Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Seussian Pedal Tractor is Done!


The canopy is on, the frame is mostly painted. All the mechanical parts are functional. We took a little test drive this morning and everything worked fine. I got some friends to pose in the three pilot positions on the contraption. It won't be fast but it will go!
The only thing left to do is a bit more paint, some lighting for night driving and a small battery powered sound system.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Big Wheels Get Paint

The Seussian Pedal Tractor is almost done. All the mechanical bits are finished. That's three derailleurs, five chains, two brake calipers, shifters and the cables that control everything. We did a three person test-ride last Friday and we couldn't stop laughing. We rode it out of the driveway, down the street aways and then peddled uphill back to the shop. It was hilarious and instructive. The big wheels needed a little bracing at the ends of the spokes. They bent ever so slightly during the test ride. The gearing will work fine. We were able to ride uphill with three people on it but only two people pedaling (the front pedals weren't installed yet). The bicycle chains may be a weak point. I will have to bring spare chain and a chain tool whenever we ride it anywhere.

This past weekend I primed the big wheels and the long bike frame. Yesterday I painted the big wheels with fluorescent spray paint. The plan is to mount UV lights on the canopy frame to illuminate the wheels for night travel.

Today I started bolting the shoes to the big wheels. I need only two more pair. The next post should be of the completely finished pedal tractor. I say this knowing that we will probably come up with wacky ideas for add-ons. It may never be really finished!

Monday, August 4, 2008

First Test Ride

I got the Seussian Pedal Tractor done enough to take a brief test ride. It's barely together though. Only one set of pedals is hooked up and I haven't connected the brakes yet. It picked up speed pretty quickly. Fortunately I had some friends there to stop me.
I made a big brake disk out of an old stone-cutting circular saw blade. I think it's about two feet in diameter. The beast is heavy so I don't know how well the brakes will work. I think the gearing will be fine. It might even go pretty fast with three people pedaling.
Today I scored a whole bunch of bicycle chain so I can hook up the other sets of pedals to the drivetrain.This coming weekend I plan to finish all the mechanical bits, do a more extensive test ride, and then get it ready for paint.