Monday, January 30, 2012

Velomobile concepts by Neil

Hi Brad and Kat,

Thank you for all the inspirational projects and build information offered.

Although I am currently not in a position to physically build any projects yet and still undecided on which one to even build first, I have been spending some time developing "virtual" vehicles and attached are two conceptual overlay images that I would like to share. Although these are still very conceptual illustrations, it has been a very enjoyable creative process and have received a large amount of satisfaction from the results.

First a little history, I have had a very strong interest in HPVs (human powered vehicles) for many years and periodically during that time have done many very basic conceptual sketches. Recently, my interest has been more specifically focused on "Velomobiles" and have been gathering information to create my vehicle, which I am currently in the process of deciding the final design configuration --- so many possibilities lately --- to meet my design needs!

For the past few years, after seeing some illustrations others had done involving velomobiles, decided to expand my illustration/drawing skills and create some considerably more detailed work --- especially after being inspired by some of your project photos.

The first illustration overlay I started was of the Marauder Lowracer, the vehicle position in the image was at what I consider a perfect angle and could see some very interesting possibilities.

The next project was the Streetfighter Quad, which was a bit more challenging since having the idea of using aluminum for the shell --- especially when attempting to visually illustrate this material unpainted in the top section. I also pushed the design illustration just recently, by adding considerably more detail than the previous image, and although I can see more that could be added, believe it is finally complete.

I am looking forward to creating more design concepts from some of the images collected, including the process of being able to create these in a shorter period of time. In addition, as I get closer to determining the final configuration of my vehicle, will possibly even do a few as 3D models before actually doing a physical build --- very possibly this year.

Hope you enjoy the images and thanks again for the inspiration!

Neil Biers
Boulder, Colorado

Great stuff, Neil! 

Bike builders rock!

AZ newsletter January 30

Feature article: Texas electric velomobile
Newfoundland, Tennessee, Philippines choppers
Netherlands cruiser
bike builders community
New Zealand touring bike
Australia kangaroo bike

Handcycle and trailer in California

"Hello. My name is Arvin Gee from Elk Grove, CA. Here is my handcycle and trailer. Took a few days to build. Has 24" front wheel and 20" rear wheels.

I have also built some recumbent trikes. Will send some pictures later. Hope to build more recumbents."

Our own Ucan2 handcycle

The Ucan2 handcycle takes a different approach to the arm powered trike with a cool looking, rugged and nimble machine that looks more like a freestyle BMX bike, rather than a special needs trike. Built simple and lightweight with the younger rider in mind, the Ucan2 is easy to maneuver, yet tough enough to take to the skate park or off-road into territory only a kid would dare to conquer. There are no machined parts or expensive custom bicycle components, just a few BMX parts and some steel tubing, so anyone with a welder and grinder can build the Ucan2 in a few days for very minimal cost.

We built this trike for a local children's center that provides programs and services for special needs kids and youth.

The plans are very easy to follow, and modifications can be made along the way to suit your building style, or any special needs you may have to accommodate for the intended pilot. Leg straps are easily installed on the foot pegs, and an alternate seat with a full back and seat belt are also shown in the plans. The Ucan2 is highly adjustable for riders of various ages or heights, and advice is given along the way so you can create a much larger or smaller handcycle if you choose. Parents and caregivers will appreciate the light weight and size of the Ucan2, especially if it is to be carried up stairs, in and out of vehicles and through doorways.

Handling and acceleration are great once you get the hang of using your upper body for motive power, as well as steering. And the upper body workout is amazing! The Ucan2 uses a simple single speed coaster brake hub, so there is no need for hard to reach shifters or awkwardly positioned brake levers, just pedal forward to accelerate, and pedal backwards to slow down. The Ucan2 stops on a dime, moves as fast as any kid's bicycle, and can easily carry a friend on the back.

Take a look at our Builder's Gallery to see other handcycle examples, including many creative modifications to the plan. Our international builders community ranges from students to retired engineers, but they all have one thing in common - the desire to build their own stuff!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Identifying wild birds

These two pairs have been hanging around our feeders for a couple of weeks. They seem to get along with the Blue Jays, Whiskey Jacks, chickadees and nuthatches. Does anyone know what they are?

Newfoundland bike chopper

"Hello, I am Charles Brennan, with the bike "Dying Breed", hailing from Newfoundland! She is my pride & joy, it took me 10 years to piece it together from old & new parts.

Thanks for the inclusion, I have been following your site for years.

Best regards, Charlie"
Dying Breed chopper built by Charles
Nice bike, Charles. She's a real beauty!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Netherlands Lowlife Limo

"My name is Willem Willemsen, 48-years old and I'm from the Netherlands (West coast). My bike project started about 2 years ago, after I strolled around on the Internet. I used to ride motorcycles, but because of the lack of space and funds, I was looking out for some worthy replacement.

And, that's where the bikes stepped in. So, I started the project together with a colleague of mine (who worked in our company's workshop). We used a lot of scrap metal and second-hand bike parts.

The result was this 10' long lowrider which weighs around 90-100 lbs. It has a 3-speed SRAM coasterhub,a 28" front wheel and a 26" 80 mm wide rear wheel. That's the story in a nutshell."
Bike builders rock!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Philippines bike chopper

Carlo Ahillion from the Philippines sent us another picture of his chopper. A future bike builder there, too? Love that smile! :-)
Bike builders rock



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Australia kangaroo chopper

"The top frame just lent itself to a Kangaroo shape, so we made these coreflute cut-outs to adorn the sides of the frame with.

"Completed ride ready for Australia Day, January 26.  Big Red - an 18 inch frame on bottom with a 16 inch top frame with non-direct steering." Peter Tremlett, Adelaide, South Australia

Build your own recumbents, choppers, tandems, trikes, scooters, ebikes and more.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tennessee chopper

"Hello. The thing I hate about it is I did not think of it first. I love this bike I get more looks on this thing than I do in my Corvette.You do great works of art. keep up the great work  Thanks for the fun, Kenneth."

You can build your own OverKill chopper

Detailed DIY bike plans

OverKill is appropriately named because everything about it is way over the top. With its ridiculously wide rear wheel, and ultra long forks, what else could it be called other than OverKill? Does a chopper really need a dragster tire on its rear end, or such a high frame? Not really, but does a roadster really need a Hemi? You know where I'm going with this. Actually, the main reason I built OverKill to such outlandish proportions was to retaliate against the mass marketing of big box store choppers.

Even though this sick chop has proportions that rival some of the petrol-burning street customs, it certainly won't bust your wallet or require you to spend the next year in a machine shop. The fact is, OverKill is built from nothing more than an old car rim, some scrap bicycle parts, and a few lengths of electrical conduit using only a welder and grinder. Yes, anyone can pull this one off using the tricks shown in the plan. 

Every step of the build is detailed using high resolution photos, and you will be amazed at how simple it is to add bicycle spokes to the car wheel, and there is plenty of room for you to add your own evil modifications to the frame. How does it ride? Dude, look at this beast, it was made for cruising!

As you can see, OverKill not only rides well, but it dominates the road with its radical proportions and kicks dirt in the face of conformity. Choppers belong to us garage hackers, so let's take back what is rightfully ours and send a message to those who think mass production is the way to go. Get building!

Philippines bike chopper

"Good Day! I'm Carlo Ahillion from the Philippines.

I've been viewing your website "' and it helped me build my own chopper bicycle.

Attached is a picture of my bike that I wanna share with you guys, and hope to post it on your cool website! Thanks!" sez you rock!

Switzerland velomobile by Harry

Harry Müller
Zürich, Switzerland

Great velo, Harry. Keep up that winning smile.

Bike builders rock!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Texas electric velomobile from Warrior trike

By Gerry Strope, Texas

"I have just completed a velomobile based on an extended Warrior design with an electric hub added. It turns out that the warrior design is a very good choice to put a velomobile shell around. I have had no problem with handling with the body on the warrior chassis.

I didn’t know anything about velomobile design when I started this project. I just started reading all information available and started building. I learned quite a bit while working on this project. I have learned how to work with coroplast to shape the body and I do like working with it. I have found a good source of information is on Facebook in the “Coroplast Tutorial” and “Velomobile—Coroplast” groups.

Gerry's first coroplast velomobile.

 I made a number of errors in my design. This design has too many vertical joints and the tail section is too narrow compared to the front. Also, the nose should be rounded. I put together a series of flat sections with joints where a curved rounded shape is more desirable. It takes more skill too make the rounded corners which I am learning. All seams should run horizontal.

I also found the under seat steering is not the best design for a velomobile. The handlebars are too wide and interfere with the body and the under seat mounting interferes with having a bottom surface of the body. Also, if you want to enter the body from the top, the handlebars occupy the area that you want to step on to get in. I am going to convert to a top mounted tiller steering at some point.

Now, ignoring all the mistakes I do like the way the streamlined body works even though mine could be more streamlined. The body is nice in cool weather to keep you out of the wind and the fairing makes headwinds much easier to deal with. It seems to go almost as good into the wind as when it is behind you. With the extra weight the electric hub is a real plus. I do like to pedal along with it. Most of my travel is in the 15 to 25 mph range depending on the grade. I can see where this could be an alternative to using an auto for short trips.

Gerry added an electric assist motor to his velo.

I must warn you if you don’t like attention a velomobile is not for you. When you go by a playground the kids scream and wave. People will follow you in cars and take your picture. Young boys yell out awesome and girls of all ages wave and smile. All in all I am having a good time with this and will build more."

Gerry's build blog:

Great write up, Gerry. Congrats on your first velomobile and all the attention. You deserve it!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

AZ newsletter January 20

Florida Blue Bullet Warrior
UK choppers
Montana side hacks
Argentina and New Jersey bike hacks
builders forum news
New Jersey Warrior

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The “I Didn’t See the Cyclist” Defense

The front windshield of Sommit Luangpakham's vehicle was smashed in after the crash in 2009, injuring five cyclists..

This is a great editorial by Bob Mionske, in my opinion, and worth reading. 

It’s the “ignorance is bliss” defense: “I didn’t see the cyclist, and I didn’t intend to hit anybody. It was just an accident. It’s nobody’s fault.”

Well, yes, it is somebody’s fault. It’s your fault, it doesn’t matter that you didn’t “intend” to hit somebody. You did hit somebody, and if you didn’t see the cyclist because you weren’t paying attention, it’s your fault.

Read more:  The “I Didn’t See the Cyclist” Defense | Road Rights |

UK custom chopper

"28 gears, front and rear suspension. Perhaps you'd like to show my pics?"

Gerard Walker, Swansea, in the UK.

Great job, Gerrard!

Bike builders rock!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

German museum team recreates and rides world's first electric car

The Ayrton and Perry electric car replica at the Autovision Museum in Germany

"As more and more mainstream car manufacturers join a new wave of electric vehicle development, it looks like we're definitely headed for an electric transport future. While powering a car with an electric motor is not exactly a new innovation, you may be surprised to learn exactly how old the technology is.

A team led by Horst Schultz - the director and founder of Germany's Autovision Museum - has spent the last year or so painstakingly recreating the world's first street-ready electric car, designed and created by English scientists William Ayrton and John Perry, and which first hit the streets in 1881."

More from  German museum team recreates and rides world's first electric car

Monday, January 16, 2012

Florida - new Warrior recumbent tadpole trike

"Hi Brad and Kat. Here's a pic of my new Blue Bullet Warrior.

Thanks again for the great plans. This bike rides just as good as a store brand, actually better because I know who made it.

Keep up the great job you two do."

Mr. Frugle, AZ forum

Build blog: Mr. Frugle started his build December, 2011.

This is his post in the Builders Forum announcing that he recumbent trike is done:

"Hi guys finally finished my Warrior.

I'll post a few pics one of the pics is of the speed-o-meter mount I added to the front pulley.

I think someone in the Warrior forum was asking for ideas on where to mount a speedo. It works well, easy to see and not in the way.

I've got about 45 hours of labor $375 to $400 dollars invested. The biggest expense was the wheels, tires, and disc brakes ($220 without shipping) and three free old doner bikes two of which I was able to ride.

It's unreal what people throw out. It was 28F this morning so I thought my shake down run wasn't going to happen, but in Florida if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes.

Anyway, it warmed up to 70F by lunch so I took it to the local bike trail and put 20 miles on it. WOW! Kool ride. Just a few little adjustments, and I'll take another ride Monday. Happy peddling."

That's an awesome looking Warrior, congrats!

Build your own Warrior recumbent trike

Warrior Racing Trike takes performance and looks to all new heights. With triple disc brakes, under seat steering, and a general racing attitude, the Warrior would easily pass for an expensive production import. Built using inexpensive bicycle components and steel tubing, the Warrior weighs in at only 43 pounds, and has perfect handling and braking characteristics. There is not one single machined part on the entire trike, and everything can be built using only a basic welder, hand drill, and angle grinder!

The Warrior Racing Trike uses commonly available 20mm hubs, so there are no hard to find or overly expensive components needed. The frame is completely made of square steel tubing,and everything else on the Warrior Trike can be found at bicycle shops or hacked from scrap bicycles. The building process is designed to allow anyone with a Do-It-Yourself desire to finish his or her own version of the Warrior Trike without requiring previous bike building experience or specialized tools and skills.

If you have been eyeing up those expensive imported recumbent trikes, but think $4,500 is a bit too steep of a price tag, then get out your tools and build it yourself! For thousands of dollars less than the price of a basic tadpole trike, you can create your very own racing trike that will rival many of the factory built machines available.

Take a look at our Builders Gallery to see other Warrior examples, including many creative modifications to the plan. Our international builders community ranges from students to retired engineers, but they all have one thing in common - the desire to build their own stuff!

New Jersey motorized bike

"Hi Guys. Attached is a pic of my motorized bike. I would love to be a part of the Atomic Zombie Gallery!! Thanks!

William Myer Jr., Black Cycles
Annandale, NJ"

Our pleasure, William. Nice ride!

UK upright chopper bike

"Hi Brad and Kat.

Finished and now riding my latest chopper. The bike parts were in the main free. Paid for a Brooks saddle and mudguards and crank, then new cables but even so the final spend is probably still than £120 which will just buy you an entry level mountain bike (without the really comfortable seat).

Whilst out with two friends on their mountain bikes today, they both had a go and loved the more upright riding position. I had a bit of trouble getting it back!

New Years resolution is to finish the quad (two wheel ratchet drive and good ground clearance for the derailleur) picture also attached. It is close, but I'm not happy with the handle bar positions, and a bit limited in options given the narrow track, but it will be finished for sure.

A work in progress quadcycle.

As always finding the website a real inspiration.

Regards, Tim Fox (aka go1000go in the AZ forum) based in the UK"

Affordable DIY bike plans.