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New Challenges

Old 01-12-21, 11:32 PM
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downtube42
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New Challenges

After 11 rando seasons, including three PBPs, I'm trying a new challenge: transitioning from recumbent to upright.

So far, after five 200k perms, the verdict is: this is going to be hard. New respect for my rando friends. Getting bike fit dialed in, needing to build up upper body strength, losing aero advantage, pressure on hands and butt, using different muscles. Right now a 300k looks daunting, more than that i can't think about yet. I have a SR and 1200 penciled in. It's going to be something.
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Old 01-13-21, 12:22 AM
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Climbing is harder on a recumbent, isn't it?

Are you using aero bars? If not, would you consider trying? For me, they make a big difference in terms of comfort, especially on long flat stretches. The additional aero advantage is also a nice bonus, but the focus is on comfort.
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Old 01-13-21, 08:31 AM
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What was the precipitating event that led you to switch to the dark side?

Anyone can ride a 400k, you just have to give up on the idea of sleeping. 27 hours is plenty of time. And there's nothing like the second sunrise on a ride. Longer than that is a problem.
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Old 01-13-21, 08:40 AM
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I picked up a used recumbent a couple of years ago and rode a late season 400k. I was surprised at how different it was. I rode about a thousand miles in a month and was still about a mile-an-hour slower than on my uprights. It's probably easier to move from upright to recumbent than vice-versa, so good luck. I rando-friend of mine has been trying to make the switch to an upright for the last few seasons and has really struggled.
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Old 01-13-21, 02:02 PM
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I remember you switched, but as I understand it the DF to 'bent switch is more difficult for most people. OTOH, not too many people switch to DF from 'bent.
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Old 01-13-21, 04:14 PM
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Just to point out, this is not the same for everyone, so don't assume that other people riding uprights are automatically dealing with the same issues.
For example, I started off riding on a wide cruiser saddle, switched to a pre-aged brooks, and it was comfortable from the get-go. In blue jeans, too. So it wasn't like that took a lot of experimenting or sit-bone measuring or something. Was my butt pre-toughened from the cruiser saddles? I honestly don't know.
Meanwhile, I've talked to some of the recumbent riders who never got comfortable on any saddle. So go figure.
On some of the hand issues, that has cropped up on some rides, not others. One thing that hurts me is if I'm drafting a lot in a ride, then I wind up riding on the hoods the whole time, and not being able to move my hands around causes more problems.
Anyway, work it out as best you can, but it's different for everyone.
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Old 01-13-21, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by atwl77 View Post
Climbing is harder on a recumbent, isn't it?

Are you using aero bars? If not, would you consider trying? For me, they make a big difference in terms of comfort, especially on long flat stretches. The additional aero advantage is also a nice bonus, but the focus is on comfort.
My experience is that climbing is slower on a bent; the steeper the climb the more the difference. As far as aero bars, my lower back cannot currently take the hip/torso angle of aero bars. The summer of 1989 I got some clip-on aero bars and used them extensively. The end of that summer is when a disc ruptured; in my mind aero bars and back pain are strongly correlated. 30 years after back surgery it's better than ever, but I don't have that much flexibility in my spine.

Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
What was the precipitating event that led you to switch to the dark side?

Anyone can ride a 400k, you just have to give up on the idea of sleeping. 27 hours is plenty of time. And there's nothing like the second sunrise on a ride. Longer than that is a problem.
A prime motivation is to facilitate being able to ride with other people. The 'bent goes up and down so differently than uprights, similar to a tandem, that I end up riding solo more than I'd like. Or if I do ride with other people, my effort ranges from extremely high on climbs to loafing on the flats and actually riding the brakes on the descents. Also, I do ride an upright on shorter rides, and I'd consider it more "fun". I suppose I know I can do a 400k; the goal is a 1200k, and that means being able to finish a 400k with time in the bank, and without wanting to throw my bike in a ditch.

Originally Posted by kingston View Post
I picked up a used recumbent a couple of years ago and rode a late season 400k. I was surprised at how different it was. I rode about a thousand miles in a month and was still about a mile-an-hour slower than on my uprights. It's probably easier to move from upright to recumbent than vice-versa, so good luck. I rando-friend of mine has been trying to make the switch to an upright for the last few seasons and has really struggled.
Back when I converted to 'bent, I felt like it took a full season before I was adapted, and I got faster over the next few years. I expect the same when going this way.
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Old 01-17-21, 10:53 AM
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There were a few years during which I did most of my long distance riding on a recumbent. It was fast on the flats, and comfortable, but it never felt 'normal' to me and I continued to commute on an upright bike (at that time, most of my commuting was on a folding bike).

I just said it was 'comfortable,' but nonetheless I don't think I ever really 'got comfortable' on the recumbent. Does that make any sense? It was squirrely, visibility was limited (I couldn't see behind me, even though I'm good at using a mirror; and I wasn't sure cars would see me) and my hands were always falling asleep. I especially disliked the pressure on my lower back --when my feet would press hard on the pedals, that would push my lower back against the seat. It felt fine on my feet, which are used to supporting my weight, but on my lower back it felt all wrong. So for me, anyway, switching back to the upright bike was 'back to normal' and I can't say I've missed the recumbent much at all.

Obviously you did better on the 'bent than I did! Switching back may be hard but not impossible.
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Old 01-17-21, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
There were a few years during which I did most of my long distance riding on a recumbent. It was fast on the flats, and comfortable, but it never felt 'normal' to me and I continued to commute on an upright bike (at that time, most of my commuting was on a folding bike).

I just said it was 'comfortable,' but nonetheless I don't think I ever really 'got comfortable' on the recumbent. Does that make any sense? It was squirrely, visibility was limited (I couldn't see behind me, even though I'm good at using a mirror; and I wasn't sure cars would see me) and my hands were always falling asleep. I especially disliked the pressure on my lower back --when my feet would press hard on the pedals, that would push my lower back against the seat. It felt fine on my feet, which are used to supporting my weight, but on my lower back it felt all wrong. So for me, anyway, switching back to the upright bike was 'back to normal' and I can't say I've missed the recumbent much at all.

Obviously you did better on the 'bent than I did! Switching back may be hard but not impossible.
The uprights have been my commuter, utility bike, and occasional recreational bike. The bent has been my primary bike for recreational rides. Both feel normal, which i think means familiar. When I get the bent out these days, which has been rare, after twenty feet I think, "ahhhh, this is so nice." I've long since worked out comfort issues on the bent, and i have no issues with vision or visibility; forward vision is far superior. Having said all that, riding an upright bike has a feel that is unmatched. That, plus increased ability to ride with others, is the draw.
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