As I mentioned in a recent post, I’ve been disappointed in my cruising speed on my recumbent, and thought my rear thorn-proof tube might have something to do with it. So I replaced it with a regular tube. I also noticed my front tire was a bit low so pumped it up. What a difference! On one of my longest rides to date, my average speed was 14.8 mph, or about 1.6 mph faster than it’s been. That would result in a century in less than 7 hours instead of closer to 8 hours. That’s more like it!
I did another out and back to Hellyer park and checked out the velodrome because on Saturday mornings they have beginner training, where they let you rent a track bike then teach you the basics. I’m going to muster up the nerve to try that at some point. It’s not the velodrome that worries me, its banking is not too severe so I haven’t been nervous on it before or regular bikes. It’s the track bike, no brakes and no freewheeling. That would take some getting used to.
The next day I got a chance to do a ride with a recumbent meetup. It was fun riding with similarly weird bikes. We started on Steven’s Creek trail in Mountain View and rode out and back on the Shoreline and Baylands trails to Palo Alto. The Baylands trail had some unpaved packed gravel sections and surprisingly my ‘bent did just fine. It was fun going past bystanders who would laugh and wave at our little parade of vehicles, perhaps they thought the circus was coming to town!
I thoroughly enjoyed the ride with one exception- the Steven’s creek trail has some pedestrian overpasses with tight hairpin turns. Slow speed handling on ‘bents is notoriously bad so I felt very uncomfortably wobbly, and had to get off and walk one of them. The trikes had no problem, they have Ackerman steering just like a car and remarkably tight turning radii. The other ‘bent rider did better than me also. He was on an unusual Cruzbike front wheel drive recumbent. You can keep pedaling right through a turn because the pedals turn with the handle bars. You can even steer them with your feet and ride no hands, but that takes getting used to! Anyway, for me it’s safety first, when in doubt get off and walk.
That brings up an interesting interchange I have with Karen when I’m going for a ride. First some background: When my Mom or one of her three sisters were going out on dates in their youth, my grandma would tell them “have fun! Be safe!”, and my grandpa would say “make up you mind”. So I told Karen about this, and whenever I leave for a ride she says “have fun! Be safe!”