The Ground Hugger has historic importance in the world of recumbent bicycles:
‘This unique human powered vehicle was developed and patented in the mid 1960s, and first introduced as “Ground Hugger” in a special plans offering by Popular Mechanics magazine in April 1969. Ground Hugger’s sleek lines and elegant mechanical design captured the interest of bicycle manufacturers worldwide.
But the benefits of the recumbent were not widely understood at that time, and it would be another 10 years before recumbents reached even low-volume production. Due to today’s popularity of recumbents, the original Ground Hugger plans have been updated and republished.’
The designer and builder of the Ground Hugger, Robert Q. Riley, passed away recently, on 15 May, 2021.
1969 GROUND HUGGER Lowrider Recumbent
The Ground Hugger is 96″ long and 24″ high, as long and low as any other machine out there. It’s a very impressive machine that’s always admired at shows, particularly, in my opinion, because it is not bright and shiny like a recently purchased item, but obviously assembled from used parts using creativity. Cycle enthusiasts enjoy working out how it was built and recognising the parts used.
Mexican lowrider cars of the seventies inspired the start of a lowrider bicycle culture in America, allowing young kids to take pride in displaying their low-buck creations at car shows. These days there are many lowrider bicycle accessories available to add to shiny showpieces; and custom lowrider bicycles can also be purchased from shops ready to ride.
But they can also be built from old parts purchased cheaply, which enables the hobby to be enjoyed by people from every walk of life. And as well as involving engineering skills, the custom hobby is creative.
LOWRIDER 1966 VW ROADSTER
The lowrider influence is seen in Britain too, particularly in the VW scene. This is my custom VW Splitscreen Roadster. I imported it from South Africa in 2006 with its roof already chopped off, and added all the custom touches.
WACKY RACES: 1969 GROUND HUGGER v 1958 HERCULES BALMORAL CUSTOM