A recumbent bicycle places the rider in a laid-back reclining position.
Recumbents come in many different sizes and configurations usually with either two or threes wheels.
Most recumbents are rear-wheel-drive but there are many FWD models available.
A well designed recumbent is far more comfortable than an upright bike;
the rider’s weight is distributed comfortably over a larger area, supported by back and buttocks.
There is minimal weight on the hands so you should not suffer sore wrists or numb hands/fingers after a long ride.
Recumbent bicycle designs were around from the 1860s of both prone and supine varieties can be traced back to the earliest days of the bicycle.
Before the shape of the bicycle settled down following Starley‘s safety bicycle, there was a good deal of experimentation with various arrangements, and this included designs which might be considered recumbent.
The earliest known illustration of a recumbent is in the September 10, 1893 issue of Fliegende Blätter magazine.
Recumbent designs were patented in the late 19th century.
The Challand designs of 1897 and the American Brown of 1901 are both recognisable as forerunners of today’s recumbents.
Charles Mochet was the inventive maker of lightweight powered cyclecars (Le P’tit Auto) and pedal-powered cars (quadricycles), mainly two-seaters, built on a tubular-steel chassis with bicycle-sized wheels, variable gears and aerodynamic bodywork, in effect a faired-in ‘sociable’.
The popularity of the little cars declined in the late ’30s as cheaper, powered cars became available, only to rise rapidly when petrol became almost unobtainable during WW-2, 1939-1945.
Mochet made the first performance recumbent bicycle, using a design which was based on half of his four-wheeled Velocar.
This machine, called by the factory the ‘Velo-Velocar‘, or ‘V-V’ for short, broke many world cycling records in 1933 ridden by a relatively unknown rider.
Although Mochet had verified with the UCI and the UVF that his recumbents were completely legal for competition, they were declared ineligible at a later hearing and permanently banned from competition by cycling’s governing body, the UCI at the behest of the makers of standard upright cycles.
Mochet had perhaps also broken an unspoken rule that only “First-Category” riders could attempt records, his rider, Francis Faure, being only a second-category rider.