Ride on a recumbent

The single-most important decision for the Panamerican Peaks project is the choice of the bike. I estimate I will spend about 8 months on / with this bike, so the decision about the bike is important. After some research I have decided to take a leap of faith and go with a recumbent!

A few weeks ago I visited a local recumbent bike shop and did a test-ride on a few different recumbents. One of those was a trike, actually very intriguing, ultra-comfortable and stable; the Catrike felt like a combination of couch and race-car:

Test ride on the Catrike recumbent

However, a trike has some disadvantages: You sit very low, which means you get overlooked easily and can’t see over parked cars in city traffic for instance. You take up more space on the road, which can be a problem if riding on a road without shoulder. You also don’t have much of a shock absorber, which can be very hard when riding on bumpy roads – which I can expect in Alaska and in many places throughout South America.

I finally set three criteria:

  • 2 wheel recumbent (no trike)
  • Under-Seat Steering (more comfortable)
  • Same-size front + back wheel, preferably 26″ (spare parts)
  • One model which fulfilled all criteria was the Challenge Seiran, manufactured by the Dutch Challenge factory. This is the model which Stefan and Pius had used on their Panamerican ride. As it turned out, I ended up buying Stefan’s bike – likely this will become the first recumbent to ride the Panamericana twice! I flew to Europe to see family and friends, and also to pick up the Seiran directly from Stefan in Zuirch:

    Challenge Seiran - this bike has already done the Panamericana!

    After disassembling it for transport in the airplane it is currently being assembled and over-hauled. I can’t wait to put some training miles on this bike in April!

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