February 26, 2016
By Kris Parfitt
Photo at right: A curious cyclist test rides a recumbent bike. Photo courtesy of Ben’s Bikes in Sequim, Washington
For many, a recumbent bike looks odd and unsafe. Picture placing the bike rider in a reclining position, with a seat close to the ground, handle-bars near the rider’s sides and the pedals out in front — giving the impression that the rider is in an unprotected go-cart.
Despite the unflattering description, the benefits of recumbent bikes are actually quite numerous.
Whether the rider is racing, touring or commuting, the reclining comfort of a recumbent bike provides a low-impact full-body workout for all kinds of heights, weights and physical shapes.
For people who may have lower back discomfort, the chair-like design of the seat offers better spinal support than an upright bike.
Those with arthritis find that having the pedals out in front of their body is easier on hip, knee and ankle joints when propelling the bike.
Plus, a rider’s weight is spread over his or her back and bottom.
Outdoor enthusiasts who experience neurological conditions appreciate the ease and safety of riding the bike; it is nearly impossible to fall off.
Regardless of physical condition or age, recumbent bikes are a popular and enjoyable activity for anyone who loves the freedom of being on a bike.
However, recumbent bikes are lower to the ground and are more difficult to notice in automobile traffic. Many riders decorate their bikes with lights, reflective flags and other noticeable materials to alert automobiles and other cyclists that they, too, are sharing the road. Keep in mind, the same rules apply as an upright bike, so remember to wear a helmet, have working bicycle lights and reflectors, and have fun!