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Commuting on recumbent / storage and other concerns

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Commuting on recumbent / storage and other concerns

Old 08-20-19, 11:27 AM
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Commuting on recumbent / storage and other concerns

I currently ride regular upright bikes but am considering recumbent bikes due to physical issues. I don't own a vehicle so I bike everywhere. I commute to work and have a storage locker that my workplace provides, but I can't imagine the locker would fit a recumbent or trike as it's pretty narrow. I also can't store the bike in my office. Those bikes are so expensive that I wouldn't want to lock them outside for any length of time. For those who commute to work on a recumbent or trike, how are you storing your bike? I have heard there are some folding recumbent bikes out there but the only ones I found mentioned on this forum are from quite a few years back and there are probably newer models now - anyone have recommendations for folding recumbents? I'm guessing those would probably fit into my bike locker but still am not sure.

Also, I would probably have to lock the recumbent bike when going to the store for groceries, etc. How is it locking recumbent bikes? Is it difficult to have enough space to lock your bike since they tend to be wider? And are they more or less likely to get stolen than regular bikes?

One last question - at least in my neck of the woods, there aren't too many recumbent bike options around. Most local bike shops don't sell them and there is currently only 1 on Craigslist for sale. There is only one recumbent bike shop in town and it's quite a distance from me. In this situation, if I purchased a recumbent from the specialized recumbent shop that's across town, would it be easy enough to get parts and repairs for the recumbent at typical bike shops in town (that don't sell recumbent bikes)? Or do you need to go to a bike shop that specializes in recumbents for parts and service?
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Old 08-20-19, 03:20 PM
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Go to your recumbent specialty dealer and ask them. That would be time and effort well spent. There's lots of different recumbent bikes and trikes and they all ride a little bit differently.
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Old 08-20-19, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Go to your recumbent specialty dealer and ask them. That would be time and effort well spent. There's lots of different recumbent bikes and trikes and they all ride a little bit differently.
Sure, I can do that. I had just hoped some of those with experience with recumbents might add their two cents, as dealers may not have experience with storing a bike at work or locking it up. They also may not have any idea if a regular bike shop could fix or get parts for a recumbent bike and was wondering what experience recumbent owners have had.
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Old 08-20-19, 07:51 PM
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I'm retired and no longer bike to work (!) but for my last 12 working years I commuted several days a week Spring-Fall on recumbent bikes. Suburban/urban/suburban. Not a problem locking them to the bike racks that I used in three different parking garages at the hospital where I worked. Used a U-lock plus one or two cables/padlocks much of that time. Would a recumbent fit into your storage locker if the seat were removed? The seats of my RANS bikes are easy to take off, which I do for transporting them on car racks.
Not sure how well typical bike shops are at fixing 'bents, as I've done almost all the work needed on my bikes. But remember, most of the parts on a recumbent bikes are just bike parts.
If you've got a specialty recumbent shop in town, you are lucky in that respect, as those are few and far between.
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Old 08-21-19, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
I'm retired and no longer bike to work (!) but for my last 12 working years I commuted several days a week Spring-Fall on recumbent bikes. Suburban/urban/suburban. Not a problem locking them to the bike racks that I used in three different parking garages at the hospital where I worked. Used a U-lock plus one or two cables/padlocks much of that time. Would a recumbent fit into your storage locker if the seat were removed? The seats of my RANS bikes are easy to take off, which I do for transporting them on car racks.
Not sure how well typical bike shops are at fixing 'bents, as I've done almost all the work needed on my bikes. But remember, most of the parts on a recumbent bikes are just bike parts.
If you've got a specialty recumbent shop in town, you are lucky in that respect, as those are few and far between.
Thanks! I don't know if it would fit if the seat were removed but that's a good suggestion. I will look at some and see. It's going to be about a $50 Uber ride just to get to the recumbent shop since they're on the edge of town (and then I'll probably need to rent a truck to get it home after I find one since I don't have a vehicle) so I appreciate this info ahead of my trip to the bent shop!
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Old 08-21-19, 06:49 PM
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Performer makes a few folding models, which would almost certainly fit in a standard bike locker - if they were folded. Why rent a truck to get a bike home? Reminds me of the time my car quit while I was on my way to a ride. After thinking about it for a minute, I locked up the car and rode my bike the rest of the way.
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Old 08-22-19, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Performer makes a few folding models, which would almost certainly fit in a standard bike locker - if they were folded. Why rent a truck to get a bike home? Reminds me of the time my car quit while I was on my way to a ride. After thinking about it for a minute, I locked up the car and rode my bike the rest of the way.
Thanks! I would love to ride home from any bike shop but the only one that sells recumbents in my town is about an hour away by expressway or very dangerous busy roads. In that case, I have to pass on biking unfortunately. I hate driving so I would bike anytime instead if I could.
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Old 08-23-19, 03:51 AM
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many years and ~50,000 commuting miles year round on LWB/USS. Locking up is no real problem or different, but when I was locking up a lot I found it more convenient to have one really long cable and one small lock, in order to capture everything without dismantling. However, at work I parked outside in the rack and really didn't lock due to no one stealing bikes at work in sleepy suburban midwest. I did lock up at library and hardware, etc. hence the one long cable and one small lock. Theft never seemed to be a problem, the problem is unattended little kids climbing into the seat and racking all the controls back and forth forever while you are away.

Parts and repairs are easy, it's more a choice of the shop if they work on recumbents or not in the case where the shop workers think a recumbent is somehow different, but unless it's the seat or the steering it's business as usual. At the same time, as a commuter, you'll end up doing almost all your own maintenance unless something wears out or gets damaged and it's something for which you don't have the unique tools, like replacing a bottom bracket or pressing in a headset - few and far between. I never had any problem with a nearby shop not wanting to work on mine. But take a half day bike maintenance class at a shop and then doing most of your own work becomes practical.

If you've not had a recumbent before and local choices are few, then my advice is buy on-line a used one of a popular/volume models that is easy to resell in the under $1000 range, ride it for 6-12 months to discover which feature are important to you, then sell it back to the market for what you paid and buy whatever is going to work best for you.

If size and fitting in the locker is a demand, then short wheel base should work OK, I like long wheelbase but here in the flatlands of straight and level roads it's not much of a liability, so it depends where you ride and how many short turns you have to make.
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Old 08-25-19, 08:43 PM
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I strongly recommend contacting Lightning Cycle Dynamics about their Voyager. I ride the "unfoldable" version, the P-38. You'll have to do a web search—I'm not allowed to post links yet. They will work with you and they are great people. This is a fast, light, fast, bike that is incredibly sturdy (our potholes look like shell craters, some of our roads look like target ranges for heavy artillery.)

As for locking, I use a u-bolt lock and cable (Kryptonite), and I live in northeastern Illinois—everything gets stolen around here. Seriously, if you use that and it gets stolen, check for your wallet and clothing … But the Voyager might be "office friendly."
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Old 08-25-19, 08:49 PM
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Lightning Cycle link

Now that I have ten posts, here's the link: https://www.lightningbikes.com/voyager/index.html. Good luck!
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Old 08-27-19, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ciclista_pazza View Post
Thanks! I don't know if it would fit if the seat were removed but that's a good suggestion. I will look at some and see. It's going to be about a $50 Uber ride just to get to the recumbent shop since they're on the edge of town (and then I'll probably need to rent a truck to get it home after I find one since I don't have a vehicle) so I appreciate this info ahead of my trip to the bent shop!
Are you talking about Ajo bikes?

The shop is pretty easy to get to from the bike path around town if that's an option.

I've never had access to a bike locker, so I can't tell you about how well a recumbent bike would fit in one. However, a recumbent bike isn't much wider than a regular bike. The trick is that even a short wheel base recumbent is a bit longer over all. I would have to measure mine, but it's about 7.5 feet long. That would probably be the critical thing to check when you're looking at the bike lockers. If you get a recumbent with a hardshell seat (what mine has), they are a bit narrower than the mesh seats, so when you're looking at them, keep that in mind as well. Many models are offered with an option of either seat.
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Old 08-28-19, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Wilbur Bud View Post
many years and ~50,000 commuting miles year round on LWB/USS. Locking up is no real problem or different, but when I was locking up a lot I found it more convenient to have one really long cable and one small lock, in order to capture everything without dismantling. However, at work I parked outside in the rack and really didn't lock due to no one stealing bikes at work in sleepy suburban midwest. I did lock up at library and hardware, etc. hence the one long cable and one small lock. Theft never seemed to be a problem, the problem is unattended little kids climbing into the seat and racking all the controls back and forth forever while you are away.

Parts and repairs are easy, it's more a choice of the shop if they work on recumbents or not in the case where the shop workers think a recumbent is somehow different, but unless it's the seat or the steering it's business as usual. At the same time, as a commuter, you'll end up doing almost all your own maintenance unless something wears out or gets damaged and it's something for which you don't have the unique tools, like replacing a bottom bracket or pressing in a headset - few and far between. I never had any problem with a nearby shop not wanting to work on mine. But take a half day bike maintenance class at a shop and then doing most of your own work becomes practical.

If you've not had a recumbent before and local choices are few, then my advice is buy on-line a used one of a popular/volume models that is easy to resell in the under $1000 range, ride it for 6-12 months to discover which feature are important to you, then sell it back to the market for what you paid and buy whatever is going to work best for you.

If size and fitting in the locker is a demand, then short wheel base should work OK, I like long wheelbase but here in the flatlands of straight and level roads it's not much of a liability, so it depends where you ride and how many short turns you have to make.
Thanks! Sorry not to reply sooner - I never seem to get notified when there is a new message. This is very helpful. I appreciate it.
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Old 08-28-19, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
Are you talking about Ajo bikes?

The shop is pretty easy to get to from the bike path around town if that's an option.

I've never had access to a bike locker, so I can't tell you about how well a recumbent bike would fit in one. However, a recumbent bike isn't much wider than a regular bike. The trick is that even a short wheel base recumbent is a bit longer over all. I would have to measure mine, but it's about 7.5 feet long. That would probably be the critical thing to check when you're looking at the bike lockers. If you get a recumbent with a hardshell seat (what mine has), they are a bit narrower than the mesh seats, so when you're looking at them, keep that in mind as well. Many models are offered with an option of either seat.
Thanks! Yes - it is Ajo Bikes that I was referring to. Unfortunately, the bike loop trail in Tucson completely avoids midtown, so it would be quite a feat to get all the way to the loop from my house in any way that would make it practical to get to Ajo Way. It's a shame because I rarely get to ride the trail due to my location.
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Old 08-28-19, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Lightning Pilot View Post
Now that I have ten posts, here's the link: https://www.lightningbikes.com/voyager/index.html. Good luck!
Cool - thanks!
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Old 08-28-19, 02:32 PM
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I wanted to add that I did find some recumbents on Craigslist and I test rode one over the weekend. It was a Volae Expedition Pro which has a short wheel base. Here is a link to the bike https://tucson.craigslist.org/bik/d/...950499449.html

It was pretty much a failure. As soon as I would even slightly turn the bike to the left, the handlebars would hit my legs and I would get violently thrown off the bike and onto the ground. The guy who was selling it tried to adjust the boom length but that didn't help. I have some pretty severe bruising and a huge scrape on my knee from the experience that kind of left me wondering if I would ever try a recumbent again. I asked someone about this and they said high racers can be difficult to adapt to. I'm curious how anyone could get used to getting thrown from their bike but there must be some learning curve I'm not aware of. I might try some long wheel base options and see how that goes.
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Old 08-28-19, 03:44 PM
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I'm guessing on the Volae, you'd have better luck adjusting the handlebars up so your legs aren't hitting them, if that's possible. I have tiller steering on my bent, so it's easier to adjust. A SWB bent will always have a bit of a learning curve to it. I probably crashed (all low speed, no damage or injuries) about 8 times in the first 10 miles, then it clicked, and I just started riding.
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Old 08-28-19, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ciclista_pazza View Post
I wanted to add that I did find some recumbents on Craigslist and I test rode one over the weekend. It was a Volae Expedition Pro which has a short wheel base. Here is a link to the bike https://tucson.craigslist.org/bik/d/...950499449.html

It was pretty much a failure. As soon as I would even slightly turn the bike to the left, the handlebars would hit my legs and I would get violently thrown off the bike and onto the ground. The guy who was selling it tried to adjust the boom length but that didn't help. I have some pretty severe bruising and a huge scrape on my knee from the experience that kind of left me wondering if I would ever try a recumbent again. I asked someone about this and they said high racers can be difficult to adapt to. I'm curious how anyone could get used to getting thrown from their bike but there must be some learning curve I'm not aware of. I might try some long wheel base options and see how that goes.
Recumbents have to be fitted to the rider or they are a quick recipe for a trip to the ER. Bents of that design type are steered like motorcycles, by leaning with very little wheel turn. However, the drops on those bars seem very extreme. If you want to try a recumbent, find a dealer where they can put you on a bike adjusted to fit you. Someone reviewing my ride, a Lightning P-38, said, "you don't so much ride it as wear it." This I think is true of all recumbents. Properly fit, you think "left" or "right" and you're there.

If you need a short turning radius, consider a tadpole trike.
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Old 08-29-19, 04:47 AM
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I'd like to hear of a recumbent that's been stolen..

I park mine in company grounds. There's no public through-access though it's hardly Alcatraz.

I have no concerns. Nobody is gonna steal something they can't shift quickly and subtly.
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Old 08-29-19, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by MikeyMK View Post
I'd like to hear of a recumbent that's been stolen..

Nobody is gonna steal something they can't shift quickly and subtly.
Or ride at all, if you use cleated pedals. Even Frog pedals are hard to use with regular shoes.
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Old 08-29-19, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Lightning Pilot View Post
Recumbents have to be fitted to the rider or they are a quick recipe for a trip to the ER. Bents of that design type are steered like motorcycles, by leaning with very little wheel turn. However, the drops on those bars seem very extreme. If you want to try a recumbent, find a dealer where they can put you on a bike adjusted to fit you. Someone reviewing my ride, a Lightning P-38, said, "you don't so much ride it as wear it." This I think is true of all recumbents. Properly fit, you think "left" or "right" and you're there.

If you need a short turning radius, consider a tadpole trike.
The weird thing was when I was test riding the high racer, I wasn't making any sharp turns or anything. We were on a cul-de-sac, so I was just lightly leaning the handlebars very gently to the left to go in a gentle circle. I literally couldn't move the handlebars at all to the left without hitting my legs. I can't see how that could be avoided with that specific design. It was a bit frustrating because the guy who was selling it was saying, oh it just takes practice, but I can't see how you could ever improve on something where it's physically impossible to avoid being hit by the handlebars. It seemed more like a design issue than user error because I didn't have any issues with pedaling or keeping the bike moving.
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Old 08-29-19, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ciclista_pazza View Post
The weird thing was when I was test riding the high racer, I wasn't making any sharp turns or anything. We were on a cul-de-sac, so I was just lightly leaning the handlebars very gently to the left to go in a gentle circle. I literally couldn't move the handlebars at all to the left without hitting my legs. I can't see how that could be avoided with that specific design. It was a bit frustrating because the guy who was selling it was saying, oh it just takes practice, but I can't see how you could ever improve on something where it's physically impossible to avoid being hit by the handlebars. It seemed more like a design issue than user error because I didn't have any issues with pedaling or keeping the bike moving.
The handle bars on the bike you were riding are, frankly, not properly set up. Look at the photos here: https://www.lightningbikes.com/gallery/index.html
and you'll see what I mean. Even the bars that do curve downward don't reach to the level of the rider's fully bent knee just before the power stroke.
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Old 08-29-19, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Lightning Pilot View Post
The handle bars on the bike you were riding are, frankly, not properly set up. Look at the photos here: https://www.lightningbikes.com/gallery/index.html
and you'll see what I mean. Even the bars that do curve downward don't reach to the level of the rider's fully bent knee just before the power stroke.
Wow - I see what you mean. I wonder how the bike's owner was able to ride it without issue.
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Old 08-29-19, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by ciclista_pazza View Post
Wow - I see what you mean. I wonder how the bike's owner was able to ride it without issue.
Maybe they didn't. I'm as wary of Craigslist as I am of e(vil)Bay.
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Old 08-29-19, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Lightning Pilot View Post
Maybe they didn't. I'm as wary of Craigslist as I am of e(vil)Bay.
He rode it in front of me to show me how it's done and he did fine, but I can't imagine how he was able to avoid the leg strike issue. He did mention that he'd had several other people come out to try it and most of them had crashed too.
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Old 08-29-19, 03:43 PM
  #25  
Lightning Pilot
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Sun Bikes has a number of outlets in the Phoenix area. I'd suggest an EZ-Sport CX or SX, based on what you ride now. The CX has a longer wheel base, which means it's easier to mount panniers on for cargo. I rode a CX for years. Not knowing what your physical problems are, I can tell you that I have a spine medically described as a "train wreck," which is why I went to recumbents. It's a comfortable bike, and very adjustable in the seat. www.sun.bike

I used a top of the line Kryptonite u-lock and long cable for locking. The cable can be attached to the seat frame with hook and loop strips. The locks can be had with mounts to fit nearly anything.

Last edited by Lightning Pilot; 08-29-19 at 04:06 PM. Reason: Wrong link! Again! Annnnnnd again!~
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