The bike refused to go in a straight line no matter how much I wrestled with the handlebars, but I was determined to control it. I have been riding all sorts of bikes for decades and there was no way this one was going to best me.
I was attempting to ride the front-wheel drive Cruzbike Vendetta at the Recumbent Cycle Convention in Philadelphia. Walking up to the booth, I was pretty sure that they would not be able to fit my 6’8” body on their bike, but I was wrong. Not only did they adjust the bike to fit me, they also went with me to the test track to teach me how to ride it. I had never ridden a front-wheel drive bike after some quick instructions on how to balance and turn, I was off.
Riding a Cruzbike is similar to riding a regular two wheel bike, but very different at the same time. With the laid back seating position and the cranks physically connected to the steering, it creates new challenges in controlling the direction of the bike. The hardest part was getting my brain to figure out these new challenges. I have not had to think this much about riding for decades!
The first step was just sitting on the bike and then pushing around Fred Flintstone style. Not super glamorous, but a necessary step to learn how to control the bike. Next, I tried to get my feet on the pedals. After a little coasting, I was ready to pedal. That is where the struggle started. I was gripping the handlebars so tight and was so wobbly with the pedaling that the bike would wander from left to right like it had a mind of its own.
I managed to make it around the test loop a few times and noticed that with every lap I was less concerned about control and more aware of how comfortable I felt. After 20 minutes I felt like this would be a great solution for people that like the road bike experience but want the comfort of a recumbent. I could feel the bike was fast which backs up the Cruzbike claim that the Vendetta is the fastest bike you will own.
When I got back to Tampa I ordered an S40 (slightly less aggressive design) to ride myself. The first few times on the trail it felt a bit twitchy, but after 50 miles or so, I felt comfortable and in control. I have even been using the S40 as my commuter bike to the shop. After a couple hundred miles on the bike it is one of my favorite riding experiences!
I also purchased a T50 as another demo bike and it is even easier to ride than the S40. I can usually get someone riding it within about 10 or 15 minutes of practice. If you know someone that likes the two-wheel bike experience without the pain and suffering that goes with tradition bikes, have them come try the Cruzbike!