Recumbent bikes and trikes are becoming a more common sight in metro Denver parks and trails as boomers and older adults rediscover the pleasure of bike riding. It turns out that some of the younger crowd find recumbents add another dimension to their cycling, too. And, many people with disabilities who have incorporated stationary recumbent bikes into their physical therapy over the past few years venture outside on recumbent trikes, three-wheel versions, or four-wheeled bikes that offer more stability.
The recumbent bike features a seat with low-slung back, placing the rider in a near reclining position, distributing weight more evenly across the bicycle. Most recumbents are pedaled with legs, with customized versions for those who have greater hand strength due to various conditions. The bicycle’s roots trace to an early recumbent version. Over the years, the speed of recumbents increased to 31mph, causing the Union Cyclist International to ban the recumbent bike from future competitions. Historians suggest that because of this decision recumbents did not become mainstream.
Steven Shoemaker, owner of Rocky Mountain Recumbents (RMR), followed his passion for cycling to Ft. Collins, Colorado. He had been on the hunt for several years to purchase a bike shop. What he found was not only an established shop, but one that specialized in recumbents. He knew instantly that this was the right match for him. Steven and his staff not only sell new recumbents, but offer rentals and repairs. He and his team work to make the ride as comfortable as possible.
Steven’s parents, Dr. Susan Shoemaker and Dr. Russ Shoemaker, spend summers in Ft. Collins working at RMR and making the rounds with demo models around metro Denver and the front range. They displayed four recumbent trikes to the recent Riding for Rehab event hosted by Rocky Mountain Stroke Center (RMSC) at Mountainside Fitness in Westminster. On Sunday, July 11, stroke survivors, their families and supporters, staff and patrons of the fitness center rode stationary bikes, spinners and recumbents for their pledged minutes and miles in the first of several cycling fundraising events planned by RMSC. The next Riding for Rehab fundraiser for stroke rehabilitation takes place at Mountainside Fitness at Lone Tree on July 25 at 1 p.m. Learn more about supporting Riding for Rehab and read Kathryn’s reporting of that event.
“This is so cool,” beamed Kathy Comminiello, stroke survivor and participant in the Riding for Rehab event, as she test drove one of the Shoemakers' models. “I can move so fast and freely! I want one!” Susan Shoemaker said that this is why their whole family loves this work. “We hear these expressions of delight and freedom all the time!”
Kathryn also writes as Denver Disability Examiner and Denver Senior Care Examiner. Contact for inquiries and to suggest potential future topics. Select “subscribe” above to receive Kathryn’s articles on a regular basis.