Recumbent Riders

I just purchased a Catrike Expedition have started training. This will of course be my first RAGBRAI, that is if I get selected. Do you see many recumbent riders? Looking forward to the ride and all of the excitement that comes with it!! Any information you have for a ” Virgin” would be greatly appreciated.

33 Replies

Richard Arnopolin, February 20, 2019 at 7:16 pm

If it moves on 2 or 3 wheels you will see it on RAGBRAI. I have done RAGBRAI 5 times, all on a Terra Tour (20″) trike. Just pick a spot on the right and let the hot shots fly by you. Some of the other advice folks have wrote bears repeating: a) 20″ wheels? Carry and bring extra spare tubes. Also bring along a spare tire. The mechanics in the next town will not always have the 20″ 406 tire you use or the (take your pick) Shrader/Presta tube you use.
Visors: the morning sun is quite blinding when travelling east on a trike. I use the DaBrim sport myself. Camera: I carry my point and shoot digital camera on the right brake handle of my Catrike 559. I usually finish the ride with about a 1000 shots.

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Linda Wiard-Bauer, February 25, 2019 at 9:19 pm

IN 2017, I rode my husband’s Comfort Cycle 2000 (a 60 pond delta) in RAGBRAI. Trying to talk him into riding it with me this year. I plan on riding my GreenSpeed GT3, a tadpole with 16″ wheels. In 2017, the recumbent trike riders had a meet-up. We should do it again!

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James Airey, February 26, 2019 at 12:00 am

While it will be my first time on this ride, I retired finally and don’t have to fight for the days off to do these and will be bringing my AZUB trike. I had it built custom and did BAK (bike across Kansas) on it last June very successfully and will be happy to see fellow trikers there to compare notes with on our particular rides. Best thing for successful completion of these kinds of rides is to remember to stay hydrated as it will be warm and humid likely and that means remember to have electrolite replacement mix with you on the trike as it might not be at the aid stations and that can really bite you for the loss of salts. Learned that one on BAK, have it on the trike with you just in case. Trikes are the best for not being too sore at the end of long miles and you can carry a camera much easier for the interesting sites along the road. Sunrises/ storm clouds/ folks along the way or whatever. These longer rides are a challenge and lots of fun if you take the time to enjoy yourself, don’t worry about how fast you are compared to the local road bike sprinter as it were.

Armytroll

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Dennis Cole, April 9, 2019 at 2:32 pm

Jboz wisely noted the recumbent seating position exposes your face to the sun and I heartily agree with the sunscreen recommendation, and do not forget to use a broad spectrum lip balm. This good advice follows from painful experience!

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David Daniels, April 10, 2019 at 4:30 pm

Dizzy – The Official Rider Count for each day is more like 20K, so 700 ‘Bent and 12 / mile… And the ‘unofficial’ count is higher!

Enjoy!
cheers,
just dave

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Dan Kurovski, April 14, 2019 at 10:01 am

So, how was the transition to recumbent? And what was main reason to switch? Is the pedaling up the hills more challenging? So many questions I know…

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@Trykeman, April 14, 2019 at 6:14 pm

The reason I tell everyone I ride a trike is that I have a very delicate tush.

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LawnchairMan, April 14, 2019 at 7:05 pm

My main reason for going to a recumbent is that I have arthritis in my neck. It is difficult to tip my head up on a diamond frame bike when leaning forward to stay aerodynamic. Not only does my neck not hurt, other body parts don’t get sore on a long ride. Only my muscles get sore if I work.

A close second reason is that recumbents hold the record for fastest non-drafting speed. Recumbents were banned from races in the 1930’s due to the aero advantage. I am talking two wheeled recumbents, so I don’t know that that applies to trikes.

I went cold turkey; never trying one before purchase. I had a bike shipped to me. I sat on it for twenty minutes or more trying to figure out how to get my second foot onto the pedals without falling. My solution was to coast down my driveway and not worry about pedaling. The steering is different, so I had to get used to that. I walked the bike back up the drive, began coasting, then started pedaling. My seat position was very upright at first, but I gradually adjusted it downwards.

It took roughly six weeks to develop my recumbent muscle group. I use calf muscles more than I did on a diamond frame bike. I learned new techniques for months, and one took a year. The latter was launching up a 5% grade. The main trick there was to shift to my lowest granny gear before I stopped.

I chose a recumbent with two 700 wheels so I could be seen in traffic better. Since I am away from the ground I don’t worry about leg suck. I still use clipless pedals to keep my feet where they belong. Once in a while I do push and pull at the same time to get out of the way of traffic.

Hills are certainly more challenging. My bike only weighs 19 pounds, but I since I can’t stand, climbing is still slower. Again mine is a two wheeler, so I have to maintain 4.5 mph to stay upright. I was attempting a 15+% grade once, and just couldn’t pedal. I tipped over. Trikes won’t fall, so they can take hills slower if they choose.

The fun part of recumbents is going downhill or on the flats. We definitely have the aero advantage and can cruse while other cyclist are working. And the forward view is great! We don’t have to just look at the ten or fifteen feet of road in front of us. I see the whole panorama in front of me. I can’t turn my head around to see back, so I have a mirror on either side of my handlebars.

All in all I think I go a half to full mile per hour faster on my recumbent than I do on a diamond framer. This would probably not be the case on Tour de France terrain. For the grade of hills I do, my recumbent works just fine! I was accused of cheating by using a steel recumbent on a century. Now that I have a lighter bike it really feels that I am cheating!

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Kelli Libby, April 21, 2019 at 8:06 am

Lost and Found Adventures is one of the oldest charters with RAGBRAI.
We provide transportation for e-bikes, tandems, and trikes.
Our charter offers a number of options…
We are a family owned and ran business.
1. Airport pick up and drop off is provided this year by Holiday Inn / Ameristar, for our riders convenience.
2. An air-conditioned Charter coach bus from Keokuk back to Council Bluffs, the start town.
3. Baggage support across Iowa.
4. Camp showers daily (where permitted).
5. Ice cold refreshments.
6. Hot coffee in the AM.
7. Tent service, small set up, or Large all inclusive.
8. Check us out. http://www.lfadventures.com/home-page.html

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Richard Arnopolin, April 27, 2019 at 2:11 pm

i wish!

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Stridget, May 6, 2019 at 3:46 pm

Hi there Armytroll. Just wanted to tell you that you are so right about electrolytes. Got sent home from the ride once for being dehydrated. And I also wanted to tell you that there are no aid stations or rest stops on RAGBRAI. All food and drink is on your own. That being said,there is plenty available, including Gatorade in every town and every convenience store.

I’m doing my 17th RAGBRAI and 4th on a trike. The only way to really understand the ride is to do it. There is nothing else like it. Enormous fun with the right mind set!! Just don’t be embarrassed if the walkers pass you on some of the hills. You’ll get em on the downhill.

This reply was modified 7 months ago by  Stridget.

This reply was modified 7 months ago by  Stridget.

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gregmitchell66, June 3, 2019 at 7:28 pm

People will tell you that bents are a huge part of RAGBRAI! You might even see a few velomobiles or a penny! Then there’s the roller blade guy! Seen him! He desends crazy fast the year I saw him.

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Thomas Roberts, June 4, 2019 at 3:37 pm

In 2009, a strange person did the ride on an old banana seat bike, sans the seat. He stood all the to Burlington from Council Bluffs.

Get ready to see almost anything you can imagine. Get ready to have s blast.

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Michrider !!!, June 4, 2019 at 5:09 pm

That Catrike is a nice machine. There is regular poster here Michrider who has one I think. Maybe he will weigh in too. You will see that there will be recumbents and especially trikes everywhere and there is kind of a kinship among the trike riders. You will quickly find some riding buddies, even if only for a few miles.

I ride a Catrike 559. However, I’ve never ridden RAGBRAI on it!!! I’ve done the ride 10 times but always on my upright! Health problems will prevent me from doing this year’s version. Have fun and don’t forget the sunscreen, I just had a malignant melanoma removed from my right arm!!! I’ll be back!!! BTW, RAGBRAI don’t care!!!

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Bruce Woodrow, July 4, 2019 at 9:28 pm

Lots of good comments already.

This year will be my third consecutive RAGBRAI, all on a recumbent trike (Greenspeed GTO, tadpole, all 3 wheels 20”).

I ride slowly which means the days are long, so sun protection is important. I mostly cover up, by wearing compression tights and arm sleeves. Under my helmet I wear a lightweight hat with a deep visor that has clip on neck flaps and a clip on face shield [see photos]. I also use UV lip protector, along with sun screen for my nose.

Where I live and train is hillier than Iowa so the hills are bearable, especially since you can’t fall over on a trike no matter how slow you go.
Santa Claus suit, RAGBRAI 2018
Hat with deep visor, side flaps and face shield

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