Old seat fixed

(This entry backdated to July 18th since that’s when the repair was done. Actual date: July 31, 2008)

A lame spot of the Rickshaw is the seat. It was made worse last year when a “hole” on the seat appeared (after a cracking sound). Well, Kelly took the seat apart, removing the cover on the back side of the seat, and we learned that:

  • There was a broken board in there
  • The seat was made of pallet wood (or similar)!

Well, having a wedding that night, the “hole” was not cool. Seat replacement with new upholstery is in the plans, but not that day. So, it was time to rebuild. I went out to the garage, found a scrap piece of plywood, cut it, took it over to Bob’s for another cut (his power saw is way better than me with a hand saw) and then Kelly and I put it back together. She added some padding towards the front, though while not perfect, is a notable improvement over stock. The fabric has seen better days, and we’ll replace the whole bottom assembly next year hopefully. For now, it works, and hauled people that night and beyond successfully.

Before:
Old seat: Busted

After:
The old seat, fixed

Eagle Fun Days Parade 2008 (Eagle, Idaho)

Mom and Bryce were on the back of the Rickshaw last year during the parade and it was a good time, so we returned this year.

The day starts by loading up the Rickshaw on Dad’s flatbed trailer for the trip from Boise to Eagle. He then takes it to Eagle, meanwhile I’m taking a friend and his musical gear to Eagle as well for an outdoor performance after the parade.

I meet up with the Rickshaw and get in line for the parade. Learning from last year, I bring a book to read while waiting. Mom and Bryce show up later, and after some more waiting, it is finally time to get moving.

This year’s parade was a bit different. We had experience. The parade route went the other direction. Unfortunately, somewhere before us there were a few horses.

I ran random circular patterns as usual and all were having fun except Bryce who for whatever reason wasn’t enjoying it like last year. Well, a quick passenger swap and Faye was now back there with Mom, and she was having fun.

Here’s some video I uploaded onto YouTube:

Parade riding is a lot different than regular. I’m doing lots of circles and I sit around more than normal.

The interesting (but sad) thing we saw this year was the engine on the Porsche 911 in front of us overheat. Those cars are rear engine and air cooled. The salon had a banner they wanted to show over the engine compartment and to prop the banner up, they stuffed the area behind it with towels. Unfortunately, this also blocked air from coming in and cooling the engine. Over time, the car started to blow more white smoke (it wasn’t blowing any at the beginning). The towels were removed during the parade, but it was a bit late. The 911 finally pulled over and stopped early near the end of the parade.

Mom likes being a passenger, and Faye does as well. She had figured out a sweet little wave for the crowd by the end. We regrouped with the rest of the family for BBQ after the parade ended. Total mileage for the day: About 4.5 miles with about 2 of that being the parade itself. The odometer is sitting at over 28 miles.

The classic Hyde Park, downtown loop

The most popular Rickshaw trip over the last 3 seasons has been from home at 25th and State to Hyde Park, to downtown, and back home. Today’s trip involved Kelly (wife) and the kids (Bryce @ 3yrs, Faye @ 1yr). There’s a variety of these loops done. More often than not, it is a nighttime trip with all the lights on, but today, it was a long trip to the Post Office with the family on the back.

We went through Hyde Park and didn’t stop, then made it to the downtown post office to drop off some mail. From there, it was time to go down 8th Street to The Grove. For those of you unfamiliar with Boise, Idaho, here’s a picture of The Grove:

The Grove was the city blocks surrounding the downtown intersection of 8th Street and Grove originally, but was turned into one huge block with new buildings and a fountain in the center of a common area. That area is used for events including Alive After Five, which we biked to last night.

Anyway, we did a couple loops round the fountain and headed home, going a chunk of the way back on the Grove Street bike lane. The whole trip came to 4.1 miles and the Odometer reads 23.6 miles.

The canopy is having some issues:
1. It is insufficiently attached. It was trying to blow off, and some of the velcro straps were coming loose.
2. The front is too low, and the velcro retainers up there aren’t holding the front up very long. They give while riding and my visibility goes down.

The canopy is going to need some work before the Eagle Fun Days parade this weekend.

A week without Rickshaw

I didn’t ride the Rickshaw all week. Why? Well, in part because I was on the Schwinn.

Saturday night, I rode up four benches (these are what the bluff-like steps up away from the river in Boise are called). Here’s the route, more or less:


View Larger Map

The Schwinn doesn’t really have the gear for climbing, so there’s some standing going on the get to the tops of the benches. From downtown to Gowen and Federal Way is a neat trip. The Federal Way bike highway is sweet.

The next day, Kelly wants to haul the kids by bike to Lucky Peak and back which is about ten miles each way. Here’s where things get ugly. I had the kid trailer hooked up to the Schwinn. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but I rode pretty hard the night before and my legs were wasted. We got there and back, and it was a great day. It was also a poor performance on my part. I stopped a lot and rode slow. We’ll have to do this ride again so I can redeem myself.

The Schwinn with the trailer, kids, and myself is about 300 lbs. The Rickshaw with me and no passengers comes to about 400 lbs.

My legs are sloppy today.

Boise Bike Week ends on a high note

With some great passengers, Mom and Faye

Today was the end of Boise Bike Week, and it ended with the highlight day for me, the Pedal Power Parade. It was uphill to the start, where we waited until a good 30 minutes after the official start time to start. Blah blah blah! Mom shared the back of the Rickshaw with both Bryce and Faye (alternating) during the ride. Kelly rode along side with her Giant Simple Single and a kid trailer.

The ride to Julia Davis Park was nice. Having the speedometer is fun. I was peaking at around 11-12 MPH. Depending on the situation, I run out of gear.

Boise Bike Week 2008 at Julia Davis

At Julia Davis (pictured above), I got free pizza, a salad, snack mix, Oreos and water. Thank you Old Chicago and Boise Bike Week. I took the Greenbelt part way home, so Bryce got some tunnels in. The trip was 7 miles, putting the odometer at 18.4 miles.

More Boise Bike Week 2008
As seen in the picture on the right (click it for a large view), I added some letters for the back saying “RICKSHAW SEASON.COM” (about $2.30 a package at Wal-Mart, but it took multiple Wal-Marts to find two sets of the letters I wanted) and I heard at least one person say it during the event, so it was effective. It took two packages of letters to accomplish the task, and I had to fab a lowercase ‘l’ into a period. Cake.

Rickshaw at Boise Bike Week

I’ve been active in Boise Bike Week this year, attending an event every day so far. With one exception, I’ve been the only single speed cruiser guy, and that guy wasn’t a cruiser guy, he borrowed his son’s ride and forgot it even had a kick stand! Anyway, tonight’s event wasn’t a ride, but rather a gathering at Sachel’s in downtown Boise. For me that’s probably a hair over one mile each way. Well, the Rickshaw hadn’t seen action yet so I took it with Brother Bob on the back.

It was a good night. I need to air the tires up more often, especially the rear right one as it loses some air over 2 weeks, and I forgot my lock (again) for the second time this week. I just pedaled harder and we parked the Rickshaw in plain sight. Not a biggie. I’m going to dedicate a lock to the Rickshaw though, so I don’t have the lock problem again.

Boise Bike Week has been fun so far. The Rickshaw will return for the Pedal Power Parade on Saturday.

My odometer is sitting at about 10 miles now. A chunk of that is with no passenger, though.

Brake Pedal removed (finally)

The brake pedal gets chopped offThe Rickshaw had a goofy brake foot pedal that was in the way when pedaling from day one. Joe was on the back one time and said something to the extent of “Why are you pedaling with your right foot out odd like that?” and I explained that I would kick the foot brake pedal otherwise. He noted that we should cut the thing off since it isn’t used (the hand lever is used for braking). Finally, today I go to Harbor Freight, spend about $3.50 on a saw, put the metal cutting blade in, and get to work. The foot brake pedal is now, at long last, gone. The Rickshaw is about 9 oz lighter (meaningless in the Rickshaw world, but a road bike guy would be very pleased).

For a better view of where the brake pedal was in relation to the regular pedals, click on the picture. This was a great mod: cheap (free if one doesn’t count the saw), effective, reasonably quick, and is one of the few done that actually lowered the weight of the Rickshaw instead of making it heavier.

Schwinn SW500NM odometer added


Well, as mentioned before, the magnet for Kelly’s Specialized odometer is missing (and might not have worked with the thick Rickshaw spokes anyway) and I was not liking the defeat. Well, for under $10 including tax from Walmart on a Sunday, I now have an odometer. It is on and installed. A similar Bell brand odometer was $15 at Fred Meyer. This 12 function Schwinn SW500NM was a lot cheaper.

Installation was cake. Zip ties (included) hold everything on the handlebars and front fork. The cable makes things a bit uglier, but oh well, I get data now. The unit seems reasonably well made and the instructions were reasonable. Some of the other cheap odometer units (commonly called a “cycle computer”) on the market have little magnets designed to clip onto standard spokes only. The Rickshaw doesn’t have standard spokes… …they’re nutty huge. Thankfully, the Schwinn has support for standard spokes and flat spokes. Though the spokes are hardly flat, they do work in the wider flat spokes side of the magnet assembly. I just put it on there and hand tightened it down.

Odometer wheel magnet

They have a table in the manual for calibrating the SW500NM for different sizes of wheels. I first calibrated the Schwinn to what I thought was the closest description of my wheels. That was off by between 4% and 5%. After some calculating and some trial runs in relation to what the 1999 Dodge Caravan said was half a mile, I came up with a wheel value of 2044. It seems really close.

Now that I have an cycle computer on the Rickshaw, I’ll know mileage, speeds, and time of day. The clock will likely prove handy. Wouldn’t have minded having a clock yesterday. Totally worth the $10.

Schwinn name badge sticker

The odometer’s packaging had a Schwinn logo sticker on the plastic and I had some fun with that too. There was no name badge on the Rickshaw, but now there’s a Schwinn sticker up there.

I’d like have something else up there, but that sticker made me giggle and it’s better than nothing.

Trolley House for breakfast and a visit to Bikes2Boards

Another great day in this young Richshaw Season.

Went on two rides today. The first one was for breakfast with Bob. I thought, “Hey, let’s go to the Trolley House.” Bob had to be somewhere at 2pm, but I figured worse come to worst, we could cut the trip short and eat downtown. Well, that wasn’t a problem. I took the long way there and arrived in 45 minutes. We took our time eating, and still got back with o’plenty of time. Here’s a Google map that’s 80%+ accurate:
Google Map

The food was great, the whole staff seemed to get a kick out of the Rickshaw, and I logged about 6.5 miles, putting my total to 7.5 miles with passengers this year. The Warm Springs bike lanes have a very textured surface and are much slower and difficult than they look.

The second ride, without a passenger, was from home to Bikes2Boards and back. I took the ride to show them the whole Rickshaw, and to let them know the rear wheel was working nice. I took the Greenbelt home.

A great day for Rickshawing in Boise, Idaho.

Rickshaw Season 2008 has officially started!

Rickshaw with new canopy
Ah yes, springtime! The canopy was put on today, and though there’s still some issues to resolve, it goes on and it was time for the first ride of the season. I pump up the tires, Kelly and Faye hop on, and off we go. We went a little over a mile if I had to guess, just a loop south of the house and back home.

Training paid off:
I’m in way better shape beginning this season, no comparison. The training rides have paid off. I made good time, had really good power, and wasn’t tired or notably winded when I hopped off.

Canopy is coming along:
It isn’t perfect but has come along nicely so far (see picture):

  • The front sags down a little low
  • The Velcro is not sufficient. We’re gonna need more to hold that puppy on.
  • The battery boxes for the lights (which are integrated into the fringe, click on the thumbnail for a larger view) need to have a home. They’re hanging loose right now.

Summary:
I’m stoked about the 2008 Rickshaw Season. There’ll probably be some annoyances with the upgrades taking place while I’m hoping to ride, but so far that has been minimal. Getting the wheel trued early was a good idea. It is nice to not have the back wobble as you roll down the road.