321: My journey to the Silvio
Lest I be seen as a Cruzbike tragic / fan-boy, I should add that I did try several different recumbent designs, all fine machines, before settling on the Cruzbike philosophy. It just seemed to make sense. The recumbents I’ve ridden include low rider trikes and high rider bicycles, from manufacturers such as:
|Greenspeed||The GT1: basic folder. Designed as an easily transportable trike that you can fold up to fit in a car. Thanks for the opportunity to borrow it for a weekend Pete.|
|M.R. Components||The Stowaway. A narrow track width of 640 mm means it goes through internal doors easily!Thanks for showing me around the workshop Michael.|
|Bacchetta||The Giro 20 ATT and a custom Strada 20 were both taken for a short spin in Canberra.Thanks for the opportunity to sample the range of recumbents on display Ian.I helped a friend buy a Giro!|
It was an odd experience to try the Bacchettas after riding a FWD bicycle. Suddenly the front wheel seemed oddly light and difficult to control. So much for complaints about pedal-steer on FWD bicycles!
Kim Tolhurst is tirelessly promoting the virtues of Cruzbiking in Australia, and together we are riding in community rides to raise the profile of Cruzbike. So far we’ve done the 34 km Hanover Eastlink Ride for Home, the 70 km Amy’s Ride, the 40 km MS Summercycle and the 50 km BAD Ride.
In each of the rides, there were inclines. In the case of the Hanover ride it finished with a ride through both Eastlink tunnels. Both Kim and I hit 60 kph on the way down, but it was granny gear on the way up. Amy’s ride had a long hill that I felt I should stop on about three quarters of the way up, but I could have pressed on – watching my heart rate I was. And the MS Summercycle included riding over the West Gate bridge, which I managed with ease.The Ballarat BAD ride was, well, BAD, with many hills and a less hill training than desired – so some walking. But 65 kph on the way down, with no pedaling and a DF rider in front, in a crouch, and pedaling, going no faster!
With more riding / conditioning and some hill training, I suspect I won’t be so apprehensive about tackling hills. The Silvio is a superb riding machine, and when people ask I tell them how good it is, but always add – it’s a pity the engine is buggered.
At the end of all of these rides there is no pain in wrists, neck, back or bum. There’s just a sensation of tiredness at having exercised in a pleasant way and taken in the scenery in a relaxed manner. Yes, I say, it is as comfortable as it looks.
Silvio CBS-070 parked
|In 2011, my Silvio has a headrest, a click-stand (thanks Dan) and a CamelBak Better Bottle with (insulated) hands-free tube (thanks Doug).I parked it at the finish line of the MS Summercycle and attracted some interest, as I did on the ride.The Bike Snob (Eben Weiss), who writes a column in the US magazine “Bicycling” has a collection of these writings published in a book – Bike Snob: Systematically and Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling. He presents a taxonomy (Velo-taxonomy) on The Various Subsets of Cyclists. He seems to have a soft spot for the “Lone Wolf”, because I suspect at heart he is one, and their cousins, the “Contraption Captains”. Needless to say, Contraption Captains are recumbent riders who “… mean no harm, and they’re simply operating machines they feel are superior to regular bicycles because they’re potentially faster and they don’t require the rider to sit on a narrow saddle.”He also says “The recumbent strikes fear into the hearts of nearly every non-recumbent-riding cyclist. … Cyclists all notice one another. so when we see something that looks like a bicycle yet places the rider in an odd position with his feet kicking the air like he’s defending himself from an attacking eagle we become confused and disoriented. And when animals (including humans) don’t understand something they become angry and defensive.”I don’t think I could have put it better myself.|
No wonder it’s hard to convince non-Cruzbike riders of the benefits of Cruzbiking. But as an American President once said:
“I would rather lose in a cause that will some day win, than win in a cause that will some day lose.” Woodrow Wilson.
Or maybe it’s a case of:
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Mahatma Gandhi
Maybe in 2011 we will reach a “tipping” point for Cruzbikes? Or at least Cruzbiking will embiggen the cromulent world of cycling.