Thursday, August 23, 2007

Recumbents saved my ass. Ask me how!

Well, my most excellent girlfriend and partner, Mary, got on the phone with both my bike shop and the makers of my bike, learned exactly what spokes I need, and most comforting, heard straight from the horse's mouth that my wheel will likely survive my last few miles.

I'm currently taking a break from the heat halfway up to Cedar Pass between Alturas and Cedarville, so it's a good moment to extoll the virtues of both my bike and my bike shop.

I ride a Bacchatta Giro recumbent (the kind you sit back on, like a motorcycle, or a La-Z-Boy). Unlike the low-to-the-ground recumbents you may have seen, this is a touring bike that stands almost as tall as an upright, so it's visible in traffic. It's my first recumbent, purchased with this trip in mind, but now that I've been on it for almost a year, I will never go back to an upright.

My bike is easier on my body in almost every way over an upright. It alleviates numbness in my wrists, in my posterior, and if you'll forgive my momentary Brooklyn Italian accent, in my cock-and-balls. I've been sitting in the saddle for ten days with no discomfort. The only downside is that I put more labor into uphill climbs, because I can't stand up on the pedals to use my weight. The learning curve was not bad; I was able to ride it easily on the first try, though it took about a month before I was comfortable riding in traffic.

I bought my bike at Angle Lake Cyclery, near Seatac, the only shop in the Seattle area that sells them (there used to be two others shops that carried them, but they have discontinued sales). Angle Lake specializes in recumbents, has been in business continuously for over 50 years, and its staff are incredibly knowledgeable. Dale, the owner, is the Mr. Wizard of recumbents, though like many fine artists, he's a bit, eh... organizationally challenged. Be prepared to have patience with him. Fom my trips there, I've had the impression that he has a devoted clientele (me included).

I'll point you to Dale's website though, frankly, it sucks. Your best bet is just to wonder in on a weekday when he's less busy. He'll let you take anything out in the parking lot for a test ride. Tell him Ivan sent you.


Doug said...

Thanks for the specs on your bicycle, Ivan. I haven't spent as long in the saddle of my BikeE as you have on your Bacchatta, but I can attest to the comfort of riding. Mine's a little more upright than yours, and I've made a few mods to it, like changing out the handlebars and adding a flag (which used to have a ham antenna on it... long story). The only problem I had with it is that it suffered awfully from seat slippage, but I seem to have taken care of that with Gunk. How long is the wheelbase? It looks to me like your bicycle would fit in the front rack that you see on buses, but I might be mistaken. Mine fits, as long as I turn the front wheel 180 degrees... although I have to shore it up with bungee cords or it'll fly right out. Oh, and welcome to California! (Briefly...)

August 24, 2007 9:32 AM  

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