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RECUMBENT versus REGULAR racing bicycle

Leo Rogier Verberne


As a member of the non-competitive cycling and training club Vlug Trug in Den Dungen (province of Noord-Brabant), I rode a racing bicycle for a number of years. We roamed the Brabant countryside and sometimes the hills of southern Limburg or the Belgian and Luxembourg Ardennes. During cycling holidays in the French Alps, the Italian Apennines, the Spanish Pyrenees and around and on the Pico del Veleta (Sierra Nevada), I also rode approx. 1000 km every year in (high) mountains. Until I required surgery due to prostate problems. It was during that time that I discovered just how uncomfortable the saddle of a regular racing bicycle was and I switched to a recumbent racing bicycle.

I have since tried four different recumbent bicycles. And so I experienced the pros and cons of both types of bicycles. But after a holiday in the French Alps in the vicinity of and on the Alpe d’Huez on a low racer, I no longer considered a recumbent bicycle an option for cycling in (high) mountains. And the ‘Marmotte’ (a classic climb in France) simply can’t be done by a non-competitive rider on a recumbent bicycle.

The differences in speed between a recumbent and a regular racing bicycle on a level road, when climbing and when descending are based on two phenomena:
- your front surface is smaller (and the air resistance lower) on a recumbent bicycle;
- your pedaling power is greater on a regular racing bicycle.
The result of that combination is a difference in speed under various circumstances: wind, road surface, on a level road, when climbing and when descending. This booklet provides a theoretical basis for these differences.

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© Leo Rogier Verberne
ISBN/EAN: 978-90-825495-1-5

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The hardcover edition can be ordered here
price € 29.95