Recumbents and all feet forward machines
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So I'm a bit of a noob to the whole recumbent thing, and just wanted to grab some thoughts re: climbing. Personally it's fair to say I'm not a natural climber, but with some patience and practice I was doing rides like the Three Gorges ( http://www.strava.com/activities/37940373 ) pretty comfortably. On the trike getting up the top corner of Centennial Park ( http://www.strava.com/activities/80566735#1637967483 ) is a non trivial effort.
Is climbing on the trike always going to be this damn hard? I do have a slightly grandiose vision of a France trip to (among other things) ride some of the big climbs. Is that something that one can actually tackle on a recumbent, or is that unrealistic on a trike?
Your legs will take time to adjust to the new position. Also make sure you are set up correctly. I was overextending for a long time when I got my first recumbent (mango sport Velomobile). Ive recently fixed my "fit" and the speed increase is about 30 % uphills. I felt pretty silly after riding in the wrong position for so long but getting your fit right is not as easy on a recumbent. Others have told they have a shorter leg length on a recumbent than on a DF bike to assist in the circular pedalling motion. Play around with your fit - it may help.
Since most trikes are heavier that most bikes (more material) climbing with a trike is not going to be easier - except having been 'benting, both 2 and 3 wheels since the early '80s, in some ways it's easier on a three-some, because there's effectively no minimum speed. On a two-some bent it seems to be much more energetic climbing the same hill than a three-some, there's not the worries about falling over if you go too slowly. So although you may be slower on a trike, once you've got your muscles and your technique dialed in, (and your patience) hills shouldn't be too much of a surprise. Happy triking.
As for undertaking a triking trip around Europe, many people do. They can carry a greater weight of luggage than a two-some (bent or upright) because there are more places to hang stuff, and again there's no worry about keeping it all balanced. I quite happily tote about 30 kg of shopping on my trike with a BoB trailer. I can then add further gear into my panniers. It's slow, but it gives me time to look at the scenery and even smell the flowers, being so low to the ground. I'd love descend the trike on some of the big climbs in France, because I think one can go around corners faster, if one is prepared to act like the passenger on a racing sidecar and lean well into the turns.
Here's a video of me going down a local Zig Zag Road in the Hills behind Perth (though without luggage or a trailer).
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All of the above plus if the hill is steep enough to make kicking off from a stop on your two-wheeler a bit challenging you have no such problem on the trike. You won't fall over just trying to get your foot engaged.
I remember doing a recumbent group tour to Toodyay behind the Perth hills on a hot day. With Julimar Rd having more longer climbs than rolling hills the trikes kept leaving the bikes behind, we'd stop to wait for them and on the trikes that just meant stopping, no dismounting. Resting was just sitting on the trike. Cool down a little, wait and then simply push off again. It was far easier on the trikes than the SWBs.
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