Sit back, put your feet up and watch the scenery glide by. With a recumbent bicycle or trike, you’ll be doing just that.
These reclining bikes are renowned for being a luxurious way to tour. The generous seat and laid back position takes the pressure off your upper body, eliminating aching backs, sore necks and numb hands at the end of a long day on the road.
Touring on recumbent bikes means a nice view of the road and a comfortable laid back position. Photo by Sylvie & Ben
Recumbent bikes have other benefits too. They’re aerodynamic and their unique style means less worry about your bike being stolen. Most thieves wouldn’t have a clue how to ride one away!
A trike can be great for people with stability problems and doubles as a seat when you stop for lunch or to camp.
The ICE Adventure Trike.
What’s the catch? Like expedition bikes, these specialist bicycles aren’t cheap. Expect to pay more for a recumbent than you would for an upright bike of similar quality.
Their unusual shape and relatively heavy weight also makes them harder to pack for bus, train and plane travel. Big hills can be harder to climb than on an upright bike because you can’t get out of the saddle to really pump the pedals.
For two-wheeled recumbents, there’s also a learning curve in terms of figuring out how to ride them. The technique is different than an upright bike but 10-15 minutes of practice is usually enough to learn this new way of balancing.
Other concerns include the potential challenge of sourcing non-standard replacement parts on the road and the fact that recumbents are still rare enough to make you a tourist attraction. Only you know whether you will revel in the attention and use it to make new friends, or find being in the spotlight overwhelming.
If you’re considering a recumbent, find a specialist dealer and try a few out before you buy.