Well, not all recumbents are faired, Gary; mine
is as "pure" a machine as any upright, but even so is not allowed to compete against them (what can the UCI be afraid of, I wonder?)
I have never ridden a fully faired recumbent (a streamliner, as we call them) myself, but according to those who do it is a weird experience at first - all that speed and no wind rushing past, not much sound from the outside world, but various noises from inside the box - transmission, heavy breathing, and so on tending to be amplified. And they can be sailed just as much as pedalled, in the right wind conditions - which is decidedly unnerving to the uninitiated. We have a few who turn up regularly to our races. You tend to need to be an engineer to build a fully-faired recumbent bike; it's not really something that can be bought off the shelf (although fully faired recumbent trikes can be bought in Holland, Belgium and Australia...).
Yes, (unfaired) recumbents do feel different. The lower the bike, the less like an upright it is. Imagine trying to balance a pool cue on your finger - it's not too hard. Now think of balancing a pencil - it's much more difficult. The same principle applies to recumbents vs. uprights. Some people get underway immediately on low machines; others (like me) take a little while to feel at home; a few never master low bikes - for them, a wide variety of trikes is available
As for offbeat
recumbent riders... well, perhaps we are just the anarchic end of the generally unruly cyclist spectrum?
I started riding a recumbent because my neck and shoulders could no longer cope with long rides on uprights. My first recumbent, a Kingcycle
, saved my cycling life (and I still use it regularly now - it's higher than the Fujin, and IMO better suited to road riding). I never ride an upright for pleasure now - recumbents are so much more fun! Hence the phrase "recumbent grin".
Go on, try one - every cyclist should experience as many kinds of cycling as possible...