A Higher Calling Than Cartooning

Deacon Stephen Bentley of St. John the Evangelist is better known around these parts as cartoonist Stephen Bentley, creator of Herb and Jamaal.

For years part of Deacon Bentley’s ministry has been to create Frankenbikes. Taking in donated bicycles Stephen repairs them by gathering parts off various cycles and then gives the newly created bikes to those who need transportation. Helping Urban Bicyclists (HUB) is a mission initiative by Bentley and St. John’s.

Now there is a new phase of Stephen’s HUB ministry: Ghost Bikes.
Ghost bikes are memorials for bicyclists who are killed or hit on the street.

“They serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of cyclists’ right to safe travel,” according to ghostbikes.org.

St. John the Evangelist Deacon Stephen Bentley with Helping Urban Bicyclists (HUB) started the ghost bike project in Stockton after learning of it while reading a book about bicycle ministry. He liked the idea because the bikes serve multiple purposes: as memorials for those who have died while riding bicycles, to raise awareness of bicycle safety and to remind drivers to watch out for cyclists.

The bicycles, which are stripped and painted a flat white, are secured near the site of the crash, and include a plaque with information about the victim, said Bentley, who’s an avid cyclist.

Deacon Bentley’s story made KXTV, local television news, as well as The Record, local newspaper.