Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rebuild of Mike's Fairing

While a nice concept, our attempt at a front fairing out of a recycled coroplast political sign detailed in the Nov 16th post was not a success. The attempt to bring together the strips of coroplast into a nice smooth curve in the front of the two top sections just didn't work.

So back to the drawing board for a much better design. This design used a 4'x8' sheet of orange coroplast and an 18" by 8' section of left over yellow coroplast. All of it 4 mil as we haven't found anyone to sell us the thinner 2mil stuff.

This time the fairing uses a much simpler two pieces on each side with a middle channel to improve forward vision. The picture below shows the fairing almost finished .

It still needs some tape to cover the seems but other wise came out pretty well. Lacking an obvious place outside to mount the headlight, we cut a hole in the front of the fairing and mounted it inside by attaching it to the aluminum frame visible in the first picture above.

Here it is from the side. The back ends still need to be trimmed after the tail box is done. Entry is enabled by tilting the fairing forward. Next step is a wind shield. More pictures click here

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Progress on the fairing

Mike and I made substantial progress on the new fairing design. More Pictures
This fairing is being built for Mike's Catrike Speed. The Catrike poses a particular challenge for coroplast fairings because of its reclined seat position. Its usually hard to see over a fairing that doesn't hit your knees.

To solve this dilemma, we put a sight channel down the middle that lowers the fairing by 3.5" between your knees. The nails in the picture are just temporarily holding the coroplast to the aluminum frame. Besides dealing with the sight line issue, our other goal was to build this front fairing out of a single 4x8 recycled political sign.

The final challenge was to see if we could successfully copy Ethan Davis's fairing mount. Ethan developed a very clever design that has a jaw that clamps down on a bracket attached to the fairing frame. This makes a secure mount which with a push from your toe releases the fairing for transport or in case you just want to ride unfaired for a while.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Working on a front fairing out of one sheet of coroplast

I spent the day working with Mike on a front fairing for his Catrike speed. The first try based on a design he had seen online didn't work as well as hoped. It was so high it was impossible to see the road in front of you for about 30 feet. We shifted gears and started with a 8' by 1.5' piece of coroplast left over from my fairing. Its bent around an piece of aluminum that we shaped into half an ellipse to make the leading edge of a vertical airfoil. It's based on Ethan Davis's fairing. What we're doing differently is making two bumps with a channel down the middle. The bumps provide knee and toe clearance and the channel provides forward visibility. We're making the prototype with scraps and recycled signs but it looks like this design could be made with a single 4x8 sheet of coroplast with limited cutting. We hope to finish it up tomorrow and get both pictures and plans up soon.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Burlington Bikefest 08

Last weekend's Burlington Bikefest was a blast. We had six velomobile's plus Krash's velokit (not pictured) plus quite a few recumbents. Phil and the local crew in Burlington did a great job with press coverage. Riding back from Shelburn Farms (scene of the picture) I looked to my left and saw a TV van with camera woman filming me.

I let people take test rides on both Saturday and Sunday. In the picture to the left was one of the last test rides. Mom and son waited around patiently until everyone else had ridden It's not really a two person vehicle, but after all that waiting I didn't have the heart to tell the little guy he couldn't take a ride. In all I think I held court talking about my trike and letting people ride it for about 5 hours over the course of the weekend. More pictures

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hartford tour

I rode the trike with the fairing into Hartford today. It was a great opportunity to publicize the Burlington Bikefest and velomobile rally coming up on Oct 3-5. As usual the velomobile attracted lots of attention and people were taking pictures of it before I even got to Bushnell Park. I ran into Dave, Mike and Maggie who are all planning to make the trip up to Burlington.
I wasn't the only person who thought the Hartford tour might be a good place to promote something cycling related. At the East Coast Greenways table I ran into Steve Mitchell who has a new web site Among other things it has links to videos of trail related shows shown on Simsbury's public access station. Steve was talking up a New Haven to Hartford ride along the route of the greenway.
I also met a couple who noticed the ad for Bianca Signs on my velomobile and asked if they could take a picture because her name was Bianca. I never caught his name but he handed me a sticker for BeatBikeBlog which is all about riding in Hartford, CT

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

David's trike is done!

At long last, trike #4 is done and off to Maryland with its new owner, 14 year old David. We visited his parents (old friends from high school) back at Thanksgiving of 07. I showed them this blog and David who has never really been able to ride a bike due to a disability that effects his balance, got very excited.
In the spring his dad emailed to see if I had a set of plans because David really wanted a trike. As if by design, the very next email in the in box was from my friend Mike who had started building trike with my help. He had just found a great deal on a used Catrike and had a new raise burning a hole in his pocket. Mike bought the Catrike and the half done trike with all the parts was available. I offered to finish the trike for David and now there's a very happy 14 year old who hopefully got to take a ride today after school.
The trike is a variation on my original design. It used the back end of a recycled suspension mountain bike. The front wheels are 20" BMX wheels with 14mm axles. It uses under seat steering is based on the Peter Eland's spreadsheet. The front wheels have rim U brakes operated by a single brake lever.
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Monday, July 28, 2008

Velomobiles Burlington VT October 4th

The Velomobiles are coming to Vermont!
This year the HPV Burlington Bikefest takes the place of the New England Human Powered and Ultra Efficient Vehicle rally held in Amherst, MA for the last several years.

Last weekend I tagged along with my wife to a conference she had in Burlington and met up with some of the folks organizing the event. Phil, Marc and Stu have some big plans. There will be camping in a nice municipal campground right on the the shoreline bike path. A ride out to a working farm and an expo at Oakledge Park where folks can checkout the velomobiles and other interesting vehicles.

Burlington is a great little city on the shores of Lake Champlain. I was impressed by how much was going on there. The lake front is gorgeous and certainly not hurt by a bike path that hugs the shore. There are great restaurants and lots of micro brewed beer. There's also a thriving arts scene and lots of little non profit organizations doing good things. One that I particularly enjoyed finding was Local Motion the bike advocacy group that has worked to extend the bike path north along the island line.

Early October in Burlington is peak foliage season, which will make the trip that much better. If you've been fantasizing about a velomobile, plan to come. It will be a great place to see (possibly even ride) a bunch of manufactured as well as homebuilt velomobiles.
The HPV Burlington Bikefest website will soon be getting updates and we hope an online registration feature, so check it out.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bentrider Online announces 2008 Car Free Challenge has just announced their 2008 Car Free Challenge to run during the month of July. The Challenge is again being sponsored by TerraTrike and the prize will be a 2008 Cruiser trike. Unlike past years, this year the prize will be determined by the luck of the draw rather than through an essay contest. With gas prices over $4.00 Bryan at Bentrider figured last year's 200+ entries could easily become 400. So if you're thinking about going car free even for a month, check it out.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Plainville Earthstock

I took the velomobile out to the Plainville Earthstock festival in Plainville today. Pictures I was set up between my friends at from the Plainville Greenway Alliance and Mike Zych, proud owner of a new (for him) Catrike Road. He also had his VW deisel modified to run on french fry oil. Lots of people came over to check of the velomobile. Unfortunately I forgot to take any pictures. On a sad note, I heard today that Bantam Bakery closed today. Apparently fuel and flour price increases really squeezed them.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Over seat stearing conversion

I 've finally finished the coversion from underseat steering to the "Windcheetah" style overseat steering. The change was necesitated by my plan to put a floor and wheel wells into the fairing. The old handlebars would have hit the wheel wells every time I tried to turn. As you can see from the pictures I've bolted it all together just like the rest of the trike. I used 1.25" square tubing and a piece of tubing that's the same 7/8'' as handlebars.
The snow had melted off the road soI took it out for a test ride this afternoon. I didn't take it down a hill but I suspect I need to tighted the connection with the universal joint. There's some play in it. The other issue is that its prety hard to turn. The steering assembly is attached to the frame with a bolt that goes through a bushing on each side of the frame. Maybe some oil would help. The only other problem was that my rear derailer cable cought on the bit of bolt I didn't saw off fush with the nut.
The other advantage of this set up is that I had a chance to redo the steering linkage and hopefully improved the ackerman compensation. The old set up was off and an I went through tires about every 1000 miles. The turning radius dramticly improved. The old handle bars used to hit the seat limiting the turning circle to the width of my little street.
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Monday, February 18, 2008

Laser front end alignment

I spent the long weekend switching over from underseat stearing to Windcheetah style club steering, which of course means I needed to do a front end alignment. My system is copied from Larry Varney's friend and mechanic Walt Smith. Walt graciously did an alignment for me at the 2005 Bentride.
The system uses two magnetic laser torpedo levels. Idealy its a two person job with the rider sitting on the trike (there's a little frame flex in all trikes). The other person lines up the targets first very close to the lasers and then again 20' to 30' away. I've found that an inch of toe in at 20-30 feet works pretty well.
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