Saturday, November 17, 2012

the shopping cart bicycle

My first job in Eugene happened to be at a grocery store. (For those of you in the area its the old Oasis- now Capella). Good job, great people.

My friend Gretchen from aprovecho had, a while back, suggested the idea of a shopping cart bicycle. Lo and behold, i now had access to shopping carts. The owner of Capella, Mark Lew, was very generous in letting me take one of the old ones- from the oasis days.

I checked in with Phranque about the design, and he recommended a few different styles. Ultimately, i went with this design he found on the internet:

I decided to go with this one because phranque just happened to have a kids tandem that could be adapted to this design. Less work, i thought, than building something entirely from the ground up. Whereas that may be true, i failed to take into account inspiration. And although comical, this design is hardly inspiring.

In hindsight, i wish i had gone with another design. Something more like one of these:

Alas, i built neither of these styles. Instead, i started tearing apart the kids tandem* and building up the front to be adult sized.

*So the reason that a kid sized tandem was ideal to make the design in the very top picture is because it was long enough and already had a small wheel in the back. The small wheel is necessary to get the center of gravity as low as possible. The other two designs, you'll notice, have the basket sitting below the tops of the wheels. This is ideal- it makes balancing a heavy load a whole lot easier.

The first order of business was to enlarge the front end of the bike. I swapped out forks to use a 27" wheel, welded on a higher seat post, and extended the bottom bracket downward.

When i put a chain onto the bike it hung so low that it almost touched the ground. To keep that from happening i welded in a support brace to hold an additional derailleur in the middle of the chain.

The chain also needed some support near the rear wheel. It was dragging across the chainstay and cutting a groove into it. So i welded on a long bolt, put a tube as a sleeve loosely over it and then put on a washer and nut to keep it all on.

Then i welded the basket on and set up all of the cabling. The cabling, in particular, was a real pain in the ass. There were no cables even close to long enough so i had get creative and clamp multiple cables together. Worked pretty well actually.

At this point the bike was functionally done. So i rode it back to the co-op. And then i found Silas, one of the several feral indigo children of the co-op, and offered him a ride. He was all about it.  

Later, i took the bike back to the shop and dismantled it for painting. This thing was so absurd that it really needed an equally absurd paint job to match. Neon stripes.

So i got a little further than whats pictured above, and then i burned out. The painting process was incredibly frustrating and wasteful (see pictures below). It took entirely too long to get to the point where it was. And, ultimately, i just wasn't excited enough about the design to power through it and get it done. So, sadly, the G-Money Grocery Hauler never made it past getting painted. I left it in the shop with Phranque, offering it up to anyone who wanted to do something with it. Hopefully someone does.

1 comment:

  1. These are so great! I just got a folding grocery cart, and while I'll admit it saves me a lot of time, it doesn't look anywhere near as fun.