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Recumbent Cycle-Con Re-Cap

Posted by Joe Reichert on November 01, 2014

On October 10th, 11th and 12th we attended and exhibited at the country's premier recumbent cycle and adaptive cycling event.  Traditionally held in southern California, Recumbent Cycle-Con headed to the Midwest this year and was held at the DuPage Expo Center in St. Charles, IL.


Friday was an "industry only" day and allowed manufacturers to talk with dealers and the press.  We were also able to test ride the many new models from our current suppliers, as well as try out the products from some new suppliers.   For us it's a very productive day as we not only get to see and test out all the neat, new, and exciting stuff that we'll bring to you next year; we also get to discuss the nuts and bolts of the business.  But most importantly we get to renew our friendships with our manufacturers, many of whom are far from Chicago!


Saturday and Sunday were open to the public, and were very busy for us.  We took about 15 trikes and several two wheel recumbent and they were almost all constantly out on test rides!  We introduced a lot of new folks to the joys of riding a recumbent, be it a trike or a two wheeler.  It was also great seeing many of you at our booth.  Thank you for making the trip!  If you attended RC-C please take a couple of minutes and let us know what you liked, and didn't like, about it.  Send your comments to  


Our Booth!


So what did we see??  Lots of new things!

Probably the biggest attraction, and I mean BIG, was the ICE Full Fat.  Everyone wanted to ride this bad boy!


Why not the most practical trike out there, it sure was fun to ride.  Based on the design of the trike that took  Maria Leijerstam to the South Pole the Full Fat can take you over sand dunes, single track, (triple track?) or even snow drifts, you decide!


Perhaps a bit more suitable for the rest of us, ICE announced that their Adventure and Sprint models with a 26" rear wheel are now available with SUSPENSION!  Previously these trikes were able to be folded, but didn't have rear suspension.  Now you can have more cush with that bigger rear wheel.


Our friends from HP Velotechnik, have been busy this past year too.  They introduced the Scorpion Plus models.  Available with a 20" rear wheel or a 26" rear wheel the Plus models sit up a bit higher, and they are a bit wider to make for a more comfortable ride.  


Another feature of these trikes is that the cross arm is set back significantly, making entry and egress much easier than a standard trike.  We have BOTH of these models in the shop to test ride.  So come on in!


HPV also changed up the venerable Gekko for 2015, they added a 26" wheel version!  





An economical folding trike with a 26" rear wheel, that has that familiar Gekko ride.  This trike is going to be very popular next year!  (Yes, we have a demo on the floor for you to test ride TODAY!)


Lastly, while not new for HP, we now have a Scorpion 26 S-Pedelec to demo.  A dream to ride, and with the powerful 500 Watt Go SwissDrive, you won't need to worry about keeping up with your friends going up a few hills.  This is truly a a leap forward in triking technology.


The folks at TerraTrike re-introduced the Traveler folding trike at this year's event.  This too will be a big item this coming year.  Look for it in Februry of 2015.  In the meantime, check out the video:



TerraTrike also showed us a bunch of neat, new and exciting things at their annual Dealer Day gathering just after RC-C, but that's fodder for another blog post!


A last few details from the show.  

Here's a picture of our good customer Cal talking with the folks at Catrike about their new 559.  A 26" folding trike.  ETA on this trike is still TBD.


We are now showing bikes from Linear and Lightning.  While not yet a full fledged stocking dealer we do have a couple of demos on the floor for you to test ride.

That folks is about it for today.  I'll try to put up a page soon showing some of the new accessories we saw, and are now carrying.

Another Trailer Hitch Option for Transporting Trikes

Posted by Jim Strasma on August 24, 2013

If your car has a trailer hitch, or can have one added, that can be an easy way to transport one or two recumbent trikes. We've covered this ground before here and here, but now Amlings offers several neat additional trailer options from Alpaca Carriers. Here's a photo of one holding two Terratrikes in our showroom:

Here's a view from the other side, showing just how it fastens to a trailer hitch:

Two trikes are usually well under even the lowest weight limit for a trailer hitch, allowing them to be added to most vehicles.


We also sell HP Velotechnik and ICE brand trikes that fold to fit easily inside even a tiny car without a trailer hitch.

Why Ride a Recumbent?

Posted by Joe Reichert on June 30, 2013

The Recumbent Cycling Experience

Your head is up in a natural position, giving you a great view of your surroundings and the road ahead. No more neck and back pain from being hunched over. Hands, arms, and wrists are comfortable because they are not supporting your weight. You slice through the wind faster and easier, due to reduced frontal exposure. Handling, cornering, and stopping are more assured due to a significantly lower center of gravity. Saddle soreness is not a problem, even at the end of the longest rides.

The bike seems to vanish beneath you as you cruise along, experiencing the scenery (and potential hazards) as never before. You'll find yourself cycling longer and farther than before, and arriving at your destination refreshed. Once you've experienced a recumbent, it's difficult to ever go back to a conventional bike!

You may as well be driving a Ferrari for all the attention you receive. Motorists, pedestrians, and other cyclists do double-takes as they watch you breeze by -- seemingly without effort.


Recumbent Bicycle Performance

Wind resistance, friction, and rolling resistance impose limitations on the performance of any cyclist. All other things being equal, even slight aerodynamic advantages will exhibit significant cycling speed improvements. A recumbent bicycle provides between fifteen to thirty percent lower wind resistance (coefficient of drag) over the typical racing bike.

All existing open human-powered speed records (i.e. top speed, time over distance, and distance covered per hour) are held by recumbents! The Race Across America record of just over five days is held by a recumbent design. Recumbent performance advantages are not new. In 1932, a recumbent bicycle won an important French pro bicycle race, wherein a new world hour record was set. The record was revoked due to unfair design advantage, and since then recumbents have generally been outlawed from racing against conventional bike designs.

Certainly not all recumbent bikes provide record speed capabilities. As with any bicycle purchase, it's best to match the machine and intended use to the rider. Amling’s Cycle offers several models for commuting, touring, recreation, and performance applications. All provide outstanding aerobic fitness.

Do recumbents climb hills well? In fact, recumbents do climb well provided they are geared to do so (as with any other bike). Despite the fact that you cannot stand on the pedals, you can leverage power against the seat. Different muscle groups are employed, and a short period of adaptation to recumbent climbing should be expected. Shorter wheelbase versions tend to do better at climbing than longer models.

Cornering and overall control is enhanced by the recumbent's lowered center of gravity. Many riders report feeling that the bike seems to be "running on rails."


Recumbent Safety

Again, the lowered design offers advantages. Most obvious is that you can easily place both feet down to the ground! Recumbents tend to stop faster and smoother than typical designs. Their enhanced handling and cornering provide superior accident avoidance capability. In an unavoidable accident situation, rather than taking a long head-first spill over the handlebars as with a conventional bike, a recumbent rider can simply roll over sideways and can better avoid head and shoulder injuries.

Visibility in traffic is a concern for any cyclist. Many recumbent riders indicate that they are generally better seen than other bikes because they are noticed more. Furthermore, the "head-up" position lends itself to making better eye contact with motorists. Nonetheless, use of safety reflectors, markers and flags is recommended for riding in traffic. Helmets are a must for any bike rider!


Recumbent Serviceability

Although the overall designs of our bicycles are exotic, their components are not. In fact the chain, brakes, grips, shifters, pedals, wheels, tires, and other components are the same as those found on other elite road or mountain bikes. This means that your recumbent can be serviced at any of thousands of bike shops throughout the world.


Why ride a Recumbent?


Comfort, Performance, and Style!


Originally from the People Movers website, a now defunct recumbent store in Southern California.  While they were viable they did a great job of putting lots of folks on 'Bents.  Thank you......


Trailer Option for Transporting Single or Tandem Trike

Posted by Jim Strasma on June 14, 2013

Much as we enjoy our Terratrike Rover Tandem trike, at ten feet long, it's a challenge to transport -- especially since we added the 12 extra pounds of a BionX SL350 electric assist. Before adding the BionX, we mounted the trike backwards on top of our Prius, by fastening the two wheels to the rear spoiler, and the single wheel to a simple strap-on roof rack rail just short of the front windshield. But we were rarely willing to go to that work, nor willing to risk driving over 35MPH with it mounted.

Now we have a much better solution, a custom trailer, originally designed for a customer by Bicycle Transport Trailers of Madison, WI. They are no longer making the trailers, but were happy to help me make one like it, at a total cost of $570 (plus taxes) and several hours of my time.

To do the same, here's what you will need:

From "600 Lb. Capacity Boat Trailer with 8" Wheels and Tires" (item#5002.) Be sure to use the 20% off coupon that is usually available. I also got a spare tire (item#44143), a 1-7/8"/2" double ball hitch (item#94900 - a 1-7/8" ball is used by this trailer), and safety chains that turned out to already be included with the trailer (item#95021)

From 3 "Wheel Trays for Thule Big Mouth Roof Mounted Bike Carrier" (Code: 853-5423-56.) Note: I should have gotten 4, to extend the middle tray to the rear for easier loading. Also 3 "Replacement Wheel Strap Assembly for Thule Echelon and Big Mouth Roof Mounted Bike Carrier" Note: get an extra tray or spare straps to take advantage of free shipping on orders totaling more than $150.

My remaining costs were $160 for title, license plate, sales tax, and local parking tag.

Hints when building:

1 Wire the lighting last, so you won't have to avoid wires when drilling holes for the front end of the two outside wheel trays

2 Add a rubber grommet (not included, but available at any hardware store) to each wiring hole, so wires won't fray and short out in use.

3 Slide on the wheel strap assembly before bolting down the second end of each wheel tray.

4 You'll have unused boat-related parts left over that you can use to bolt down the wheel trays.


1 The license plate is close to the ground, so be careful on steep driveways.

2 Before driving at highway speeds, store away safely anything that could come off, such as lights, computers, water bottles and bags.

3 Be sure you have someplace to keep the completed trailer, as it does not fold.

Would I do it again? The jury is still out on that, as our family also just bought a 23' travel trailer and a tow vehicle to pull it, leaving our garage fuller than when I started this project. The trailer itself, however, is everything I hoped it would be.

For those able to get up and down easily (unlike my stoker), another alternative is Terratrike's "Tandem Pro", which comes with couplers to let it be disassembled for more compact storage.

Trailer Hitch Options for Transporting Bikes and Trikes

Posted by Jim Strasma on February 14, 2013

One good option for transporting a recumbent bike or trike is via a hitch rack. This is a metal rack that fastens to the back of a car or truck, plugging into a 1-1/4" or 2" trailer hitch receiver. Some vehicles have this already. Many others can have it added aftermarket, because the weight to be carried for a bike or two is within the limit of most vehicles.

The benefit is that it may be easier to fasten bikes and trikes to a hitch rack than to fit them inside the vehicle. The trailer hitch may also protect the car better than trunk mount racks.

Such trailer racks come in several flavors:

1) To hold one or more two wheel recumbent bikes, The bike(s) can be held either by the top tube, or by wheel holders.

2) to hold one or more three wheel recumbent trikes via wheel holders.

3) to hold one of each - both a two wheel bike and a three wheel trike.

On your left as you enter the front door here, you'll notice a $370 Hollywood SportRider HEAVY DUTY recumbent two bike rack set up to hold either one or two such bikes by their wheels.


It is also available along with a trike adapter for $460 total, to instead hold a three wheel trike alone or along with a two wheel bike.


Currently, we also have two used racks for two wheel bikes for sale on consignment.

One is a $200 custom rack designed to have the front wheel of one or two bikes held by a clamp in place of the front axle, and the rear wheel held by a wheel holder.


The other is a $300 SportWorks rack designed to hold one such bike, both by the wheels and by two .padded clamps around the frame.

Consignment racks are here until sold.

Problem Solved

Posted by Jim Strasma on February 12, 2013

 Late last fall, I added a BionX SL350 electric assist to my family's Terratrike Rover 8 Tandem. It was a great solution for us, except for one thing. Because the new BionX wheel replaced the original, we also lost use of the original 8 speed internal gear shift.

This area being a flat part of mostly-flat Illinois, that wasn't much of a problem. The BionX has been strong enough to power us up any slopes we've found thus far. However, it's been a close thing a couple of times, so I really wanted to add back the original ability to shift gears..

Because the Rover has a horizontal axle dropout, it first needed an adapter, to allow it to mount a rear derailleur. To the rescue comes Problem Solvers, whose CH0910 fits easily in a horizontal dropout, and acts as a derailleur hanger. The BionX wheel is designed to work with a freewheel, rather than a cluster, and ours already had an 8 speed freewheel, so all that was still needed was an 8 speed rear derailleur and a matching 8 speed twist shift for the front handlebar. (I'd already removed the one for the internal 8 speed hub, and Joe assured me that no, I could not just reuse that one.) Add in a tandem-length shift cable and housing, and presto - 8 speeds again!

What a lovely project for a snowy winter day! Note: I used a medium cage rear derailleur, to minimize chances of it hitting the ground when riding. I was a bit worried it wouldn't be able to handle the full range of gears, but no worries. With only one derailleur involved, even a medium cage is sufficient for most any standard freewheel.

Cycle Art anyone?

Posted by Jim Strasma on January 23, 2013

If you've always wanted bicycle-themed art, especially if you'd like it to be at least somewhat unique, Singapore designer/artist Thomas Yang has a solution for you here. Available as either a poster or a T-shirt, each design is limited to 100 copies. Here's an example:

Took me a while to notice it spells the word "cycle."

Along the same lines, one day last fall I came out of a photography workshop to find several of my fellow photographers snapping away at the bike on which I'd arrived. To me that morning, it was just a parking spot. But to an artist, it's rather more. See what you think:

Now, who can point us to some great trike or recumbent art?

Storing bikes in winter

Posted by Jim Strasma on December 18, 2012

 As winter finally sets in here in Illinois, it's time to store our bikes. When doing so, it's important to keep their tires off concrete floors when temperatures there go below freezing, lest the tires be damaged.

For our family's three bikes, we do this in three different ways:

1) Our BikeE LWB recumbent hangs upside-down from our garage ceiling on two large hooks screwed into ceiling joists.

    Plus: Low cost and well out of our way

    Minus: Hard to lift the bike into position and get it down again

2) Our Easy Racer LWB recumbent hangs on a fold-down wall rack

    Plus: Rack folds out of the way when not needed

    Minus: Not as wide as I'd like for such a long bike

3) Our Terratrike tandem trike hangs from two rope and pulley ceiling mount systems

    Plus: Easy to lift and lower even a heavy bike to any desired height.

    Minus: Making sure to lift both sides in sync, so trike doesn't tip

Here's the result:

I particularly like that I can still easily work on the raised trike, and how little of our garage space had to be given up to store all our bikes.

Need ideas on how to store your own bikes this winter? Come see us. We'll be glad to help.

Be safe. Be seen. At night.

Posted by Jim Strasma on December 04, 2012

In my opinion, one or more good bike lights are one of the best investments you can make for biking in the dark, especially when it is already dark during rush hour, and completely unlit along off-street bike paths. Avoiding just one emergency room visit more than  repays the cost of any number of lights.

I start with a good 2 watt LED headlight and a SuperFlash Turbo tail light on the bike itself. That helps me be seen, and lights up where the bike is going. However, that isn't always where I want to go next. For that, I added a Light & Motion Vis 360 helmet light, which includes both a 100 lumen front light and a bright rear light, plus amber lights on both sides. The result was much better than with lights only on the bike itself.

Then this fall I learned Lights & Motion has doubled the power of the Vis 360 in a new Vis 360+ model, and immediately added the Vis 360 to Ellen's helmet, with the Vis 360+ being added to my own helmet. That's partly because we often ride together on a tandem trike, and the Vis 360+ has a new button allowing me to turn off its rear light to avoid blinding the stoker. The rest of the reason is that my usual commute home from the shop uses the Des Plaines River Trail, which is so dark at night that doubling the power of the headlight adds a lot of safety.

Here's how the two helmets look together:

And here's how their beams look together on our living room wall:

One other benefit of both is that they are rechargeable, via the same microUSB connector I use to charge my cell phone. That saves on batteries, AND it's one less thing to pack when traveling.

The Electric TerraTrike Rover Tandem

Posted by Jim Strasma on November 29, 2012

 One of my early tasks as a technician here last year was to convert my family's TerraTrike Rover 8 into a tandem when that upgrade first became available. This summer, I similarly learned to convert its drive into IPS (Independent Pedaling System) when that option became available, also replacing one set of pedals with newly-available strapped heel support pedals. This week I learned to make one more change, adding a BionX SL350 RackMount electric assist motor. Each of these upgrades needed and received expert help from others on the Amlings staff. And the result? Our family Rover is now amazing:

The reason for each of this changes was to improve the riding experience for my stoker (back seater) Ellen, allowing our rides to be farther, faster, and much more fun.

The IPS helps by allowing either of us to stop pedaling any time we want, whereas the standard drive requires both riders to pedal whenever either does. One caution: if you use IPS on a Rover with a standard Sturmey Archer 8 speed internal hub, be sure you both have stopped pedaling before changing gears. We found it easiest for the captain (front seater) to either stop pedaling for a couple of seconds before shifting, or to call out shifts before making them.

The strapped heel support pedals allow quick and easy riding in any shoes with complete assurance they will stay in the pedals. Clipless pedals also work well, but some people have trouble angling a foot to unclip.

The BionX helps by amplifying the work of the riders, allowing the bike to go faster. In our case, it nearly doubled our usual riding speed, and still proclaimed itself fully charged after a 9 mile ride today. (SL350 range is up to 65 miles on a charge.) What we like most about the BionX is that it only works when we do, adding to our efforts rather than replacing them. We still both got a good workout, just at a much better pace. One surprise is that the rack mount version of the BionX includes a taillight, and both versions include a cyclecomputer.

If you look carefully at the above picture, see if you can spot all the other added options: headlight mount, clipless pedals in front, mirror in front, bells for both riders, Arkel seat bag in front and TerraTrike seat bag in back, Terratrike pannier bags on the rear rack, combination cable lock, helmet with Lights & Motion Vis360 lights attached, headrest, foam seat cushion, a Superflash Turbo second taillight and flag in back. The tires are also upgraded, with Schwalbe Marathons and deluxe fenders all around.

If you too would like to add any of the above to your Rover, now is an ideal time of year to do so, as our technicians will have plenty of time to devote to getting everything perfect, and all our suppliers have almost everything you might desire in stock and ready to ship.

The Rover Tandem has also been a great bike to ride with young stokers. Moving the seat for them is extremely fast and easy on the Rover, and they can sit crisscross applesauce on the back seat hanging on to the handlebars if their legs can't reach the pedals. Just make sure every stoker knows to keep fingers away from chains and chainwheels.

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