solution to keep the trike - after getting the recumbent!  Bad timing, I know.  Some of it is things some people have suggested, too, so I'm sorry for not having listened more!  Ego is a sonofabitch.

For security, I'm going to use this nearly indestructible chain to attack it to a tree in back of our house, and attach the chain to the bike with a u-lock that has an alarm - so if it's disturbed, it sets out a wail.  To protect it from the weather, well, I'll get a cover.  Duh, right?  Then right by the tree, I'll get some gravel and bricks and shovel some stakes and 1 x 4s and make a little porch for it.  If we get really lousy weather, tropical storms or what have you, we can go through the effort of bringing the bike indoors.

While in general, I'm still very much pro-bents, this experience has moved me more towards being pro-bent trikes as being stupid easy to use relative to bent bikes, that have a fairly steep learning curve.

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