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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Recumbent Bans

When writing my last blog entry, I looked up the Melburn Roobaix website to find a link.  There I stumbled across the following (here) "Absolutely any bicycle (except recumbents) is acceptable".  Why should this Roubaix ban recumbents?  There is absolutely no technical reason.  The prizes are in a rag-tag of novelty categories, and there are no prizes for speed, so recumbents could not have any technical advantages.  Recumbents are not demonstrably less safe than other bikes, and they can certainly brake better than some other types.

So what are we left with?  To me it seems like just an arbitrary door-bitch style decision based on the likes and dislikes of the organisers.  I'd welcome their feedback. Well what else could this be compared to?

* Organisers of the Melbourne Cup ban pink hats because someone doesn't like them.
* Its ok to use phones in the Caf, but iPhones are banned

Way back in the 1890's, new types of bikes were being introduced.  Fortunately for everyone, there was little resistance to their introduction and most bikes today have designs based on those invented about 120 years ago.  Thank the liberal minded and unfussy folk from back then that Penny Farthings do not dominate now, and have a think before dismissing the recumbents of today.

There are a few other institutions banning recumbents for not very good reasons and with a bit of push, I'm sure they could be persuaded to rescind the bans. Here are a couple of them..

Everesting , or climbing about 8500m on a bike in a single ride. Quite bizarrely amongst a host of rules, tandems are banned as well as recumbents.  Couldn't imagine anything harder than doing all that uphill riding on a tandem!  (Recumbents can climb well as per this post .) Here is the specific rule: "We don’t want you to take this challenge lying down, and mechanical doping is a no-no (obviously). Acceptable bikes: Road, MTB, CX, Track, BMX. Not acceptable: Electric, tandem, recumbent."
Interestingly, while "mechanical doping" is specifically banned, there is no mention of the banning of doping or the use of performance enhancing drugs in order to "Everest", not even to say you are a doofus if you take drugs in order to ride a bike better.
Recently, I participated in a very flat Audax 1200k ride on my recumbent and got on very well with my standard bicycle riding companions.  Anyway, the ride took us up the worlds smallest mountain, Mount Wycheproof, in Warracknabeal in Western Victoria.  With this post, I formally introduce the concept of "Wycheproofing" which can be described as "ascending Mount Wycheproof or part thereof, by any Human Powered Method, this includes but is not limited to walking, running, scooter, cycling, recumbent riding. Send me a photo (steve "the at symbol" and a story or just comment on this page with a link.  Here is an early entrant, the wonderful Marion Halliday has a story here.  At the time of discovering "Everesting" I drafted and investigated various things about the contrast between Everesting and Wycheproofing.  This includes the name of the activity.

Wycheproof :  originates from an aboriginal word meaning 'grass on a hill'.  Simple, descriptive, the aboriginal name for the mountain matches the english name.

Everest : Confusingly named after an English Surveyor General of India by Andrew Waugh who also held that post.  It was or is known by various other names including Peak XV, Kangchenjunga, Dhaulagiri, Deodungha,  Chomolungma, most of which should properly be capped by an even more confusing array of umlaut and cedilla accenty type things.

Amy's Gran Fondo , it seems strange for a charity which promotes cycle safety not to allow recumbents and other decades old innovations (like tandems, disc wheels, tri bars) in their ride.  There are prizes for various ride participants, but wouldn't it be easier to exclude the bikes which have (or are) innovations from the prizes and not from the ride itself?   For goodness sake, everyone who enters raises money for the charity anyway.  A very small innovation could make the whole ride more inclusive, how about a prize for the first tandem or recumbent? 

So, err to end on a more positive note, some rides and organisations encourage or don't discourage recumbents and they are to applauded: (will write more about these in a later installment)



Round the Bay in a Day (bike Vic)

Lake Wendouree Relay Ride

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