I arrived back in Beppu yesterday from three days riding around Oita Prefecture (and a wee bit into Miyazaki). The event was the Annual Oita Charity Bike Ride, organised by the Oita JET group. The charity was raising money for schools in Vietnam (www.roomtoread.org).
The total distance of the ride was 270km. 100km the first day, 90 the next, and 70km the last day. Weather was rain on the first day, fine the next two. For me, this ride was a good opportunity to test out the new recumbent to see if all the hype about them being good for long distance riding is true. It certainly lived up to expectations on the route that included some very hilly costal sections. Here are my findings:
- Quite slow up the hills
- Feet don’t get wet in the rain. With your feet up and out of the way, water does not get splashed into shoes. My riding buddy was complaining of wet cold feet after about fifteen minutes of riding, whereas I had dry socks at the end of the day.
- Mush easier riding in a head wind. A lower profile along with a smaller frontal area really makes a difference on the flat with a head wind.
- No sore back, wrists, hands, neck. No need for special cycling gloves.
- Downhills are smooth and balanced, with quick cornering.
- It’s more comfortable on the bike than off. I’d rather be sitting on the bike during a rest period than standing up or sitting on the ground.
- It is totally true that the only thing you feel after riding a day on a recumbent is tired legs.
My pet phrase for the three days was ‘I remember the days (of sore bottoms, wet feet etc)’. Riding a recumbent really does make cycling a no-brainer.
As for the one minus that I noticed over the course of the trip, I’m confident that this is just a matter of strengthening my legs in the new movements of riding a recumbent. Also, so long as you change into a low gear and spin, the hills aren’t that big a problem.