Author Topic: First left turn circles achieved (not quite got the hang of right)  (Read 1080 times)


Not sure if my method of 10 minute sessions with about 2-3 months between them is the best way to learn, but that's what I am managing. 
Really impressed with Phil and tigerrr who managed to pick it up quickly, I am still not off my training wheels.  I think it will be another year until I feel I can cycle where I intend and therefore would be safe on a road.
A query for you all, I am finding it really hard work pedalling, even in low gears, small inclines are impossible obstacles and I feel it i my legs after 5-10 mins of cycling. Is this normal?  Considering getting a turbo trainer so that I can build enough laidback strength in the legs to cycle.


  • 2nd in the world
Re: First left turn circles achieved (not quite got the hang of right)
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2017, 03:07:15 pm »
I didn't find 'bent legs' that much of a challenge.  For a while I'd get muscular ache and fatigue far quicker than on an upright, but I didn't really struggle to make the bike go.  It probably helped that my natural preference for climbing is to stay in the saddle and spin low gears anyway.

Barakta did the turbo trainer thing when she started out with her trike.  That was from a cycling fitness of zero, on account of never being safe on an upwrong.  It was more convenient than short boring winter rides along the local cyclepath, and allowed for much fine-tuning of ergonomics, and set her up reasonably well for the following spring.

As for learning a new bike, what I've done is take it to the local park (which has various tarmac paths, including a full-width service road with gentle gradients) when it's not busy, and spent an hour or two practising super-low-speed riding, u-turns, figures of 8, emergency stops (alternating feet), hill starts (ditto), etc.  A couple of sessions of that was enough for me to not feel like a complete liability on the roads, and then it was easy to build real-world experience through riding.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...


  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: First left turn circles achieved (not quite got the hang of right)
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2017, 03:31:57 pm »
shorten the boom

bring it in by an inch or so to start with until you feel comfortable on the bike.  You are probably unconsciously inching backwards/more upright and hence stretching your legs out too far.

As you relax you'll slide further down the seat and it should come easier. 

Even 8 months and 100km into it I still had an "ooh, this is interesting" moment on my last outing when I suddenly realised I could handle slow moving traffic and junctions with no drama.

I'm still not comfortable accessing my water bottle on the move though - partly due to bad positioning and partly very tight bottle cage.

Overall though - Relax
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Re: First left turn circles achieved (not quite got the hang of right)
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2017, 06:43:30 pm »
Hi fd3, welcome to recumbents.

I don't profess to be an expert, being only 3 years and about 2500 miles in, but IME it's all about miles, experience and confidence.  The latter comes with the other 2. 

It took me about 500 miles to feel that I had the leg muscles to propel my Performer Amigo - a 20/26 tourer style 2 wheeler.  Maybe 500 miles after that, it felt reasonably 'normal' after years of riding a DF bike.  I use it as my light shopping/bad weather/winter roads bike as it's on Marathons.

Then I took the decision to commit to recumbents and scavenged my Giant road bike for its wheels and gear set and bought a Performer High racer frame set and built that up. I've audaxed the Amigo, but it's the 200-300k audaxes I'm after. That's a whole different can of worms.  Higher BB on the 700c machine means higher seat, so less confidence at the stops, and no suspension means bumpy rides and poorer forward vision (vibration) - so confidence took a hit, not helped by more 'sensitive' steering, and a severe 'off' with a front blowout and a landing on gravel.  I now wear elbow protectors......

It does get easier, but you have to put in the miles.  It's a whole new experience, but the rewards are worth it.  I saw newly-returned swallows a couple of days ago - because by looking forwards rather than at the tarmac (on a DF) you see what's around you.  Then I wondered why a crow was attacking the top of a telegraph pole, until I realised that the top of the pole was actually a buzzard.  Magic. And then a guy accosted me after my café stop in Wem to talk about the High racer - a tandem rider as it turned out.   And, after a relaxed 50k, I had no back ache, no sore wrists, no complaining from my palms, and no numbness in the gentleman's area.  At 62, minimising the effects of ageing is a serious objective, believe me. 

So, it's all about miles.  Try to get out 2 or 3 times a week, and build up confidence in starting and stopping.  The hills will come with the leg muscles.  Plan ahead so you don't get caught out at awkward junctions in the wrong gear to set off again - indeed, work out what gear you need to start off in a range of situations (uphill T junctions are very tricky) and then make sure you have got into that gear before you stop.  IME, you need much more forward planning on a 'bent.  It's a whole different ball game to riding a DF, but, IMO, it's well worth it for the different view (more trees and sky, less tarmac) of the environment we ride through, and the much reduced wear and tear on our ageing bodies (well, mine anyway). Isn't that why we ride bikes?

KBO, as Churchill reputedly said.


Phil W

Re: First left turn circles achieved (not quite got the hang of right)
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2017, 07:31:36 pm »
I'm 5 months in of riding my recumbent though Jan was mostly my road bike.

I've clocked up just over 2000km on the Recumbent.  A lot of that since the beginning of March with 100,200,300,400 audaxes since then and a 300 helpers ride at midnight tonight.  For the Easter Arrow I rode a few km across London to get to a train station quite happily.

The one thing I really noticed in March is just how relaxed back into the seat I am since I started. I thought I had the balance then but all the riding since and its light years difference in terms of leaning to steer etc and slow up hill I'm much more straight line as my upper body is relaxed.

I'm out on the recumbent every second day and mostly spend about an hour doing hill repeats then another hour easy pedalling as a cool down.

So just try and ride as often as you can. In the early days I'd wobble at the starts and it wasn't till a few mins in I'd settle into it. So try and do some longer sessions if you can and get out more regularly.

I'm loving it and the lack of ailments on long rides is fantastic. I'm now also able to ride one handed quite easily whereas when I started just signalling made me wobble a bit.

As for water bottles, I have a tube conversion kit so I can sip from one bottle and swap the tube over roughly every 2 hours of riding.


Re: First left turn circles achieved (not quite got the hang of right)
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2017, 07:46:01 pm »
Hills feel difficult on a recumbent for the first few hundred k's because unlike on a DF, generally speaking you cannot generate power by using the upper body. So it's all about conditioning the legs to spin at a slight higher cadence and your 'engine' heart and lungs taking the stress. Get out and ride your bike more and make sure it fits. TBH I'm not surprised you feel tired when you have been out on the bike so little over so longer time. :)