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9 Feb 2013

A Thijs 222 Revolver

I've been riding recumbents for about 12 years now. And for 7-8 years now, that's been good for about 14.000km per year. That had a noticeable effect on my legs and stamina. My arms however....

Through all those years I knew about Thijs Rowingbikes. They always intrigued me. I had the luck of getting to try 2 of them. The 1st time was Harry's  222 CVT, and 3 years ago I rode for 2 hours or so on Jos' Revolver. The main difference between those 2 is the shifting system. Those rides sparked my enthusiasm.

A little more than a week ago, 4 Revolvers where offered for sale on All for a fair price, and 2 of them in my region. Of course, I tried to resist. And I sought support on Twitter. Most response I got was from row addicts. Buying one bike would mean having to sell something else. This to control the number of bikes around the house. But I found a solution for that, namely that I will sell a bike, realy. That was the 1st hurdle to cross. Than there was the argument to save money. But Marloes said to me that money doesn't make you happy and a rowingbike does. Right after I read that, I made a phone call and send an e-mail. Something to nominate for 'best decision  of 2013'.

Last Sunday I walked to the train station, travelled to Wolvega, and walked another 6km to the right address. The wind was fierce and cold and made me hide under my blue jacket's hood and behind my Buff. The purchase went quickly, between the doors of a van.
The bike sure is worth the effort. Within little time I was back at the train station. Though to make the weather a bit worse, it had started to rain. Thankfully, the train offered warmth and space for me and my 2.25 metre long bike.
And since than, I row. That same evening I rowed to work. The ride back home wasn't 4km, but 9. And it was almost 2am....
The 40km I rowed on Monday was a bit too much. But the weather was much better than expected. On Tuesday,  that ride around Zijen was just what was needed to loosen up the muscles after the lunacy of the day before.

Apart from replacing a brake cable and adjusting a clutch cable, the 222 didn't need much work. I did tidy things up a bit, naturally. Conclusion was, that for a 2nd hand bike, this was a good one. It was money well spend. Apart from the pedals, those where awful. So worn out that their only right place was the bin. A pair of trimmed down (cut of cages) A520's do hold my feet in position. Now nearly a week later, I am fine tuning and improving small things. Frame number 508 began live as a CVT, and was converted, at some point in time, to Revolver and Dyneema cable.

The high number of muscles involved, combined with the joy of riding a bike make these Thijs bikes highly addictive. Even with the tiny bit of experience that I have, and the poor rowing technique I must obviously have, taking the short way home is difficult. The odometer now reads 125km.

I didn't have to think for a name. Naming her Saga, after Saga Noren, was almost plain logic to me.

More info about rowingbikes can be found on this website.


  1. Congratulations, the 222 is a very robust bike.

    My 222 had reverse mounted cyclo-cross brake handles. One improvement I made to my 222 was installing Tektro RX5 mini v-brakes which fitted the levers better. That proved to be a nice combination.

    Now I'm riding a carbon 209.

  2. welkom in het roetslegioen!

  3. Hi Peter,
    I'm sure you'll enjoy rowing as an enrichment of the cycling- experience!

  4. Hi Pjotr,

    looks like a good investment. Hoping to read future trip reports with this rowingbike.

  5. That is a very interesting bike indeed. I hadn't heard of these before. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I've been watching the ads in the States for a Thys for years...still waiting...