Why a recumbent?
February 1996, while cross-country skiing in Sweden, I had an
unfortunate backwards fall and landed on the sharp edge of the skis. It
wasn't very painful, but I had trouble getting back up to return to the
cabin, some 6 Miles further down the track. I managed to get there,
eventually, and didn't bother to try go get to the hospital, 50 Miles
down the road, since it was the last day of the holiday anyway. I had a
terrible night, throwing up blood, and thinking I was going to die. The
next day I returned home, unable to stand upright. I figured I might
have a slipped disk, kept a stiff upper lip and continued the +750 Miles
drive home. Back home, I managed to get to work and forgot all about the
Half a year later, while lifting a computer monitor, I found myself on
the floor, with numb legs. Again, I diagnosed myself as having a spinal
disc herniation, crawled onto the sofa and called the doctor. Three week
later, back on the job, I noticed loss of feeling in my legs again and
went to the hospital, where the diagnose was a 'problem' with the spinal
cord. I had surgery and only then, on the operation table, it was found
that I had two broken vertebrae, that were "floating". This must have
happened at the skiing accident.
After four hours of surgery, I returned to my room with a lot of
stuff missing in my back, i.e. on the levels L3, L4, L5, the spinal
canal had to be broadened by roaming the foramina, and in the process,
the laminae were removed, leaving me with a vulnerable open back.
It took me a couple of months to recover from the surgery, and I was
very fortunate not to end up in a wheelchair, but my back will always
remain a weak spot. In 1997 I was diagnosed with "Failed Back Syndrome"
and was declared +66% disabled.
Later in 1997 I managed to ride a bike again: I bought a brand new recumbent
in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, at De Liggende Hollander
since there were no such bikes on offer in Belgium... I had a couple of
test-rides on different bikes, and in the end was left with the choice
between a Batavus Relaxx and an M5. I decided to have the best bike
available and bought the M5, equipped with hydraulic Magura brakes,
front and rear suspension, in short: the full Monty. $$$ in those days,
but well worth the money... until an expensive divorce forced me to sell
In the short period of time I had the M5, I've learned that a
recumbent is a very dangerous vehicle, since it is physically
impossible to view over the shoulder to watch oncoming traffic. Other
road users have difficulty to spot a recumbent in traffic, due to it's
low profile and higher speed, compared to a normal bicycle.
In 2003 I bought a Batavus Relaxx, and enjoyed it for a while, as can
be seen in the small clip at the top of this page.. I eventually sold
it and bought my first e-bike to replace it.
The biggest advantage of a recumbent is that it is very comfortable
for people with back-problems: I managed to ride, even with a slipped
disc, and not being able to walk properly.
A three-wheeled recumbent would be my HPV of choice, but these are
rare as hen's teeth and very expensive, even on the second-hand
In July 2015, after a hot day working in the garden, I suffered from
angina percoris. Having had two heart-attacks before, I recognized the
danger, rushed to hospital, and underwent a quadruple CABG.. Since
then, my HPV of choice is my Batavus E-go e-bike.