Archive for March, 2011

First Ride

March 29th, 2011 Comments off

I resisted the urge to head to the top of the nearest hill for a Flintstone-style rolling test. Instead I fitted brakes and a rear derailleur and a very long chain:

Turns out I was quite wrong back in November when I speculated that a single idler would be sufficient. Of course, the reluctance of the chain to stay attached wasn’t enough to prevent a test ride.

It took a short while to get used to the low-down-feet-up position, but the steering felt quite natural. The bike is very smooth and stable and handles well even at low speed. I have to adjust the pedal position and I need a second idler then I’ll give it another try. Further and faster.

In the meantime, provisionally titled “Some Fat Bloke Stole My Bike” and with stellar accompaniment is the first ride in all its glory:


March 21st, 2011 Comments off

All the structural work is done, and I have a rolling bike:

That ‘T’ at the front is where the headlights will go. Here’s another view:

It came together very well. My only initial concern is the spectacularly large turning circle – perhaps not surprising given the near 8′ wheelbase. Tweaking those outrageous handlebars will help.

Next comes chain (around 14 feet!), brakes, derailleurs and shifters. Then, finally, a test ride.


March 14th, 2011 Comments off

This project would not have got beyond the theoretical without serious help from an extremely able friend of mine. It’s his workshop where much of the construction will take place, and it’s his welding expertise, gear and patience that’s making it all possible.

So, that fork came together nicely:

Then on to the frame. Though oxy-acetylene welding is slower than the electric arc approach I really like the relative quiet and ‘calm':

You get totally absorbed in the small puddle of molten steel 12″ from your face. Making it do what you want takes lots of practice, and I haven’t done this stuff since college. It’s challenging and fun and I’m learning a lot – here’s a sample of my work:

A vast amount of heat gets dumped into the workpiece and things cool down slowly. Because I did lots of prep there was usually another thing to work on while the previous piece was cooling. After some trial and adjustment, we had a mostly complete back end:

Add the seat tabs, then the seat and a wheel:

The front end should come together quite easily now. Here’s a clamped-together good approximation:

It should have been obvious all along but it’s only just sinking in. This is going to be a long ride.