New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions.
-Mark Twain-

My new years resolution is the same every year and I always keep it. It is "I resolve to make no New Years resolution". -tom swaim-

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Old Fools Journal: Cargo Bike Update #4

This bike is in use now and I considered it finished but is anything like this ever finished? I still have plans for a chain guard and I already have a new bell to install, then there are reflectors and mud flaps. I probably won't install lights because I don't ride at night at all. In fact I seldom even go outside at night. It's heavy enough now as it is at 60 pounds (27kilos).
The front rack is a Ventura rear rack with the braces reversed and adapters fabricated from bar stock to lengthen them. It's strong but my workmanship in some places is terrible.
This handlebar bag is a re-purposed 50 cent (USD) handbag from the thrift store. I had great plans for stitching fancy straps to attach it but it had a long strong ½ inch shoulder strap that I cut in the center and wrapped around the handlebars. I rummaged through my buckle collection and found a slip on buckle that attached the ends together under the flap. It's easy on and easy off so I can transfer it to my other bikes as needed. It holds all the tools, cell phone, camera and other stuff that I need to be comfortable.
I'll be replacing that bell with a Unicorn handled bell but that's another project. I think it's kind of appropriate since the front rack reminds me of a unicorn's horn.
This side loader is pretty much a copy of the other side. The major exception is that I made it from ⅛ inch aluminum plate. It's fastened with stainless U bolts. The contact points on the frame are cushioned with old bicycle inner tubes of course.
The rear support for the skateboard rack is the seat stay from a junked bicycle. Light and strong and already bent to shape.
With the side loader up it makes a holder for my dog polo mallet. I'll explain the rules for dog polo in another post.
Loaded at about ½ capacity. More fodder for the dog pack and their cats. 10 pounds of bird food for the pesky Cardinals, wrens and sparrows is in the saddlebag along with about 10 pounds of other stuff.
The total load was 50+ pounds.
The bike rode really well with this load with no flexing that I could detect. I's very comfortable but I'll probably tinker with it until it's not. I work under the motto of "If it ain't broke then fix it 'til it is".
The big bag is really convenient. I'll never find one like it for the other side. I replaced the cheesy cheap zip ties with industrial grade zip ties with a tensile strength of 75 pounds (34k). There are six which in theory would have a breaking strength of 450 pounds. Since no load is ever evenly distributed it is something less than that in reality. I have a large folding crate that fits on the side loader but just about anything will work. As you can see the dog and cat food is just loaded on the bare rods.

I am having to learn to be aware of my additional width but I really only have two problems so far. The first was that this is an attention getter. So I can see that figuring in time to get an errand run has to include talk time. Anyone that knows me knows that is not a problem. The second is the "meat motor". That would be me. The last couple of times I've been out I have been getting a tight uncomfortable feeling in my chest. It's probably that I am just out of shape from being cooped up this winter but it's a new thing for me. I have plenty of air and my legs feel great.

Usually, in my mind, I think of my bikes as feminine but I have already started to think of this one as "the beast" . A feminine beast is just too scary for me.


Northmark said...

This just turned out spectacularly well. Do you have any issues with chain slippage? On my longtail bike the chain either flaps and falls off if it's too long, or breaks if it's too short. Can't figure out what I'm doing wrong, and am having a hard time finding someone else to blame.

Jon said...

Man, all that thing needs is a Mutant Saddle...

Big Oak said...

Congratulations on your success so far on this bike. It looks great and is inspiring to see another person not relying on fossil fuel to garner food for your pack.

I like your statement, "If it ain't broke then fix it 'til it is". I've had that attitude myself all these years, just never saw the words in the correct order to describe it.

Keep an eye on your chest thing. Hopefully it is nothing, but get medical help if it continues.

Cheers to your cargo bike and to your health!

Oldfool said...

I do have some issues with the chain wanting to skip a tooth now and then also it wants to shift itself occasionally. It has not come off.
I attribute my problems,which are minor so far, to not having the click stop shifter adjusted correctly. I just haven't gotten around to that tedious chore yet. I really don't like that type of shifter and as soon as I can scrounge up a friction shifter I am going to discard it. I adjusted the length of the chain by stretching it fairly tight on the lowest gear. If I had a additional larger chain wheel and tried to shift up it would break.
My rear axle to crank is a little more than 34 inches (87cm). If I start to have those problems I'll add a chain tensioner at the back of the front frame.

Jon: I am working on the Mutant Saddle. Don't leave your bike unattended.

Chest: I rode today and I was not as uncomfortably as the other day but I did notice it. I may just be psyching myself out. I am approaching the age my grandfather had a massive heart attack and died while plowing. I have already live 9 years longer than my dad. My other grandfather at 75 took a nap before dinner and missed dinner forever after.
I'm due for my yearly check at the VA. I think I'll mention it.

rlove2bike said...

It seems to me that you do indeed possess the magic of mechanical ability. Excellent build and a bit cheaper than the Big Dummy. Goooood job! !

John Garrish said...

Greetings -- may I post a picture of this cargo bike (and any other good ones you might suggest) on my blog?

Naturally I will attribute and link and so forth...

Thanks in advance!!


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