My Recumbent Trice

This was my first AUDAX, 187 miles, non stop in 15 hrs with a culmative climb of 11,000 feet. It gave me a new understanding of physical pain. Later that year I went on to do a 250 mile ride in just under 24 hrs.

This is a recumbent cycles, they give excellent comfort, with no sore bums or stiff backs. As a tricycle it's fairly heavy (36lb) so you need to be able to spin the small granny gear when there are steep hills to climb, plus you can go as slow as you like as you ares completely stable. Downhill they really fly, you've about 30% less wind resistance than a usual bike, it's what life is all about. Taking fast corners on two wheels is fun too. You have hub brakes on the two front wheels which work well, but I have somersaulted over forwards once and rolled it sideways, but no bones broken. The back brake is just for parking or, as it actually has little weight on it, wild rubber burning handbrake turns.

I've also raced it, with the British Human Power Club (BHPC) who run an annual race series. Racing includes a lot of fully faired machiens which have to be seen to be believed! And yes they are fast. There are other Human Power Vehicle (HPV) clubs around the world, and annual European and World championships.

Car drivers wonder what on earth it is is and tend to give it a wide berth. I used it to commute from St Albans to Harpenden in busy traffic, about 7 miles each way, for about 3 years. It was great. I was working at an advertising agency so was able to spend most days in flourescent lycra (and a good way to un-nerve those pushy hard-selling media reps). Just a month before I left that job I was driven into by a hit and run driver who broke my leg. I'll write the story sometime.

My wife, whose balance is not great and struggles on two wheels loves the trice, and has done quite a few miles on it. We also had a trailer which would take two of the kids, with another on a child seat. The children used to love this. We've taken all the bikes on several holidays in Brittany, France where we've cycled every day.

A guy called Peter Ross of Crystal Engineering makes these, as well as two wheelers, and Orbit Cycles now make them under licence. There are quite a few different HPV manufactures now, as cyclists realise their advantages over convetional design.

If you're new to cycling or doing distance, here's my guide to get you going. Also see Secondhand Cycle Stuff For Sale