A recumbent bike is a good alternative for people with back and joint problems who still want the thrill of a bike ride without the discomfort. A recumbent bike allows a user to pedal in the sitting position with the upper body leaning back instead of forward, as is the usual bike riding position. Recumbent bike benefits range from improved cardiovascular function to simply having fun on a bike. A person's balance can be improved as well, as can his or her muscle strength and overall health. Recumbent bike benefits often mirror the benefits of a regular bike ride, though with less discomfort.
Riding a recumbent bike also allows for a less stressful riding position for the rider. There is no excess pressure on the body when sitting on the seat, since a recumbent bike's seat is not as narrow or hard as a regular bike seat. The arms and shoulders do not incur as much stress from shocks and vibrations as they would on a regular bicycle, meaning recumbent bike benefits include lower stress and damage to muscles, tendons, cartilage, and bones in the upper and lower body.
A recumbent rider can ramp up his or her heart rate quickly and easily to reap the benefits of an aerobic activity. Recumbent bike benefits include fat burning for weight loss, increased muscle strength for muscle building and toning, improved balance, and in some cases even improved mobility. The pedaling motion is much easier on the joints than other activities such as running, so tendons, ligaments, and cartilage can actually be strengthened by the motion rather than degraded or weakened.
Recumbent bike benefits do not, unfortunately, include easy storage. The bikes do tend to be much larger and heavier than normal bicycles, and they can be somewhat cumbersome to ride at first. There is a learning curve for riding that can take some time to overcome, and storing the bike can be troublesome in especially small garages or sheds. Repairing and maintaining the bike can also be somewhat more difficult than maintaining or repairing a regular bicycle, particularly because it can be difficult or impossible to put the recumbent bike in a traditional bicycle work stand.
One of the less publicized recumbent bike benefits that can be one of the most important benefits is the appearance of the bike. While the aesthetic of the bike is not especially important in terms of visual appeal, it is important because motorists are more likely to notice the unusual looking bicycle than they are a regular bicycle. If the motorist is more likely to notice the recumbent bike, he or she is less likely to accidentally strike the cyclist.