Pulling a chain over the front of the chain ring that is at my knees down about 15 degrees from horizontal is the primary mode today. And using the rest of the cycle to attempt to put gentle pressure on that same chain ring at the same place, the crest of the chain ring where it extends over the front. And attempting to stay at or below 60% of theoretical power.
Keeping the gear at the knee very low is crucial.
Keeping the shin ankle and feet totally limp and there by out of the way of the knee action is extremely helpful and largely successful tonight. when energy returns to the shin calf and feet it is noticed rather quickly how the efficiency and power decreases. And effort increases.
Keeping the gear down and out, the central dig area down and away is crucial.
a better way of conceiving of speed as a means of reducing force required is speed of the chain particularly over the nose of the chain ring at the knees.
Oh, and there are indications that this type of cycling the way I'm doing it in a recumbent is extremely regenerative of this damaged lumbar region. Time will tell but after three and a half hours of climbing in this vehicle the back feels much much better. Amazing.