The prevailing narrative is that recumbent bicycle riders are a breed apart, never having ridden regular diamond-framed bikes, and only able to see things from their viewpoint – lower to the ground as it is.
Larry Hobbs, owner of Jersey Bents bike shop in Hamilton Square, New Jersey, rewrote this script. As with many things in life, happenstance brought him from being an avid rider of a regular bicycle to owning a recumbent-only bike shop.
Hobbs writes at the Jersey Bents website: “I have ridden a diamond frame for more than half of my life. Rides as short as a few loops around the neighborhood or 100 miles. I was “forced” into the recumbent community after a fall left me with a lingering elbow injury. BEST THING to ever happen to me!”
Five years after his recumbent conversion, Hobbs had the opportunity to purchase an existing bike shop (not specializing in recumbents), and he realized his dreams of opening his own business. The rest, as they say, is history.
Hobbs’ son Matt is co-owner, head mechanic, bike builder and caretaker of the shop dog, Bacon. Unlike his father, Matt wasn’t forced into a recumbent, but a fascination with his father’s recumbent bike led to a lifelong interest in the mechanical side of recumbents.
“My dad’s first recumbent, a long wheel base Gold Rush, intrigued me like nothing has since I first saw a snowboard! When he brought that bike home, I was fascinated by it. I learned to ride the recumbent and it opened my eyes to a whole new world!” he says.
Jersey Bents has the largest selection of recumbent bikes and trikes for sale in the tri-state region. They serve as a clearinghouse for information and support for all things recumbent, and offer free test rides and bike fitting.
Recumbent bikes from Alinker, Azub, Bacchetta, Catrike, Cruzbike, Day 6, ICE, Lightning Cycle Dynamics, TerraTrike, and Trident Trikes line the racks in the shop, and they offer a wide range of accessories and expert repairs to get you on the road on a recumbent and keep you pedaling.
Jersey Bents is open three days a week, but are available other times by appointment. Larry and Matt advise that it’s best for customers to call ahead to the shop in any case, so that they can prepare appropriate bikes for test rides. They also encourage customers to come wearing appropriate cycling attire and shoes, to get the best performance out of the test rides.
Although Jersey Bents helps a lot of cyclists who are forced into riding recumbents because of injury, there are a growing number of cyclists who choose to ride recumbents for the pain free miles that they promise. Whatever your reasons for riding a recumbent, they hope to serve your needs soon.