I’m sure that you all know what recumbents are, don’t you?
No? Well actually it’s a bicycle or sometimes a tricycle which you ride in a reclining position. Sounding good so far? And it has several advantages. The main advantage is that it’s massively faster than a conventional bike.
This is simply because a recumbent, with its rider reclining, has much less wind resistance than a normal bike. In fact, it is around 25 to 30% more aerodynamically efficient. So efficient that in 1986, Fast Freddy Markam, riding an Easy Racer, won the Dupont prize for the first human powered, single rider, machine that exceeded 65 miles an hour.
This is only one of the landmark records that recumbent have broken. One that sticks in my memory is when Andy Wilkinson set a Lands End to John O’Groats record, pedalling a fully faired Windcheetah recumbent trike. I remember it, because quite soon afterwards, we sold a ‘normal’ Windcheetah to a pensioner living at St.Brelades.
For the record, pardon the pun, Andy Wilkinson took 41 hours 4 minutes to cover the 861 miles, beating his previous record on a normal bike, by four hours. One must mention that this record time included a stop of over an hour to replace a broken rear axle. Wilkinson felt that given the right weather conditions, a 36 hour ride could be possible.
But a recumbents greatest benefit is not the speeds that it’ll reach. This is good, because people are always telling me that they don’t want to go cycle racing whenever I ask them what type of bike they’d like to buy.
The greatest benefit of a recumbent is that it’s so comfortable to ride. Sore bums, stiff necks and pins and needles in your hands are distant memories for the recumbent rider. And I read that it even strengthens your abdominal muscles. Wow, speed and a six pack.
All jokes aside, recumbent can open the door to a cycling career that many back-pain sufferers thought lost forever.
If you’d like to see some recumbent in action, and have a great time as well, pop down to the Rubis Jersey Town Criterium on Sunday 24 May. As well as recumbents, there’ll be races for a range of categories from Pro Elite to ladies, veterans and juniors.
Check out www.recumbent.org.je
Car use falls in cycling demonstration towns
Great results have been released for the three Department for Transport-funded Sustainable Travel demonstration towns, Darlington, Peterborough and Worcester. The scheme which ran between 2004 and 2008, set out to get more people walking, cycling or using public transport. Surveys undertaken by Sustrans and Socialdata have shown that car use has fallen by 9%. As car use has declined, sustainable transport has increased. Peterborough saw a 12% increase in cycling, Worcester has seen a 19% rise and in Darlington, cycle use doubled.
Dutch bike sales up
The heads of both cycle retail outlets and cycle producers are registering an increase in sales so far this year. Until recently, many were anxiously waiting for the early season indicators, to see if the current recession would affect their sales. If anything, it appears that high end bicycles are selling better than ever, and figures received so far predict increased sales for 2009.
And finally a few cycling quotes‘Life is like riding a bicycle – in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving’ – Albert Einstein
‘When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race’ – H.G.Wells
‘To prepare for a race there is nothing better than a good pheasant, some champagne and a woman’ – Jacques Anquetil
That’s obviously where I was going wrong! – Arthur
• Arthur Lamy is the manager of Boudins for Bikes, in Sand Street, and author of Jersey Cycles. He has spent 15 years as a tourist guide and writer, and is also a keen photographer. More information can be found on his website: www.arthurlamy.com