You've watched people cruising along on their recumbent and you've probably thought—Hey! That looks easy. Well it is, if you know how. Riding an upright bicycle or a recumbent is all about balance. And that’s the first thing you’ll need to develop.
Get started on recumbent riding by picking an easy ‘bent to train on. It should have a seat that is not too high, so you’re able to rest your feet on the ground without sliding much in your seat. Also, the pedals should be close to the ground so you can step on them quickly. It’s always a good idea to get a professional to adjust the ‘bent to your comfort. You could also make sure that the surface where you’re going to train is paved and not too gravelly or soft.
Once you get on, sit far back in your seat and set the low gear. Also keep one hand on the brake to hold the ‘bent steady. With your lower back set in the seat, you’ll get leverage. And this leverage will help you get momentum when you pump the pedals. Sitting far back in your seat is also important because you need to put power in our pedal strokes.
Although easier said than done, try to remain relaxed and not grip your handlebars too tightly. Also try to keep you gaze on the point you want to reach. In the beginning, your attention will tend to go to the pedals to make sure your feet are on them but with a little practice, once your feet learn the pedals, you can focus forward. Focusing in the right direction also helps you maintain your balance.
You need to remember that you’ll balance better when you’re moving. Once you have a little speed, the balance will become easier to maintain. Also when starting up, try not to gain momentum by using your foot to propel forward. When you do that, you tend to move forward in your seat a bit which is not a good idea. Your first pedal stroke should give you the initial momentum you need.
When you’re ready to stop, try to make sure your handlebars are level. Then apply the brakes and put down your feet as soon as the bike stops. If the bike is still moving, you might fall over when your feet get under the seat. To get off from the ‘bent, stand up and step forward.
When learning to ride your recumbent, you could get a friend to help you while you’re not so confident. And just remember, all it takes is patience and practice. Give yourself time and you’ll thank yourself for it. Riding recumbent is a great experience. They’re comfortable and they’re fun.
About the author—This article has been brought to you by Curtis Washington. He has himself tried his hand at recumbent riding and thought it would be a great idea to offer tips to people who are trying this for the first time.