Tag Archives: recumbent cycling

Bicycle Camper Improvements So Far…


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!


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.


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.



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!


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!


Crappy shot with the lights on inside.


Here’s the 3rd of 4 dome lights.


The 4th dome light over my folding table.


Presto! Cooking surface!


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 =)



Camper Progress 3/22/12

I haven’t done much at all with the camper since the last post. I’ve been very busy with work, working long hours and sometimes 6 days per week. What little creative boosts I’ve had have been spent tinkering with the wood stoves…but at least they’re for the camper! I feel bad I haven’t been working on it though. I do have a tendency to start things and not finish them, but that’s not going to happen. I have some other cool projects I’d love to do, but I won’t until the camper is finished, that’s a little incentive.

I’ve never installed piano hinges before, and I just winged it for the first two floor panels. Just lined the hinges up and started screwing away. Worked fine. Then I tried the same method with the largest panels. Got all done, tried to fold them closed, and they stopped 6″ short…expletive. So I thought about how it should be done…the pain in the donkey method. Lay the panels next to eachother, line the hinge up, mark the holes, drill them. then install the hinge on one panel, then the other. Googled it after work, and yes, the painfully slow way is the right way. Barbara Streisand!!!

So I’ll get back to it soon. The good news is it’s all on the downhill now, though there’s still alot to do.

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.


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.


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!!!

Camper Progess 2/22/12

I’ll admit it, I’ve been lazy. Making the camper floor is like taking work home with me. I finished the last two floor panels this morning, reinforcing the 1/4″ plywood with firring strips that is. Maybe I’ll get to the piano hinges later.

But my laziness wasn’t without productivity. I’ve finished a solar distiller, and have most of a solar pasteurizer done. I finally found a medium size cast iron frying pan, used, for $5. That’s needed for the woodstove, which was started yesterday. I’m using a Heineken draught keg, 5 liters, for the stove. As it will be a horizontal stove, for ease of use and longer burn time than a vertical one, it has no flat cooking surface. My plan is to inset the frying pan into the top of the stove a bit. It may be a challenge to keep it from leaking smoke…we’ll see. Inspiration for the wood stove comes from:

Heineken Wood Stove

I’m sorry, this link didn’t work, I’ll have to figure that out. In the meantime, just go to youtube and type diy tent stove proto 2 part 2.

This guy has a plethora of outdoors information. There are alot of other videos of this wood stove as well.

A while back I’d made a heiny keg fire pit, upright. It worked well, but it was alot of work to keep it working well! And I’ve seen a few wood stoves made from it that were vertical, they seem to work well…but I don’t want to have to babysit this thing. So hopefully insetting the pan will…”pan out”, hyuck hyuck! If it doesn’t I’ll have no choice but to mount it on top, as Sousaville did with his soup lid. But I’m envisioning steel half tubes, round on bottom and flat on top, under the right and left sides of the pan, filled with sand. That should make for better heat dispersion and retention.

Another reason for trying to inset the cast iron is I’ve noticed alot of the old time horizontal barrel stoves had a lid that you removed, so the cooking vessel could be placed on the flames.

Camper Progress 2/13/12

I didn’t work on the camper floor at all over the weekend, after working in the cold all week, I needed the down time. Funny phrase if you think about it. “Down time” lifts your spirits, it’s recuperating. I finished one of the smaller panels tonight, all the firring strips have angle cuts. On the previous panels most of the strips were straight cuts…but I discovered I should have been cutting the ends at 45 degrees. I don’t have enough strips to replace them, but I can drill and screw ’em together, so all is good. I’m going to do the same with all the corners, 45’d or not.

Tomorrow is my last day of siding until next monday. That’s lower case on purpose. mondays are a horrible way to spend 1/7th of your life!!! More than likely I’ll only get one more panel done. I may have some window work to do Wednesday and Thursday, maybe Friday too, but they’ll be short days, so I should have the remaining floor sections done on Wednesday. After that I can start connecting the floor panels with piano hinges. I bought four 6′ sections on Saturday. I only need 20′ of that, but I’ll find a use for the leftover, prolly for the shower floor section. Total cost of that is $64.

So far the total camper cost is $344. My $400 total cost hopes are probably done for. If I’m lucky (and anyone else who wants to build this!) it’ll be under $500.

Well, that’s all for now, I’m beat, time to relax.

Camper Progress 2/9/12

I’ve been busy with work lately so I only have five out of nine floor panels finished. I’ve walked on all of them, and they all pass. I have to cut 1/4″ off of all the screw tips, after they’re through the plywood and firring strips of course…although if I’d clipped ’em before that would certainly explain the slow progress!!! The problem is I can’t find screws that are shorter than one and a quarter inch. Ran into this problem with the cargo trailer, but it didn’t matter then. It does now!

The bathroom floor section, the shower area, to be specific, is giving me some challenges. It is because of this section that I want to elevate the entire camper 2′ off the ground. I know I’ll have to sit in order to take a shower, but that sure as hell beats squatting on the balls of my feet! I could not add any firring supports to that section, and it would keep it simple…but then I could never utilize that particular floor panel space, you WILL crash through 1/4″ plywood without proper support! I’m willing to elevate the entire camper 2′ just to make showering more comfortable.

I want this to be a home away from home, you know? It’s not like I’m in danger of becoming homeless or anything (or else I wouldn’t be spending hard earned cash on this!), but I do have a place in my heart and mind for the homeless. I was homeless once, when I was very young, and while I learned alot about life, society, and the nature of people (trying to make a negative possitive here!), sleeping under a bridge sucks! So making showering in a compact space just a little more comfortable is important to me.

I know most people have never/will never be homeless, and therefore will never know what it’s like. I also know how most people think of the homeless. Guess what? They’re people too. Anyone can become homeless. I often find it curious, the ammount of right wing christians who say things like “get a job” or “stop leaching off society”…when their very god himself was homeless, and advocated it! Oops! I just got a little philosophical there, something I try to keep out of this blog. I guess my point is that not all people who are homeless are addicts or mentally ill or thieves. Just like not all people who own homes are outstanding citizens. Some of them are drug dealers and murderers, or worse.

I guess my intention is to say that once you’ve been homeless, it’s always in the back of your mind. So this isn’t just a camper, it’s a “if the fecal matter hits the fan” back up plan of sorts. I call it a “motorless home”.

I’ve got the shower floor panel sitting in front of me, so that I can obsess…er, I mean meditate, on how to make it work. I’m sure after a walk or two I’ll figure it out.

Camper Progress 2/6/12

I set the camper up on the floor earlier, and have the angles cut. Don’t really feel like working on it, but I might start cutting the firring strips later. Until I get piano hinges and window locks progress will be a little slower than usual.

As for elevating the camper 2′, I realize the traditional way to do so would be with telescoping legs, like what you see on folding tables, but with the capability of adjusting height, for uneven ground. If I were to choose aluminum tubing for this, it would cost around $150. If I decided not to make them adjustable it would still cost around $100. If I use 1″ electrical conduit, non adjustable, it will cost $30, adjustable: $40-$45.

Why I’m telling you this, I don’t know. Call it blogging brain storming. I had previously planned on using firring strips for the legs…but not like folding table legs as I’ve described. I planned on doing them this way:

I came up with this because I’m cheap, er, I mean frugal, and at the cost of $3 for enough firring strips to do this…Plus I figured that the triangle is the second strongest shape, and I could easily make these height adjustable using three pivot points and some bolts through the floor. It’ll all make sense when I show the real deal.

I’m considering using electrical conduit for this design instead of firring strips, not because of cost (obviously), but for weight. If 24′ of conduit is lighter than 24′ of firring strips, I’ll spend the $30 or so. I know some people don’t think fir strips are very strong, at 3/4″x21/4″, but I respect the stuff, and it’s not like they’ll be holding the weight that conventional campers do. However, under the weight parameters of the bicycle camper, they may eventually start to warp or crack. And wood is alot harder to weather proof than electrical conduit. So, in short, I think I’ll go with the latter, but with my triangular design as opposed to telescoping folding table legs.

Yep, this was, to coin a phrase, blog storming!

Update: I cut enough firring strips for the largest three parts of the floor and assembled one of those panels…no more doubts about whether or not I’ll be able to walk on 1/4″ plywood. Sadly, I’ll have to resort to 3/8″ ply…NOT!!! IT WORKS!!!! Woo hoo!!!