Pre-ride mods are done

It’s the night before the big 15 mile ride, and the Pedicab appears to be ready to go. The new parts have been on there and working for some time and distance now. There’s still a little concern with the right fender (which sags a little) rubbing on the fat Maxxis Hookworm tire on that side. In fact, it was rubbing earlier tonight, and then I found a piece of metal hanging from the outside fender trim, and I removed the piece of metal. Problem solved (I hope).

Kelly and I used some Dp-Tek 3-2-1 Liftoff paper and some 3M Scotch clear packing tape and made a custom sticker for the back. Here it is:

RickshawSeason.com 3-2-1 Liftoff sticker

It’s not perfect, but it’s at least as nice as the carriage around it.

53 Miles Per Burrito (and other stickers)

My Rickshaw has a valance panel below the luggage rack. Here’s the stickers currently on there:
Stickers

I added the 53 Miles Per Burrito sticker today. It was bought at Tour de Fat Boise 2009. I doubt the Rickshaw gets that good of mileage, and in fact this sticker was designed with bicycles in mind.

The “This driver shares the road with cyclists” sticker is from the Treasure Valley Cycling Association and trimmed slightly to fit. The Schwinn sticker is from the odometer packaging. Speaking of the odometer, it is currently sitting at 209.90 miles. Bryce and I went on a short ride today.

Will the dual Mirror Ball bling see duty?

I am dedicated to providing you, the Rickshaw passenger, with the ultimate in fun and cheesiness. To help fulfill the promise, a 4 inch dual mirror ball assembly with 32 LED illumination was acquired for the Rickshaw for $20 shipped. The biggest challenge awaits, which is figuring out how to power this thing. The dual 4″ mirror balls were not designed to be battery operated, and the AC adapter specs were unknown at the time of purchase. No big deal right? Well, we’ll see. Turns out the power adapter is 12V AC, not DC! Hmmm.

Here’s a little video blog I did one night. It is a little on the quiet side, I know:

Here’s a vendor graphic and video for the item:

My friend Riyadth is an Electrical Engineer and will be helping me sort this out from far away in the Seattle area. Should prove to be an interesting project, and hopefully one that will turn out nicely. The mirror balls are amply illuminated for night, and even in the day inside the lights are noticeable.

There’s some mechanical issues as well, specifically the unit is a little loose and doesn’t operate flawlessly upside down. Hopefully, that and the power issue are resolvable. As you can see in the videos, this thing is optimal cheese. It will be a great edition if we can get it in there and working nicely.

Buick Headbadge

(This entry backdated to August 23rd. Actual date: October 11, 2008)

The Rickshaw, much to my disappointment, never came with a headbadge. A headbadge is the marker plaque that is typically on the front of the frame of a bicycle. The Schwinn oval is a classic headbadge.

I bought a Schwinn cycle computer earlier in the year and moved the sticker from the packaging to the Rickshaw as a temporary headbadge, but I really wanted something more substantial. Bob and I headed out to Jalopy Jungle in Nampa in search of car badges that might make nice headbadges. There was some neat stuff out there. I had hoped for a Fiero badge but their Fiero had none left. The best looking of the group of badges acquired was a Saturn fender badge, but it was metal and plastic, and was not going to bend readily. The Buick 90th Anniversary fender badge was flexible, had the look, and was reasonably sized. That’s what I went with:

The assortment of badges we left with was $10 total and entry was $1, so my cost to return on the one used wasn’t so good, but Bob and I got to crawl around the junk yard for a while. The badge was a nice choice for Chinese Rickshaw use. China loves Buick.

Attachment was pretty simple. I dabbed a tiny amount of Gorilla Glue to the back of the badge. The badge needed to be held on to the frame for a while (24 hours at least) as the glue dried. Three zip ties solved that problem:

The zip ties were on there for the majority of the week and cut the night before Tour de Fat 2008 in Boise. It worked. The badge was bent and was staying on fine.

All in all a successful project. I’d saved some money if I’d come home with just the one badge, but I wanted to have multiple of them to stare at with the Rickshaw present. As I write over a month later, the badge is still holding nicely.

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.

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.

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.

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.

2008 Pre-season Update

2005 Schwinn Classic Cruiser (April 2008)I still haven’t logged a single mile on the Rickshaw yet. The canopy is 90%+ done right now. The canopy frame had a burr in the metal from the time it was new. I bought a $2 file from Harbor Freight and it took minutes to smooth that off. Cake. Now Kelly’s handiwork should be safe from the canopy frame causing damage.

I’ve gone on some training rides, and as of last week could complete the 2007 Tour de Boise route in 1.5 hours on the Schwinn Classic Cruiser (pictured). That’s 10 MPH average, and there’s stretches I don’t pedal since the single speed Schwinn gears out sometimes downhill. I need to average 5 MPH on the Rickshaw. Not easy, but with gears it might be doable.

Canopy Materials Bought

Canopy Materials with Faye
It’s been a good week in rickshawdom. In preparation for the 2008 season, the canopy is getting replaced. Kelly said she wanted a sewing project. I offered canopy. She accepted.

Here’s what I’ve got:

  • Canopy fabric: Vinyl with snakeskin pattern. It goes great with the charcoal black frame while adding extra cheese. Should be durable enough to take on tree limbs, too. Cost: About $14. (clearance rack)
  • LED Christmas lights: 2 sets of battery powered Christmas lights. LEDs for efficiency and long life, 20 per assembly. I bought 2 of these in late 2006/early 2007 from Wal-Mart in seasonal clearance mode. Glad I did. Lights=fun, style, and safety. Cost: Don’t remember.
  • Fringe: Ah yes, glorious black and gold fringe with tassels. Really upped my cost and lowers my durability, but worth it for the look I’m thinking. Cost: $17. (60% off normal price, 7 feet needed)

This’ll add a trivial amount of drag (probably) and weight (absolutely) to the Rickshaw. Most importantly, it’ll add cheese.