Preparing for Tour De Fat 2016

My son has seen video of the 2008 Tour de Fat where I went into Rickroll by Rickshaw mode. He wanted in on it for 2016, so we’re bringing it back 2016 style.

I sold the rickshaw earlier this year, so we’re going with the pedicab this time. The CD skipped when it was in the boombox on the rickshaw, so we’re going to use the line in and an old MP3 player.

The first step for decoration was to come up with a new display board for the back. First, I designed one and then put it on a picture of the pedicab. Then, I made some mild changes and printed it out on 9 sheets of packing labels (not including errors). I then applied the labels to a piece of poster board and mounted that to the pedicab. Here’s the mockup:

Fake photoshopped Rickroll by Rickshaw sign
Fake photoshopped Rickroll by Rickshaw sign

…and here’s how it turned out in real life…


Still more work to do in the next week and a half, but we have enough done to go tomorrow if necessary.

Boise Bike Week 2011 recap

Last week was Boise Bike Week 2011. The kids and I had fun on the pedicab. We were out with Kelly for the Thursday “LOOK! Family Ride for Safety” ride. The ride was a Greenbelt loop ride from Veteran’s Memorial Park, across the new 36th Street bridge, to Main Street, and then back to the park. It was a somewhat similar route to this recent episode of TV Cycle:

We didn’t make it to the Veteran’s bridge like that episode of TV Cycle did, but there was a lot of common trail. This is an unusually nice area to ride.

On Saturday, we participated in the Pedal Power Parade. I was short on time and could either shoot an episode of TV Cycle on the Schwinn or take the kids with me on the pedicab. I took the kids. It was a fun ride. The parade was a good ride, and there was food afterwards. The kids played with some other kids in the park, and on the way home we rang the bell outside the capitol building. Here’s some pictures:



…and yes, the pedicab is now advertising for TV Cycle. It’s not the prettiest sign since I made it by printing on six sheets of legal paper and then taping them together onto a piece of poster board, but it works.

Meridian BlueCruise of Idaho 2010

I had wanted to enter this event before, but it’s a lot of terrain for the Chinese rickshaw. Well, this year I have a 21 speed Main Street pedicab. My friend Bob and I drove the 15 mile route last weekend, and I did some trial climbs with Bryce to see how well the Main Street and myself could climb. After Bryce and I conquered Sky Drive in Boise’s North End, I decided I could make the big climb on the 15 mile route, a bench climb. I talked to Mom and she was willing to be the passenger. Game on.

So, earlier today, Kelly and I load up the Pedicab onto Mom’s trailer, not unlike we’ve done before to get the Rickshaw to events. Turns out it is longer as well as wider than the Rickshaw, but still not too long, and it fits on the trailer. I drive out to Meridian, sign in, find Mom, unload the Pedicab, and it’s time to ride.

Pedicab towed by the jeep

The ride wasn’t easy, it was hilly, and then of course there was the bench climb. I fell behind the pack pretty early on, and then when the first climb happened, the bicycles disappeared off into the distance ahead of me. There’s a chase vehicle for the event that kept coming back and checking on me.

The bench climb was HARD! I stopped three or four times, as I didn’t want to waste myself. The bench is a little before the halfway point, so there’s plenty of ride left after the climb is complete.

Past that, there’s more climbs left, plus some unfortunate headwinds. There is one steep descent, on which the GPS showed us as going 25MPH down at the fastest point. The ride was smooth and controlled.

I had to climb over Highway I-84 once again, and continue on into some headwind. Finally, the turn for Pine comes and I want to dime the pedicab for the final stretch but the legs aren’t so sure. I ended up bouncing between 3-5 and 3-7 (top gear) and finally made it.

Total time: 2 hours, 24 minutes, or 6.7 MPH average. Not too shabby for a first event ride with notable terrain and distance. I decided before the ride that I’d be impressed if I made it in under two hours and disappointed at over 3 hours. That 2:24 was not optimal either, as I clearly took multiple stops after the bench climb that weren’t necessary, but hey, Mom made me a tasty turkey sandwich. I didn’t have to ride and eat, so I didn’t. Next year, I might have to shoot for a two hour or lower time. Is it doable? Sure.

  1. Train more, specifically for climbing
  2. Don’t stop as much, certainly not to eat
  3. Have a higher top gear. I geared out multiple times
  4. Start out optimally hydrated. I wasn’t bad, but if I’d taken down a little more before the event, that would have been helpful
Finishing the 2010 Meridian BlueCruise of Idaho
Finishing the 2010 Meridian BlueCruise of Idaho

I wasn’t rolling for the best time I could deliver, but I wanted to finish before three, and preferably closer to two hours. Of course, I also wanted my passenger to have a great time. Mom had a great time back there, noting that it was a nicely scenic ride. Success. I actually enjoyed the scenery too, but I wasn’t on a road bike staring at the ground.

All in all, a quite worthwhile event that was a strong motivator in getting the pedicab in the first place. The rickshaw simply would not have made the trip. I couldn’t have climbed the bench with a passenger, and stretches like the downhill bench section are ill advised with the rickshaw. The pedicab isn’t perfect by any means, for example the carriage needs some work and it geared out, but overall, excellent performance. At 25 MPH, the pedicab is smooth.

What a Tuesday! (part one)

I wake up Tuesday morning knowing there was going to be some Rickshaw action for the day. Not only was there a new ride to look at (see part two), but me and the Rickshaw had an appearance in the afternoon at McMillan Elementary. Mom and friends were making a presentation about China at the school, and as a special bonus, a whole bunch of kids (about 40 in all) were getting a ride in the process. The kids loved the Rickshaw. Here’s a pic of the last ride of the day, with the final student and their teacher on the back. I took a short leg on the school’s loop walking path this time:

Rickshaw at McMillan Elementary
Rickshaw at McMillan Elementary on Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It was interesting. I typically hauled three of the seven-year-olds at a time. The kids enjoyed it. We put a raised platform on the foot grate so the kids had a place for their feet. Everything worked out well. It was fun, and I wouldn’t mind doing another school presentation in the future.

Total mileage for the day (for the Rickshaw) was about 3.5 miles. The fun per mile rating was crazy high.

(Backdated to day of event. Actual post date: May 9, 2010)

Eagle Fun Days Parade 2009


Great Eagle Fun Days Parade this year. Kelly (wife) and Faye (daughter) decided to ride on the back, and dress for the 1950s theme. This sort of high profile appearance is uncharacteristic for Kelly, and was much appreciated. Faye loves waving to the crowd.


And yes, sometimes when it “rains on your parade”, there’s an actual parade with actual rain. It was extremely light, however. After the parade, Kelly and I hung out and listened to our friend Brother Bob play guitar and it started to rain a little more, so we sat together in the back of the Rickshaw together under the canopy. Nice and dry.

Tour de Fat 2008 (Boise, Idaho)

It’s been almost a week since the Tour de Fat, but it was a great event worthy of a write-up.

Kelly was going to ride on the back, but once I announced my plans to Rickroll she had no interest in being attached to this ride. Everyone else wanted to ride their own rides too (understandable), so we put the Halloween scarecrow on the back with a bike helmet. Perfect. Here’s the highlight reel:

This was my fourth year of Tour de Fat and it seems every year past year one they mess up parade flow. Last year, they had a huge turnout and tried to funnel part of it onto the greenbelt (bad idea). This year, almost last minute, it was like they were thinking “This is working too well” and they had everyone go up a curb and onto the lawn so they can pass the Tour de Fat main stage. Bad idea. It bottlenecked hard at the narrow entry to the road where lots of people were trying to start from to begin with.

Past there, they made a fundamental mistake. Understand that outside of New Belgium Brewing the organizers are local biking enthusiasts. They ride a lot on light bikes with multiple speeds. They aren’t in touch with the average rider in the Tour de Fat. I ran across an organizer about 6 months back and I was very obvious about not having a bench climb. Maybe next time I should get an email address or show up as a ‘user advocate’ (as I have for software over the years). Well, sure enough, there was a bench climb. My cruiser minded friends who showed up had Shimano 7 speed hubs, so they could drop down and climb. That’s not typical in cruiserworld.

As mentioned, my plan was to “Rickroll by Rickshaw”, which, if you are unfamiliar with Rickrolling, involves unsuspectingly bombing people with Rick Astley’s hit song “Never Gonna Give You Up”. We put the fake passenger on the back, I printed up a big Rick Astley on three sheets of paper on the DECLaser 5100 and joined them, and also printed the other signs and taped them on as well.

Burning the CD was fun. I could have burned just one track and put it on replay, but naw, I put over 10 copies of it on one disc instead.

I put the disc in the boombox and it played fine. Right before we leave for the tour, I decide to ride with the cd playing from the boombox which is bungied on the back rack. It was awful. I thought an occasional skip would be fun, but this thing was skipping to where it would stop playing within one minute. Awful. It would rarely skip if I carried it during while riding, so that’s what I did.

The Tour de Fat is my favorite annual Boise event, and this year was no different.

Kristin Armstrong Parade

Kristin Armstrong won gold in women’s time trial cycling in the 2008 Olympics so it was time to celebrate in Boise. Instead of a typical parade, it was decided to have a bike parade from the YMCA on State Street (where she has worked) to City Hall where she was presented with the key to the city.

Bob rode along on the back, and thinking he might want to leave early, we put his Schwinn Racer on the back using a bike carrier designed for use on cars. It works pretty well back there, with the only difficulty being it makes the Rickshaw wider.

Kristen Armstrong Parade

Things went pretty quick, so Bob and his Schwinn hung around for the full ride. All in all, a nice little event in beautiful Boise, Idaho. The Rickshaw odometer is now reading just under 110 miles so far.

Rickshaw wedding

(This entry backdated to July 19th. Actual date: September 4, 2008)

So, this dude Chad finds while searching for Boise and Rickshaw. He’s getting married and wants to have a ride from his reception at The Linen Building in the ‘Linen District’ (or as I call it, the ‘Rhino District’) to the Grove Hotel. I talked to him, he sounds cool, so I’m all “Yeah sure, I’ll haul you.”

The Rickshaw has broken boards in the passenger bench (see Old seat fixed) so Kelly and I fixed that the day before. Everything was ready to go on wedding day.

I showed up about 30 minutes before the scheduled leave time. We ended up leaving about 50 minutes after my arrival. Watching other people’s reception once is kinda amusing, though I can see why the pros get paid for this.

Reception ends and it’s time to haul off. The bride and groom present me with an unseen challenge… …luggage! I really should have thought that through. Unfortunately, I had no bungee cords (I do now) and they had two bags. With bungees, I could have strapped luggage on the back fold down rack no problem, but that was not an option. Thankfully, there was room for one bag under the seat and the other went on the foot grate, less than ideal but doable. Here’s the picture as we’re leaving from the reception:
Rickshaw Wedding

We took off, the bride and groom are stoked, I’m amused, and it was a nice night out and just late enough to where the LED canopy lights were starting to work nicely. I rode down Grove, up 10th, back down 8th (with lots of people on the patios… …nice) and then to a busy Grove with the fountain running. I ran the around the fountain 2 or 3 times and then rounded the fountain and dropped them off. It was an enjoyable experience and I hope I added something to their wedding night.

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.