We leave for Tennessee next weekend. Time for a shakedown cruise!
Jeffrey swapped the Lightning Phantom’s 100 psi 1.2″ Primo Comet tires for 85 psi 1.6″ Schwalbe Marathon Supremes. Jeffrey had consulted Bill Cline, a Delaware native who rode his Lightning Phantom 20,000 miles in 14 months. Bill praised the wider, lower-pressure Schwalbes’ superior grip and comfort.
Jeffrey is too chicken for the speeds Bill favors. But when something works for Bill at 70 mph, we are persuaded.
On the 2011 Ride to Iowa, on Schwalbe Marathon tires, we averaged one flat per state. Jeffrey installed Mr. Tuffy tire liners, which he hopes will eliminate flats entirely.
To test the tires and liners, we rode 39 miles.
In brilliant sun, the light and shadow sometimes took us by surprise. The first surprise, a curb where Jeffrey thought he was about to edge onto a ramp, led to a fall, but the Lightning and Jeffrey suffered no damage and our cargo was not displaced. (Better to fall on a recumbent than on a conventional bike!) The second surprise, an unmarked dropoff, did not upset our balance and, thanks to the tires and bike design, wasn’t much of a jolt. The rig handled rough pavement and congested streets with ease. Looking good!
Recumbent bikes and our NYC-Nashville sign attract lots of attention. A cyclist headed for the George Washington bridge: “Good luck!” Pedestrians, school kids, people pushing strollers in NY and NJ: “Cool bike!” In Jersey City, a driver called out from her minivan, “Are you racing to Tennessee?” She pulled over to chat; Jeffrey explained and invited her to follow our progress. Ditto for a Staten Island auto mechanic who ran out from his shop to see the bike and wish us luck. We had a nice talk with the Staten Island Ferry sniffer-dog guy, and with ferry terminal personnel who thought the bike has a motor (Jeffrey is the motor). A repairman on the ferry gave us thoughtful philosophic and publicity advice.
We heard no angry car honks. In neighborhoods rich and poor, a kind word, a friendly wave – a feeling of community without regard to paperwork or pedigree. That’s the America we love.