Converter Peter Weiss Recumbent Bike
By Archie L. Tucker
On the trip of our last issue, I met a fellow by the name of
Christian Wagner. He owns and operates "4 Seasons Velos" at Schlesierstr.
18, 91 567 Herrieden, Germany. You can find his site at
I noticed that the bike he was riding had a mesh seat
instead of the more common plastic molded ones you see today. Having
ridden the molded ones, I know they feel good for my back for just a few moments
or hours. Then some of them virtually cripple me. While on our
ride/camping trip, I was invited to come and try his bikes. If you know me, you
know that I did make time to do so. That time was on August 12, 2005. I
awoke at 0600. After breakfast and shower, it was out the door on my way
to Herrieden. At some time after 0653, when I left the house, it was back to the
house to retrieve the camera that I had forgotten.
By 0710, I was really on my way. In today's digital world,
I may as well not even ride--for 'Bent Miles--if I don't have my camera. I
arrived in Herrieden at about 0825 and after driving around town a while, I
inquired about his address at a local bakery. A lady customer told me to
follow her and she would show me the street for which I was looking. By
0845, I spotted another, rather pretty lady, in Chris' front yard. I
assume she was his or his girlfriend's mother, or younger sister.
After a few moments of visiting, Chris and I were on the bike
trail. He was riding a trike that he has converted into an electric riding
machine. I was mounted on one of his Lightening P38s. As most of you
know, I'm overweight and out of shape. But keep it slow, and I can make
I was pleased with the ease of handling and the lightweight of
the bike, as compared to my 42 pound trike. The one less wheel road
resistance as well as the less weight allowed for a rather faster average speed
than I'm accustomed to on a trike. As with other recumbent bikes I've
ridden, I still had to be careful about the front fender catching my heel when
going slow up hill, and wobbling, or turning around.
The twist handlebar shifters worked right the first time every
time. The P38 is equipped with Shimano components. Some folks talk
about gearing down to less quality components just to be able to ride a quality
bike. I say, if you go down to less quality components, you have less than
a quality bike, regardless of its name. You get what you pay for one way
or the other.
Chris and I rode about thirty minutes and he had to turn around
to take care of business. I told him I'd like to ride to the lake.
He indicated it was in the direction from whence we had come. Turning
around we were soon back at his place and he was gathering tools for me to take
on the trip. Now, this is the first guy I've ridden with who thinks like I
do. I'd rather carry the extra weight and not need them as to be caught on
the trail needing them and not having them.
He let me borrow a nice set of bags in which to carry the tools
and my water; he then ran me off a colored copy of the local biking map, and I
was on my way. I was on my way through beautiful farming fields and small
villages. It was a stunning day and the paths were mostly level. I
was on two wheels; and, it was comfortable; and for me, it was fast.
Some miles down the path it got close to lunch; and I was trying
to decide if I wanted to go all the way to the lake and possibly pay tourist
prices or try to find something in one the small villages. The decision
was partially made for me. At first, I passed it up. Then thinking
about the prices that might be facing me should I wait till I got to the lake to
eat, I turned around. Like they say about serving God, that was a good
thing. The atmosphere was great and the food even better and relatively
inexpensive. I even had a fellow who helped me eat the extra wurst that I
was too full to finish. He was man's best friend. Only in this case,
I think man was his best friend. He knew better than to beg. He just
looked at you till you had to feed him. He and I had steak, two wurst,
french-fries, salad, and a large drink all for six euros.
With a full stomach, I hit the corn fields and more small villages on my way
to the Altmuhlsee or the Altmuhl Lake. Some miles later, I noticed a couple of bikers dismounted and following a trail to an
ancient walled area of the village. Not to be out done, and now being
on two wheels rather then three, I dismounted, as well and followed them
across a wooden bridge that spanned what seemed to have been a mote at one
time in the distant past.
Well, it was getting later with every click of the camera shutter, and I
still had miles to go before getting to the lake. And since Dolores
was not with me, I had to ride everyone of those miles twice. So on it
was to where our camping excursion took place the month before, Ornbau-Gern.
Turning left onto the bike trial along the river, it was dejavoo. Only
this time, I was actually passing upright bikes and not straining at the
The trail out to the lake was gravel, and I remembered how the
two-wheelers, which were most always ahead of me, on the last trip could fit
in the ruts between the loose gravel and how my two front wheels were always
having to break through the loose stuff which made for much more resistance.
This time, I could fit two wheels in the ruts between the loose gravel and
it did, in fact, cut down drastically on the wheel resistance.
behind another biker, I noticed I was quickly closing the distance.
With a twist of the wrist, I clicked up one gear, the P38 had great
response; one more click and I was nodding my head at the other rider,
oops--I wobbled, not used to two wheels--and I was around and he was eating
Like I said earlier, the day was beautiful and the lake was like
a travel magazine picture. If you are used to riding a trike, the
riding of two wheels can generate a tenseness that tightens muscles not
normally a factor on three wheels, and this did tend to tire me a bit.
So it was that I selected a nice spot on which to lie, and spent twenty
minutes sleeping in the sun cooled by the breeze off the lake.
that every mile had to be retraced, I wasted no time, after my nap, getting
back in the saddle and on my way back to Chris' place. This had been a
very comfortable ride until about four or five miles from Chris' place.
I started to notice a soreness manifesting itself in the right cheek of my
Pumping up the hill to Chris' place a large truck seemed to
deliberately try to run me off the road; but, I showed him; I just got off
the road; I wasn't about to let him run me off. (humor intended--laugh
Once back at Chris' he told me that it had come a drencher
there. I indicated that I had gotten a few drops and then the sun came out
and stayed out. Telling him about the soreness I was experiencing, he
took a look at the seat frame and we both came to the conclusion that I had
been on a small framed seat which curves up to fit over the frame and that a
large framed seat would go flat across the frame. The curved up
portion had been putting pressure on my butt till soreness had set in.
Over all, the day was beautiful and the bike was awesome. I can say, without
any equivocation, that the P38 provides for a great ride in both speed and
comfort. The one I rode cut no corners with a full array of name brand
components. This, of course, is an American made bike in a European
market. So, get ready for a hefty price tag.
For those of you who are our regular readers, you have undoubtedly noticed the
reduction of pictures on this trip. I suppose it remains that three
wheels are a much better platform from which to perform the duties for 'Bent
Miles than two. One is much less likely to snap a picture if one has
to be concerned about either stopping or falling than when the platform is
stable and can continue to plod along even while pointing and shooting.
Again, the day was great; the bike was awesome, and the company was superb.
If you get the chance, drop Chris a line on his email and set up an
appointment to ride. You won't regret it.
Now, get out there and
ride; yes, even in the cold. You won't have to worry as much about
stinking up a sweat or sweating up a stink in the cold. Do it. It is
good for you.