You know bike culture is growing steadily regardless of if slowly when you start seeing more and more recumbent bicycles on the roads of a place like new york city, previously one of the most notoriously bicycle-unfriendly cities around and still host to irritable drivers and hostile policemen.

It has for a while been recognized that a reclined rider position, together with the frame geometries 100% unique to that situation, make for much better aerodynamics and much quicker speeds so fast, in reality the land record for speed in a human-powered vehicle is held by a recumbent bicycle.

So fast, in fact , that early on bicycle races banned recumbent because of the design’s inherent advantages . After winning a few races, it became quite clear that, all else being more or less equal, a recumbent rider was sure to triumph each time. And so the recumbent quickly faded from popular view and has been relegated to mostly home-built designs.

But bicycling is quite the rage in Europe, particularly the more socially progressive states like Germany and Holland. In Germany, there’s even a town which voted to prohibit all automobile traffic to the edges of the city, while in the Netherlands there are many more bicycles than automobiles on the road on any given day! And so it is that in these countries the recumbent bicycle has found fairly prevalent adoption, and the trend seems to be catching on even in a rough place like NY City.

Recumbents, or bents for short, are available in several different designs, from low-riders that look virtually as if the person is laying down supine to choppers that almost resemble classic bike designs. In reality ‘bents’ are a whole lot more sundry than regular bicycles ( AKA uprights ) are, which is one reason why they aren’t yet as widely supported by bike shops in the United States.

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