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Recumbent Riders in Monterey County

Recumbent rider and skateboarder - 1-1-12

Above, on the City of Monterey section of the coastal trail

Below, in downtown Monterey

Visitors getting tips from a local recumbent rider, August 2018

The March 2016 visitors below know too that recumbent riders can sometimes be as difficult to notice as little children on small bikes. So they choose to add tall flags to their bikes, as well as wearing high-visibility apparel. See Bicycling Monterey’s philosophy and tips about high visibility apparel and accessories.

Thanks to Leo Kodl for this 6/16/14 update:

The recumbent-specific ride group mentioned below just never jelled. There was an inaugural ride; after that, lacking turnout, local enthusiasts Geno and Leo discontinued the ride.

There is another ride that these two locals continue to ride regularly, sometimes on their recumbents. What’s that? A  Velo Club Monterey ride typically held each Sunday at 8 a.m., departing from the Portola Plaza Hotel fountain. (That’s at the foot of Alvarado Street–and not to be confused with the Custom House Plaza fountain, which is near the backside of the Portola Hotel property. See “Where the Plazas Are in the City of Monterey” for photos of both.)

This weekly ride is commonly referred to as VCM’s “No Rider Left Behind.” For any updates,  check the VCM website’sLocal Rides” listings, and contact the ride organizer listed there; or contact VCM or VCM Answer Man Jan Valencia.

Any recumbent rider who is looking for a “group ride” will likely enjoy No Rider Left Behind. It goes out to Pezzini’s on Nashua Road in Castroville and back. Nice folks, nice ride!

* * * * *

Many years prior to the launch (in 2009) of Bicycling Monterey, there  was a loose, very small group of recumbent riders who would get together now and then for a group recumbent ride. That group dissolved long ago, and to my knowledge, it wasn’t until October 2013 that an attempt was made to resurrect a Monterey area group recumbent ride.

The info below was previously published 10/25/13.
Thanks to Velo Club Monterey members and friends, there’s a new riding group in Monterey County, intended exclusively for recumbent bicycles or tricycles.

No invitation necessary. Just show up and introduce yourself.

The ride will take place on the last Sunday of every month. (The first was Oct 27, 2013.) To confirm, or for any updates, please contact VCM.
Scroll down for details on the meetup location, route, and more.

#3 man on recumbent at adobe_MG_6417

One avid local cyclist who is an experienced recumbent rider is Leo Kodl, who provided photos 5 through 11 of this post. Catch Leo–or perhaps another experienced recumbent rider, such as Pacific Grove High School teacher Fred Rubin–out on the bikeways and ask them for tips. Meanwhile, below is some general info.

Leo is such a helpful bike advocate, and he has contributed many photos to the Bicycling Monterey site since 2009. We finally twisted his arm so we could get a photo of him too!

Leo Kodl local avid cyclist and bike advocate rides many types including recumbent

Recumbents come in a wide variety of styles…

as this Wikipedia entry, along with Easy Racers [click here for 10/3/17 update from the Santa Cruz Sentinel about Easy Racers], Rans Designs, and other company websites show.

Among recumbent riders, handcycles  (or hand and foot) are popular too, and you’ll see them on the Monterey County bikeways.  While handcycling is especially appreciated by people experiencing lower-body disabilities, handcycling is popular with others as well.  Learn more at USHandcycling.orgSea Otter Classic featured handcycling competition in 2011.

Below: Ed’s career expertise demands many working hours at the computer.  That makes those hours with his handcycle on the bikeways a very desirable way to keep life in balance.

Need to rent a recumbent?

To my knowledge, as of 10/25/13, no recumbent rentals are available in Monterey County. However you can rent a recumbent to use here, or purchase a used or new one, from Easy Racers in Santa Cruz County [click here for 10/3/17 update from the Santa Cruz Sentinel about Easy Racers].

California State University Monterey Bay has a handcycle available for CSUMBers. Ask Megan Tolbert if borrowing it is appropriate for you.

Riding a recumbent

Besides the usual need to be mindful of bike laws and safety tips–including Michael Bluejay’s great tips on how to not get hit by cars!–recumbents have a special challenge:  While they’re eye-catching in that they are more unusual, being low to the ground, many of these bikes are less visible.

While philosophies and practices of people who bike vary, and that’s true of recumbent riders too, you may wish to consider this: Recently a local lowracer dressed in dark clothing, with no tall flag, was nearly hit by a car. The Monterey Bay region’s Easy Racers and many recumbent riders encourage using high-visibility flags. Some resources for flags are included in the high-visibility section of this site.

Sun Bicycles of Nashville offers some recumbent-specific safety tips. Easy Street Recumbents of Austin offers these tips. Bacchetta has recumbent FAQs. And here are some recumbent tips from the Twin Cities Bicycle Club.

About Monterey’s new

recumbent ride group

Below is the Velo Club  Monterey Facebook post from 10/18/13 about this  new group:

The ride route will be Monterey to Pezzini’s Produce Market, Castroville, and then back to Monterey. Total ride distance is 31 miles. (Pezzini’s has food and beverages, and a restroom.)

This is not a ride for beginners. Fifteen miles each way. Some elevation gain. Ride will be conducted at a focused tempo. There will be no motorized support (no sag wagons).

Participants are responsible for routine on-road repair to their machines. [Note that the Castroville bike shop is closed on Sundays; details below.] It’s advised that participants carry food and water and a cellular telephone. Helmet recommended.

Purpose of the ride is to accomplish the route as a cohesive recumbent group. There will be no performance/fitness objectives. No rider will be left behind.

Ride will depart from the Custom House Plaza Fountain, last Sunday of the month. Departure time: 0930 Pacific time.
Have fun!
The “bike freeway” below is part of the beautiful route you’ll be on.

Yup, that’s two striped, paved lanes for bikes, and paved shoulder lane for pedestrians–where the photographer had momentarily parked his bike on this quiet day.

Bike freeeway with recumbent DSC02583

For additional recumbent groups, you may also wish to check the forum at Easy Racers  (Santa Cruz County).

Recumbent Leo Kodl bay viewDSC01313PG downtown night recumbent DSC01453Recumbent - Greenspeed Wharf - Leo KodlCSUMB bike rack - Leo Kodl DSC01431Post No Bills bike rack DSC02483Leo Kodl - Lumiere 3 - DSC01336

The woman below represented recumbent riders when U.S. Transportation Secretary (now former secretary) Ray LaHood was in Monterey on Veterans Day 2012.

Recumbent riderRecumbent 1 Aug 2011Biker - recumbent anon woman at MaritimeRecumbent couple and local bike activists 1-1-12 (1)

For Castroville tips, click here.

This post was published on 25 October 2013. One or more changes last made to this post on 10 August 2018.

  1. marilynch says:

    Hi, Chris. To find others to ride recumbents with in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, you may find it helpful to get in touch with VCM about their No Rider Left Behind group, and Easy Racers in Watsonville about leads they may have. Links to both are in the above post. Best wishes.

  2. Christopher Lucas says:

    I’m looking for recumbent riders to ride with in Santa Cruz or Monterey counties. I ride a LWB Easy Racers Ti-Rush, and I love it!!!


    ~ Chris

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