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My cousin recently bought a recumbent bike (well, I suppose it's technically a trike) and has been having a blast with it. I'd love to encourage her new hobby and get her an accessory for it as a Christmas present. Unfortunately, I know next to nothing about recumbents and what might be useful to have.

So, recumbent riders: what would you love to have or what do you find useful when you go out for a ride?

Update: My problem, specifically, is that I don't know what make/model of recumbent they have. So I'm looking for accessories that will work with all (or almost all) models. Not necessarily accessories that are exclusive to recumbents in particular.

  • Of course a problem is that there are many different types of 'bents, and what fits one may not fit another, and may not even be appropriate for another. – Daniel R Hicks Dec 5 '11 at 23:59
  • This is my problem. I don't know what make/model of recumbent they have, so I'm looking for something that could apply to all (or almost all) recumbents as a class. – Stephen Touset Dec 6 '11 at 0:46
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    How about a tee shirt that says "Get Bent!"? – Daniel R Hicks Dec 6 '11 at 1:05
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    This question is polling the community. Vote to close. – Goodbye Stack Exchange Dec 6 '11 at 5:06
  • For what it's worth: safety flags are recumbent-specific! – Cascabel Dec 8 '11 at 0:23
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There's very little you need on a 'bent trike that you wouldn't also need on a conventional bike. Rear jersey pockets are useless on a 'bent, of course, so it's nice to have an accessible place to store energy bars and stuff like that (I've used a bag that's intended to fit above the top tube, behind the stem of a conventional bike, and a small fanny pack turned sideways). Rearview mirrors are a necessity, but I think all new trikes come with them. Many trikes lack good bottle-cage mounting points, requiring you to improvise with clamp-on cage mounts; I use a Camelbak Unbottle and some webbing straps.

Trikes often have oddball tire sizes, which you would need to know if you were going to get her spare tubes. Normal seat-bags won't fit, and some trikes don't really need them. There are recumbent-specific bike shops on the Internet. It wouldn't hurt to ask her what she got.

So, regular stuff: a cycling multi-tool is always handy to have (assuming you know how to use it). Likewise the typical frame pump, patch kit, lights (may need special mounting adapters), etc.

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All the usual stuff applies, lights, bags, clothes, trailers, special saddles, etc. I personally would love to receive some huge panniers. The problem with your question is there are no recumbent-specific accessories, only recumbent-specific versions of common bike accessories. The single exception might be a flag for added visibility, but I doubt it would make a good Christmas present.

  • I've updated the original question to address this. – Stephen Touset Dec 6 '11 at 0:47
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Better than a gift certificate, get them a membership to their local bicycle advocacy group, like their state chapter or the League of American Bicyclists.

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I would go for lights (as @meagar suggested), a ring-ring bell, and perhaps a helmet-mounted rear-mirror.

I doubt anybody in the world would not like a powerful light, be it front or rear!

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