Category Archives: Recumbent Cycling

Bicycle Camper Improvements So Far…

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I don’t always posts pics of myself on NaggingInspiration, but when I do, it’s always with bicycle campers…

So the biggest exterior improvement has been mounting the wheels further back. I did so using firring strips and frustration, more of the latter than the former. I will have to do it again with electrical conduit, at some point. Also, the tow bar needs some work, I’ll see what I can do, but frankly I think I’m going to have to have the male offspring of a firearm welded.

This blog is primarily about the interior improvements, so here we go!

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I’ve reinforced some of the seams with more gorilla tape and painted the walls and ceiling white. It helps to brighten it and make it seem a little bigger (a couple centimeters of perception makes all the difference in the world when it comes to less than 14 square feet!). Here you see two press dome lights attached with velcro in the foot bay.

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The thermometer is resting on the shelf from the last blog, below that is a new shelf, 5 and a half inches high by 3′ long.

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That’s quite a bit of extra storage for clothes, canned goods, toiletries and a folding chair, among other things. All in a space that I wouldn’t be using anyway, as it’s too small for any other part of me other than my legs.

My next favorite addition was my curtains!

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Every day is Halloween! I love how the sunlight filters through these, and with a little velcro they’re going to be perfect for sleeping in when the sun starts rising at 5:30 am!

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Crappy shot with the lights on inside.

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Here’s the 3rd of 4 dome lights.

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The 4th dome light over my folding table.

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Presto! Cooking surface!

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These Instabulbs light the whole thing up while I’m in there well enough without the dome lights.

The next thing I’m going to work on are four vents. I’ve discovered that when it’s 20 degrees out or warmer I don’t need my alcohol heater, body heat alone raises the temp by 30 degrees. But my breath condenses on the windows and on the ceiling by morning. The vents will help, even if I have to use a candle heater or alcohol heater, but I doubt I will. I may have to add even more ventilation come Summer, we’ll see.

After the vents I’ll add a cup holder. Then I’m going to work on exterior improvements and be done with it….yeah right, I have a feeling I’ll keep adding stuff to the Pedal-Inn =)

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My Bicycle Camper: the Pedal-Inn

Let me start off by saying that this was just quickly scrapped together, I’m still working on the tow bar, and the wheels need to be moved back for it to tow properly. Plus I’m not done working on the inside. So there will eventually be more!

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The over all length is 7′. The first 4′ it is 2′ wide, 38″ at the highest and 33″at the lowest. The last 3′ is 22″ wide by 26″ high. The two window are each 8″x15″ and are scavenged plexiglass. When warmer weather arrives I’ll have to make some modifications so they open and add screens. The black vertical and horizontal lines you see are seams taped with gorilla tape. Like I said, this was made from scraps, ideally it wouldn’t have all those seams, but I have to tell you it is much stronger than I thought it would be! It’s seen some rain and a few inches of icy snow in its week of existence and is holding up fine and leak proof! It probably weighs 20-30lbs, I just know when my friend helped me carry it out the house (where it was put together) we both said “Wow! At least it’s light!!”.

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If I was working and not so broke I could make it so the rear section slid in like a drawer for travel.

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Front shot. The walls are made of 1″ dow tuff r insulation board.

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Rear. You can see the back two legs, which are just some steel tubing pressure fit into wood blocks. Give them a little wiggle with no weight on the rear and they pull out. It has four more legs, scavenged from an old folding table…so to be clear they fold up =)

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Close up of the door.

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Under that blue sleeping bag is a smaller sleeping bag for insulation, below that is reflectix, basically bubble wrap with a reflective foil on it. You can see 2 of the 3 strips of dow to help weather proof the door.

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It’s a shame that wire coat hangers are harder and harder to come by, they’re almost as valuable as duct tape or MacGyver’s army knife!

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This shelf is the roof of the rear section, and perfect for holding the contents of my pockets and my trusty lantern.

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That alcohol heater, on it’s lowest setting, keeps it 70 degrees when it’s 20-30 outside, and raises it to that temperature within 10 minutes! Behind the heater I punched 4 small vent holes so it would not burn my oxygen. That block you see buy the door on the left is what the clothes hanger door latch latches on.

I’m pretty proud of the Pedal-Inn, it works better than I hoped for being something made from scraps and in haste. It could be better. All in time. I can’t wait to finish my motorless home, and to make more versions of it and smaller campers like this!

Bicycle Camper Pre-blog

I’m currently out of work, and don’t know when I’ll have the money to finish my motorless home. I know some of you have been waiting patiently to see it, and I apologize that it’s taking so long. I promise you that someday it will be finished. I already have several ideas for different bicycle campers, all of which have solid walls. Tents on platforms are LAME.

I’ve been bored and itching to make something, pining over the camper, so I decided to use scraps leftover from the motorless home to make a small camper. It took me two days, and part of today, but I’ve got it made. I slept in it last night, and while it’s a bit cramped, I loved it! It was about 30 degrees out last night, but with my alcohol heater on the lowest setting it was 70 inside! I also did some cooking with the Nomad, and had to prop the door open as it was over 80 degrees! I’ll sleep in it tonight with a candle heater, maybe a new one, and see how that works out. There are a couple of things I’d like to add to the camper, so once that’s done I’ll post a real blog and some pics, probably tomorrow.

Pics and blog HERE

Winter Cycling So Far

This is my first winter cycling. I don’t mean just for fun, but for transportation. I thought I’d need specialized gear, such as a face mask and goggles, and these nifty things called pogies or moose mitts. They’re a glorified mitten that attaches to your handle bars and covers the brake levers and shifters, so that you can slide your gloved hands in.

So far I’ve been getting along just fine by wearing fleece under my jeans, thermal socks, my carharrt coat, gloves, ushanka (rabbit fur hat with ear flaps), hood on coat and alpaca scarf. I would like the moose mitts, as my hands are the only thing that gets cold. To solve this for now I’ve got a bunch of hand warmers.

Temps here lately are in the teens, farenheit, that is. The only days I haven’t ridden were in the single digits with windchills, about 2 days. It’s actually been a lot of fun on the trike. I get asked “aren’t you cold?” quite a bit, but no, I’m not. If anything I have to unzip my coat or loosen the scarf so that I don’t start sweating! Studded tires would be nice, primarily for the rear tire, and for emergency stopping, but all in all the trike handles well in the snow and ice. Another thing I need eventually are fenders, as water splashes onto my gloves! All in time. The tires that came with the Rover are racing tires, for better traction I put the rear tire from my bent bike on it, I don’t know what you’d call the tread, it’s the kind that comes on most mountain bikes. I did this because I was getting flats, I think storing the Rover indoors and taking it out, the drastic change in temperatures, was causing cracks in the tire and allowing small stones to slightly puncture the inner tube. There’s definitely more traction, and I can still fishtail in snow and ice!

Now I do not like the cold one bit, but I’ve honestly been having a lot of fun! Normally in the Winter I have to walk or borrow a friends car, and by spring my legs have lost all their recumbent muscle. You see, riding a recumbent bike or trike utilizes different muscles in the legs than a diamond frame bike. That’s a common complaint among those new to recumbent cycling, especially when going up hills, but once you get your bent legs good luck keeping up on a diamond frame! Bents are plain and simple much more efficient than regular bicycles. So I’m loving keeping my bent legs toned, as the first month or so of Spring my legs would be in agony.

The only complaints I have aren’t seasonal. I don’t like it that most motorists don’t know hand signals, unless you’re turning left that is! I don’t like getting cut off anytime of the year, but especially not when there’s a windchill. I mean, what’s the hurry? Tell me just what is so horrible about being in your car? Is it difficult to apply pressure to the correct pedals, turn that power steering wheel? Is it too much to ask to use your turning signals? It must be awful in there, with that climate control and music, the way most people drive!!!

Get out and pedal, even if it’s just a trip to the corner store! Save some cash on gas and the gym by doing what you could in a car on a bike. You’ll feel better, and you’ll become more respectful when it comes to sharing the road when you see how most people drive! You might just end up driving more carefully, leaving for destinations a little earlier so you don’t have to speed. This could lead to less potential for tickets or rocketing insurance. You might just save yourself or your loved ones injuries or worse, just by driving respectfully. Our society here in America is all about NOW NOW NOW!!! That mentality does your health absolutely no good whatsoever! Stress affects the body, mind, emotions and spirit. Slow down! Enjoy the ride!

Life is a ride, no matter how you take the ride, do so in a manner that’s best for you and those around you!

Daddy’s Got a Brand New Bag!!!

I was one of those kids who always used their kick stand, never laying my bike on the ground. I was one of those kids who regularly washed and waxed their bike. I was one of those kids who dreamed of a world where human powered vehicles were the only vehicles. I even drew a recumbent pedal powered helicopter…long before I knew there really were recumbent anythings.

Even after I got my license and my first car, I rode my mountain bike. As much as I could. When I was 17 I’d even make a 28 mile round trip to my church and back. I did a lot of stupid things when I was a kid. Church I mean, not the trip! No offense to any of you religious people out there, it’s just not for me.

I still have my license, though I use it only for work. In 2008 I gave up my last car, with joy. The cost of insurance, maintenance, and gas were just too ridiculous when I could pedal to most destinations and have more fun doing it!

In February of 2009 I got my first recumbent bicycle, Bentley. I haven’t ridden a “normal” bike since. Most people thought it was cool, yet hard to ride. (It’s easier to ride because it has a lower center of gravity).

Bentley the Wonder Bike!

Despite this snowy photograph, Bentley did not ride well in the snow. Which meant that most winters I would walk or borrow a friends gas guzzling death machine. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-car. I’m anti-unresponsible lazy not paying attention in a hurry no regard for human life car driver.

Now I finally have an HPV (human powered vehicle) that I can ride year round, with efficiency and comfort!

Daddy’s Got a Brand New Bag!!!

This beautiful machine is a recumbent tadpole trike. Having two wheels in the front allows for better steering and braking. This particular trike is a Terra Trike Rover X7.

Side View of My Baby

The Terra Trike Rover has the highest seat available for recumbent tadpole trikes. Mine is at 19 inches. Most such trikes are only a few inches off the ground, allowing for better cornering, but just begging to be unseen and run over. This trike is only an inch and a half lower than Bentley. I’ve had no problems being seen, and cars give me a wider berth than they did on Bentley. Granted I use flags, a head light,  and a tail light…but I used the same on Bentley, it’s the wider wheel base that gets me that extra foot.

This trike is from: www.utahtrikes.com The difference between this trike and the one offered by www.terratrikes.com (The original manufacturer) is that it has a 26″ rear wheel, 27 speeds (versus 8 speeds), parking brakes, and my choice of custom color.

Go Go Gadget Parking Brakes!

Here you see the parking brake (0ne of them) engaged and the speedometer.

Mounting bracket for speedometer sensor

This was a custom mount from Utah Trikes.

Airzound bike horn with Nob accessory mount

This mother fu#%er is the loudest bike horn in the world. 115 decibels. Can you hear me now? 

More eye candy? Here you go:

Axiom Seymor panniers

This is a pair of panniers, or saddle bags. These are the best I’ve ever owned. They hold a lot, are light weight, and are rain proof.

Rear view of Terra Trike Rover X7

There’s my new girlfriend! Sorry for the inept photography! Someday, after I finish the bicycle camper, I’ll turn this naughty girl into a velomobile…a whole other subject!

A Day Out With Bentley and the Nomad

I had an unexpected day off from work yesterday, and since you don’t get many cool days in August, I took advantage of it and went for a nice long ride. Since I need to eat on long rides I decided to field test the Nomad. This was also the first time I used my custom windscreen from www.packafeather.com

Bentley!

I’ve got a little over 3,500 miles on this girl. Because the Nomad isn’t an ultralight alcohol stove, and because I don’t really get into dehydrated food that much, my supplies took up one whole side of the panniers.

Left to right in the back: ForeverFire Nomad, custom windscreen, Tiffin set with spatula. In the front is a paint can opener and some flint and steel. I got the tiffin set for my birthday from my wonderful girlfriend, and these things are way better than any lunch box. Easy to clean, hot or cold food, no sandwich bags or tupperware required…and you can cook in them! The top will even hold soups or stews! By the way, I got the spatula from Spatula City. Just watch Weird Al’s “UHF” for more information.

Packafeather’s adjustable windscreen opened wide

This will open quite a bit wider. Here it is closed down some for use with hiking pots:

Note this windscreen has a notch in the bottom for airflow and for the flame adjustment knob to stick through

I’m very impressed with this windscreen. It functioned well once I got the notch out of the wind and it adjusts size very easily.

One of my locally infamous trail burgers

To give you an idea of the size of this B.F.B., my tiffin pan is a little over 6″ in diameter. That’s about a pound of beef, with parsley and steak seasoning mixed in it. You know it’s one of my infamous burgers not only because of its size, but because it has a ton of shredded swine flesh (BACON!) and extra sharp cheddar cheese mixed into it.

And you thought my photography couldn’t get any worse!

This clearly shows the second tiffin pan containing a burger bun and a hunk of cheese. Clearly. Time to clean your screen. Sheesh!

Nomad upon lighting

It was a bit breezy where I was cooking, plus the windscreen isn’t on an entirely flat surface, and is opened extra wide so I can set the tiffin pan in it.

Ready to adjust the flame!

High blue flame, ready to cook

Once the pan is set on there and the screen is tightened up the flame mellows out a little from the wind.

Had to cut it in half to flip it!

All done! That’s only half the burger on the bun!

From start to finish this huge hunk of dairy and porkbeef took 25 minutes to be well done. The wind put the simmer flame out twice, so if I had adjusted it to medium at times, it prolly would have shaved a couple of minutes off. But I don’t think that”s bad for such a huge burger, and didn’t take much fuel as I could still see some liquid through the center hole in the carbon felt.

Happy can crafting and trails, until we meet again!

First REAL Ride of the Year!

I dug the Bent out of the basement on the 21st and reassembled it because I had a job to do a distance away, and rode it a little after work. But that doesn’t count because there wasn’t any snow on the ground…and because I say so. But today we had about 4″ on the ground. My ‘bent doesn’t do well in snow, the little front tire will try to dump me every chance it gets, and since the sidewalks are never plowed, there’s no way I’m riding with traffic!

But the streets were good this morning, and I needed some supplies from home depot for my heineken wood stove. So I got adventurous and gave it a shot. I took as many backstreets as possible, and had no problems with motorites. Yeah, it’s lame, but I’m coining that one. I estimate it was an 8 mile round trip…my planet bike bicycle computer refuses to function under 60*F for some reason. I did alot of cruising after that, prolly around 6 miles. It was a great time, I can’t wait to get my tadpole trike so I can ride in snow and ice!

My Other Girlfriend

Gotta have a flag!

Every cyclist should have a flag, but especially bent riders, I’m only 22″ off the ground, and it helps alot!

Can you see the headlight and bike horn?

The headlight is solar powered…errr, that would be daft, I mean solar charged.

Cockpit

The left mirror is situated so that I can see traffic while I’m on the sidewalk, or see if a car is about to pass me while on the street. The next object is a broken mount for wireless turning signals/headlight, which aren’t shown until I fix the mount. The next is the Planet Bike computer…non fuctioning meany head that it is! Next is the Airzound bike horn. This sucker is loud, just search for “Airzound bike horn” and check it out! Lastly is the right mirror, situated to see directly behind me.

Bentley!

That’s the rear turning signal on top, which won’t work without the front one. Below it is an attached reflector. The little red thing below that is a solar charged blinker, bright enough to get me noticed in daylight. In order to mount all this I had to cut and drill a piece of aluminum, then bolt and zip tie a painted piece of pvc tube to it, mount the lights, and bolt to seat.

So there’s my favorite Girl………Honey, if you’re reading this, I’m just joking, I swear!!!