Two weeks ago, Mr. Butshesagirl and I visited Kevin at D-Tek in Ely, an Aladdin's cave of recumbent wonders. We'd been thinking for some time about buying a recumbent bike, partly because of my slightly dodgy back, but also because we'd tried some E-bikes and a WizWheelz trike out on a trail in Florida, and had a fantastic time.
After trying out practically every bike or trike in the place (Kevin has the patience of a saint), I fell in love with a Kingcycle. It's short, fast and bright yellow, and they only made about 450 of them. I picked it up last weekend, and have been riding it to work every day despite the recent near monsoon conditions (note to self: remember to cover seat with plastic bag when you leave bike if you don't want a wet bottom). It's slightly scary at first, as you have to re-train yourself somewhat. You need to lean into corners, rather than turning the handlebars, and, pedal through them, accelerating out the other side. Up hills, you have to fight the instinct to lean forward, and instead lean back and stretch out. But it's more fun than anyone should have on two wheels. I constantly have a huge grin on my face when I'm riding (or an expression of terror going downhill). On the Kingcycle, I actually feel like I'm actively riding, rather than sitting on it like sack of potatoes. I get a buzz out of smoothly speeding out of a corner, or accelerating on the flat. In short, I get excited about getting on my bike every day, something that just didn't happen with my upright bike.
One thing to bear in mind if you do go recumbent, though: it's not a bike for the shy. People have nearly walked into lamp posts seeing my go by, and this is in Oxford where bikes are very common. I get a lot of comments shouted at me, too. Here are a few of my favourites so far (the clean ones):
Kids: Where did you get that?
Woman getting into car while I'm pedaling uphill: Ooo, that looks like hard work.
Small child (after I've had to slam the brakes on to avoid running her over as she stepped out without looking): Wow! Cool!
And last but not least, Old gent at bus stop: Don't fall asleep!
Down with wedgies! Up with the 'bent riders!