|Information about tandem recumbent bicycles|
Hills on a Recumbent
Recumbents are designed for spinning up hills in low gears while seated. Professional racers on upright bikes sometimes stand up on steep hills because their bikes have straight-block freewheels with no low gears to spin on. Sometimes upright bike racers stand up just to get a break from the uncomfortable seat on an upright bike. Mountain bikers do a lot of standing to maneuver and lift the bike over obstacles. Recumbents are generally not used for mountain biking.
Recumbents have low gears for steep hills. A recumbent seat is so comfortable there is no need to lift yourself off of it just to relieve pain.
Many people have the misconception that recumbents must go slower up hills because the recumbent cyclist is forced to lounge in the recumbent seat rather than stand up. Standing allows an upright cyclist to brace herself against the handlebars to exert more force on the pedals when she runs out of low gears. A recumbent cyclist can brace herself against the seatback and the handlebars to achieve the same force on the pedals.
The upright cyclist is actually exerting some wasted energy by forcing herself off the seat while the recumbent cyclist is lying comfortably on the seatback and putting most of her energy into forward motion. In theory, the recumbent cyclist should reach the top of a hill before an upright cyclist exerting the same amount of energy. In fact, some recumbent cyclists do pass upright cyclists going up hills. Uphill performance depends on fitness and training, not on the type of bike.
In practice, most recumbent cyclists ride the heavier types of recumbent bikes with a lot of extra gear aboard for maximum comfort and convenience. If an experienced recumbent cyclist is going uphill more slowly it is usually because of the extra weight. The other reason a recumbent cyclist would be going more slowly up a hill is because they just donít care to go any faster.
On an upright bicycle one tends to become obsessed with the destination because the journey on an upright bike can be less than comfortable. On a recumbent, the journey is not painful and a hill may just be an excuse to slow down, spin and enjoy the sights and sounds. It is a question of attitude and some former upright cyclists just have to learn to be less aggressive and confrontational with the hills and a new and pleasant experience will unfold on a recumbent bicycle. Recumbent cyclists can also afford to dilly-dally on the hills because they will rocket down the other side and catch up to the upright cyclists anyway.
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