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Passenger eye level, a little known subtlety of social biking

After helping Myles install the Xtracycle FreeRadical on his Cruz Bike recumbent, it got me thinking once again about the passenger experience. On most long bikes such as the Xtracycle and the Mundo, the passenger’s eyes line up roughly with the middle of the back of the rider. This limits the front visibility of the passenger and leaves them to simply trust that the rider knows what they’re doing.

By serendipity, Myles’ Xtracycle build offered a much different passenger experience. As you can see in the picture, my eyes as a passenger lined up with the top of Myles’ head, allowing me a nearly complete view of the road as we cruised. Another subtlety of the passenger experience on the Cruz Bike / Xtracycle combo is how close the rider’s and passenger’s heads are to eachother. This makes conversation so much more easy going. You don’t lose nearly as many words to the wind, and you can talk to each other the same voice you’d use in a room.

The Cruz Bike isn’t for everyone, so before you run out and buy one, you should know that, like other recumbents, it’s going to make it more difficult for you to climb hills. There’s no way to climb ‘out of the saddle’ like you do when you need a burst of power on an upright bicycle.

When I designed the Soul Cycle Convertible Chopper, my goal was to provide both the powerful leg extension of an upright bicycle with the attitude, comfort, and passenger experience of a chopper / semi-recumbent bike.

Passenger and rider on the Soul Cycle Convertible Chopper
Above: Lisa can see over my shoulders while cruising on the Choprical Fish, based on the Soul Cycle Convertible Chopper frameset. Photo: Paul McKensie

Riding the Soul Cycle Convertible Chopper in the upright position.
Above: When it’s time to climb a hill on the Soul Cycle Convertible Chopper, the seat comes into upright position, allowing full leg extension for maximum power. Photo: Fast Boy.