Riding the recumbent

4 06 2008

Just before I knocked myself out of any kind of sportive attempts for six months by damaging my ankle, I had brought a recumbent. A long standing desire of mine. One of the obstacles is that recumbent-bikes are vΓ©ry expensive, and the other is that you have to learn riding them. Obstacle #1 was solved because I found a secondhand one I really liked, and because of the under-steer (not the most popular option) It was less costly as other secondhand recumbents.

Mine is a ”Flevo fifty/fifty” I guess it’s about 8 to 10 years old. It was a very modern innovative design for the time and most recumbents still look very much like this one. It’s half racer, half touring. The wheels are 20”. You are very close to the ground and your head is much lower than on a conventional bike. This means you have a less than good view of traffic around you. I brought it to visit the Tarq, and the route is almost exclusively over cycling paths, so quite safe.

As I now had official permission of my physiotherapist to try it out I have spend sunday afternoon getting it the right size for me, and trying to actually ride it. Many people who evaluated their different bikes, considered the Flevo fifty/fifty an easy bike to ride and suitable for starters.
Fine.
Great.
So after an hour of falling off it, if I was so lucky to get it going in the first place, and breaking insignificant little parts of the bike, and sustaining a really nasty painful bruise on the inside of my arm, I managed to roll all the way down the parking lot! And as I couldn’t make the turn, I got off, turned the bike around, and actually cycled back.

I then decided to try and go ”round the block”. That went quite well, so I went a bit further on. On a large empty parking lot I started doing some really nice turns, and I decided that the only way to actually learn to ride the bike was to actually ride it. So took Zora back to the house and got some stuff and a bottle of water, and headed off to ride the more than 10 miles to the Tarq.

After you’re out of the city, it’s a lovely route; I always feel like I’m on a holiday. Actually there are two routes, One is most romantic and beautiful, the other is also nice but a bit more straight on and more houses and traffic. I go the second route when it’s getting dark and when I want to go faster, and the first route when I have a bit more time and want to enjoy myself. The first bit as I leave the city is a very small road surrounded by water and a couple of the cutest tiny gnome-sized-farmhouses, and a little lock.

After a couple of miles I cross the big canal, and follow it for a while on a very narrow cyclingpath. a bit scary when I met other cyclist: it all went very well, but when I saw them approaching I immediately started wobbling a bit.

After a couple of more miles I cross another small lock and pass the ”white mill” Yes, we are in the Netherlands, and there are wind-mills dotted all over the landscape!

The white mill, and my recumbent πŸ˜€

After the mill I cross another lock back to the other side of the canal again. Here you see the view from my recumbent. I was being very responsible wearing the knee- and elbow-protectors I use when rollerblading. (at wich I am really bad so I need all the protection I can get)

I arrived safely at the stables, had a nice time with The Tarq, and got safely home again too. The recumbent is, while still difficult, a dream to ride! I was very tired as I got home, but in such a nice way! Just tired. When I come home from the more than 20 miles round trip, on my ”normal” bike, my bum hurts, my back hurts, my shoulders hurt. This was great!
When it says recumbent, or reclining-bike, they really mean reclining! You are almost flat on your back! the only improvement I want is a neck rest. The recumbent feels as if the evolution of bicycles has skipped a few hundred years!

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18 responses

4 06 2008
Shahrzad

Waw, it’s so beautiful. It’s just like north of Iran except there is no kind of mill there in the north. And hey i never rid kind of this bicycle.. I saw them in the Gym, but they were static. Doesnt it hurt your back?

I like the 3rd foto, that road..

4 06 2008
Lofter

Wow… that just looks so cool. And such gorgeous countryside! Of course, I’d love to have one… but I know, undoubtedly, that I would break something! LOL! Thanks for sharing! πŸ˜€

4 06 2008
delhi4cats

That looks and sounds wonderful… I know what I want to do when I visit you!

4 06 2008
Achelois

I love wind mills. Your recumbent is very cool. I didn’t know about them at all. Neat little thing.

I’m curious – who took the last photo?

4 06 2008
Nevis

Is the recumbent…comfortable?

4 06 2008
Marahm

Such pretty photos! Thank you for showing us a bit of your surrounding area, which is lovely and inviting. The windmill photo made me realize I’ve never seen a close up picture of one, and I don’t know anything about them. Do you have, or are you planning, a post about windmills?

The bike looks interesting. I’ve ridden a similar one at the gym but never on the street. Good luck!

5 06 2008
Aafke

Shahrzad: You make me feel more and more in love with Iran, it must be such a beautiful country. The nice thing about the netherlands is that it is really flat. i mean totally flat! great for cycling!
I have never seen a recumbent style static gym-bike!
No it is great for your back! I was so tired and yet nothing hurt!

Lofter, you mean the bike or yourself?

Bedu: you have a standing invitation! You can ride my ”normal” bike, my recumbent, Γ‘nd The Tarq!

Achelois: I think it is very cool too! πŸ˜€ The last photo was taken by Dirk, the farmer where Tarq is lodging.

Nevis: mega-super-comfortable!!!! (Once you stop falling off)

Marahm: Glad you liked the post. There will be a post one of these days about ”Windmills and Cannabis”! πŸ˜€

5 06 2008
Colloquielle

Goodness! How on earth do you keep that thing upright lying on your back?! That really would freak me out!

5 06 2008
Lofter

LOL! Myself! πŸ˜€

5 06 2008
Checkers

Recumbents rule! Yours is great. I think you need a sidecar in case a certain cardigan welsh corgi came by for a ride.

Wow, you folks have huge fans where you live. The one in the picture is as big as a house!

5 06 2008
Aafke

Colloquielle: I don’t all the time! Thatr’s the whole point!

Lofter, aha!

Checkers: I have a luxury doggy-ride for u when u come for a ride!
Actually that is a very small fan/wind mill. πŸ˜€

6 06 2008
seekingnoor

I have never seen such a thing! Looks like fun and your surroundings are beautiful….

6 06 2008
tina

Aafke,

You live in such a great place with wonderful scenery. Great pics as always!!! I believe I commented on your bike in a previous post, It’s really cool but I know I would kill myself!!!

6 06 2008
tina

P.S. I really like being the orange dragon looking thing!!! ; )

6 06 2008
Tony

Some great bike riding scenery to admire as you pedal. I guess it is as difficult to ride as it looks. The steering looks like it must take some getting used to. Regardless of the type of bike you got there’s nothing like a nice scenic relaxing ride. Most enjoyable way to pass some spare time.

6 06 2008
Aafke

Seeking Noor, welcome to my blog! Yes, of course I nly photographed the best bits, but yes: I love the trip! When I first did it I wondered how stupid I was to have such a lovely route within reach and never knew about it!

Tina: I nearly did! and it can still happen! πŸ™‚
the avatars are randomly generated, so you have to get lucky to get one you like. But I must say some turn out great. I particularly like the screaming monster Rhysz got. Makes me wonder if there isn’t a sort of AI behind it πŸ˜€

Tony: the steering is very scary: the bike responds to tha slightest little nudge. Hum, about scenic…: as I mentioned, one is placed quite low, and at the moment the grasses are high…. so little scenic views!

7 06 2008
~W~

Beautiful landscape. I especially like the picture with the white mill and the bike. How good is that for an abdominal workout?

7 06 2008
Aafke

It does a bit for your abs, but I wouldn’t call it a special abs-workout. It also makes you use the muscles at the side of your legs, and your bum quite a lot. Which is unusal, those aren’t muscles u normally use. Very good to streamline the legs and for your bum.
I know all this because these muscles hurt at the moment! πŸ˜€

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