After a long absence from the “saddle” She Who Must be Obeyed and I took a long ride along the Kingsport Greenbelt last sunday (which she wrote up on her blog here) and it was very illuminating. Here are some things I learned, in no particular order.
Terrain counts. This may seem like a no brainer, but the territory surrounding my home is all steep hills, when you get out on a Multi-Use Trail like the Greenbelt, where it’s nearly flat, it’s quite an astonishing difference. Instead of struggling may way up lots of grades and being wrung out after only a few miles, I finished 14 feeling like I could have gone all day. This reveals a less obvious point about recumbent tricycles – just being in the thing is “free” – which is to say it puts no strain on your wrists, butt or back to ride. The only effort you pay for is the effort you put into moving from point A to point B. On a level grade, even unconditioned as I am, it feels like I could ride forever. You can see why recumbent trikes are so popular for touring.
Linkage Steering is great for Cruising. I’m not a speed demon, I like casual riding, and indirect steering is fantastic for that purpose. Because it’s very stable, one light hand draped on the steering assembly is enough to keep me on the path. This approach is very relaxing, and doesn’t feel like it has to be constantly fiddled with just to stay on course.
Nobody in Eastern TN seems to have ever seen a recumbent trike before and it gets a lot of attention. Particularly on a path shared by other cyclists of various stripes and pedestrians, you will not escape notice. Reactions range from smiles and waves to pointing to open mouthed gaping. Children of all ages are particularly enthralled, and I am conscious as I ride that I am expanding Christmas lists and starting begging and whining campaigns as I do so. Sorry about that. :)
In the autumn, the path is littered with walnuts. It is impossible to dodge them all.