Richard Ballantine


Drifting a recumbent trike through a corner at high speed is one of life’s great pleasures, inside front wheel barely touching the road and body leaning into the turn to keep everything balanced.  There was no greater advocate of HPV’s than Richard Ballantine who so sadly died last week and I sometimes wonder if I would ever had tried one without the ZZZWAAAAMMO chapter in Richard’s New Bicycle Book.

The original Richard’s Bicycle book was a revelation to me when I first encountered it in the late ’70s.  I was commuting 25 miles a day because I wanted to, in those days it seemed that unless you raced or toured you rode a bike because you could not afford a car.  Here was this slightly subversive little book promoting a cycling lifestyle and celebrating the bicycle in all its variety.  Sadly the original book was lost and so when, years later, my children asked me what I would like for my birthday I suggested a new copy not realizing that it had been extensively revised and the chapter on HPV’s added.  ZZZWAAAAMMO struck a chord and I was hooked.  Around the time of the new versions publication there was a lot of talk about town centres being motor traffic free during the working day. (if only)  As a product designer I saw in HPV’s the potential for comfortable pedal powered transport with some weather protection ideally suited to the motor traffic free environment.  For the next few years many meeting notes and design sheets would have HPV and recumbent bike doodles in the margins.

ZZZWAAAAMO inspired me to design Streetglider, join Patrick Shaw at FutureCycles and led to nearly twenty years of involvement in selling and maintaining conventional and alternative cycles.  Sadly FutureCycles is no more but as I set out on a new journey it seems appropriate to pay tribute to the man who sowed the seed.