Recumbent Bike for Sale!

Jeffrey here.

Have you seen my Lightning Phantom II?  I rode it from NYC to Nashville in 2012.

It’s not actually for sale.  It was stolen!

Here it is as it was in November 2011; and in the summer of 2013, with me in front of the landmark 1904 McKim Mead and White generating station at 59th Street & 11th Avenue in Manhattan.


Two Friday afternoons ago, I gave a lift (by car) to a friend.  Then I parked the car, grabbed the Lightning bicycle, and rode to 76th Street & Central Park West just in time for the start of a prayer service.  I locked the Lightning outside the Fourth Unitarian Universalist Church and hurried inside.

When I emerged after 9 PM, one lock had been cut and left behind, the second lock was gone, and so was the Lightning.

The Lightning was my workhorse:  for personal transport, grocery shopping, pickups/deliveries, and visiting incapacitated persons throughout NYC for the Vera Institute of Justice Guardianship Project.

For years, I have locked my bike in even the worst New York City neighborhoods without a problem.  Perhaps potential thieves realized that I was there as a visiting nurse, as a legal guardian’s emissary, or for other constructive purposes.  Evidently a bike locked outside a church, in dim light, in a fancy neighborhood, without context, was irresistible.

Popular prejudice limits the market for recumbent bicycles.  A sensible thief would disassemble my bike and sell the parts – or maybe ship the bike out of the New York area to sell it intact.  In the hope that someone looking online for a used Lightning will stumble across mine, here are the details.

Model:  Lightning Phantom II, 27 speed, large frame, made in Taiwan for Lightning Cycle Dynamics in Lompoc, California.

Color:  The large-frame Phantom comes only in yellow.  If it is for sale in another color, it may have been painted by the thief.

Serial number:  YL9F0010 – stamped on the frame’s left rear dropout.

Distinguishing marks:  A few dings on the frame near the handlebar stem and on the right front fork were touched up with nail polish.  The seat mesh has a red stripe painted on the back and a couple of small holes around which the fabric was reinforced with silicone glue.

Accessories:  Fenders.  Schwinn bike computer.  Crane brass bell.  Ray-O-Vac flashlight in Fenix handlebar bracket.  Small Knog-style flashing lights front and rear.  A rear light/reflector combo.  Reelight no-battery lights on front and rear axles.  Mirrcycle mirror.  Yellow bottle cage under seat; black bottle cage on handlebar stem.  Black rack on back, to which are bolted two 1-foot aluminum bars, atop which is fastened a cargo box fashioned from a green Rubbermaid container.

If you see my bike for sale, please post a comment on this blog.

The theft is not covered by insurance.  Lightning Cycle Dynamics will not have more Phantoms until January 2014.

For now, I’m making do with the 1998 bikeE recumbent that I rode to Iowa in 2011.  It’s a great machine.  But for covering 35 city miles (56 kms) on a typical workday, it’s not the same.

See you on the road!

Interstate Tuneup

Joey, dressed for adventure.

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.

Last year, in the Pennsylvania mountains, Jeffrey used the brakes when the BikeE hit 41 mph.

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.

From A to B to C: 39 miles by bicycle, 5 miles by ferry.

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!

Back in NYC after crossing the Bayonne Bridge.

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.

Gods, Governments, Bicycles

On the day that Good Friday, Passover eve, and Jumu’ah coincide, Joey seeks guidance (here, from Shakespeare) to answer the Ultimate Question: What should I do?

Jeffrey subscribed to a bicycle touring listserv.  The list owner posted that his “touring” bike hurt his wrists.  Jeffrey politely suggested that the owner try a recumbent bike.  The owner was offended by the question!

Jeffrey unsubscribed.  The listserv was not about bicycle touring.  It was about touring-bike worship.

As we noted on our first post for the Ride to Nashville, worship (religion) gets a lot of play in an election year.

Worship is not necessarily about God.  It is about bicycles, as our touring friend showed.

Some swear by these machines, and swear at those who prefer other designs.

It is about “sacred soil”.

Afghanistan.  They say every inch is worth killing for.

It is about colored cloths on sticks.

People die for the “honor” of “their” particular cloth.

It is about money.

Unlike chocolate, this stuff has value only because others value it.

It is about freedom.  Defined as … ?  Freedom to force others to be like us?  Freedom to be left alone?  Freedom from “socialized medicine” so you don’t have to help your sick neighbor?  Messrs. Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner can’t tell us how they defined freedom, because they are dead.

In memory of three men murdered 48 years ago in Philadelphia (ironic!), Mississippi, USA, for helping American citizens enjoy the freedom to vote.

So . . . what do we worship?  Bikes, land, flags, money, freedom?

What about God?  Jesus spoke for God, reminding us to love our neighbor even if it costs us.  Jesus got that crazy idea from his fellow Jews, prophets like Micah (do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God) and Isaiah (help the needy, let the oppressed go free).  These holy riffs on the Golden Rule cut through the ritual murk and are easy to understand.

But somehow the holy words are drowned out.  Today’s politicians invoke religion when they talk about bedroom topics not addressed outright in the Bible.  Yet on a topic on which the Bible is explicit, candidates proudly contradict God’s word:

There shall be one law for the citizen and for the stranger who dwells among you.  Exodus 12:49.  When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him.  The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.  Leviticus 19:33-34.  You shall have one standard for stranger and citizen alike.  Leviticus 24:22.  You too must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. Deuteronomy 10:19.  You shall not abuse a needy and destitute laborer, whether a fellow countryman or a stranger in one of the communities of your land.  Deuteronomy 24:14.

Et cetera.

Some Americans quote the New Testament and say it is Godly to render to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s.  They treat foreigners cruelly, saying, “Ceasar’s orders.”  Hogwash!  There’s nothing holy about cruel crazy laws passed by a hapless Congress and enforced by a callous Executive Branch.  (There was nothing holy in 1776 about King George III’s orders either. )  No matter what the government says, God’s law forbids us to oppress innocent (even if federally unauthorized) foreigners in our midst.

Maybe you don’t agree that God gives us moral imperatives.  Fine.  It’s your right to worship bikes, land, a flag or money.

But then, don’t call yourself a Believer.  Like the usher said to the Jew who, without a High Holy Day ticket, came to a synagogue to deliver a message, “OK, go inside, but don’t let me catch you praying!”