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Do Recumbents Crash More Than Regular Bikes?



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 24th 05, 11:11 PM
Bruce Davis
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Posts: n/a
Default Do Recumbents Crash More Than Regular Bikes?

I just discovered this Newsgroup, and my newsreader only downloads the July
posts, so I apologize if this has already been a topic of discussion in the
recent past.

My question relates to whether you think that recumbents are any more prone
to spills than a regular bike is. Here's the genesis of my question:

I bought an EZ Racer Tour Easy in September 2004. I am 44 years old, and
have been a recreational cyclist for a number of years. I was never one of
those super-serious bikers in the multicolored spandex shirts and
super-speedy racing bikes. I simply rode a Trek hybrid on the occasional
weekend on bike paths. But I found cycling on a regular bike to be painful
after about ten miles -- my back and butt would be sore, and my weiner would
be numb after a ride. So when I first found out about recumbents, they
sounded like they'd be just what the doctor ordered.

I bought my EZ Racer last September, and for my inaugural ride I took it out
on a paved trail in local state park. Well, within five minutes of my
first-ever ride, I broke my ankle. I was coming down a slight slope, perhaps
going a little too fast for a novice, and came upon some wet leaves on the
trail. The bike started sliding, I braked, and it slid out from under me.
When I put my left foot down to the ground, I rolled over and onto the
ground. I ended up with my left foot pointing 90 degrees to the right. I lay
on the trail for about fifteen minutes before some hikers discovered me, and
went and found a park ranger, who called an ambulance. I was hauled off to
the hospital. I had to have my ankle sliced open like a fish's belly, and a
plate was screwed into my badly broken bones with about nine screws. I spent
the next six months recovering -- two months in a cast, a month with a
removable walking-cast, two months in physical therapy, etc.

Well, finally this spring I felt that my ankle was recovered enough to give
it another shot. I've taken my EZ Racer out about four times in the past few
months, and must say that I really enjoy it. But at the same time, I find it
somewhat unstable. I thought maybe it would take time to get the hang of it,
and then I'd be tooling around with ease. But I find that even after a
number of rides of long length, the bike seems a bit wobbly at times and
difficult to control. For example, if I take one hand off the handlebars to
take a sip of water, it seems like I am risking disaster. The bike is only
stable with two hands firmly gripping the handlebars. Contrast this with a
standard bike, on which it is fairly easy to ride with no hands, let alone
one hand (on the recumbent, the old saying "Look Ma, no teeth!" really seems
to apply.). And when someone passes me from behind, and I want to give them
ample room to get by, I find it somewhat difficult to keep the bike in a
perfectly straight line, and worry that I'll suddenly veer to the left and
crash into the passer.

And now, just yesterday, I had another spill. I was on the Schuylkill Trail,
which is a paved path between Valley Forge and Philadelphia. I was having a
great ride, averaging about 16 MPH, and generally enjoying life. The paved
portion of the trail is about 13 miles from Valley Forge to where it hits
Manayunk (a Philadelphia neighborhood famous for the "Manayunk Wall" in the
annual USPro bike race). When the trail hits Manayunk, there is an unpaved
portion of about a half-mile between the end of the trail and the streets of
Manayunk. I had ridden this unpaved area numerous times on my Trek hybrid in
years past, so I thought I'd give it a go with my 'bent. I thought I might
stop at a Manayunk brew-pub for a pint before heading back to Valley Forge
(I don't advocate drinking and riding, but I figured a single pint wouldn't
whack me out.) Anyway, I was doing well on the packed dirt, when suddenly in
front of me was a very sandy portion of trail, maybe three feet long. I
figured if I just kept my front wheel straight, I'd plow right through the
sandy soil, and continue on my way. But as soon as my front wheel hit the
sandy area, the wheel suddently slid, and I went down hard on my right leg.
I jumped up quickly to make sure I hadn't broken anything, and luckily I had
not. But I did have a large red scrape all the way from my knee to my ankle.
Despite a moderate amount of pain, I was very relieved that there were no
serious injuries, and that I wouldn't be spending the next three months on
crutches. I decided to forego the brew-pub, and headed back to Valley Forge.
All-in-all, I had had a great day, and very much enjoyed the 26-mile ride.
But my spill at the halfway mark got me worried again about whether there is
something inherently dangerous about this bike.

So my questions a
1. Are recumbents generally less stable than regular bikes (more prone to
crashes), or does it just take more experience to get the "hang of it"?
2. Are there precautions that must be taken with recumbents so that a.) one
does not take a spill; and b.) if one does take a spill, is there a certain
way to fall to lessen the chance of serious injury?

The bottom line is that I love my recumbent, have no buyer's remorse, and
will continue to ride it; but I'm just curious about whether anyone out
there has any suggestions or comments that will put my mind at ease, so that
I can just enjoy my rides without constantly worrying that I'm going to end
up in the hospital again.

(By the way, I hope Ed Dolan the Great posts a reply, as in my short visit
to this newsgroup, I have found his posts to be hilarious and his writing
style to be top-notch. In the words of that old Lowenbrau commercial,
"Dolan, you're a genius!")

--Bruce Davis


Ads
  #2  
Old July 24th 05, 11:27 PM
Jonathan Kaplan
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Sounds like you are a candidate for a trike! But seriously, I used to have a
Toureasy and found that anytime the front wheel encounters any slippery
surface, you will probably go down. I replaced the stock tires with a
Schwalbe Marathon front and rear. Once I had the Schwalbe (which has much
more tread than the stock primo), I had less problems. The two times I went
down on the TE were on sand and a groove in the road.

I'm familiar with the Manayunk trail. I did the tour de Philadelphia a few
years ago. There is one awful stretch that is gravel ended by cobblestones.
I had a Penninger recumbent trike at the time with Primo Comets. The
cinders/Gravel ended up wearing a hole in the side wall. At the end, it
could not even climb the cobblestones (the wheels just spun). I might add
that that bike ride was one of the hilliest I had ever been on (not the
schukill trail, but the streets which had stop signs at hill bottoms, then
killer hills to climb on the other side of the stop signs.)


  #3  
Old July 25th 05, 01:08 AM
LioNiNoiL_a t_Y a h 0 0_d 0 t_c 0 m
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Bruce Davis wrote:

... I broke my ankle. I was coming down a slight slope,
perhaps going a little too fast for a novice, and came
upon some wet leaves on the trail. The bike started sliding,
I braked, and it slid out from under me. When I put my left
foot down to the ground, I rolled over and onto the ground.
I ended up with my left foot pointing 90 degrees to the right.


I did essentially the same thing to my right ankle six years ago on my
M5 a half-year after I got it, even though definitely not a novice
having spent the previous eight years on my Tour Easy. My wife blamed
the bike, but I blamed myself for exceeding my limitations on a bike I
had not yet become completely familiar with. This factor of
unfamiliarity may result in more crashes on recumbents than on
diamond-frame bikes.

--
"Bicycling is a healthy and manly pursuit with much
to recommend it, and, unlike other foolish crazes,
it has not died out." -- The Daily Telegraph (1877)
  #4  
Old July 25th 05, 01:31 AM
Edward Dolan
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Bruce Davis" wrote in message
...
[...]
(By the way, I hope Ed Dolan the Great posts a reply, as in my short visit
to this newsgroup, I have found his posts to be hilarious and his writing
style to be top-notch. In the words of that old Lowenbrau commercial,
"Dolan, you're a genius!")

--Bruce Davis


Many thanks Bruce. I do write for a hidden readership as I am greatly under
appreciated by the ARBR regulars.These hidden readers are sometimes called
lurkers. There is nothing wrong with that as I lurked for over a year on
this group before I finally posted to it. What I learned mainly from my
lurking is that anything goes. We have a full panoply of human types here on
ARBR, from idiots like Slugger to geniuses like me.

I will not respond directly to your interesting post as I leave that sort of
thing to many others here who are much better at it than I could ever be. If
I got involved at this early stage your message will get derailed and we may
end up talking about how the Americas were populated by NE Siberians. I kid
you not. However, I may jump in at the end and administer the coup de grace
to all the idiotic responses that your message will engender.

I am like the final sag (sweeper) who cleans up after all the trash that
gets posted here. I will shortly no doubt have to take on Slugger yet once
again (my nightly chore) as he has taken to calling me a ******* and that I
should go **** myself. What is really odd is that he has just recently taken
to calling me a bitch. This is very strange indeed. It may be that I have
finally driven him around the bend and he is now ready for the insane
asylum. In any event, I will keep plugging away, doing my duty as God gives
me the light to see it.

Ed Dolan the Great - Minnesota

aka

Saint Edward the Great - Order of the Perpetual Sorrows - Minnesota


  #5  
Old July 25th 05, 03:26 AM
Steve knight
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

bents tent to have worse traction on the front then a df will. the
longer the wheel base the worse it will be. though the longer it is
the more time you have to react. so anything loose or wet or slippry
watch out for. like wet leaves and such.
I really liek this front tire it seems to grip far better
http://www.hostelshoppe.com/cgi-bin/...sory=983919734
I keep about 100psi in it.
I also foudn a pantour suspension hup helps with traction too.
as otehrs have said when you go down don't put your foot down. this
is called leg suck.
Knight-Toolworks
http://www.knight-toolworks.com
affordable handmade wooden planes
  #6  
Old July 25th 05, 03:34 AM
mort
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Hi Bruce,

I ride a Gold Rush frequently on the Schuykill river trail, but I avoid
that section along the river. There is an alternative route that goes
through the streets of Manayunk, which is a little hillier but has no
unpaved stretches. Regarding scrubbing out the front wheel, you have
to be extremely careful in any non-paved situation. I have also dumped
my Gold Rush on gravel and sand. The good thing about the bike is that
you don't fall as far as on an upright. As you discovered, taking your
feet off the pedals in a fall is a good way to break your leg. You
didn't mention whether you ride clipped to the pedals or not, but I
would recommend that you get some cleats, and if you do by chance find
yourself going over, just hang on the bars, leave your feet where they
are, and let the side of the seat and your hip take the impact. I have
survived two 25mph+ crashes without serious injury this way. And as
others have said, a light touch makes the bike much more controllable.
I do think that the Tour Easy and Gold Rush are a little twitchier than
uprights, but at speed they are extremely stable. The more you ride
the better it will get. Best of luck to you,

Mort

  #7  
Old July 25th 05, 04:01 AM
Joshua Goldberg
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

well cannot argue with you on E.Dolan being a Genius and he is our resident
Pit Bull who will gladly bite the ass off anyone who invades our group from
Chicago.

My thinking is the Tour Easy is not the best choice of bent to go from a
wedgie to. A Tour Easy is a LWB and you are riding on Trails (albeit paved),
but trails tend to wind and weave and have rough patches, sand, gravel etc.
to break up the monotony for riders with MTBs who love a mixed road
surface----why I'll never know, well paved is always better for a bent.

A LWB will not take sudden direction changes with ease.
I'd go with a CLWB till you get more riding experience and while you still
can ride---busted ankle--Yuck/

"Bruce Davis" wrote in message
...
I just discovered this Newsgroup, and my newsreader only downloads the July
posts, so I apologize if this has already been a topic of discussion in the
recent past.

My question relates to whether you think that recumbents are any more
prone to spills than a regular bike is. Here's the genesis of my question:

I bought an EZ Racer Tour Easy in September 2004. I am 44 years old, and
have been a recreational cyclist for a number of years. I was never one of
those super-serious bikers in the multicolored spandex shirts and
super-speedy racing bikes. I simply rode a Trek hybrid on the occasional
weekend on bike paths. But I found cycling on a regular bike to be painful
after about ten miles -- my back and butt would be sore, and my weiner
would be numb after a ride. So when I first found out about recumbents,
they sounded like they'd be just what the doctor ordered.

I bought my EZ Racer last September, and for my inaugural ride I took it
out on a paved trail in local state park. Well, within five minutes of my
first-ever ride, I broke my ankle. I was coming down a slight slope,
perhaps going a little too fast for a novice, and came upon some wet
leaves on the trail. The bike started sliding, I braked, and it slid out
from under me. When I put my left foot down to the ground, I rolled over
and onto the ground. I ended up with my left foot pointing 90 degrees to
the right. I lay on the trail for about fifteen minutes before some hikers
discovered me, and went and found a park ranger, who called an ambulance.
I was hauled off to the hospital. I had to have my ankle sliced open like
a fish's belly, and a plate was screwed into my badly broken bones with
about nine screws. I spent the next six months recovering -- two months in
a cast, a month with a removable walking-cast, two months in physical
therapy, etc.

Well, finally this spring I felt that my ankle was recovered enough to
give it another shot. I've taken my EZ Racer out about four times in the
past few months, and must say that I really enjoy it. But at the same
time, I find it somewhat unstable. I thought maybe it would take time to
get the hang of it, and then I'd be tooling around with ease. But I find
that even after a number of rides of long length, the bike seems a bit
wobbly at times and difficult to control. For example, if I take one hand
off the handlebars to take a sip of water, it seems like I am risking
disaster. The bike is only stable with two hands firmly gripping the
handlebars. Contrast this with a standard bike, on which it is fairly easy
to ride with no hands, let alone one hand (on the recumbent, the old
saying "Look Ma, no teeth!" really seems to apply.). And when someone
passes me from behind, and I want to give them ample room to get by, I
find it somewhat difficult to keep the bike in a perfectly straight line,
and worry that I'll suddenly veer to the left and crash into the passer.

And now, just yesterday, I had another spill. I was on the Schuylkill
Trail, which is a paved path between Valley Forge and Philadelphia. I was
having a great ride, averaging about 16 MPH, and generally enjoying life.
The paved portion of the trail is about 13 miles from Valley Forge to
where it hits Manayunk (a Philadelphia neighborhood famous for the
"Manayunk Wall" in the annual USPro bike race). When the trail hits
Manayunk, there is an unpaved portion of about a half-mile between the end
of the trail and the streets of Manayunk. I had ridden this unpaved area
numerous times on my Trek hybrid in years past, so I thought I'd give it a
go with my 'bent. I thought I might stop at a Manayunk brew-pub for a pint
before heading back to Valley Forge (I don't advocate drinking and riding,
but I figured a single pint wouldn't whack me out.) Anyway, I was doing
well on the packed dirt, when suddenly in front of me was a very sandy
portion of trail, maybe three feet long. I figured if I just kept my front
wheel straight, I'd plow right through the sandy soil, and continue on my
way. But as soon as my front wheel hit the sandy area, the wheel suddently
slid, and I went down hard on my right leg. I jumped up quickly to make
sure I hadn't broken anything, and luckily I had not. But I did have a
large red scrape all the way from my knee to my ankle. Despite a moderate
amount of pain, I was very relieved that there were no serious injuries,
and that I wouldn't be spending the next three months on crutches. I
decided to forego the brew-pub, and headed back to Valley Forge.
All-in-all, I had had a great day, and very much enjoyed the 26-mile ride.
But my spill at the halfway mark got me worried again about whether there
is something inherently dangerous about this bike.

So my questions a
1. Are recumbents generally less stable than regular bikes (more prone to
crashes), or does it just take more experience to get the "hang of it"?
2. Are there precautions that must be taken with recumbents so that a.)
one does not take a spill; and b.) if one does take a spill, is there a
certain way to fall to lessen the chance of serious injury?

The bottom line is that I love my recumbent, have no buyer's remorse, and
will continue to ride it; but I'm just curious about whether anyone out
there has any suggestions or comments that will put my mind at ease, so
that I can just enjoy my rides without constantly worrying that I'm going
to end up in the hospital again.

(By the way, I hope Ed Dolan the Great posts a reply, as in my short visit
to this newsgroup, I have found his posts to be hilarious and his writing
style to be top-notch. In the words of that old Lowenbrau commercial,
"Dolan, you're a genius!")

--Bruce Davis



  #8  
Old July 25th 05, 03:26 PM
Dex
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Sun, 24 Jul 2005 18:11:11 -0400, "Bruce Davis"
wrote:

I just discovered this Newsgroup, and my newsreader only downloads the July
posts, so I apologize if this has already been a topic of discussion in the
recent past.

My question relates to whether you think that recumbents are any more prone
to spills than a regular bike is. Here's the genesis of my question:

I bought an EZ Racer Tour Easy in September 2004. I am 44 years old, and
have been a recreational cyclist for a number of years. I was never one of
those super-serious bikers in the multicolored spandex shirts and
super-speedy racing bikes. I simply rode a Trek hybrid on the occasional
weekend on bike paths. But I found cycling on a regular bike to be painful
after about ten miles -- my back and butt would be sore, and my weiner would
be numb after a ride. So when I first found out about recumbents, they
sounded like they'd be just what the doctor ordered.

I bought my EZ Racer last September, and for my inaugural ride I took it out
on a paved trail in local state park. Well, within five minutes of my
first-ever ride, I broke my ankle. I was coming down a slight slope, perhaps
going a little too fast for a novice, and came upon some wet leaves on the
trail. The bike started sliding, I braked, and it slid out from under me.
When I put my left foot down to the ground, I rolled over and onto the
ground. I ended up with my left foot pointing 90 degrees to the right. I lay
on the trail for about fifteen minutes before some hikers discovered me, and
went and found a park ranger, who called an ambulance. I was hauled off to
the hospital. I had to have my ankle sliced open like a fish's belly, and a
plate was screwed into my badly broken bones with about nine screws. I spent
the next six months recovering -- two months in a cast, a month with a
removable walking-cast, two months in physical therapy, etc.

Well, finally this spring I felt that my ankle was recovered enough to give
it another shot. I've taken my EZ Racer out about four times in the past few
months, and must say that I really enjoy it. But at the same time, I find it
somewhat unstable. I thought maybe it would take time to get the hang of it,
and then I'd be tooling around with ease. But I find that even after a
number of rides of long length, the bike seems a bit wobbly at times and
difficult to control. For example, if I take one hand off the handlebars to
take a sip of water, it seems like I am risking disaster. The bike is only
stable with two hands firmly gripping the handlebars. Contrast this with a
standard bike, on which it is fairly easy to ride with no hands, let alone
one hand (on the recumbent, the old saying "Look Ma, no teeth!" really seems
to apply.). And when someone passes me from behind, and I want to give them
ample room to get by, I find it somewhat difficult to keep the bike in a
perfectly straight line, and worry that I'll suddenly veer to the left and
crash into the passer.

And now, just yesterday, I had another spill. I was on the Schuylkill Trail,
which is a paved path between Valley Forge and Philadelphia. I was having a
great ride, averaging about 16 MPH, and generally enjoying life. The paved
portion of the trail is about 13 miles from Valley Forge to where it hits
Manayunk (a Philadelphia neighborhood famous for the "Manayunk Wall" in the
annual USPro bike race). When the trail hits Manayunk, there is an unpaved
portion of about a half-mile between the end of the trail and the streets of
Manayunk. I had ridden this unpaved area numerous times on my Trek hybrid in
years past, so I thought I'd give it a go with my 'bent. I thought I might
stop at a Manayunk brew-pub for a pint before heading back to Valley Forge
(I don't advocate drinking and riding, but I figured a single pint wouldn't
whack me out.) Anyway, I was doing well on the packed dirt, when suddenly in
front of me was a very sandy portion of trail, maybe three feet long. I
figured if I just kept my front wheel straight, I'd plow right through the
sandy soil, and continue on my way. But as soon as my front wheel hit the
sandy area, the wheel suddently slid, and I went down hard on my right leg.
I jumped up quickly to make sure I hadn't broken anything, and luckily I had
not. But I did have a large red scrape all the way from my knee to my ankle.
Despite a moderate amount of pain, I was very relieved that there were no
serious injuries, and that I wouldn't be spending the next three months on
crutches. I decided to forego the brew-pub, and headed back to Valley Forge.
All-in-all, I had had a great day, and very much enjoyed the 26-mile ride.
But my spill at the halfway mark got me worried again about whether there is
something inherently dangerous about this bike.

So my questions a
1. Are recumbents generally less stable than regular bikes (more prone to
crashes), or does it just take more experience to get the "hang of it"?
2. Are there precautions that must be taken with recumbents so that a.) one
does not take a spill; and b.) if one does take a spill, is there a certain
way to fall to lessen the chance of serious injury?

The bottom line is that I love my recumbent, have no buyer's remorse, and
will continue to ride it; but I'm just curious about whether anyone out
there has any suggestions or comments that will put my mind at ease, so that
I can just enjoy my rides without constantly worrying that I'm going to end
up in the hospital again.

(By the way, I hope Ed Dolan the Great posts a reply, as in my short visit
to this newsgroup, I have found his posts to be hilarious and his writing
style to be top-notch. In the words of that old Lowenbrau commercial,
"Dolan, you're a genius!")

--Bruce Davis

I ride a SWB Vision with USS, and have crashed a couple times. Both
times it was because my foot came off the pedal and threw my balace
way off. I am an older (69) rider and enjoy the Vision very much. My
wife and I also have a Rans Screamer tandem that we like too. I think
the problem with stability is related to the fact that weight shifts
on a recumbent just don't give the same results as on an upright bike
and you have to get used to the fact that steering has more effect on
turning and stability than weight shifts.
  #9  
Old July 25th 05, 05:38 PM
Samuel Burkeen
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Here is my two scents on this. I own three bikes, a lwb Bentech, a swb
Bentech, and a Rans Tailwind. The only bike of the three I have never gone
down on is the swb Bentech. The bike most prone to an accident is the
Tailwind, and it happens just as you describe. Both the Tailwind and the
lwb Bentech are prone to losing traction on the front wheel in adverse
conditions. The swb Bentech is really closer to what you would experience
on an upright bike. So just in terms of being accident prone, why don't I
go back to an upright?. Simple, it is the type of accident, plus the other
ergonomic features of a recumbent. I am 58 and the last thing I want to do
is go over the handlebars. You had a serious accident involving your ankle;
what if it had been your head, collar bone, or spine? My accidents hurt
like hell, and involve loosing skin. The skin grows back, and I get a
little smarter riding the bike the next time around.

It is hard to generalize about recumbents and accidents, other than they
rarely involve going over the handlebars. But you can loose skin, damage
ankles, legs, etc. It is all a tradeoff - take your pick - all bikes are
subject to accidents.



"Bruce Davis" wrote in message
...
I just discovered this Newsgroup, and my newsreader only downloads the July
posts, so I apologize if this has already been a topic of discussion in the
recent past.

My question relates to whether you think that recumbents are any more
prone to spills than a regular bike is. Here's the genesis of my question:

I bought an EZ Racer Tour Easy in September 2004. I am 44 years old, and
have been a recreational cyclist for a number of years. I was never one of
those super-serious bikers in the multicolored spandex shirts and
super-speedy racing bikes. I simply rode a Trek hybrid on the occasional
weekend on bike paths. But I found cycling on a regular bike to be painful
after about ten miles -- my back and butt would be sore, and my weiner
would be numb after a ride. So when I first found out about recumbents,
they sounded like they'd be just what the doctor ordered.

I bought my EZ Racer last September, and for my inaugural ride I took it
out on a paved trail in local state park. Well, within five minutes of my
first-ever ride, I broke my ankle. I was coming down a slight slope,
perhaps going a little too fast for a novice, and came upon some wet
leaves on the trail. The bike started sliding, I braked, and it slid out
from under me. When I put my left foot down to the ground, I rolled over
and onto the ground. I ended up with my left foot pointing 90 degrees to
the right. I lay on the trail for about fifteen minutes before some hikers
discovered me, and went and found a park ranger, who called an ambulance.
I was hauled off to the hospital. I had to have my ankle sliced open like
a fish's belly, and a plate was screwed into my badly broken bones with
about nine screws. I spent the next six months recovering -- two months in
a cast, a month with a removable walking-cast, two months in physical
therapy, etc.

Well, finally this spring I felt that my ankle was recovered enough to
give it another shot. I've taken my EZ Racer out about four times in the
past few months, and must say that I really enjoy it. But at the same
time, I find it somewhat unstable. I thought maybe it would take time to
get the hang of it, and then I'd be tooling around with ease. But I find
that even after a number of rides of long length, the bike seems a bit
wobbly at times and difficult to control. For example, if I take one hand
off the handlebars to take a sip of water, it seems like I am risking
disaster. The bike is only stable with two hands firmly gripping the
handlebars. Contrast this with a standard bike, on which it is fairly easy
to ride with no hands, let alone one hand (on the recumbent, the old
saying "Look Ma, no teeth!" really seems to apply.). And when someone
passes me from behind, and I want to give them ample room to get by, I
find it somewhat difficult to keep the bike in a perfectly straight line,
and worry that I'll suddenly veer to the left and crash into the passer.

And now, just yesterday, I had another spill. I was on the Schuylkill
Trail, which is a paved path between Valley Forge and Philadelphia. I was
having a great ride, averaging about 16 MPH, and generally enjoying life.
The paved portion of the trail is about 13 miles from Valley Forge to
where it hits Manayunk (a Philadelphia neighborhood famous for the
"Manayunk Wall" in the annual USPro bike race). When the trail hits
Manayunk, there is an unpaved portion of about a half-mile between the end
of the trail and the streets of Manayunk. I had ridden this unpaved area
numerous times on my Trek hybrid in years past, so I thought I'd give it a
go with my 'bent. I thought I might stop at a Manayunk brew-pub for a pint
before heading back to Valley Forge (I don't advocate drinking and riding,
but I figured a single pint wouldn't whack me out.) Anyway, I was doing
well on the packed dirt, when suddenly in front of me was a very sandy
portion of trail, maybe three feet long. I figured if I just kept my front
wheel straight, I'd plow right through the sandy soil, and continue on my
way. But as soon as my front wheel hit the sandy area, the wheel suddently
slid, and I went down hard on my right leg. I jumped up quickly to make
sure I hadn't broken anything, and luckily I had not. But I did have a
large red scrape all the way from my knee to my ankle. Despite a moderate
amount of pain, I was very relieved that there were no serious injuries,
and that I wouldn't be spending the next three months on crutches. I
decided to forego the brew-pub, and headed back to Valley Forge.
All-in-all, I had had a great day, and very much enjoyed the 26-mile ride.
But my spill at the halfway mark got me worried again about whether there
is something inherently dangerous about this bike.

So my questions a
1. Are recumbents generally less stable than regular bikes (more prone to
crashes), or does it just take more experience to get the "hang of it"?
2. Are there precautions that must be taken with recumbents so that a.)
one does not take a spill; and b.) if one does take a spill, is there a
certain way to fall to lessen the chance of serious injury?

The bottom line is that I love my recumbent, have no buyer's remorse, and
will continue to ride it; but I'm just curious about whether anyone out
there has any suggestions or comments that will put my mind at ease, so
that I can just enjoy my rides without constantly worrying that I'm going
to end up in the hospital again.

(By the way, I hope Ed Dolan the Great posts a reply, as in my short visit
to this newsgroup, I have found his posts to be hilarious and his writing
style to be top-notch. In the words of that old Lowenbrau commercial,
"Dolan, you're a genius!")

--Bruce Davis



  #10  
Old July 25th 05, 07:26 PM
Jon Meinecke
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"Bruce Davis" wrote
[stability]


As others have pointed out, a lighter touch on the
handlebars may improve sense of stability.

My question relates to whether you think that recumbents are
any more prone to spills than a regular bike is.


Perhaps. The skills needed to avoid falls may be
different on a given recumbent than on others. Three
wheels may help... %^)

Lots of falls in TdF, though, and no recumbents
there...

1. Are recumbents generally less stable than regular bikes
(more prone to crashes), or does it just take more
experience to get the "hang of it"?


Stability, per se, may not be the issue. The accidents
you describe seem to have more to do with traction loss.

Lower center of gravity may mean less time to react.
Heel strike can be a problem on some designs.
Front/back weigh distribution also may contribute...

2. Are there precautions that must be taken with
recumbents so that a.) one does not take a spill;


Surface awareness. In more than 9,000 miles of
recumbent riding, I haven't sustained any major
injuries, but have had significant bruises and road
rash on three occasions . Surface traction loss
contributed all three of these and most of the
several other minor falls. I've gone down on both
roads and on sand/gravel trails.

In the last fall on my Tour Easy, I had to take
evasive action (braking) on a wet street when a
car made an illegal turn in front of me. My
speed and line where just fine until I hit the
brakes.

Now, I watch for surface changes and am more
conservative in cornering. I watch even more
for drivers doing stupid things particularly when
the road is wet.

and b.) if one does take a spill, is there a certain
way to fall to lessen the chance of serious injury?


In the two major falls on my Tour Easy, my feet stayed
on the pedals: Power Grips the first time, clipless, the
second. My hands stayed on the handlebars. In both
cases I ended up with road rash on my hip and in the
first case, on my shoulder as well.

My most recent minor fall, a week ago, was the first
on my Volae. IT was most certainly pilot error,
misjudging a turn. But the only bruise (minor) from
that fall was my ego. I did fall in an awkward
position with the bike on top of me and had to
struggle to get up.

I keep riding and I expect to fall again. I went down
once when I put my foot down, only to find small
gravel on pavement can function almost like ball
bearings. Not too many observers, luckily.

Jon Meinecke


 




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