Sport

It’s a long ride to the top

RACHAEL CLIFFORD AND PETE MAZANEC

Recumbent triking is offering riders with injuries and health conditions a safer way to enjoy the benefits of pedal powered transport around Perth.

Glen Lacey, 52, of Thornlie, claimed the one-hour masters distance world record on a non-covered recumbent trike in Geelong on April 15, travelling a distance of 36.38km in 60 minutes, breaking Finnish record holder Pekka Heimonen’s distance of 35.57km.

Lacey discovered recumbent cycling 20 years ago through his sister-in-law Jacky who took up the sport because she had arthritis.

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Mr Lacey with his recumbent trike. (Photo: Rachael Clifford)

The structure of a recumbent bike allows people with all kinds of disabilities to keep active and enjoy cycling.

Sales representative at a Sydney-based business called Recumbent and Specialised Cycling, Brett Danver, said there were many benefits of recumbent cycling that may even outweigh those of upright riding.

“I believe there are a lot more benefits like … visibility, safety, you can stop and not fall off… it’s more practical and user friendly,” he said.

Mr Danver said up to three-quarters of his customers lived with disabilities that made it difficult for them to ride a mainstream bike.

“[We have] all sorts of disabilities – cerebral palsy, crash and spinal injury victims, brain injuries … the list goes on,” he said.

Other riders, like Lacey simply have a passion for recumbent cycling.

Lacey is part of a vibrant community of riders and began his journey to break the record after reading about it in an online forum last year.

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Lacey enjoys the spoils of success. (Photo: Peter Mazanec)

“I looked at it and thought: ‘Well, you know, the upright record is in the low fifties [km] and it doesn’t really seem that fast, and I made the mistake of making that comment on the forum’,” Lacey said.

“Well, that’s the masters record,” a user replied and Lacey stated he thought he could better it.

“I typed back: ‘Well, I’m 52 and I reckon I can do it.’, and hit the enter button then thought: ‘Oh, perhaps I shouldn’t have done that’,” he said.

“So, yeah, it really went from there.

“I thought: ‘I’ll put my money where my mouth is and see if I can actually do this’.”

Lacey, who normally rides endurance events, covering 18,000 km last year alone, began what was a gruelling training program in late November 2016 to prepare for the recent record attempt.

“I did lots of interval training, basically to get my body used to doing one hour – all-out efforts rather than 12 or 20-hour-long efforts,” he said.

The record attempt took place at You Yangs Ford Proving Ground in Geelong, a track specially set up for the world record attempts by the World Recumbent Racing Association.

Lacey admitted that during the last stages of his attempt he was worried he had not quite done enough to claim the record after struggling on the back straight whilst riding in to the wind.

“I finished, and then did a lap to cool down, so when I pulled in I wasn’t sure that I’d done enough to actually break it,” he said.

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Lacey rides his recumbent trike. (Photo: Rachael Clifford)

“So, when [the WRRA official] came up, it felt pretty good for him to say: ‘You’ve actually broken the record’,” Lacey said.

When asked if he was interested in attempting another world record, Lacey said he was satisfied with his recent world-beating achievement.

“Nah, once is enough.

“I just thought [before the record attempt]: ‘You know, I reckon I can do faster than [the old record]!’

“So I did”.

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