Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Recumbent
Reload this Page >

Bents in heavy traffic

Notices
Recumbent What IS that thing?! Recumbents may be odd looking, but they have many advantages over a "wedgie" bicycle. Discuss the in's and out's recumbent lifestyle in the recumbent forum.

Bents in heavy traffic

Old 12-27-19, 04:42 PM
  #1  
dougphoto
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 492
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 111 Post(s)
Liked 7 Times in 5 Posts
Bents in heavy traffic

I've been thinking of getting a bent do to some injuries making my up right bike more painful. However; I live just outside of Chicago and traffic is heavy on every road, and stop lights are frequent. Is this going to be a pain in the arse on a bent?
dougphoto is offline  
Old 12-27-19, 04:57 PM
  #2  
Robert C
Senior Member
 
Robert C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Kansas
Posts: 2,139

Bikes: This list got too long: several ‘bents, an urban utility e-bike, and a dahon D7 that my daughter has absconded with.

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 320 Post(s)
Liked 10 Times in 10 Posts
I have a Bachetta 26att (a two-wheel stick bent). I don't like it for traffic and I don't commute on it. If my commute were longer I would, but the traffic thing is a real issue.

Something you might look into is a recumbent trike. That way there is no need to even unclip.
Robert C is offline  
Likes For Robert C:
Old 12-27-19, 05:10 PM
  #3  
Steamer
Zircon Encrusted Tweezers
 
Steamer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: high ground
Posts: 1,159
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 177 Post(s)
Liked 39 Times in 26 Posts
I think a LWB like a Tour Easy would be a good choice for such conditions.
Steamer is offline  
Likes For Steamer:
Old 12-27-19, 10:52 PM
  #4  
VegasTriker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Sin City, Nevada
Posts: 2,259

Bikes: Catrike 700, Greenspeed GTO trike, , Linear LWB recumbent, Haluzak Horizon SWB recumbent, Balance 450 MTB, Cannondale SM800 Beast of the East

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 359 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 42 Times in 33 Posts
Recumbents are not much different from a road bike. What counts when it comes to riding in heavy traffic is the width of the road. If there is enough room for safe riding then either bike will do. I used to live in Chicagoland southwest of the city. I sure became spoiled after I moved to the southwest to an area where they built the roads much wider than those in Illinois and there are fewer traffic lights. It's even comfortable to ride a 4 lane, 45 mph road when they include breakdown lanes. The same trip on a two lane road with the standard road width and the same traffic flow would be far less pleasurable. I used to ride a long wheelbase recumbent a lot. It was one that I could easily put my feet on the ground when coming to a stop. That's important if you have to stop frequently. My short wheelbase recumbent was far more maneuverable but not as easy to stop and start back out.
VegasTriker is offline  
Likes For VegasTriker:
Old 12-28-19, 08:05 AM
  #5  
kingston 
Jedi Master
 
kingston's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Lake Forest, IL
Posts: 3,177

Bikes: https://stinkston.blogspot.com/p/my-bikes.html

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1383 Post(s)
Liked 184 Times in 128 Posts
I live in the North suburbs, picked up a used recumbent earlier this season (https://www.bikeforums.net/recumbent...do-i-wear.html) and have ridden it all over the North/Northwest suburbs. Starts and stops take a bit of practice, and I am much more deliberate/careful on the recumbent at intersections, but once you get the hang of it, I don't think it's any more dangerous than any other bike. People on this sub-forum were unbelievably helpful when I was trying to figure everything out.
kingston is offline  
Likes For kingston:
Old 12-28-19, 08:55 AM
  #6  
dougphoto
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 492
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 111 Post(s)
Liked 7 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by kingston View Post
I live in the North suburbs, picked up a used recumbent earlier this season (https://www.bikeforums.net/recumbent...do-i-wear.html) and have ridden it all over the North/Northwest suburbs. Starts and stops take a bit of practice, and I am much more deliberate/careful on the recumbent at intersections, but once you get the hang of it, I don't think it's any more dangerous than any other bike. People on this sub-forum were unbelievably helpful when I was trying to figure everything out.

Wow, tons of great info on that thread. I'm in Oak Park, so the first 7 or so miles of my rides are basically like riding through the city, until I get to La Grange or so then it's a bit more open at least not many cars parked along the street.
dougphoto is offline  
Old 12-28-19, 04:41 PM
  #7  
Bobby Boy
Burley Canto
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Consider a LWB

As a bent newbie concerned about traffic, you might want to consider a Long Wheelbase (LWB) model. With your feet relatively close to the ground, there will be fewer issues with frequent stop / starts in urban traffic. And they are readily available on Craigslist for $300 - $500. Look for Rans Stratus, Burley Koosah, EZ Sport AX, etc. Or visit AD Carson's Recycled Recumbent site.

Like you, I switched over to bents about 15 years ago due to injuries - and have never looked back. Good luck finding your first bent. It probably won't be your last 😀
Bobby Boy is offline  
Likes For Bobby Boy:
Old 12-28-19, 05:47 PM
  #8  
Velocivixen 
Senior Member
 
Velocivixen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: The Great Pacific Northwest
Posts: 4,513
Mentioned: 85 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 396 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 13 Posts
You referenced clipless pedals. I’m of the opinion that if I’m in stop & go traffic on a bent I wouldn’t want clipless. Too many clip ins & clip outs if there are lots of stop signs or lights. Plus it’s tricky to start on a bent anyway.
__________________
"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth." Albert Einstein.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls & looks like work" - Thomas Edison

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Velocivixen is offline  
Old 12-28-19, 09:42 PM
  #9  
JanMM
rebmeM roineS
 
JanMM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Metro Indy, IN
Posts: 15,815

Bikes: RANS V3 ti, RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 551 Post(s)
Liked 153 Times in 104 Posts
Prior to retiring a year ago, I had been a frequent Spring-Fall suburban/urban/suburban bike commuter in Indy for 32 years - the last 12 years on recumbent bikes. The majority of those years I rode a RANS V-Rex, which is a nicely maneuverable short wheelbase. I experimented in 2017 by riding a steel V3 - a high bottom bracket long wheelbase - that year. Not quite as responsive as the Rex, which I went back to for my last year as a bike commuter. Always used pedals with SPD clipless on one side and plain on the other side; almost never used the plain sides. I had no problems with recumbent bikes for commuting compared to the upright bikes I had previously used. Had ridden Cannodale and REI/Novara hybrids the decade before getting bent. I appreciated being able to put my feet down and relax at too-frequent stop lights when riding the RANS bikes.
__________________
RANS V3 Ti, RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

Last edited by JanMM; 12-29-19 at 09:49 AM.
JanMM is offline  
Likes For JanMM:
Old 12-31-19, 07:25 AM
  #10  
Retro Grouch 
Senior Member
 
Retro Grouch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Posts: 29,779

Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1396 Post(s)
Liked 265 Times in 167 Posts
We started riding recumbents after I broke both of my elbows in a bike crash. My first recumbent was a SWB that I never became totally comfortable riding in traffic. When there's a U-tube video on how to start on a SWB recumbent, you know it's going to be more complicated than you're probably used to.

Mrs. Grouch and I are now both tadpole trike riders. No more balance issues, no need to unclip at intersections, no discomfort issues. One does sit rather close to the ground so we don't like to ride ride in heavy traffic. Our most typical ride is a two mile coast on a not too busy road down to the Katy Trail, 5 1/2 miles into St Charles for breakfast, and return. The last 2 miles are uphill.

I got rid of the last of our DF bikes last year. We both plan to continue riding our trikes for as long as we're able.
__________________
My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.
Retro Grouch is offline  
Likes For Retro Grouch:
Old 12-31-19, 11:06 AM
  #11  
friday1970
Senior Member
 
friday1970's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Brighton, Michigan
Posts: 446

Bikes: Optima Baron LR, '14 Nishiki Maricopa,'87 Trek 330 Elance, '89 Miyata 1400, '85 Peugeot PGN10, '04 Fuji Ace, '06 Giant Rincon, '95 Giant Allegre, '83 Trek 620

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 140 Post(s)
Liked 41 Times in 28 Posts
I actually feel safer in my recumbent in traffic when compared to my road bikes. It really comes down to my mirrors. With my recumbent, I have a mirror mounted to my handlebars. Being a lowracer recumbent, this means my handlebars are less than a foot from my face, and just below face level. So, it doesn't take much to glance over at the mirror to check traffic.

Here's another thing to consider when riding a bent. Almost every uninformed driver assumes you are handicapped. They somehow equate recumbents as bikes for the handicapped. And since none of them want the guilt and shame of hitting a handicapped person, they always seem to give me much more room. And I'm quite OK with that.
friday1970 is offline  
Likes For friday1970:
Old 01-02-20, 01:04 PM
  #12  
Notso_fastLane
Senior Member
 
Notso_fastLane's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Layton, UT
Posts: 1,288

Bikes: 2011 Bent TW Elegance 2014 Carbon Strada Velomobile

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 340 Post(s)
Liked 306 Times in 188 Posts
Originally Posted by friday1970 View Post
I actually feel safer in my recumbent in traffic when compared to my road bikes. It really comes down to my mirrors. With my recumbent, I have a mirror mounted to my handlebars. Being a lowracer recumbent, this means my handlebars are less than a foot from my face, and just below face level. So, it doesn't take much to glance over at the mirror to check traffic.

Here's another thing to consider when riding a bent. Almost every uninformed driver assumes you are handicapped. They somehow equate recumbents as bikes for the handicapped. And since none of them want the guilt and shame of hitting a handicapped person, they always seem to give me much more room. And I'm quite OK with that.
This is mostly true. They tend to give even more room in my velo, but I suspect that has more to do with drivers just not know WTF it is.

As for clipping in or not, I got pedals that are clip in on one side, and platform on the other. I clip in if I'm going to be going more than ~100ft. Just don't set them up so tight that it's hard to unclip when needed.
Notso_fastLane is offline  
Likes For Notso_fastLane:
Old 01-02-20, 01:54 PM
  #13  
dougphoto
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 492
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 111 Post(s)
Liked 7 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
This is mostly true. They tend to give even more room in my velo, but I suspect that has more to do with drivers just not know WTF it is.

As for clipping in or not, I got pedals that are clip in on one side, and platform on the other. I clip in if I'm going to be going more than ~100ft. Just don't set them up so tight that it's hard to unclip when needed.

I can't imagine not riding clipped in, it would be strange
dougphoto is offline  
Old 01-02-20, 08:42 PM
  #14  
JanMM
rebmeM roineS
 
JanMM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Metro Indy, IN
Posts: 15,815

Bikes: RANS V3 ti, RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 551 Post(s)
Liked 153 Times in 104 Posts
I rode with plain pedals on my first recumbent for a very short time. (In 2006)
__________________
RANS V3 Ti, RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer
JanMM is offline  
Old 02-15-20, 07:21 AM
  #15  
rydabent
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lincoln Ne
Posts: 7,875

Bikes: RANS Stratus TerraTrike Tour II

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1564 Post(s)
Liked 171 Times in 108 Posts
I almost never ride my bent or trike on arterial streets. The traffic is too heavy, and a slower bike just annoys drivers, and gives cyclist a bad name. I normally ride the 130 miles of hard surface trails here in Lincoln. Staying off heavy used streets, I also ride on the urban streets where traffic is low.
rydabent is offline  
Old 02-15-20, 07:35 AM
  #16  
cat0020
Ride more, eat less
 
cat0020's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Philla PA, Hoboken NJ, Brooklyn NY
Posts: 960

Bikes: Too many but never enough.

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 258 Post(s)
Liked 42 Times in 34 Posts
I have been riding recumbents since 2006, I have been commuting with bicycles in NYC metro since 2014.
IMO, recumbents are not well suited for commuting that involve bumper-to-bumper traffic pattern.
I ride a 20” wheel folding bike with wider tires to withstand potholes & metal planks, small and compact size to make myself a smaller target for motor vehicles.
sustained Speed is not a priority but maneuverability and quick acceleration are important to get yourself out of harms way in a hurry.
cat0020 is offline  
Likes For cat0020:
Old 02-21-20, 01:34 PM
  #17  
banerjek
Portland Fred
 
banerjek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 11,535

Bikes: Custom Winter, Challenge Seiran SL, Fuji Team Pro, Cattrike Road/Velokit, РOS hybrid

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 227 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 43 Times in 28 Posts
'Bents are definitely different in traffic.

On the good side:
  • You are funny looking which is good for being noticed
  • Demographics not known for their love of cyclists tend not to lump you with the group they hate -- rather they respond with more curiosity
  • People think you have some kind of physical disability and/or are in greater danger than everyone else
  • You'll get cut more space
On the bad side
  • You're lower and less visible when you're right next to vehicles.
  • Handling is not as good as a DF
  • Eyeballs closer to headlight level, especially if you do recumbent trikes
No way I'd wear anything other than clipless. Having to clip in and out constantly may be a pain, but it's better than having your feet slip off the pedals, especially in a critical situation.
banerjek is offline  
Likes For banerjek:
Old 02-23-20, 07:20 PM
  #18  
Schwinnhund
Gearhead
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Chatsworth, Ga.
Posts: 235

Bikes: 1982 Schwinn Sidewinder, Sun EZ-1 Recumbent, Cannondale R-400

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 7 Posts
It's Not A Problem

I am over 60 with diabetes and MS. I ride my Easy Racer EZ-1 SC Lite in fairly heavy traffic all the time. I don't see the controversy. Why would anyone think a 'bent' would be any more difficult to ride in traffic than a standard bike? Of course, you need to be comfortable with handling the bike, but that is true of any bike. Starting and stopping on a 'bent' takes a little getting used to, but once it becomes automatic, you should be good to go. I actually think it is better with a 'bent' because you do not have to dismount from the seat to put your feet down at a stop. Maybe I just have short legs, but on a normal bike, I have always had to dismount from the seat and straddle the top bar at stops, unless there is a curb I can put one foot on. My biggest problem with learning to handle a bent was going in a straight line. Mine is so maneuverable that by the time I think about moving over a few inches, I am on the other side of the street. I've gotten much better since I started, about a year ago. I can almost steer completely straight now.

I've been a Bicycle Vehicularist most of my life because most of the time I did not own a car. I have always loved riding, under my own power. Bicycles are the greatest machine ever invented, in my opinion. I started with my 'bent' about a year ago when my MS-induced numbness from my waist to my feet made it very difficult to mount and dismount my other wonderful bikes. I cried when I got the diagnosis. I felt like my life was over because my bikes were one of the few things I could still enjoy, and still have some independence. It was bad enough to be over 60 with diabetes. Luckily, a friend (who I don't think has ever been on a bicycle...) suggested I try 'bents' and he probably saved my life with that suggestion. He also suggested a trike, and I plan to get an 8-speed Go Plus within the next month, just to run errands on.

I have even been riding my EZ-1 on the local mountain bike trails (the easy ones, you know...the Bunny Slopes...). It's great as long as you remember you have a much longer wheel-base, and a lower center of gravity. I am not riding fast or wild. Mostly just sight-seeing. I do know why they don't have something similar to hiking trails for bikes, for those of us who just want to have a leisurely ride through the woods.

I don't see that anyone would have trouble riding a 'bent' in heavy traffic..at least not any more than on any other bike. I have seen some of the newer recumbents that are very low to the ground. I have never ridden one of these, so I don't know if that would affect your visibility, but even if so, it should be an easy fix. Just mount a flag on the back.

Just my opinions.
Schwinnhund is offline  
Likes For Schwinnhund:
Old 02-23-20, 07:26 PM
  #19  
Schwinnhund
Gearhead
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Chatsworth, Ga.
Posts: 235

Bikes: 1982 Schwinn Sidewinder, Sun EZ-1 Recumbent, Cannondale R-400

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
'Bents are definitely different in traffic.

On the good side:
  • You are funny looking which is good for being noticed
  • Demographics not known for their love of cyclists tend not to lump you with the group they hate -- rather they respond with more curiosity
  • People think you have some kind of physical disability and/or are in greater danger than everyone else
  • You'll get cut more space
On the bad side
  • You're lower and less visible when you're right next to vehicles.
  • Handling is not as good as a DF
  • Eyeballs closer to headlight level, especially if you do recumbent trikes
No way I'd wear anything other than clipless. Having to clip in and out constantly may be a pain, but it's better than having your feet slip off the pedals, especially in a critical situation.

I don't use clips or clipless pedals. On a 'bent' I don't think you really need them. My feet never slip off the pedals on my 'bent'. Of course, at my age and state of health, I do not race or ride particularly aggressively. I consider it a successful ride if I arrive alive, and relatively unharmed, no matter how long it takes me.
Schwinnhund is offline  
Old 02-24-20, 01:34 PM
  #20  
banerjek
Portland Fred
 
banerjek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 11,535

Bikes: Custom Winter, Challenge Seiran SL, Fuji Team Pro, Cattrike Road/Velokit, РOS hybrid

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 227 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 43 Times in 28 Posts
Originally Posted by Schwinnhund View Post
I don't use clips or clipless pedals. On a 'bent' I don't think you really need them. My feet never slip off the pedals on my 'bent'. Of course, at my age and state of health, I do not race or ride particularly aggressively. I consider it a successful ride if I arrive alive, and relatively unharmed, no matter how long it takes me.
This depends on what, where, and how you ride.

If you're sufficiently reclined, the only way to keep your feet on the pedals if they're not clipped in is to either hold your legs up or continuously push hard enough that friction keeps them on. Wet, hitting debris/holes/whatever, momentarily needing more power, or simply needing to change pedal positions are all situations where clipless helps.

They're not for everyone, but they can significantly improve both comfort and safety.
banerjek is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.