Getting a rough idea of the geometry

We had a vague idea of how things are supposed to go together.  But, eventually, we’ll have to actually do it.  I took some measurements of the parts I was planning to use and started to put them into Google’s Sketchup.  It has a little bit of a learning curve, but the tutorials were helpful enough.  Once I learned enough to get a few things sketched up the rest started to get easier.  Thanks to Tyler and Holden for helping as well.  It seems everything in this project is a group effort.  Now we need to start adding the drivetrain, frame, suspension, and steering to the drawing.  But it’s much easier to add that now that we have the main elements roughly in place.

Their motto: "Steal it back."

Aaron and I picked up a dozen bicycles from a police auction site called Property Room.  Luckily our local pick-up location in City of Industry auctions off bulk lots.  It’s all a grab bag, but at least it’s cheap.

Lots of helpful workers

Our Saturday work crew now had something productive to work on: dismantling bicycles and preparing them for their new life as part of A Moveable Feast. We proceeded to remove all of the parts we won’t use: brakes, lights, cables, handlebars, etc. We stripped everything down to the bare tubes.

Cutting off the extra weight.

We then cut off everything but the rear triangle. The bicycle engineer gods had already figured out the geometry of the pedal powered drivetrain, so there was no reason to reinvent the wheel

Cleaning out the grimy bearings.

While we had everything apart we might as well clean out the bearings in the pedals. We dismantled the bearings and soaked them in some handy solvent (in our case kerosene). I’m sure they’ll fill up with dust at Burning Man, but it feels good to start clean. We’ll repack them with the appropriate grease once we’re done with the welding.

Seven of our eight pedal points.

We churned through 7 bikes. We didn’t use the rest of the bikes from our supply for a variety of reasons. Two bikes were just too good to cut apart. One of them had an annoyingly constructed pedal geometry.  And a couple of bikes were for small kids. We have a couple more frames on the way, so we’ll be sure to get our full eight.

We flipped around the pedals on the bike at the great advice of Scotty C. By doing so we avoid a potential problem. The bike pedals and bearings won’t loosen as we go! The left pedal is threaded on with reverse threads, and the right pedal with normal threads. If we don’t flip around the pedals, we’ll be pedaling in the direction to make them loosen. We also need to flip around the side that the chain is on so that the ratchet in the drive hub is pointed in the right direction.

I’ve got a huge pile of drivetrain parts coming in the mail soon, and I hope to make our steel tube purchase after we finish up a little bit more design work. We’re definitely making some progress!