Monday, January 26, 2009

More fan mail

I recently received another email from someone who had built a trailer from the plans at my site.

He did up a web page with full details. Thanks Eugene!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

cargo trike update

I had few posts about the cargo trike in 2008, but that's mainly because it runs fine and there's little to report! It did exactly what it was supposed to do with little fuss, and was used more than any previous year. Few long trips like in 2007, but that's fine; the short trips more than caught up the mileage (kilometerage?).

I think the only failure was having three spokes break in the front wheel. Which is pretty good, considering that I built it myself three years ago, and it hits whatever road debris I don't steer around with the weight of me sitting on it. And without suspension. The real adventure was having to cut, thread, and install three custom-length replacement spokes. They are not a common size due to the large hub in a small wheel, and when I built the wheel I customized enough spokes for the job, and no spares. But this replacement job was made easy by the re-Cycles shop now having the necessary threading tool (thanks to whoever donated it to us!).

Improvements for 2008:

- built a coroplast rain cover for the cargo box (why did I wait four years to do this, and put up with a tarp?).

- replaced the battery pack (I abused the old one by not recharging it often enough).

- replaced the excellent but worn down Schwalbe Big Apple 50mm wide tires with new 60mm ones (the 50s went on my trailer).

The last ongoing issue was the electric assist acting up in rainy weather, partly because the wiring connectors would pull apart and let moisture in. Juergen (my co-builder and e-assist guru) suggested replacing the stock ones with Anderson connectors, and last Spring, with the help of our friend Charles, the swap was done.

(Yes, the trike's paint badly needed touching up, and that was done shortly thereafter.)

This change, as well as relocating and covering the motor controller to protect it from wheel and road spray seems to have solved the problem, though I did not ride in the rain as much as in 2007.

So it looks like the concept has matured and stabilized. I was able to ride the trike into the first week of December, and now it hibernates, awaiting the non-slushy-salty roads of Spring.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

walkin' the drums

Back in mid-December I had a gig near City Hall, about ten or so blocks from my place. Normally I'd just hitch the big trailer to the winter bike and off I'd go, but we were a few days into our transit strike and the traffic had been a bit nuts. With snowbanks at the roadside I could not easily slip past motor vehicles with the trailer, and I thought about walking it.

But the trailer has the standard flat hitch-arm to mount to a bike's left chainstay, so that's a bit awkward for tugging along behind. But in my basement I had the frame of an old Cannondale "Bugger" trailer (lovely name) that I'd been saving for a project. The plastic body was gone, as was the hitch clamp, but it did still have fabric stretched across the frame. The important part is that the hitch-arm is the old design that attached to the seatpost, which makes towing by hand doable.

The main thing was would my small jazz drumkit fit? As luck would have it, the largest drum case JUST fit in between those rails (which were gently bent up to keep the drums out of the wheels).

It all fit, so off we go! Of course as often happens during winter here in Ottawa the roads were in better shape than the sidewalks. It was a bit more of a slog than I would've liked, but I got to the gig just fine, and was rewarded with a stunning view of the moonrise over Lisgar Street, as this one was apparently the best one of the year (people were out with cameras on tripods).

The ironic thing was that for some reason traffic was no worse than usual (perhaps being a Friday night many left work early to avoid rush hour) and I could've biked / trailered without a problem!

Here's the quartet for the gig, with Kenny posing as Serious Bassist by using the bow:
And outside, ready to head home:
And yes, that's my suit bag on top. When moving drums by human power it can get a bit sweaty, and showing up in a rumpled suit tends to not impress the clients. No matter how much they are impressed / bemused / bewildered that the drummer arrived under his own power. ;)