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From: (Jobst Brandt)
Subject: Re: Mechanical Idiots.  Quest for a world champion.
Date: 20 Oct 1997 18:03:18 GMT

Jeff DelPapa writes:

> The bicycle hasn't been allowed normal evolution ever since the UCI
> started strongly regulating the format of competition legal
> bikes. (either the turn of the century regulator of aerodynamic aids,
> or the mid 30's requirement of strict upright body positions, take your
> pick).

Oh the pain.  This old saw has run out of teeth.  First off, you
didn't mention that the "bicycle" you were talking about was a
recumbent.  Why be so secretive of the fact?  And second what do you
think would be gained by allowing recumbents into UCI racing?  That's
about all the sport needs is another special vehicle that excels in
possibly one discipline, the faired TT.

That the UCI stifles development of the recumbent is the barking dog
on the leash.  Letting the dog off the leash to show it was all bark
and no teeth would be a far too generous an excursion to get it to
shut up.  If one of these advocates, Jeff or otherwise would join me
on a Sunday bike ride, I can't imagine many places that he would be
riding with the group, and it's not because we ride fast.  I have
never met a recumbent, be that on my tours in the Alps, or on local
roads, that wasn't a dud, in curves, on descents, on climbs, on the
trail, climbing over a gate, fording streams, or just cruising along
in the flat.  The ones I experienced were ridden by young men, not
antiques like me.

Most recently I met a couple of recumbent riders while was descending
the local Page Mill Road that is one of a greatest descents around.
As we rolled along a flat section it didn't occur to the rider that I
had come up from behind (was faster) and was not out of breath.  Just
the same he started proselytizing about the superiority of his mount.

I asked him whether he could descend well with this short wheelbase
model, one with a little wheel beneath and behind the pedals, the kind
that flips over if you brake as hard as one safely can on an upright.
My question about descending was posed somewhat in contrast to his
cruising speed, to which he replied enthusiastically that it was much
faster than an upright.  He pedaled off into the first steep section
with vim as I thought enough!  I passed on the outside of the curve
with a large speed advantage, to never see him again.  This is the
usual routine.

You may not be aware of it but the UCI did not recognize MTB's either.
When NORBA had more racers than the USCF at races, they changed their
minds.  Maybe you should do likewise.  A good idea does not yield to
arbitrary rulings by governing bodies.  Don't give me this story of the
UCI preventing the recumbent from its rightful place.

Jobst Brandt      <>

From: (Jobst Brandt)
Newsgroups: alt.rec.bicycles.recumbent,rec.bicycles.misc
Subject: Re: Bents Selling Like Hotcakes!!
Date: 24 Apr 1998 22:33:08 GMT

Warren Block writes:

>> Well, not to take anything away from recumbents, but I think that
>> people are buying them more out of ignorance than desire. There is
>> a lot of hype put out by 'bent enthusiasts and I expect many of
>> these 'bents to put in more garage time than road time in rather
>> short order as people find that 'bents aren't any faster than
>> uprights.

> This assumes that people are buying them to go faster.  I'm often
> asked about my recumbent, and the most common questions, in order,
> are:

> "Is it hard to ride?"  (No.)
> "Is it comfortable?"  (Yes.)
> "Do the small wheels slow you down?"  (No.)
> "How much are they?"  (Depends.)

> If we talk for an extended time, speed comes up, but usually they
> ask how fast I've gone on the bike, not whether it's faster than a
> normal bike.

This is an assumption usually made by people who get sore necks and
seats from bicycling, people who don't ride much.  The first thin is
to complain about saddles and buy a broad one that is comfortable to
sit on, however, such saddles are not comfortable to ride because
sitting on the muscles that propel you causes severe charley horses
for lack of circulation.

The next step is to lie down and relax on a recumbent.  This is
largely parallel to broad saddles.  Instead of gravity pushing the
rider down on his pedals, he gets to push off from his sweaty back.
It's like having a hot water Camelback for heat and no chance of
changing position by standing or riding no hands on a conventional

Ultimately descending at speed is hazardous wherever there is no clear
view of the road ahead.  There nay be a speed bump or its equivalent
in the pavement that could easily be absorbed by standing on a
conventional bicycle but will throw the whole recumbent in the air.
Then there is the carrying of the bicycle over a fence or mud hole...

Jobst Brandt      <>

From: (Jobst Brandt)
Newsgroups: alt.rec.bicycles.recumbent,rec.bicycles.misc
Subject: Re: Bents Selling Like Hotcakes!!
Date: 28 Apr 1998 16:57:20 GMT

Warren Block writes:

> The trails I've ridden on my unsuspended recumbent are of moderate
> difficulty.  Gravel roads are easy, as are fire roads and
> singletrack.  However, I'm not saying that recumbents are ideal for
> this; most are road bikes (and upright road bikes aren't ideal for
> off-road, either).  The point is that it's not impossible to ride
> recumbents off-road.

> Haluzak has a full-suspension off-road recumbent, the Traverse.  I
> don't know how well it works, but it looks like fun:

Well let me be more specific.  Riding typical trails such as Mt
Tamalpais, the Bolinas Ridge trail, or for that matter most of the
forest trails here, require substantial leg articulation to absorb
irregularities, whether riding a bike with suspension or not.  Bicycle
suspensions are in the 1-2 inch range while the legs take up 6-10.

On one occasion I was trail riding with a friend on a MTB who missed
seeing that I had just ridden over a large embedded root and sitting
on the saddle, this threw him and bike end over.  That riders who
cannot stand up would have difficulty riding over such obstacles is
apparent and no matter of bicycle suspension would make up for it.
Even dirt motorcyclists, whose bikes have more than 12 inches travel,
stand on bumps known as whoop-de-doos for a good reason.

Jobst Brandt      <>

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