Bikes to Like: Dan B.’s P-38 Recumbent

It’s time for more Bikes to Like, and you know what’s not been getting any love in this series? The recumbent! To remedy that situation, I called on one of my favorite recument riders, Pittsburgh-based randonneur Dan B.

If you’ve ever met Dan, you know that he is one strong bike rider. Not only does he possess excellent endurance, his hill-climbing skills are amazing. Whenever I see him pedaling up a tough grade, I have to remind myself, “Dan is no ordinary recumbent rider.” He’s effortless!

Since he has put his steed through so many randonneuring and other endurance challenges, I asked him to share a little bit about his bicycle with me. He kindly agreed, and here is what he had to share about his bicycle.

1. What kind of bike do you have?

My primary bike is a steel-framed P-38 recumbent, made by Lightning Cycle Dynamics in Lompoc, California.

Dan on the P-38 recumbent during a 600K

2. Where do you ride it?

Where do I ride it? Just about everywhere. It’s my primary brevet and touring bike, my backup commuter, and my backup go-fast. It doesn’t go on the mountain bike trails, but then again, neither do I…

3. What do you like about your bike?

I like the way it helps me ride long distances with no discomfort; I like the way it burns up the flats and the rollers; I like the fact that (as recumbents go, anyway) it climbs well; and I like the way that motorists tend to give me a wider berth on it than when I’m on my Bianchi.

4. If you had to describe your bike in one word, what would it be?

Functional. 🙂

5. Fenders or no fenders?

Fenders, definitely. A rear fender especially is a great place to mount a tail light and reflective material.

Another shot from the back of Dan’s P-38

6. What is one of your favorite memories with this bicycle?

Favorite memories…hmmm. I think one of my favorites was on the last leg of the Endless Mountains 1240…my knee was almost toast, I had no energy left, and I still had 25 miles to go. I was sprawled by the side of the road, waiting for the painkillers to kick in; staring at the bike through the numb haze, I suddenly realized just how much fun I had had that year. Memories of the DC brevet series and Crush the Commonwealth on the P-38 helped me get back in the saddle.

Of course, one of my least favorite memories was also on that bike, on that ride, a couple days earlier. Four flats in 5 miles almost led me to chuck it off an overpass.

7. Does your bike have a name? If so, what is it?

No name. I have certain monosyllabic endearments that are frequently employed whilst servicing the bike, but those are just between it and I. 😉

8. What is your favorite accessory on your bike and why?

Favorite accessory…probably the Schmidt hub/head lamp/tail light combo. Not having to worry about batteries is awfully nice.

Just riding along on Day 2 of the Shenandoah 600K

9. If your bike could talk, what is one thing it would say to you?

“Are you effing kidding me?” is the most likely quote. The poor thing has handled just about every challenge I’ve thrown at it, including 12 of the 13 hills of Pittsburgh’s Dirty Dozen…the fact that it turns into a unicycle on a 37% grade is really _not_ much of a failure in my book.

10. What did I forget to ask that you want to tell me about your bike?

If one is looking for a solid all-rounder of a performance ‘bent, this is a good model with which to start. Not the best at anything, but can handle just about everything short of technical singletrack. I often refer to it as the classic sport-tourer of the recumbent world.

Thanks for sharing your steel P-38 with us, Dan, and for representing the recumbent contingent! Hope to see you on a brevet again soon.


  1. A Lightening P38 has been an Object Of Desire for me since I discovered the joys of doing it lying down. As recumbents go it’s a very light bike. And don’t mention the fully-faired F40 version. Drools…

    If anyone cares to lend me the $3,000 – $4,000 they cost…


  2. Have had my P38 since 2005. I hate the way I have to ride the brakes when riding with a bunch on flats. Love the way it descends and climbs.. never need a rest stop.
    Love that bike!


Comments & questions welcome - moderated for trolls and spam.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s