Category Archives: Personal

How to get people riding recumbent bicycles

This Cruzbike blog post talks about the new Union Cycliste Internationale’s manifesto, Cycling for All. Cruzbike’s Jim Parker says, and I paraphrase, that without recumbents in the conversation, the UCI’s manifesto is so much hot air because upright bicycles are structurally unhealthy for people – causing serious pain if used regularly, particularly in middle-aged and older cyclists. If the UCI is serious about “bicycling for all,” we must talk about place of recumbents in the cycling world.

Of course, I agree that recumbents should be in the conversation – indeed, I think that most riders would prefer recumbents due to comfort. In the car biz, top speed and hill climbing ability is not the only criteria for excellence – comfort, style, affordability, etc., play serious roles. The constant criticism of upright bicyclists about the perceived lack of hill climbing ability of recumbents is simply irrelevant to the “the all” in the bicycling for all. Most riders will never seek out ten thousand feet of climbing for a day’s ride, after all, and will go to great lengths to avoid that kind of climbing.

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How to market recumbents to teens and their parents

This article is a companion piece to my article on how to get people onto recumbents.  This article will focus on how to get recumbents into teenagers hands, which I think will create loyalty that endures generations.

So, Kit, how WOULD you sell recumbent bicycles to kids, given their costs?

Time for a numbered list of points!

First, I’d sell them to rich people.  While most parents aren’t able to spend a thousand (much less two or three thousand) on a bicycle, there is a distinct group who don’t think that $1200 or $1800 is too much for a bike.  The wealthy.  Sell bikes to them.  Since rich kids tend to set trends, their recumbent bikes will put pressure on bike companies to make less expensive offerings for middle- and working-class children.

Second, and with a lot less “ick” factor, is marketing them to overweight kids and their parents.

Of course, some of this is based on my experience, but with children in the United States getting heavier and heavier due to a toxic combination where sweet and fatty foods are aggressively marketed to kids AND a sedentary lifestyle abetted by the Internet and video games, a lot of them might want to ride upright bicycles but find them uncomfortable.  If you’re fourteen and your parents get you an upright street bike in the hopes that you’ll get out more often, only to find it propping up a garage wall because it is too uncomfortable. . . well, that does no one any good, right?

On the other hand, bents are comfy bikes.  They can be marketed at parents as essential and useful exercise equipment – rationalizing the higher price for a bent than upright bike.  Saying to a parent, “Spend $1200 on a bicycle that won’t hurt your kid’s back, neck, and groin, dramatically increasing the odds of them using it and lose weight” is a pretty good pitch.

And, then, a certain number of those overweight kids will get into it.  And, then, because recumbent bikes tend to be faster downhill and on the flats than just about any upright bike, some of those overweight kids will start to pass their peers on mountain and street bikes as they go to school and other errands.

That’s how I’d market to kids, though.  I’d advertise higher-end recumbents to rich people as “cool.”  Then I’d focus on parents of overweight children as an exercise tool that has a higher chance of being used than an upright bicycle.  Once they’re hooked, I bet they’ll stay hooked.

Weight Loss Monday, Part 2!

Weight post! Ending May 7th, that week I rode 105.42 miles and burned (via MapMyRide) 10,450 calories. I lost 3.9 pounds, which means that I lost a pound for every 2679 calories recorded. (A pound of fat is 3500 calories, BTW.)

This is slightly weird. The week before, I rode nearly sixty more miles and lost 2.5 pounds – for one pound of weight for every 9692 calories used on my bicycle. I know that local variation can be significant, but during the past week, I ALSO went to a show – so I spent the whole weekend eating steak and lasagne without getting on my bicycle once. So I am pretty surprised I lost 40% more weight with that much less exercise.

I’ll continue to update my progress, but it seems out of whack. Though, to some extent, that is what I expected.  Still, data!

Weight-Loss Monday!

It’s Weight-Loss Monday, my hopefully weekly blog post about how my weight loss is going, and the experiment to judge the whole “food in, exercise it off” thing that we’re told.

Some notes on how I’m doing this: I’ll get up, calculate the miles that were ridden and approximate calories expended using the data from MapMyRide.com as recorded from my bike computer. I will relieve myself, then weigh myself, and record the result. Then I’ll write a post about it! I will try to do this every Monday. The details are at the end if you want to skip the methodology part.

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Weight loss experiment on myself!

I’m gonna talk about weight! In particular, about the idea that losing weight is an indifferent physical system – that one loses weight solely by restricting calorie intake and increasing one’s level of exercise.

I’ve lost about 120 pounds over the past year or so, in part because I do a lot of bicycle riding. But I have not lost as much weight much as I “should.” On an average day, I each about 2200 calories – I eat around 2000 calories on days I don’t ride, and somewhat more on days that I do. This is nowhere near my maintenance intake, even now (which is about 2900 calories). So, even if I was just sitting at my computer every day, I should be losing weight. About a pound every five days, as a matter of fact, since a pound of fat has about 3500 calories in it.

I wish to do a little experiment on my body!

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