Can anyone identify this unusual bike?

It’s a folding crank-forward, with one hinge in the middle and one on the steering column. It’s branded Specialized and stickered Belize Bikes Canada (I’ve checked their web site, they no longer sell anything remotely like this). It looks sort of like a prototype of the Tartaruga, but it probably isn’t. I just bought it from a guy from Chicago, whose only information about its provenance was he got it from a neighbor. It’s old, but how old? The serial number on the steering tube is JP05048017.

The backrest is useless – my back doesn’t come close to reaching it while my butt is on the somewhat slippery seat – but it is a remarkably comfortable ride. Maybe it’s that great big shock absorber, or maybe it’s the  squishy tires, which specify “inflate to 35 pounds”. It’s slow, even at its top gear, which is 6.

I’ve searched various combinations of the following terms: specialized, crank forward, semi recumbent, folding bike. I have yet to find a picture of this bike anywhere.

What is it?

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Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

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