I’m ALIVE! and Wreck-Free Sunday

The headline refers to the difficulty I had in learning to pilot the new bike. The bed does not have a lot of clearance so lean angles for cornering are not high and the steering does not have a lot of travel, especially to the left so catching the bike with steering is not easy. Then there was the whole “bending too far over to stay on the seat” business that had to be adjusted out. That required reversing the stem to reduce the reach in the horizontal plane, then raising it to the minimum insertion point to get the handlebars up where my knees didn’t hit them. Then I could ride the bike a little, but still not very well. The combination made for evil low-speed handling until I could get ahead of the curve, literally. The builders and I are working to get rid of the steering lock issue and to retrofit it to the other Clydes already on the road (both of them). It appears that the other Clyde on the road is not having these issues because it has a fairly powerful throttle-demand front hub motor assist to go with the pedal power applied to the rear wheel. This gets it out of the low-speed regime in a big hurry, maybe fast enough that the owner never noticed how bad the low-speed handling really was.

One reason the new bike is important is transitioning the campgrounds at the Council of Magickal Arts from golf carts to cargo bikes as the golf carts age out. They were used and not a lot of life left in them when the campgrounds were first built back around the turn of the century but we are coming up on the middle of the second decade of the century and those used carts are spending as much time getting repaired as they are running people and cargo around the festival site. Also the carts are not as aligned with the core values of the organization Council of Magickal Arts as using bicycles to move things around. Eventually they plan on moving to something else for moving stuff and the infirm around, my vision is cargo bikes and pedicabs with a large number of people using powering the units as their community service to help keep the festivals running smoothly.

But moving on from the new bike, today is the opening race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season. As I type this the Daytona 500 is under a rain delay (again), so they are showing last year’s race on the station that is supposed to be carrying today’s race. The racing was good until the rains came, but now they are under a tornado warning and everybody is under the stands where it is somewhat safe until the weather blows over. And now they are saying there is about 10 minutes until coverage resumes. And it resumed watching the track driers out drying the track for about 20 minutes then went back to last year’s race replay. It looks like another 90 minutes until they get the track dry.

So, while I wait for the track to dry I’m going to muse about the modified BMX bike I’m working on for someone to ride during the festival this Spring. The idea is a crank forward bike that the rider can reach the ground to dab when things get yucky (technical term) while still having the crank far enough away from the seat that the rider gets full leg extension. I have a batch of square tubing to use to make the seat tube, and I’m going back to the metal supplier to get the right size to make the seat post. I’m even going to give my “secret” jig settings for building this bike from the modified BMX frame. The wheelbase is 42″, the bottom bracket is 19″ from the front axle and 3″ (center, 1 15/16” edge) above the axle, and a 45° seat tube angle. I’m preserving the head tube angle of the donor BMX bike to match the fork on the hardtail version, but the full suspension version will have a slack 70° headtube to go with the suspension fork I have. The real work will be the swingarm mounting points and shock mount points. Then I have to work the seat tube around those mounting points. For that bike about the only parts that will survive from the donor bike will be the down tube and the head tube.

OK they are saying that it will still be at least 60 minutes before the race resumes, so I’m going to stop trying to live blog the race and post the blog.

PSA, Opus

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