The Bikecar - The Unpublished Interview, Part 1
Paul - Below is an interview that never got published by the company that approached me [This company has Red and a farm animal in their name]. I decided to go a head an publish it myself as it's just been sat there doing nothing.... Enjoy :)
Where did the idea come from? Why?
The idea for the bikecar was born in Costa Rica's Corcovado National Park during an intense thunder storm. I found myself searching for a new way of traveling the globe as backpacking had become tame and slightly numb.
How long did it take to build? The bikecar took around 6 months to build after countless fails.
Where did you build?
Having returned from traveling and an empty bank account I found salvation in my mothers garage in a delightful neighborhood of Grimsby.
The majority of the frame was built from aluminium, stainless steel for the axle and steering column and lots common and affordable bicycle parts.
Engineering/Construction skills required?
Construction of the frame and seats was pretty easy as I kept the design simple. My pluming background gave me the confidence to bend and form 22mm aluminium tube for the seats. As the majority of the welds for the frame were on aluminium I had to pull in some help who had the right rig to do the welding. As for the upholstery job on the seats all I had to do was dust of the sewing machine and man up. The most difficult part to the build was making sure all the bicycle parts moved efficiently together - at this point in my life I knew NOTHING about bicycle mechanics.
What was the journey? Our journey together was to explore Europe from England to Italy in 2010 and then in 2011 we cycled together again across Canada from Halifax, NS to Victoria, BC... with a bonus run in the US from Victoria, BC to Eugene, Oregon. Together we cycled over 10,000km
Efficiency. How did it ride? Hmmm. Honestly it wasn't as efficient as your typical touring bicycle as it weighed over 600lb. On a flat with no headwinds you could cruise at 15kph. With a headwind [these happened a lot] you'd be lucky to scratch 8/9kph. Going uphill has a killer workout and sometimes it was quicker to get off and push, 4kph was pretty normal. But going downhill was the reward, my top speed was 87kph - I even overtook a Porsche in Canada doing 70kph while in the Rockie Mountains.
Always. If a day went without a mechanical problem I would be very worried. Typical problems were the chain snapping, brake needing to be bleed or a flat tire. My biggest blunder came in the Black Forest, Germany. We were rocking down some stunning hills at 70kph + when in the distance I could see the road turn into a chicane. Trying to slow down I blew the back brakes and the front brakes were glowing bright red, I'm pretty sure you could fry some bacon on the discs. Soon after the front brakes blew and set on fire. With the chicane even nearer I knew I wasn't going to make its tight turns without destroying the bikecar. So I placed my foot upon the drivers side wheel and used my shoes grip to reduce the speed. Thankfully this worked and halved the bikecars speed- but killed my shoe.