[LINK] plug-in-hybrid-vehicles and grids

Karl Auer kauer at biplane.com.au
Mon Sep 7 23:23:28 AEST 2009

On Mon, 2009-09-07 at 19:30 +1000, Rick Welykochy wrote:
> Tony, Do you find the recumbent more efficient in delivering
> power from your pedaling to the road?
> I've been pondering getting an electric scooter for the 'lazy days',
> but if a recumbent is more efficient than an upright pushbike, I
> might opt for one of those instead :)

I've been riding a recumbent trike since early 2000 (so coming up on a
decade, wow).

Recumbents are generally heavier than an upright bike - not heavy, just
heavier. Recumbent trikes more so, and they also have three contact
patches, not two, so slightly more road resistance.

In spite of these apparent drawbacks, recumbents have been banned from
all world cycling events for a very good reason. The last time they were
allowed (many decades ago) they held pretty much every title. A
recumbent holds the world cycling speed record, set at Battle Mountain a
few years ago.

A tadpole trike (two wheel at the front, one at the back) corners
absolutely wickedly and brakes on half a dime. A short wheel-base
recumbent bike generally corners better than its upright cousins, too.

If you take the racing bike body position and rotate it backwards
through 90 degrees or so you end up with the recumbent riding position,
so the position is the same, but more efficient aerodynamically.

Because you have a seat supporting your hips and back, you can bring all
the power in your legs to the pedals. In fact, you have to be conscious
of the danger to your knees as you get stronger. Because your upper body
is less involved in delivering power to the pedals, recumbent riding is
less useful as upper body exercise. However, you can get a row-bike,
which is powered by a rowing motion which will give you a great all-body

The downside of the recumbent riding position is that you have less
flexibility, so cannot for example stand on the pedals or do the various
other things that allow an upright rider to rest various muscle groups.
On the other other hand, you are not carrying all your weight on two
square inches of hard saddle jammed up your groin, so the Dreaded Dead
Dong Syndrome (or its female equivalent, which name I dare not speak) is
a thing of the past.

Regards, K.

Karl Auer (kauer at biplane.com.au)                   +61-2-64957160 (h)
http://www.biplane.com.au/~kauer/                  +61-428-957160 (mob)

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