A bicycle lying , also called bent , horizontal bicycle or pedal-car , is a Véhicule with human propulsion conceived so that the driver is in reclining position (lying on the back, legs with horizontal) to pedal. The pedals are thus located in front of the bicycle, and the saddle is replaced by a seat where the back can also rest. The nose gear wheel is often smaller. The handlebar is either above the knees, or under its buttocks.
History of the bicycle lying or pedal-carThe bicycle lying was invented by Charles Mochet. It created initially a bicycle with 4 wheels to make it possible his son to roll to Vélo, without having too much risk to be made reverse by a car. It created then bicycles with 4 wheels and 2 seats, which it called ancestor “pedal-car” of the Vélomobile S, who was a success in France, in a country ruined by the First World War, where the car was too expensive, and this vehicle average a rapid to move.
It created also its first pedal-car with 2 wheels, composed of wheels 50 cm in diameter, a length of 146 cm and an adjustable seat. He proposed with Henri Lemoine to take part in races Cycliste S, in order to show the superiority of his bicycle on the traditional bicycles. This last refused, perhaps by fear of the ridiculous one.
Francis Faure (which did not have any family ties with Benoit Faure) accepted this challenge. The other cyclists made fun of him at the beginning of the race, but it preceded them quickly broad head.
It gained then all the races against the best cyclists of Europe.
July 7th 1933, Francis Faure beat the record of the hour with bicycle by carrying out 45,055 km in 1 hour. The preceding record was then of 44,247 km in 1 hour, carried out by the champion Oscar Egg, 20 years earlier.
February 3rd 1934, a commission of the International Union Cyclist declared that this type of bicycle was not acceptable for the races, and withdrew his title of the record of the hour with Francis Faure. This bicycle was to then be prohibited competitions of the UCI.
Today records of more than 85 km in 1 hour were reached with modern versions of this type of bicycle. October 5th, 2002, Canadian Sam Whittingham becomes the fastest man in the world by reaching 130,34 km/h on the dish, without the assistance of any engine. Its performance is not due as well to physical capacities except standards as with the extraordinary output of its machine, Varna Diablo II: a a little special bicycle surrounded by an aerodynamic careenage and whose position of pédalage is horizontal. Another characteristic, Varna is a model with traction, i.e. with nose gear wheel motor coach and director. For the remainder, it acts neither more nor less than of a bicycle like the others with pedals, two chains (to facilitate the transmission on the nose gear wheel and to obtain a sufficient development), pinions, two brakes and a handlebar whose form is adapted to the geometry of the unit. In spite of its aspect which appears still astonishing at present for the general public, Varna does not comprise any innovation. It is the result of the natural evolution of the bicycle.
The bicycle lyingThe principal advantages of this configuration comes on the one hand from the best penetration in the air, the frontal surface being reduced of more than half compared to a traditional bicycle, and on the other hand of the less constraining position for the skeleton and the heart. As energy to spend to overcome the resistance of the air grows proportionally with frontal surface, the made saving is far from being negligible. The international Union cyclist prohibited it in the competitions since 1936 and for the records, in particular of the hour, since 1996.
The bicycle lying does not allow brutal accelerations and is handicapped on the stiffest slopes. However, its advantage is obvious on long courses, even if the relief is undulating: in the descents, the lengthened cyclist rests better than on the normal bicycle while going more quickly (speeds from 70 to 90 km/h in descent can rather easily be reached with a bicycle lying), in the coasts, the cyclist lying cannot put as a dancer but benefits from the support of his back on the file of his seat to gain a little power and not too much to let itself outdistance. To start with a bicycle lying is not as complicated as it appears to with it: resting against the two feet (one on each side of the machine), quite sitted in the seat, one places a foot on a pedal by deferring his weight on that which remained on the ground, time to give the first impulse on the pedals. Once launched, one can immediately raise the second foot and start to pedal normally. There are other advantages but also disadvantages. In the chapter of the advantages, one can note faster physical recovery, the excellent natural visibility forwards on unconstrained 180° in the neck, for the chapter of the disadvantages it is necessary to note a bad visibility backwards which imposes the use of a rear view mirror, the lack of ventilation in the back. But from the point of view of the user, overall the advantages and the feeling speed largely make forget the disadvantages.
As the bicycle lying is appreciably longer (from its footing) that a traditional bicycle, one uses less the handlebar than the slope of the bicycle to engage a turn, contrary to the traditional bicycle. This is all the more true as speed increases.
Speeds which one can reach with a laid down bicycle, the fact that it is particularly stable even very charged (because of sound Center of gravity very low), and the low diameter (in general) of its nose gear wheel justify that it is frequently equipped with brakes discs. Its aptitude to remain stable with an important loading also often makes it use like bicycle of excursion (sometimes with the help of a Remorque to increase the Payload transported).
There exist also versions of Tandem lying.
The bicycle lying is still often manufactured in small series, even artisanalement, which carries its average costs above that of the traditional bicycles of the same range.
Round the world tours with bicycle lying
See also: List of voyages to bicycle lying
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