Bikes and bags

Question: On bikes, I’ve heard good things about recumbent bikes, but have so far been unable to track one down. I have heard that they are pricey (=A3500+) but I’m going to contact a specialist shop to find out more. I have had to give up riding my very ordinary town bike because of (a) the vibration [we have lots of cobbled streets here] (b) the wrist angle required and the amount of weight taken by the wrists and (c) the effects on my neck. Recumbents look very odd, but I’m told they are very easy to ride and very stable. Wind resistance is also lower than with a conventional bike because of the more streamlined posture – useful on a day like today.

On bags, a suggestion which might help Christine – I bought a very snazzy Italian number by Coccinelle, which (like the recumbent bike) looks quite weird, but who cares? It is basically a back-to- front back-pack, large handbag-sized, and is referred to variously by family and friends as my ‘body-armour’ or ‘bullet-proof vest’. I’ve learnt to ignore the smart comments about ‘where’s the baby?’, and it is absolutely brilliant in crowded situations like the London underground, as all one’s valuables are safely strapped in front, where you can keep an eye on them, or even a protective arm over them. It is very comfortable – when I’m travelling.

I pop it on in the morning and live in it all day. It is wearable in the car too – the diagonal belt goes above it, and the waist belt goes below it – meaning that, unlike a backpack which is rough on the shoulders as you have to keep taking it on and off, you can, if you wish, go through the contortions only once or twice a day. I’ll try to find out about stockists if anyone is interested.

Answer 1: I have a recumbent tricycle (a Trice) because I have RSI, and my husband has a 2-wheeled recumbent (a Linear) because he loves bikes. I find that the position of the handlebars on my Trice (under the seat) takes a lot of the strain off my arms/wrists/shoulders. And it’s good fun to ride as well!  I got my Trice from FutureCycles, who specialize in alternative bicycles, including recumbents. They will hire them out so that you can try before you buy. Hubby got his Linear from London Recumbents (I think) in Herne Hill. They also let you try before you buy.

Answer 2: Hey that bit about the bag you’ve discovered sounds really interesting, Jean. What with that, my power-assisted car, voice-activated PC and the petrol pump holder gizmo I’ve just sent off for, I should start to call myself Gadget-Woman, I think. If you have details I’d be very interested.  I feel sure I read something on this list about a year ago now where someone gave the website address of a maker of horizontal bicycles – in the US, I think. Perhaps it’s in the archives?  Talking about gadgets – this is a bit personal I know but still here goes… I found I couldn’t brush my teeth as well as before due to weak hands and started to build up plaque.

For obvious reasons, vibrating electric toothbrushes were out, but I was recommended a new brush called a Hygionic, which you use with a wet palm in contact with a metal plate in the handle which reverses the polarity of your teeth so you can remove plaque easily as it is attracted onto the brush by ionic action.  I began to use it about three months ago when I last saw the dental hygienist, and saw her again last week, and this time she could hardly find any plaque at all – just the way my teeth used to be before RSI (apart from the two broken front ones where I tried to close a plastic tag on an evidence bag with them when I couldn’t do it with my hands, that is).

So if anyone else has this problem, I bought the brush in a large branch of Boots the Chemist, and it cost just under ten pounds. The brush is manufactured in Japan, and distributed by a company called Periproducts Ltd of Ruislip, Middlesex.

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