What Is a Recumbent Bicycle?

What Is a Recumbent Bicycle?
A recumbent bicycle is one where the rider is seated in a reclined position, akin to leaning back in a chair. Bicycles of this type have a number of advantages over conventional bikes.

The Seat

The most obvious advantage of the recumbent is that it distributes the weight of the rider over a large area of the buttocks and back, just as a reclining chair would. An ordinary bike squarely focuses this weight on a small area of the buttocks and groin, the feet and the hands.


Health Benefits

There are a handful of health benefits coming from the more ergonomic arrangement of the recumbent bicycle. These include reduced chafing and/or saddle sores, and improved circulation in the groin.


Recumbents also have certain safety advantages over conventional bicycles. Riders cannot be thrown over the top of the handlebars, and they have greater breaking power because of a lower center of gravity.


There are two steering formats for recumbents: above seat and under seat. Above seat steering uses handlebars that resemble those of a chopper-style motorcycle, while under seat are located at the sides just below the seat of the bicycle.


Most riders find recumbents are trickier to balance than a conventional bicycle, a product of its low center of gravity. This means mastering the riding of the bike will take most people longer than it would a conventional bike.

Fun Fact

On September 18, 2008, Sam Whittingham became the world's fastest cyclist, setting a record of 82.3 mph on a recumbent bike.


Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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