Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sofrider - The First Four Days of Riding

I got the bike Wednesday last week.  It took me about an hour and a half to get it from the box to completely assembled.  Friday morning, I tightened everything up and started trying to ride this beast. The Australian Cruzbike site has this nice page about how to start riding.  I looked it over the night before and found it very useful.  The basic idea is that one "Flinstone"s the bike (that is sits on the seat and propels only by pushing on the ground with your feet) and then practices coasting.  Eventually, you lift your feet and put them on the pedals without pedaling. Within 10 minutes I was pedaling up and down my driveway.  I practiced for a total of about 30 minutes.
Friday afternoon, I took the bike out on quiet streets and rode a 1/4 mile stretch  back and forth about 20 times, starting and stopping.  Unlike Illinois, there are no flat areas around here, so I got plenty of practice starting on hills.  After about half an hour, I wrote the 2 miles round trip to my children's school and back as well as another jaunt for another 2 miles in the neighborhood.  I was getting pretty good although I was pretty exhausted as well.

On Saturday, I took the bike out for a standard 9 mile ride.  I averaged 10.5 mph and dealt with grades of about 6-7% with no problem.  It was already clear to me at this point that I am going to like this bicycle. On Sunday, I did an 11 mile ride (similar path to Saturday's ride with an extra loop) averaging 11.5 mph.  I was quite tired at the end, but that was a very enjoyable ride.

Monday was a vacation day from work, and Kate (my wife) and kids came a long for a ride (I pulled both kids in a trailer).  You can see the ride and stats here.  Pulling the kids, I only averaged 9.5 mph for a 9 mile ride (this is pretty normal for me pulling both of them).  The Sofrider comes with a double front crank (48-34) and an 11-34 cassette.  The cassette has enough range, but I was worried that the front crank didn't.  After pulling the kids up the hills, I went ahead and ordered a triple crank (48-36-26) that I think will make the hills much easier.

Now that I've ridden the bike about 40 miles, here are my impressions:

  • I like it a lot.  It's a lot of fun and I find it much more comfortable than my folding bike and quite a bit more comfortable than my "comfort" bike.
  • As far as my legs go, I can tell I use different muscles than my upright bicycle and even a bit different than my long wheel base recumbent bike.  My forearms and shoulders were (the good kind of) sore after my Sunday and Monday rides, so this is using my upper body more.
  • It is a front-wheel steering bike like almost all others.  But it almost feels like a rear wheel steering bike.  I think that this is because I am sitting so close to the steering pivit point and  suspect this is probably  true of short wheel base recumbent bicycles in general (but this is the only one I've ever ridden).
Update: For those of you who are trying to learn how to ride a Cruzbike yourself, or even just considering it, here is the best advice I have for you:

  • If you are riding and feel like you are losing control, take your feet off of the pedals.
 The Cruzbike is rather unique among bicycles in that it directly couples steering and pedaling. This interaction takes time to get used to.  After the first few days riding, I didn't feel the need to do it much anymore, but when I though things started to go badly, pulling my feet of the pedals let my "normal" bicycle skills kick in and make everything alright.


  1. Nice blog! Some pictures would be nice. I Love this FWD MBB too!

  2. Nice posts, Charles. Glad you're enjoying the Cruzbike.
    - Robert