Geared recumbents , as distinct from early front-drivers , first appeared in the 1890s, soon after the pneumatic-tired safety bicycle.
See Early Recumbents
“While the racing world outlawed recumbents soon after Francis Faure set an hour record on a recumbent in 1933, cyclotourists and randonneurs couldn’t have cared less about what the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) thought: That recumbents weren’t “real” bicycles.
Recumbents appealed to “real-world” riders because they seemed to offer speed and comfort, in addition to novelty. “
He tried a mid 1930s Velocar but found it difficult to ride because he is too tall for the machine but has been offered another go when it has been adjusted to suit him..
As with all bikes, they must be fitted to the rider.
As he says, “recumbent seats have come a long way since 1933″ and I would certainly agree with that statement.
My current machine is superbly comfortable.