I decided that if I was going to buy a bike, I was going to buy a recumbent. Nigel Savage (founder and Executive Director of Hazon) rides a recumbent. He has been a good friend for many years and he more or less got me into this biking thing. In the summer of 2000 Nigel had walked into a bike store in Seattle, WA, purchased a recumbent, and proceeded to ride it across the USA to Washington, DC.
Nigel, and other fans of recumbents, all talk up its comfort and style (and hard work uphill). There are many kinds of recumbents, and I will write more about them in future posts.
I found my way to Wheelworks in Belmont. As recommended by Isaac B. (and subsequently several others), I called the store and asked if they sold recumbent bikes.
I was told "You want to talk to Scott Chamberlain." So I did... and then I went to the store and met him. He found a recumbent bike, lent me a helmet, and took me out for a humiliation session.
As you know (if you have been reading this blog), I have been able to ride a bike since my childhood. However, riding a regular bike does not translate directly to riding a recumbent ... at least not when it comes to starting up. Luckily, learning to ride a recumbent does not involve falling off ... just a little humiliation. After about 30 minutes I got the hang of starting up, and can now do it two times out of three without looking like a complete dork. Scott, who had been looking on and coaching me (part of the humiliation, it felt to me) reassured me; he said that it took him, an accomplished cyclist, TWO DAYS to learn since he had no-one to help or coach him. He had thought the entire thing was an elaborate joke. He told me he kept calling the manufacturer to ask them whether the bike was defective (or upside down?). We both succeeded... but I am standing on the shoulders of giants here (or at least sitting, recumbent, on the shoulders of giants). Thanks, Scott.
Since then I have spent an hour or so on two or three models, and have decided what I am going to buy. I spoke to Danny Kayne who just did the Hazon Israel ride on almost exactly the same model, and he told me it was great, but hard work uphill.
In a few minutes I am going to pick up my bike from the store. I expect it to be hard work uphill.