New owner reflection on learning to ride a Cruzbike recumbent road bike: "I'm now comfortable with riding my S40"

When Maria received this email update from Michael, a new Cruzbike S40 owner, she immediately shared it with the rest of the team and asked if we could share it with the whole Cruzbike community. Michael so precisely describes what it means to be comfortable riding a Cruzbike. We hope you enjoy his reflection as much as we did:

Let me tell you what I mean by “I’m now comfortable with riding my S40”.

When anyone first interacts with new technology, the disconnect between the nervous system and the technology is generally is attributed to the technology — unless the technology is broadly used. For example, a child’s difficulty in learning to ride a diamond framed bike is seldom attributed to the bike’s design. Millions have learned to ride traditional bikes, so no one blames the bike.

New or innovative technology — like a front wheel drive recumbent — is seldom afforded the same benefit. The nervous system naturally produces discomfort when someone learns to ride a traditional or a recumbent bike, but in the case of the recumbent — the bike design receives the blame. So, “getting comfortable with a Cruzbike”, in one sense, means enduring the inherent discomfort in training the nervous system until new neural patterns become habituated and fall below conscious awareness. It’s the same process experienced by children when learning to ride a traditional bike. In this sense, the discomfort associated with learning to ride the Cruzbike S40 dissipated after a couple of dozen rides.

“Comfortable" also speaks to the physical impact of the S40 on my body. We are all comfortable (from a learned behavior standpoint) with walking in shoes, but we tend to avoid shoes that pinch our toes or abrade our skin. However, some technologies require us to endure the discomfort (and downright pain) in our bodies in exchange for the benefits the technology can bring. In such cases, we try to adjust our bodies to avoid the pain and discomfort. Traditional bikes fall into this category of technologies. Inherent in the design is weight-bearing on body parts not evolved to support the weight and a “head-up” neck extension to see.

The benefits - and pure joy - of biking lead us to make adjustments to our bodies to minimize this pain and discomfort. In many cases, however, these inherent sources of pain and discomfort cannot be eliminated and serve as the limiting factor in enjoying a biking experience.

A Cruzbike does not present such limitations. The design itself eliminates impacts on the body associated with traditional bike designs, so a rider need not make any adjustments to his or her body to mitigate "diamond framed pain".

So, by saying I am comfortable with my S40, I also mean I am enjoying riding without the pain and discomfort experienced every time I rode an archaic bike. This "comfortable" began with my very first ride.

I’ve now moved on to “gobs of fun”!

Owner reflection on getting comfortable riding a Cruzbike recumbent road bike


  • Vaughn Thornton

    Those new at it and trying to get comfortable, I will tell you that even the shortest ride whether in miles or minutes all add up. I was so excited about my new S40 when I received it that if I only had 20 minutes, I would take it around the block a couple of times. 15 minutes here, 20 minutes there, it all adds up. When I hit the 500 mile mark, I was confident on the bike. Traffic, large cycling events, you name it. Just takes a little “stick-to-it-ness” and you’ll be fine.

  • Robb

    Q45 with head support have had neck surgery

  • Denis Rivest

    I have had a Freerider since 2011, and have truly been enjoying it in the years. But man, Don’t I wish I had either a S40 or V20, but the cost is just too high for my income level. It seems that every time I try to put some money aside to get one, some financial emergency claims that money, and I have to start all over again.
    Maybe one year, I’ll be able to afford one!
    In the meantime, I’ll keep enjoying my Freerider, thinking I could do a lot worse as a bike to ride.
    Enjoy your rides,

  • ronald long

    Read through this quickly, with some positive nods, and a bit of skepticism. Then I noticed the sentence “….couple of dozen rides.”. That makes it much more believable.
    I’m at about 100 miles, and some 40-50 km rides, on my S40. I’m not sure I’m even halfway there. It’s clear that much of the “learning” that has to happen is physical and neurological, not mental.
    Absolutely look forward to getting to that point.
    Planning some pretty significant rides on the Cruzbike next year, so doing my best to get to the point of the “bike disappearing underneath me” soon.

  • KC

    Going to recumbent bike store this week for my 2nd training bike session. Trying to learn to balance, so I can go from Flintstone, to lifting legs to at least get them up to pedals. Tired after 1st lesson. Going to keep persevering. Training on a Q45. Tried the S40 but not comfortable. Woul like to try T50 but store doesn’t have one. Want to learn to ride bike first without battery & hub. Just gotta be patient n repetitive n hopefully be able to enjoy bike , so I can buy one.

  • Paul Areson

    Very well put. I generally hated biking for the discomfort and unusual body position involved. Have had a S40 for 4 years and enjoy its many positives without giving a thought to the learning process that seems so long ago!

  • Thomas Emison

    Excellent blog thanks!

  • Le Hammond

    Speaking of comfort, I love my Q45…I just really wish there was a head rest for it. Any way to modify the other headrests you have to work on my bike???

  • Mark S Ralston

    I’m looking forward to getting comfortable in exactly this way with my new S40. After 6 rides and 34 miles, I occasionally feel that comfort for a second or two and it’s glorious. Looking forward to seconds turning into minutes turning into hours.

  • Steve Heywood

    It took me around 1000 miles on my S40 before I felt totally comfortable… Once I “got it” I fell in love with the whole experience…

    I’m now about to take the plunge on a 2020 V20 frame with only 50 miles on it to build the next “mean machine”

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