Thursday, July 11, 2013

Choke cherries and motion sickness

The scenery surrounding my old workshop.

That’s an odd title for a blog entry, isn't it? Well, this is supposed to be a random spilling of thoughts and this morning I was thinking about another prototype that I never got the chance to test and the ripening orchard full of berries in front of my bike building shack.

The small field in front of my dilapidated construction trailer is a 6 acre patch completely riddled with apple trees, Saskatoon bushes, choke cherries and wild flowers. It's quite a scene to behold in midsummer. You can literally fill an ice cream tub up in five minutes just standing under one of the bushes. Oh, how I love my Saskatoon pies and choke cherry jams! Of course, I have to do battle with this strange (dumb) bear that has been coming around when it's pickin' time.

I call this bear dumb because it likes to rip open our composter multiple times to lick the mold out of the same rotten coconut shell, and prefers to break a berry bush in half to eat the unripe berries at the top rather than simply eating the good ones well within reach. Last year, dumb bear tore up a dozen Saskatoon bushes, leaving the best berries sitting on broken branches and only eating the green ones (along with the leaves) at the top. I honestly think this bear ate someone's distillery and remains drunk to this day. Yeah, something's wrong with that furry beast!

There's something not right with this bear!
Here is a shot of dumb bear taken last year as I chased him out of my work area, cursing insults at him. As you can see from that dumb blank stare, there ain't much going on up in that fuzzy melon! I would imagine that my furry albatross will be much larger this year, so perhaps I won't run after him with my camcorder, but instead carry some bear spray or something even bigger. Either way, I don't intend to let him slaughter my berry trees again, since there are 100 more in the field across from my work area that he can munch away on.

I had an idea to amp up my SpinCycle design

Another musing I had was this untested modification I called the SpinCycle Vortex that was built right before we moved out to the country. The SpinCycle Stunt Trike was always one of my favorite fun rides, and even though it can do nonstop 360s that would leave an astronaut feeling queasy, I thought of ways to make it even more intense. My modification added a second set of caster wheels that would engage if the pilot leaned back to lift the front drive wheel off the ground, leaving the trike to rotate freely at whatever speed you were brave enough to handle. This mod would make the trike into a 5 wheel vehicle, and I don't know what you would call that...a "quadrilateral bike", a "quike", perhaps?

I modified the SpinCycle to make it more radical.

To convert the standard SpinCycle into a free spinning 5 wheeler, I removed the original rear T bar and placed it directly under the pilot’s seat. I then added a much larger set of pneumatic caster wheels to the center (main) set so I could get up to some serious speeds by running on this set along with the main drive wheel. A second T bar was added behind the seat, but in a position that placed the new smaller casters about 4 inches off the ground. This way, the pilot could just lean back to swing his or her weight over the main caster set to tilt back onto the smaller caster set, leaving the front steering and drive wheel off the ground a few inches. If you did this right after the start of a spin, the vehicle would be able to spin continually at whatever speed you initiated the maneuver. In other words, prepare to toss your lunch!

Modification to intensify the pilot's spinning experience

Here is the layout of the SpinCycle Vortex. I actually finished this beast but never had the free time to take it out in the parking lot for a test crash since we sold our house in a real hurry and moved. Now, we live miles away from any pavement, so this kind of prototype is difficult to test, since it is not really good for a hilly gravel road. I am posting this here in hopes that someone will try this design and report back the results.

My untested SpinCycle Vortex

Here is the completed SpinCycle Vortex right before it ended up in storage to later get recycled into parts. Just imagine the crazy ride this stunt vehicle would offer! Perhaps you feel like subjecting yourself to G forces that only fighter pilots feel? If so, build this thing and let me know if it actually works! The main casters are taken from an old power chair and the rear ones are your garden variety shopping cart casters.

I think you could also use small kid’s forks, head tubes and front wheels for the center caster set.  If you do build this thing, keep in mind that in 360 mode, you will have zero control, so do your initial crash testing in a large empty parking lot while wearing a full suit of armor and have a friend ready to help you regain your sense of balance after making yourself sick from the spinning!

Ok, I am off to scare away the bears, swat some skitters and build something cool!

~ Brad