Monday, March 19, 2007

I've finally bought a super cool bicycle

It's getting delivered this afternoon. Mine is a Haluzak Leprechaun, and no, I didn't buy it on St. Patrick's Day.

It's a beautiful recumbent bicycle, which is much more comfortable than the uprights (aka what we think of as bicycles). We went for a test ride over the weekend, and had a wonderful, though somewhat klutzy time. Once I get thru the learning curve, I'll be able to keep up with all you upright bike riders. :-)

The history of the recumbent bike is a bit of soap opera.
Bottom line: these bikes have been around since the early 1900's, and were banned from the racing circuit by the French in the 1930's because they were too fast and kept breaking records. Then they mostly died out, and in the 1970's there was a resurgence.

Current speed and distance bicycle records are both held by recumbent bikes.
Official speed records for recumbents are governed by the rules of the International Human Powered Vehicle Association...The current record is 130.36 km/h (81.00 mph), set by Sam Whittingham of Canada on a fully faired Varna Diablo front-wheel-drive recumbent lowracer bicycle designed by George Georgiev. The official record for an upright bicycle under somewhat similar conditions is 82.53 km/h (51.29 mph) set by Jim Glover in 1986 with an English-made Moulton bicycle with a hardshell fairing around him and the bike.

"The IHPVA hour record is 85.991 km (53.432 miles), set by Fred Markham on July 2, 2006. The equivalent record for an upright bicycle is 49.700 km (30.882 miles), set by Ondřej Sosenka in 2005. "

My particular model is not designed to ever be that fast, but it's so much fun to ride.

Can't wait to ride it!

Have since gotten it, and taken it for a short ride. Will take some relearning, but I don't expect I'll want to go back to an upright bike anytime soon. If you've never tried a recumbent bike, it's definitely worth a test ride. :-)

There are a few local shops that have recumbents available for test rides, mostly by appointment only.

In San Francisco: CVC Recumbents: 415-221-3601 or

In Alameda: Zach Kaplan Cycles: (510) 522-BENT (2368) or


Gizella said...

what is so magical about these? are they better for your back? i'm intrigued...

Janie said...

Definitely better for your back. The guy I bought it from switched to recumbents many years ago after a back injury, just so he could keep cycling.

Since it's lower to the ground, your center of gravity is lower, and I find it much easier to balance on. I can also put my foot on the ground easily from a sitting position. With the fairing (the clear plastic front thing), it decreases wind drag, and makes it much more aerodynamic, which means less effort in pedalling to keep up.
Having the steering under your butt is a little weird, but much more comfortable for the arms, since you don't have to keep them up.
In a reclining seat, you have a much better view of everything around you.