Margaret James has finally gotten the hang of her Twike, a Swiss-designed hybrid vehicle that runs on both electric and human power. But not everyone else has gotten used to it. Police had eyeballed James and the vehicle–a twin recumbent bicycle inside a sleek, aerodynamic-looking shell–before, but early this month, just after six o’clock one evening, an officer finally pulled her over. It was bound to happen. James has been pedaling her funny-looking vehicle all around town, though she still hasn’t attempted the long commute to her job as musical director for the Drury Lane theater in Oakbrook Terrace.

The officer told James he pulled her over because when he ran her plates they didn’t check out. James’s Twike is the first of its kind to be licensed by the state of Illinois, but the state may not have known what it was licensing. She handed him her registration and insurance papers and mentioned that when she got her plates someone at the DMV had told her to expect additional paperwork in the mail. She hadn’t received anything, and wondered if that was the problem.

James says the officer studied the forms, nodding. “He said it looked like the DMV had sent the paperwork to the state, but the state probably couldn’t figure out what to do with me, so they hadn’t sent my stuff back.”

She says the officer sent her on her way, warning “You’re probably going to get pulled over again.”

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jon Randolph.