Friends of mine Jim and Peg Lynch are biking enthusiasts... Jim can build a bike from the ground up.  We frequently have breakfast together on weekends, and conversation regularly touches on biking.  The Lynch's have all types of bicycles, but their bicycle of choice is a recumbent bike.

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recumbent bicycle is a bicycle that places the rider in a laid-back reclining position. Most recumbent riders choose this type of design because the rider's weight is distributed comfortably over a larger area, supported by the back and buttocks. On a traditional upright bicycle, the body weight rests entirely on a small portion of the sitting bones, the feet, and the hands.

Most recumbent models also have an aerodynamic advantage...

Recumbent Bicycles have a long, low design and a full-size seat with a backrest. Recumbents are available in two-wheel and three-wheel designs. Many recumbent riders feel that they are the most comfortable option available for bicycling. However, they are more difficult to pedal up hills, and they can be a challenge to carry from one place to another in a motor vehicle.

Recumbents are available in a wide range of configurations, including: long to short wheelbase; large, small, or a mix of wheel sizes; overseat, underseat, or no-hands steering; and rear-wheel or front-wheel drive. A variant with three wheels is a recumbent tricycle.

A recumbent bike allows you to exercise your thighs, calves, and glute muscles with less strain.  Additionally, recumbent bikes put less strain on your joints,  and are much easier to balance on and sit comfortably.

Using a recumbent bike burns calories, allowing you to lose weight all over your body, including your stomach (which appealed to me).

Jim and Peg invited me for a "sample" ride on one of their recumbents.  Jim said "we'll go easy on you, we'll start with a 10-mile ride" mind immediately raced to elderly out-of-town family members who may need help or have recently passed as an excuse. But I manned up and took the ride.  It was great! I walk regularly so using my calf muscles was no big deal.  Starting out takes a bit of effort, but after that, the ride is much more enjoyable than a two-wheel bike.

Photo Credit: Joe Chille

Recumbent bikes are DIFFERENT. They ride differently, they steer differently, starting and stopping is different, and climbing hills requires a different approach. Recumbent bicycles aren't cheap, $3000-$6000 on average depending on accessories. By and large, they are quite fun to ride. I'm looking forward to my next ride...20 miles?


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