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mathowie + recumbent bike + Flicker = hilarity
April 27, 2005 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Looks like someone got themselves a new recumbent bike. Original photo here, apologies to Matt, thanky to waxy
posted by 40 Watt (55 comments total)

 
See also here (and maybe here).
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:20 AM on April 27, 2005


Recumbent bikes are indeed awesome, but for anyone considering a purchase: if you live or plan to ride in the city, DON'T! I can't tell you how many recumbent bikers I've had very scary close calls with here in bike-friendly Seattle. No matter how conscientious a driver you are, you just can't see the damn things at an intersection.

I'm sure some "recumbistas" will disagree, but as a long-time biker and VERY careful driver, I've avoided disaster by the slimmest margin more times than I care to think about. If I had been the slightest bit less cautious, I would have crushed at least 3 by now.
posted by Aquaman at 9:21 AM on April 27, 2005


Whoops. Well, the cat's really out of the bag now that it's on the blue, I guess. Does it count as a double post if it's on MeTa?
posted by 40 Watt at 9:24 AM on April 27, 2005


This just in, the internets are in love with Mathowie! I particularly like the butter Matt, that's pretty cool!
posted by fenriq at 9:25 AM on April 27, 2005


I thought it was 'MetaFilter related' and not really FFP material, but either way...
posted by fixedgear at 9:28 AM on April 27, 2005


I was initially wary, but then I figured the world needed to see the horror that is Matt-as-Dalek.
posted by 40 Watt at 9:29 AM on April 27, 2005


I second Aquaman regarding recumbent bikes on city streets. It's impossible to see what their footprint is when you're in a car.
posted by Prospero at 9:31 AM on April 27, 2005


MeTa
posted by dfowler at 9:34 AM on April 27, 2005


we did something similar to a guy at my office:
The many faces of Denny

Personal favorite is Denim Denny
posted by thisisdrew at 9:36 AM on April 27, 2005


Whenever I see someone on a recumbant bike I can't help but think they think they're better than the rest of us.
posted by bondcliff at 9:50 AM on April 27, 2005


Uh, cute, I suppose, but not as good as that page with all the photoshops of the guy with that really wacky facial expression. You know the one I mean. I don't care enough to look it up. Maybe someone else does.
posted by soyjoy at 9:58 AM on April 27, 2005


60 reasons why you should never put your photograph on the web.
posted by crunchland at 10:17 AM on April 27, 2005


bondcliff writes " Whenever I see someone on a recumbant bike I can't help but think they think they're better than the rest of us."

I didn't know anyone else felt that way. That's just what I think.
posted by OmieWise at 10:20 AM on April 27, 2005


I can't tell you how many recumbent bikers I've had very scary close calls with here in bike-friendly Seattle.

An aquaintance of mine has a relative that had the exact same concerns. He developed a modified trike design specifically for urban environments and the necessity for higher visibility. Took me a bit of googling with the last name, but it's still online.
posted by prostyle at 10:52 AM on April 27, 2005


Whenever I see someone on a recumbant bike I can't help but think they think they're better than the rest of us.
They do always have a certain smugness about them. Is it a purchase requirement to be a 50-year-old bearded man? I swear that's all I ever see riding those things.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:58 AM on April 27, 2005


Awesome. May this meme spread far and wide. Fly, my pretties, FLY!!!!
posted by mkultra at 11:13 AM on April 27, 2005


best of the lot IMHO.
posted by anthill at 11:29 AM on April 27, 2005


Is it a purchase requirement to be a 50-year-old bearded man? I swear that's all I ever see riding those things.

SPEW! Too funny. I was just sitting here amazed that these things are apparently hip, as the people I see using them are decidedly unhip.
posted by glenwood at 11:35 AM on April 27, 2005


Visibility on some recumbents is poor, due to their low stance. The one I ride is fairly tall and puts me at driver eye level.
posted by mathowie at 11:35 AM on April 27, 2005


Good show Matt. I keep drooling over a Bachetta Giro, or even better, a Challenge Hurricane. But I'm still too poor, and too self-conscious to go through with it.
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:36 AM on April 27, 2005


I was just sitting here amazed that these things are apparently hip

Wha? Who said they're hip (and was serious at the time)?

They're the dorkiest things on earth, but very comfortable to ride. And like most dorky things that look goofy but work, nerds, engineers, and others sorts of dorks use them. It's a rolling pocket protector, definitely.

Part of what I find funny about the pool surrounding my shot is that I knew it was a dorky shot when I took it of myself (and posted it while riding my dorky bike). I think these things have more of an impact when the subject is taken aback or the photo was candid and unexpected.
posted by mathowie at 11:38 AM on April 27, 2005


Oh, and I could have lived without seeing Matt doing the come-hither look. Yeesh.
These are well done though!
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:41 AM on April 27, 2005


Is it a purchase requirement to be a 50-year-old bearded man?

Well, I bought mine when I was 27. I got it 'cause it was comfy and didn't put my ass to sleep like a regular saddle. What you may think is a look of smug superiority is, in fact, one of relief: you can ride the damn thing all day without having to worry about impotence.

I have a road bike, a mountain, and a recumbent. It's like having three cars: a roadster, a Jeep and a Town & Country station wagon. I use the roadie for racing, the MTB for going off-road and the recumbent for getting around and hauling groceries. Yes, the recumbent is amazingly dorky, but it's righteous for long trips. You can go all day without a sore back, neck or wrists. That's worth every bit of mockery from sneering roadies.
posted by RakDaddy at 11:52 AM on April 27, 2005


Though I should add that I did have a beard at the time. Damn...
posted by RakDaddy at 12:02 PM on April 27, 2005


I'll be the disagreeing 'bent rider: I've been riding a recumbent as a principal means of transportation in Berkeley for 7 years. On my 'bent, which is pretty typical, my head is at the same height as someone in a compact car.

I work very hard at remaining visible and not surprising drivers. I absolutely do not believe an upright cyclist engaging in the same behaviors is any safer. If a driver is looking, s/he'll see me. If s/he's not, s/he wouldn't if I were on an upright, either.

The only collision I've had is when a BMW driver parked a foot and a half from the curb and opened her door without looking. Emphasis on not looking -- being more visible doesn't help there.

Eventually, I'll get something even more visible.

As for 50-year-old bearded men, MrMoonPie, well, recumbents cost a lot, favoring a population with money, and a lot of people don't become inspired to investigate them until neck, back or wrist problems are interfering with riding uprights, favoring an older population.

Can't explain the beards, though.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 12:14 PM on April 27, 2005


Those bikes are the most godawful goofy looking things that mankind's invented in the last one hundred years. They even top the Segway in terms of sheer WTFitude.
posted by xmutex at 12:20 PM on April 27, 2005


You can go all day without a sore back, neck or wrists. That's worth every bit of mockery from sneering roadies.

Well, I can go all day without sore back, neck or wrists but that is because bike fit is an obsession with me. I'd never sneer, though I might mock gently. Oh, and it is mostly spelled 'recumbent' and not the popular but oh so wrong 'recumbant.'

For anybody who thinks that 'bents are new technology, here is some history. They were outlawed by the UCI, the governing body for international road bicycle racing in 1934. This fact sends 'bent riders into apoplectic fits.

Recumbent riders are sometimes a little evangelical, which can turn some people off. I happen to find double diamond bike frames incredibly elegant, and there is a reason why the design was mainly perfected with the introduction of the safety bicycle at the turn of the 20th century. Recumbents, even when they roll off a factory floor, always have that sort of Rube Goldberg air that I find a little distasteful. Whatever gets people riding bikes is fine with me, though.
posted by fixedgear at 12:25 PM on April 27, 2005


xmutex: Part of recumbent lore is that these bikes would have become very popular had the International Cycling Union not banned recumbents because they were winning too many races.

I recumbents look goofy because of their scarcity. Fashions change. At one time we thought this looked cool.
posted by Popular Ethics at 12:41 PM on April 27, 2005


Bents put you in a less efficient position than regular cycles, when it comes to force output (your legs are optimized to work against gravity, not purpendicular.) Furthermore, sitting on a full seat, you limit how much several of your larger muscles can add to the effort.

However, that's minor, compared to the aerodynamics, quadruply so if there's a fairing on the recumbent.

Any healthy person can do 15mph on almost any functional diamond bike. Damn few can do 30, even fewer can sustain 30 for any length of time, and the easiest way to do so is to ride in a paceline, so only one person is fighting the air, and the rest are cruising in the slipstream. The force input differential between a diamond frame and a recumbent means that the diamond will start faster and accellerate faster -- until it hits terminal velocity from the drag. (

A low recumbent with a fairing can go much faster, simply because the drag is much less, and drag is a cubic plus function (area, speed, plus other things like turbulence, viscosity, and so on.) so even small changes can have dramatic results. The same amount of effort is fighting much less drag, which translates into much greater performance in the end -- you may only be able to put 80% of the power into the pedals on a bent, but trading that power for the vastly lower drag means you end up going *much* faster. A similar argument applies to tandems -- the rear rider is always in the slipstream, thus, they add lots of power, but don't cost much in drag, so racers on tandems can really haul. I've seen two racers on a tandem recumbent, with fairings. I wouldn't be surprised if they hit 60mph.

I've thought about a 'bent, but haven't done anything about it.
posted by eriko at 1:02 PM on April 27, 2005


Yah, eriko, that's all good till we hit the first hill then I drop anybody on a 'bent like a bad habit, and I ain't exactly Lance. I don't see lots of 'bent riders tooling along at 30 or even 25 despite the huge aero advantage.
posted by fixedgear at 1:16 PM on April 27, 2005


I wouldn't be surprised if they hit 60mph.

Try 80 (130 clicks for the rest of the world)!
posted by Popular Ethics at 1:39 PM on April 27, 2005


woo! bike nerd fight!


(I'm 6'4" with normal legs and a long torso, so I could never get my fit right on diamond frames. The recumbent is a lifesaver for oddly shaped folks.)
posted by mathowie at 2:09 PM on April 27, 2005


I haven't used a diamond-frame in several years, nor ever a recumbent; is the former a cause of/correlated with impotence?
posted by clockzero at 2:26 PM on April 27, 2005


woo! bike nerd fight!

Frame pumps at twenty paces!

I haven't used a diamond-frame in several years, nor ever a recumbent; is the former a cause of/correlated with impotence?

No, it is correlated with bad science.
posted by fixedgear at 2:36 PM on April 27, 2005


I'd buy one, but they are ridiculously expensive, compared to what I can get a reasonably decent 'wedge' bike. I'm just about to start biking to and from work (3.5 kilometres), and have dedicated bike lanes for all but a block of it.

Time to work off this gut.
posted by Kickstart70 at 3:17 PM on April 27, 2005


I have a habit of liking whatever form of transport is less popular for its class, whether it be dirigible, catamaran, or recumbent. Unfortunately, I haven't bought any of said choices yet.

I was talking about recumbents to a guy who used to work in a bike shop, and he said 'recumbent owners are always wack jobs'. I'm not sure how the perception came about, but I had to agree with him, even in my own case. The first recumbent owner I ever talked to was a bearded antisocial 40 something. When he finally warmed up to the conversation, he evangelized like crazy.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:26 PM on April 27, 2005


Oh, and if you have a garage or hobby space.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:28 PM on April 27, 2005


it is correlated with bad science.

Maybe, but when you take a ride on a normal saddle for several hours and get a numb crotch, you know it's probably not good for you.
posted by mathowie at 3:28 PM on April 27, 2005


recumbent owners are always wack jobs

Same with adult model airplane enthusiasts, stunt kite flyers, and model rocket builders.

They're often obsessed geeks, and like anyone with an obession, they take it too far. I'm not one of those guys, the bike just works well for me. I still have normal bikes.
posted by mathowie at 3:31 PM on April 27, 2005


that sort of Rube Goldberg air...

...that I find a little DELICIOUS!

Nothing against my beloved mountain bike. It's just that we all need a beautiful faraway dream in our lives and the Bigha is mine. But I don't want to grow a beard and you can't make me.

On preview, I am also opposed to numb crotches.
posted by naomi at 3:33 PM on April 27, 2005


There are seats that you can buy that take care of the ..um.. numb crotch problem.
posted by deborah at 3:51 PM on April 27, 2005


Numb crotch? Brooks Saddle will fix you right up. Mmmm, leather and chains. Wait, what was I saying? Let's say you fell of a playground swing set when you were a kid and broke your leg. You now have a slight leg length discrepancy. Everybody has some biomechanical issues. You buy a Brooks saddle. You lovingly rub leather goop into it. You ride it for a while. You now have a customized saddle, with indentations for your sit bones or ischial tuberosities. It doesn't crush your penile artery (apologies to ladies) because the saddle is like a hammock, leather stretched over a frame (apologies to vegans) and supports you gently. You have equal weight distribution on your hands and butt because you took care to raise your handlebars so that they are even with your saddle, despite what the bike shop guy said. Viola, no more pain.

That's why it hurts my feelings a little bit when charity rides (we call 'em T-shirt rides) say something like "You think cycling is hard and painful? Try living with diverticulitis!" Cycling is not hard or painful. There are some folks with things like carpal tunnel syndrome or degenerative discs that switching to a recumbent can help but proper bike fit can go a long way towards making cycling fun and pain-free.
posted by fixedgear at 3:52 PM on April 27, 2005


Those bikes are the most godawful goofy looking things that mankind's invented in the last one hundred years. They even top the Segway in terms of sheer WTFitude.

Yes, of course xmutex, that's why car, truck, bus and bulldozer designers design their vehicles with tiny beentsy seats that put the driver's ass wayyyy up in the air over their head and force them to wear padded shorts to keep their butts and genitals unsquooshied, because it is so freakin' natural looking and comfortable and safer and natural and stuff.
posted by bigdaddy at 4:03 PM on April 27, 2005


"Hey, look at me! I have money! Check me out!"





That's what 'bents scream to me, but, to each their own.
posted by mrblondemang at 4:22 PM on April 27, 2005


"Hey, look at me! I have money! Check me out!"

Hee! Yeah, and that would explain how we dress, too.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 4:42 PM on April 27, 2005


Yes, all bent riders are rich, like this guy.
posted by fixedgear at 4:50 PM on April 27, 2005


See, you're just fullfilling the conspiracy Fixed. Uppity roadies like yourself keep the demand for 'bents down, so prices for good ones are high ($1500+). This forces the enlightened-but-poor to cobble together parts of signboards and childrens bicycles so that they too can achieve velo-nirvana ;)
posted by Popular Ethics at 5:19 PM on April 27, 2005


Gosh, it's like an old mac vs. pc war, circa 1995.
posted by mathowie at 7:16 PM on April 27, 2005


we fear change.
posted by troutfishing at 9:57 PM on April 27, 2005


$3,400 is a lot of money for the basic Bigha model, though I'm off on a two-week bike trip next week and I'm sure after a couple of days I'll be thinking it's cheap.
posted by johnny novak at 1:49 AM on April 28, 2005


Bigha is run by the same folks who once owned Bike E. Bike E left lots of owners without any warranty support, and left lots of suppliers and dealers hanging. Some stuff here.
posted by fixedgear at 2:01 AM on April 28, 2005


Let's see. It's already got the goofy helmet, the supine position, the mocking that all geeks crave (martyrs to their own wisdom), the I'm hip nickname ('bent), the one-upmanship among aficionados, and the exclusive price. All this needs is a Segway drive chain and stabilizer conversion kit and maybe an iPod docking module with the patented Audio Navigational Assistance Lobe.
posted by pracowity at 3:07 AM on April 28, 2005


WHY do we avoid the common questions why..

Matt et al : how long did it take to learn using the recumbent ?
posted by elpapacito at 3:22 AM on April 28, 2005


Lots of people debate the merits of diamond frame vs recumbent such as aerodynamics, weight, cost, etc.

Most arguments are irrelevant because most people who buy bikes end up putting them in their garage and never using them. The cool thing about a bike like a Bigha is that you'd probably actually *like* using it and may end up riding it on a daily basis.

However, in the event that you actually do end up losing those 80 lbs and competing in next year's Tour de France, it's not such a good bike for that purpose. A little realism is in order. A $4000 bike that you use is better than a $500 bike that you don't.

As a disclaimer, I used to work at Bigha and now rent office space from them.
posted by b_thinky at 2:56 PM on April 28, 2005


The last dream bike I bought (a diamond) I knew was trouble. It didn't have to be that beautiful. Excessive. Excessive is what it was. Too good to be true. And shortly thereafter, it wasn't.

Stolen right from the law fricking school bike rack.

Now I guard my unicycle with my life. I can't imagine the paranoia of actually owning a recumbent.
posted by dreamsign at 9:42 PM on May 3, 2005


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