Thanks to Patrick Franz you can attach about any accessory on your recumbent bike or trike. And your recumbent can also run quietly, more efficiently, and comfortably as well. Why? Because Patrick Franz is an owner of TerraCycle, a company that specializes in recumbent accessories, has a worldwide reach, a great reputation, and by far the largest selection of products. From pulleys, over chain adjusters, and different brackets, through headrests and flags to windshields.
Patrick is a person who really cares about the world of recumbents. He has received the Recumbent Industry Recognition Award from Charles Coyne during the Recumbent Cycle Con in 2014, so I have asked Charles why Patrick Franz was the first one to receive it.
“Back in the early 2000’s, Patrick would arrange for a “Recumbent Industry Dinner” after the first day of the annual Interbike show in Las Vegas. During those dinners, in the early days of Recumbent & Tandem Rider Magazine, I would hear industry members complain that they got no respect from the folks at Interbike, and that there should be a recumbent industry specific trade show. After hearing that suggestion from several industry members, year after year, I told the group that I would organize and produce the Recumbent Cycle-Con, and they better put their money where their mouths are. Fortunately, the industry supported the show from the first one.
Patrick was presented with the Recumbent Industry Recognition Award at the 2014 Recumbent Cycle-Con Trade Show & Convention in Chicago, Illinois. This was intended to honor his many years of dedication to advancing recumbent technology and improving the riding experience for owners of all makes and models of recumbent bikes and trikes.”
So here is a very popular 10 to 1 interview with the King of Recumbent Accessories, Mr. Patrick Franz. The King so busy he was not able to send me more than one photo of him.
What recumbents mean for you?
Recumbents mean carefree, painfree travel, the joy and freedom of the open road in a way that upright bicycles can’t match.
Can you remember when did you see a recumbent for the first time?
Yes, in 1994 or so, a Ryan Vanguard. It looked strange, but intriguing and different. I’m easily intrigued, so I had to learn more.
I remember the feeling, after 4 days of riding, when I suddenly “got” my recumbent legs and all of a sudden everything got easier and I was speeding along laughing.
What was your first recumbent?
My first recumbent was the testbed bike I built in 1997. It had adjustable head angle, fork offset, BB position, seat position, seatback angle, seat base angle, handlebar forward/back, and handlebar angle. Everything adjusted with the same wrench. I finished it at 10:30 at night and took it on a 500 mile week long ride (Cycle Oregon) the next day. Everything was fine, except I didn’t have fenders and the open frame let water off the front wheel right up into my face. I had to rig a baseball cap into the frame to keep the rainy road grit out of my eyes. Otherwise, a great trip. I remember the feeling, after 4 days of riding, when I suddenly “got” my recumbent legs and all of a sudden everything got easier and I was speeding along laughing.
Do you prefer trikes or two-wheelers and why?
I prefer 2 wheelers around town when I have to get someplace on a schedule. I prefer trikes for fun rides and distance. It seems like there is so much less to think about on a trike, it’s a special kind of relaxing.
Which bike do you ride now?
This year I haven’t done much fun riding, mostly commuting and only a few day trips. I commute on a Tour Easy LWB, I find the upright position, high-ish seat, and unperturbed handling to be ideal for city riding. I’ve been alternating between a Dumont and a HP Scorpion FS20 for recreational rides, the other trikes in our fleet are in various states of disassembly or parts poaching.
What do you think about all the e-assist boom we have around us now?
I think it represents a new way of cycling, and I’m excited about it. People that would not consider cycling before are now cycling, and it’s opening their worlds. I did not think that I would enjoy it as much as I do. “I don’t need a motor!” But, it is very freeing and brings another level of carefree to riding.
Where is your favorite place to ride?
Ah, such a question! I will say this: the mountains. I like forests and mountains, and quiet paths without much traffic.
And the most unforgettable ride?
Along the edge of the Grand Canyon by the light of the full moon. There was absolutely no one else around. I rode for about 4 hours and it was amazing. And when I got back to the campground, I almost ran smack into a giant boulder because of the glare from a super bright lantern. I didn’t realize it was there until I just missed it.
How do you think recumbents will evolve in the next 5 or 10 years?
More electrification, more trikes, even better seats.
What is your other hobby besides recumbents? Do you even consider recumbents as a hobby?
I don’t have any hobbies like collecting things or doing certain things. I like making things, and I like bike riding, and I like travelling, especially under my own power.
AND ONE MORE:
Anything else you would like to tell our readers?
My most intense childhood memory is of running home from school so I could get to our shop in the basement and make the things I’d been designing in my head all day. I’m still kind of like that.
Year of birth: 1959
Residence: Portland Oregon, USA (northwest USA)
Job: President of TerraCycle, Inc.
Bike(s): So many! Actually, I tend to choose bikes I like and keep them a long time, but being in the bike business has enabled me to have more bikes than I can ride or keep in running order.
Motto: If it can’t be done, I’m interested.