When I lived in the midwest, one of the things I hated most was how hot the nights were in the summer. Some nights it never got below 85 degrees in my apartment. I never slept well in the summers, and would wake up dripping with sweat. Here in the northwest, even during the hottest part of the summer, it cools down at night so you can get some sleep.

Of course this also means it starts out freaking cold when I want to ride my bike to work. It’s supposed to be 70 degrees and sunny today, but when I left this morning it was in the low forties and I could see my breath. Brrr.

There’s something you need to know about recumbent bikes. For all their comfort and efficiency, they do offer a few drawbacks. They aren’t as stable at low speeds as an upright. The center of gravity is much lower, and you can’t shift your body weight like you can on an upright. Plus, the little tires don’t offer the same gyroscopic stabilization until you reach much higher speeds. The result is that at low speeds, like when you’re starting from a stop, you ride like a drunken chimp for a few pedal strokes.

This morning I was just starting out, not quite warmed up yet, and had turned onto a one-block stretch of sidewalk that I take to avoid a particularly busy intersection with no bike lane. I only ride on the sidewalk to get to the entrance of the bike path, and only in the mornings. On the way home, I ride in the traffic.

Unfortunately, this morning I looked up to see an oncoming cyclist on the same stretch of sidewalk. While recumbents aren’t necessarily wider than an upright bike, they look wider and they feel wider. I slowed down and moved as far as I could to the right to let him pass. Unfortunately, I slowed down to drunken chimp speed.

He let out a cheery “Good morning!” as he passed me, and my tires started rubbing the turf at the edge of the sidewalk. I tried to correct, but down I went, like a narcoleptic elephant. *THUD!*

Do you remember on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In when Arte Johnson would put on a yellow slicker and ride a tricycle? And the skit always ended with him falling over? That’s exactly what I looked like this morning. Fortunately I landed on the grass on my elbow and hip, and the only thing injured was my pride.

The rest of the ride was uneventful. I felt good this morning, and the ride seemed a little less strenuous than usual. Maybe I’m getting in shape?

I’m finally breaking down and getting a bunch of bike gear to make my commute more comfortable. I’m getting fenders, a fairing, an underseat rack, and some panniers so I can actually carry a change of clothes.

When I get the bike all kitted out, I’ll post a picture of it.