Monday, December 26, 2011

Returning To The Light

Yes!!! The days are finally getting longer again. The northern hemisphere has passed the shortest day of the year. No! I will not be drawn into the political/religious arguments of and about Christmas. That is why I am posting this after Christmas has passed. Although I do hope that everyone had a nice dinner and some good times with their family and friends.

12-20 of every year in the northern hemisphere is known as the Winter Solstice. Or the day of change for many reasons, like the change from Autumn (Fall) to Winter being one of them. Now since this blue marble on which, we as a race of intelligent beings call home. Rotates on a tilted axis, the top and bottom halves of Earth, have equal and opposite seasons. Like Summer in the lower half, while Winter is in the northern half. Now to tie this nature/science rambling into what I am trying to convey.

The reason for the above paragraph really is quite simple. Being that for the most part, Winter is the perfect time to dream. To make plans. To even scheme a little, on how to put those plans into motion. Late Spring and Summer is more of a time for action on those plans. While Autumn (Fall) is a time to try to finish those summer time projects, before the cycle begins anew.

Now if someone lives closer to the equator, what I have just mentioned gets blurred by quite a bit. Almost to a point of no seasons at all. There by freeing the cycle of planning, down to more or less doing it on the run as it were. Or to better illustrate my point; plan, build and scheme all while dreaming of an end to a project all at the same time. Or at least as moneys allow ...

I live in the state of Florida in the United States. So Winter here is lessened a bit, when compared with some northern parts of North America. Now don't take this wrong, we still do have cold snaps, frosts, freezes and sometimes even snow. Never enough to shovel though. Also it is usually melted away by noontime. But it is still cold enough to make any outdoor shed, shack, shanty, lean-to and shelter, or what ever is used as a workshop quite chilly.

Now my workshop idea is still in the planning and scheming stage of things. You see my plan is to build a semi mobile geodesic dome. Kind of like those kids playground monkey bars, then cover it with tarps. This way it could be disassembled and packed into a trailer, along with all of the tools, generator, welder and assorted odds and ends ready for travel. I think that I may have forgotten to mention the mobile workshop trailer, on my 'to-build-list' in the first posting here. It is however mentioned in the pdf file for the "H.P.E.A.Vardo", in the last few pages.

You see inspiration is a tricky thing, it seems to follow its own flow. When the idea first struck me to build a 'Human Powered Class C Style Camper/Velomobile' for one (maybe two), as a retirement traveling home. I had no idea that, that idea would act as a catalyst for an avalanche. But it seems to have, as the ideas of one design or another keep popping into my head. Almost faster than I can put them to paper.

Now here is where it gets tricky, trying to catalog the avalanche; (1.) A self powered, off-the-grid, D.I.Y. class C style camper/velomobile combination, I don't believe that it has ever been done before. (2.) To build this would take a workshop ~ But make able to be mobile, so that any repairs could be done on the fly. (3.) Other people who see this project when done (would it ever be done, Hmmmm, I wonder), might also want one. So in a manner of speaking, the mobile workshop might also birth clones? (4.) Maybe a different style would be asked for, or a different design, or set up. The Human Powered Vehicle stable idea starts to take hold. (5.) How do I do this? Build and sell them? Sell plans? Assist the builders with their own human powered vehicles builds? Yes the idea for a business of sorts has now started. (6.) Being small and very compact and once built, being very economical to maintain. Perhaps the unfortunate homeless would like a chance for one of these. How would I go about getting this together, and at what cost? First thought of in 2008 and again in 2009 and every year since, in this economic crisis.

Since my mind will wander from one idea to another, still more ideas present themselves. Like "How do I get the word out there for all to see?"; Maybe a website. "How do I get acknowledged for my designs, without a high end lawyer on the payroll?"; Maybe a blog. "Might there be an income from all of this somehow?"; Maybe a web based business. "So how do I do all of this?";   ??? Suggestions Anyone ???

Now that I have loosely laid my cards on the table, maybe someone, somewhere, somehow will come to my aide. While I continue to work through those, ever evolving plans for a stable of Human Powered Vehicles, a possible business, how do I get a (dot)com website working so that I can manage it, how does paypal work, what is skype and how does it work, let's see ... Oh yes blog postings, migraine headaches, future dreamings, future plannings and still more scheming to try to put it all together and make it all work ...  kind of like magic.

But still that nagging feeling hangs in there. You know the one, "Am I doing enough, or could I do more than all of this ... to help my fellow mankind?"

Has anyone seen where I put that bottle of Excedrin?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pedal Reasoning...

My parents grew up with the internal combustion engine. Along with the auto industry. So yes they are hooked on all of the hype of ... Bigger, Better, Badder, More Expencive, Gotta-Have-It or your life will not be worth living over blown advertising.

Now since the '70's the cost of fuel keeps going up, along with other costs of transporting goods. Forcing those in business, to raise their prices so that they can stay in busness. There by helping to keep their work force believing, that they have a chance to reach for that fabled "Golden Ring". Along with all of the, Trinkets, Baubles and Toys thrown in ... A merry-go-round that seams to be spinning ever faster and faster.

I was once on that ride, when I was younger. Until my eyes were forced open to the reality of it all. My income could not, nor would ever allow me to stay in the running for that fabled "Golden Ring". Nor any of those Bigger, Better, Badder, More Expenceive, Gotta-Have-It, Trinkets, Baubles and Toys. That unfortunetly have become the nessesities of a modern upwardly mobile society. What some have come to call the "In Crowd", and others aspire to and want to beome.

Now while I was still believing in all of that marketing maddness, I was fixing neighborhood kids bikes. To make the kids happy, and me a little coin. So, now that I can see some kind of retirement loaming on my horizon, in say 9 to 13 years. Am trying to revive my ability as a bicycle repairman, for a retirement aiding inome. Also when my drivers liesence expires next, I will be 65 years young. By that time, am planning on being entirely pedal powered mobile. That alone should help my health, along with better controling of my vices for stress control (will talk more on that else where). Now am relearning old skills and new ones (blogging being among them). Also understanding the ins and outs of the modern bicycling industry ~ construction, building and repairing to further my chances of success.

Also am playing with one of my old skills, drafting. So that I can maybe do some redesigning. With some of my own cycling ideas. While I remember that everything that is "New" and "Improved", started out as someone else's idea. Maybe that fabled "Golden Ring" is not out of my reach, just yet ...

However I do know that, most all of those so called "Over Night" success stories take years of effort to happen. So, yes I am laying down the building blocks, to maybe make a better way of life for myself and those around me. Who also believe that the "Road To Success" has more than one type of road to follow ... maybe a cycling trail or path?

So to everyone's health ... Let's all go cycling.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Learning Curve Headache

Any new project or hobby has it's own learning curve stumbling blocks to over come. This I know all to well, as my life as in any one's life, we all have to over come adversity, anguish and self dought. Staying in ones own shell is safer and has a secure feel to it, but ask any egg how easy its shell can crack. Once cracked things tend to leak in or out. Also curiosity sets in ...

My point is that we all feel insecure and insignificant at many times in our lives. I am at one of those points now with this blog, and with my bike hacking and rebuilding. Since I am at the beginning of them both and trying to combining them as well. So as I stumble along please bare witness, that I am human with all of the emotional baggage that comes with our being human.

I remember something that a science teacher in high school once told me, can't remember who now, "The one thing in the Universe that is constant is ... Change!". Change happens to us all, in more ways than I could even fathom, of that I am certain. So I guess that we are all stuff of the Universe, of which we all are but a speck of dust in.

I hope that my ramblings here are not lost on everyone, after all change is where ideas come from. Change and ideas and adversity and community are part of the baggage of humanity. The part that gives us all the strength and determination become better than we are. Hence we start new projects giving us a chance to grow and maybe to better ourselves.

So yes I may stumble and falter, I may even fall sometimes. But I will get up again and stumble on ...

Friday, December 2, 2011

How and why the title evolved into ... Apocalyptic Wheelz

First of all I believe that if more people used pedaled powered vehicles for those little jaunts the $$$ savings would help out their wallets, also a side benefit would be better health. Along with a greener future for us all.

Now my intentions here is to aid, and/or advise on the A ~ Z needs for building pedal powered wheels. Without 'Big Oil's' or 'Big Brother's' or 'Big Government's' so called advice.

This blog will be mainly used to document my deconstruction, of common bicycles and some other parts thrown into the mix. While I rebuild them into unique recumbent trikes and quadracycles. I may build recumbent bikes for others, personally I prefer to have the stability of at least three wheels under me, am not as young as I once was and I heal more slowly it seems. After building the rigs and getting the kinks worked out and adjusted or fixed, if a outer skin is added to envelope the whole thing, there by making the rig into what is called a Velomobile. Basically a pedal powered vehicle, that is legal as a bicycle on the roads.

Say good-bye to higher and higher gas prices, 'Big Oil's' demands, 'Big Brother's' demeaning yells for "MMMooommm, do you know what 'You-Know-Who-Is-Doing-Now?'?". Also say good-bye to 'Big Government's' licenses, tags, insurances and other monetary regulations  that hold us all in the grip of their financial chains. While keeping us held back from living up to our full potential.

Now we get to the matter of the title ... Apocalyptic Wheelz.

Any disaster that may befall anyone of us. Be it a job loss, or something more devastating like a home loss, for what ever reason. Maybe something happened on a larger scale, be it in your neighborhood, or your county, maybe even bigger still. What I am saying is that it doesn't matter what happens or when or even if something bad happens. As long as we are prepared with alternate plans of action and alternate modes of transportation. We can survive quite a lot.

So follow along and watch maybe even join in, as I prepare to roll with the punches and be ready to move out at the drop of whatever may come along. Now if nothing bad happens ... well at least I will have some fun wheels to bum around on at any rate.

Let's start having some fun dispite what the neighbors might say ...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

To stay conneted I have to what ... Blog?!?!?!

OK, here is a nearly 60yr old (58 in 3/??/2012) trying to understand a 20yr old communication game. So please bear with me, as I a plod along. If I screw up feel free to let me know, possibly with a explanations on what I did wrong and how to go about maybe fixing it.

Now with the above statement out of the way ... To anyone visiting ... WELCOME! I am glad that you are visiting me. Let me just give you a little info. here. My intention is to talk about my designs for transportation, shelter/housing (possibly all in one) and ways to live a simpler and maybe better way of life. Partially off of the grid, at first but eventually permanently off of the grid. Somewhat out of big government's sight/hearing and as self sustaining as possible. This should be interesting, hopefully fun, probably frustrating and I hope not insulating to anyone. So that said let's begin.

Let me introduce everyone to a web forum to which I belong some very knowledgeable people hang out there and openly discuss bicycle, tricycle and quadracycle building, and rebuilding mainly in the recumbent style.

The reason that I mentioned that forum is my designs are loosely based on bicycles, tricycles and quadracycles. The camaraderie there is also fun. So OK enough chatter let's get to it ...

For the last 2yrs or so I have been doodling on napkins and it has come to this realization 'That I want to help the less fortunate' either in housing/shelter or transportation or simply living a better way of life, maybe combining all of it into one vehicle. A tall order I know, and I am but a small voice in a sea of many. But sometimes a whisper can be heard above it all.

At any rate some of my doodles have grown enough to earn names:

Shade Forger ~ a tadpole trike that is car like
Runabout ~ a delta trike that is car like

Go-For ~ a tadpole trike that is van like
Errand Runner ~ a delta trike that is van like

Little Hauler ~ a tadpole trike that is truck like
Think-I-Can Hauler ~ a delta trike that is truck like
Hauler Champ ~ a hefty delta dual axle trike that is truck like

Weekender ~ a long tadpole trike ~ good for light camping, but could be beefed up
Vagabond ~ a long delta trike ~ a good cross between the Weekender and the Odyssey Schooner
Odyssey Schooner ~ a hefty delta dual axle trike ~ excellent for extended or expedition camping
H.P.E.A. Vardo ~ a quadracycle ~ excellent for sedimentary camping
(Human Powered Electrical Assisted)

The H.P.E.A. Vardo is worked up into a loose design, with commentary in a pdf format. Will post it when I figure out how to do that.

Am currently working on the design for the weekender. I had a thought about full disclosure here with details and precise measurements. I may still do that, it will depend on the interest in the plans. If I go into business though I may sell the plans or build the rigs and sell them or both as am unsure as of yet how much interest there would be in my designs. Please feel free to comment, or suggest on anything here

Thank you for visiting ...