Friday, February 11, 2005

Does Lance ride a recumbent?

Last weekend we had a display booth at the McLean Health and Beauty Expo. John and I set up a few bikes, including an EZ-3 trike, and the 2005 Barcroft Columbia recumbent tandem that we recently received. I've done a few of these shows, and I've noticed that many of the visitors to the booth can't resist sitting on the trike. Many people who haven't ridden a bike in a while feel much more comfortable and secure on a trike than an upright.

As I was discussing the benefits of riding a recumbent, one of the visitors asked rather facetiously, "Does Lance ride a recumbent?". This is a common question; if recumbents are so great, why don't the pros ride them. My response was that Lance would probably be riding a recumbent had they not been banned from pro racing in the 1930's. According to The Recumbent Bicycle by Gunnar Fehlau, the first recumbent ridden by a professional cyclist was used to break the 1 hour record in 1932 with a distance of 45.1 km (27.9 miles) and to win the Paris-Limoges race in 1934. Shortly afterward, the Union Cycliste Internationale, UCI, voted to change the rules of pro racing to effectively ban recumbents from all future events. Imagine what kind of bikes pros would be racing had this vote not occurred.

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