Have you ever heard of a rodeo where there are no critters?
Cindy, Ben Jones (the proprietor of Dogwood Junction Bike and Trike Shop), and Louis spent the weekend of February 26th, 27th, and 28th down in Austin Texas. (Unfortunately Penny the doxie was not able to attend.) It was the Heart of Texas Recumbent Rally and Rodeo. The only competitors were PEOPLE with their trusty steads – their RECUMBENTS. In fact there were around 75 ‘bent riders from all over the United States. This event was primarily sponsored by Easy Street Recumbent Bike and Trike shop. They knew how to put on an awesome event and were blessed with perfect weather and an awesome showing of recumbent trikers from all over Texas and surrounding states. Yes, Arkansas was represented for the first time.
The first day, Friday, we registered for the event. Then we had the opportunity to hang out with some really awesome people- because ‘bent riders are always awesome people at Easy Street Recumbent. We saw so many different recumbent trikes and bikes. There were CatTrikes, HPVelotecnik trikes, TerraTrikes, Ice Trikes, Velomobiles and several others.
After about 2 hours of checking trikes and listening to triking stories from like I said the most awesome people, we got to go on an 8 mile Excursion on some of Austin’s fantastic bike trails to Walnut Creek.
Again I have to emphasize, the weather was absolutely wonderful and of course because everyone who rode were recumbent trikers, the company was amazing. The ride itself was pretty flat with only one hill to speak of. We finished up mid afternoon and headed back to Easy Street to hear some more stories and meet Dexter one of the biggest dogs I have ever seen. We stayed for several nights at Habitat Suites. It reminded us a bit like an European feel, relaxed atmosphere and wonderful staff. They offered complimentary hot and healthy breakfast to get our day started right, and in the evenings many of the trikers that stayed there unwind with complimentary choice wines, beer and light fare by the courtyard. The Suite was very roomy, comfy bed, nice kitchen and front room which also included a pullout bed from the couch. We highly recommend staying there when you visit Austin, Texas. http://www.habitatsuites.com/
The next day, Saturday, was the main event. This was held in the parking lot of LA Fitness. We started out with some open practice on the course we would be competing on in the afternoon. This was a lot of fun. It also gave an excellent opportunity to check out our competition. Next we got to go to Recumbent University. We attended a seminar presented by Mike the owner of Easy Street Recumbents on the proper maintenance of our trikes. We learned proper care of the chain and gears. We learned about the proper care of disc brakes. We learned a lot about tire pressure. Did you that you are not supposed to just blow your tires up until they are hard as rocks, hmmm? Mike shared a very good formula on how to determine proper tire pressure.
We also learned that one very important thing to check related to pedaling efficiency is the strap tension on the seat. I thought you just set this to resemble the cushion of my Lay Z Boy recliner – Hmmm. 🙂
After this we got to attend another seminar on the history of recumbents presented by Peter Stull “Mr. Bikeman”. Peter is an expert on the history of recumbent bikes and trikes. His bike shop in Alfred Station in Western New York is full of vintage recumbent bikes and trikes. I didn’t know that recumbents were in production all the way back in 1898. It was great to know that recumbent riders come from a long tradition. After this we had lunch on our trikes in the competition “arena” and raffle for some great triking stuff like mirrors, lights, locks, helmet brims, and more. A raffle ticket was issued to each competitor at registration. Everyone was encouraged to purchase additional tickets with the proceeds going to Operation Comfort, which supports our veterans. Each winner received a number, which was their ticket to compete in the rodeo. They had some extra numbers so others got to compete as well.
Now it was time for the main event – the rodeo. The first competition was pole bending. Each of the competitors was itchin’ to show their stuff. The emcee called out the numbers in order. The ‘bent riders with pent up energy were in the “bull pin” ready to slam through the gate to show everyone what their ‘bent could do. All the spectators – the other ‘bent riders – yelled and encouraged each competitor. Even Spider Man took time out of his busy crime fighting day to compete on his recumbent trike. Some riders were so into the competition they flipped their ‘bents on the curves. Fortunately no one was seriously injured! The classes of competition were recumbent trikes, recumbent tandem trikes and recumbent bikes. The best times for the recumbent trikers were under 18 seconds! After the trophies were distributed and photos were made for posterity, it was time for the next event – Barrel Racing although there were not barrels. This was another good spirited competition with lots of yelling and encouragement. Each of the competitors was called by the emcee in order. They each circled three “barrels” (which were actually 3 poles from the Pole Bending competition) and returned back to the gate as fast as they could make their ‘bent go. It was a very fun event. After trophies were distributed we all retired to the hotel for happy hour where we were regaled with even more stories of triking adventures and plans for future triking adventures. People who ride trikes are the best!
On Sunday morning we participated in a 12 mile Scenic ride with about 30 other wonderful ‘bent trikers which started at Northeast Metro Park. We had a blast especially Cindy and Louie. Cindy and Louie got lost … but all was not lost. We met the group coming towards us. So we turned around and followed the rest of new friends back to the park. After this we packed up and enjoyed a nice relaxing 9 hour drive back to Fayetteville, AR. Ben kept us entertained with lots of stories and even road games. I think going to Rallies are going to be a “Cindy and Louis THING” because it is a wonderful time had by all. We would love to hear some of your stories and tales of Rallies across this country … Share some with us!
For more photos and details check out these links: https://www.facebook.com/HOTRecumbentRally/ and https://heartoftexasrecumbentrally.wordpress.com/Blog/