cycling utah April 1999

Comfort and innovation spin their wheels

The Utah Human Powered Vehicle Association (UHPVA) is a group of riders and builders who come together around the theme of comfort and innovation in bicycle design.

First and foremost is comfort. When you ride a recumbent bicycle you no longer have an aching back, stiff neck, numb wrists or sore bottom. You sit in an easy chair position with a great view of the countryside. In this position your lungs and chest are open and free to breathe easier.

Recumbents hold all of the human-powered speed records. This is because they are aerodynamically more efficient with less wind resistance. Current speed record for the flying 200 meter course is 68 MPH!

At the present time no major bicycle manufacturer builds recumbent road bicycles, so instead of a mass-produced bike they are built by hand in smaller custom batches.

Prices for a new recumbent will start around $695 to $995 entry level to $1295 to $1595 nicely equipped. Performance bikes can run $2200 on up. Of course, a good used recumbent would cost less but a recumbent holds its value very well. There are several sources available to allow a person to "home-build" a recumbent.

Recumbent bike riding does not require any special skills, although at first it will feel "different" than an upright or mountain type bicycle. One difference, however, is that recumbent riding uses slightly different leg muscles than regular bikes so new riders should take care to build up those muscle groups gradually as they increase their riding distances.

Most recumbent riders report no problem in motorists seeing and avoiding them as they ride since recumbents are about the same height as a conventional bike but because these bikes look so much different than an ordinary bike, they draw attention to their presence more easily.

How can you learn more about recumbent bicycles and human powered vehicles?

You may contact Michael Coulson at 801-763-8142 or by email at [email protected] or Dale Pitts at Avalon Recumbents & Specialty Bicycles at 801-785-1461. Recumbents and other vehicles will be on display at the upcoming criterium races in downtown Salt Lake City May 15 from 2-6 PM.

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