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By Nathan McCamic
Editor Note: This review first appeared in the the Wheeling Area Bicycle Club Newsletter. The Rowbike was invented by Scott Olson, who also invented Roller Blades. It is propelled by using one's upper body and legs in a rowing motion with its oarsman-like sliding seat. The company sent the club a Rowbike for a free trial period. Below is 13-year-old Nathan's impression of this novel machine.
I enjoyed the Rowbike very much once I learned how to ride it. The idea of an outdoor fitness machine with the benefits of rowing is great, but it has a few problems.
The Rowbike has an independently moving seat on a track, and you pull back on a bar to go forward. That sounds pretty simple, right? Well, it's not. The main problem that I had was the seat. It is made wide enough so that you have room to move around, but it has corners that make you slide off of the seat when you have your foot on the ground. Having your foot on the ground helps keep your balance when you are getting started. Another problem is that the steering is too sensitive. What I mean by that is that when you pull back on the handlebars to go forward, one side always get pulled more than the other and you have to swerve from side to side as you go along in order to keep balanced.
The Rowbike is also very hard to transport. It should have some sort of handle on the bike to lift and carry it and some type of car rack would be helpful, as it is too big for most car trunks.
Another problem is that the balance is very strange. But, I think that can be solved with bigger wheels.
Other than a few weaknesses it is a great invention and it gives you a great workout. It is not made for hill and would work best on a bike trail or maybe even on a track.
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