We are at the stage now where I think we officially have a “history” to be told! I wanted to let everyone know why and how the Heart of Texas Recumbent Rally evolved.
My name is Jane Knight, and I discovered recumbent trikes in 2007. I had been in a accident when I was in my early 20’s, and had been totally inactive for over 20 years. I had been left deaf, blind, and with no balance from the accident, and it was a slow row to hoe finding an activity I could handle and would allow me to start moving again.
I found my first recumbent on eBay, a Delta trike. While it literally opened a previously slammed shut door and got me out exercising, I quickly became “bent” on finding an alternative. With Internet searches, I discovered tadpole trikes. I started asking questions all over trying to learn as much as I could in order to choose a trike that would be the perfect fit. I sent out tons of emails to dealers, manufacturers — ANYBODY who might know something about them. The one person that ALWAYS patiently answered me was Mike Librik at Easy Street Recumbents. That is how my relationship with Mike began.
Fast forward: In January, 2008 I was now the proud owner of a Catrike 700. I was over-the-top IN LOVE with my new baby. I am sure just about every recumbent trike owner knows this feeling. Through the Internet, I was able to meet some other Catrike owners from the Dallas area. HEY! Let’s have a Catrike Rally up in Dallas to meet other Catrike owners! In 2009, the Texas Catrike Rally met up in Dallas at White Rock Lake. It was the best time ever being able to ride with other recumbent riders!
Mike heard about what we were doing, and loved the thought of having a recumbent event to socialize and ride with other Bents. So Mike graciously offered to host the Heart of Texas Catrike Rally. In the spring of 2010, the First Annual Heart of Texas Catrike Rally was held. It was attended by less than 20 people. While it was a MUCH different format than the HOT’s today, it was a terrific time and many close friendships were made.
Thus, the Second Annual HOT Catrike Rally rolled off in 2011. We were hearing from a lot of recumbent riders who didn’t ride Catrikes by then. They wanted in on our fun. Sure! So in 2012, the HOT officially became the Heart of Texas RECUMBENT Rally The attendance swelled to over 50 people. We had some learning curves to deal with, but everything went amazingly smoothly.
In 2013, I decided we needed a RODEO – this is Texas! Hardly any of the riders had ever dreamed about riding their recumbents in the way the rodeo events called for. It was one of the most fun times EVER.
In 2014 we continued the Rodeo theme and added another event: the Hot Shot race! Think of it as a drag race for bikes and trikes. SO much fun!
So now we are approaching out sixth annual Heart of Texas RECUMBENT Rally and Rodeo! We have a few new ideas we are going to try and fully expect another fabulous event.
I would like for people to understand what goes on to make the HOT happen. Mike “hired” me to be the “Minister of Recumbent Culture” for Easy Street. I don’t offer advice. I don’t sell recumbents. Goodness knows I don’t have any mechanical knowledge. My job is to bring recumbent riders together to enjoy their bikes and trikes and befriend others who share their passion for recumbent cycling. Easy Street is not your typical “business.” Sure, Mike has to make money in order to offer the finest quality merchandise and service you can get in recumbents. But profits are not the driving force in Easy Street’s philosophy. Incredibly, integrity is at the top of their business model. Mike wants the people that roll out of Easy Street on a recumbent to be happy with their new way of riding. From the first Heart of Texas Catrike Rally, Mike has given me free rein to Make It Happen. I am sure he probably cringed MANY times with my planning and ideas, but he has always been 100% supportive – morally and financially. Mike is the reason the HOT happens.
I spend 365 days a year working on the HOT. It is my passion. I have met the BEST friends EVER through my work with the HOT. Since I am legally blind, I cannot drive, so I have a LOT of time to spend on the computer doing research, planning, and organizing. But not being able to use a telephone or drive makes doing tasks that require these skills impossible for me. This event could NOT happen without the unselfish dedication and help of people like Steve and Patti Erickson, Dan Hansen, Arif Vadsaria, Kenny Garrett. Renay and Christi Andrews, Billy Younts — too many to list. Shelley Stracener is always there for me. Gary and Gay Bradford have an excitement for recumbent riding that brings so much FUN to the HOT. Even my BFF, Cindy Simmons, who rides four legged horses – not three wheeled trikes, is an enormous help with the HOT. Each year so many truly terrific people come forward to offer their help in making the HOT a three day rolling party! I am so humbled by your friendship and unselfishness.
The HOT is NOT a money making venture Mike employs to rake in profits. Oh, we PRAY it brings in some sales, don’t get me wrong. But we do NOT host the HOT for profit. If that were the case, Mike would not have ME behind it. I bargain, plead, argue, and beg with businesses to keep the price down. But I do not want to bankrupt Mike for wanting to have this event for recumbent enthusiasts. We don’t do things real fancy at the HOT in order to keep costs down so we don’t have to raise registration fees so high. The sales from the shirts and jerseys, as well as the raffle tickets for the prize drawings, go to cover the cost of putting the HOT on. Any left over goes to help the charity Assistive Recumbents for All, a non profit organization that works hard to provide recumbent trikes to those in physical and financial need
So there you have it. This is how the HOT came to be. We hope this will continue growing and become a Must Do event for recumbent cyclists every year.