Ottertail Country

Ottertail Country
Ottertail South

April 30, 2009


About a week ago, I hauled the last of Peggy's things from her old house in Phillips! The garage at home is about full of things getting ready for "the sale". After that, we can start parking vehicles in there again. I also have to finish the work benches on east wall and run in the rest of the outlets. Always something to do....

I did a little reminiscing about this bicycle while loading it and hauling it to the Ottertail. Years ago (very early '90's ?) I saw an ad in a cycling magazine that showed a recumbent bike made by Rans, a company that also builds small airplane kits. I cut out the picture an put it in my toolbox at work. I found a dealer, got a brochure and found out these things were quite spendy. I found other brands of recumbents, found dealers, called and wrote letters and ended up with brochures for about a dozen different bikes. I realized that I had a collection of photos and information that would allow me to construct one of these things.

The bike I actually patterned my frame after was one of the Easy Racers. That's one in the photo above, and I did find a windshield like the one above and used it when I was riding alot. It helped with wind drag, rain, etc. Anyway, I had straight on side views, wheelbase dimensions, wheel sizes, etc. I was able to draw out a full scale model on some corrugated board at work.

Freshly graded driveway in the spring always looks nice.... anyway, I got a couple of 10 speed road bikes and started measuring and cutting. Soon I had frame members all cut and fit, welded together and painted. I scrounged necessary parts for shifters, brakes, cables and housings, extra chain. I needed a small diameter from wheel/tire combo, and I think someone from work brought me one.

Here was the last gathering of firewood from the edge of the field last week. It's lasted through April, and I think the stove will go out this weekend. I'll kind of miss messing with it, I think....

This original bike had a steering bar under the seat that was linked to the front fork with some 1/8 diameter aircraft cable. Eventually I fashioned and aluminum handle bar (a copy of something I saw somewhere...) and made the switch. It was lots better. The seat was made of plywood, foam padding and vinyl covering stapled on with my roofing stapler. The seat is still the original and works well.

The last firewood is at the stove.

That recumbent bike saw a lot of action over the years. The first couple of years I put about 1500 miles a year on it. The longest one day ride was from Westboro to a friend's house in the hills west of Bayfield.... 125 miles. It also did two 'Best Dam Bike Tours', a fundraiser for the MS Society. That was a two day, 150 mile ride from Milwaukee to Madison, with an overnight at Whitewater U. The first year Liz Barton did the ride with me. The next year my niece Amy from Wausau did the ride on a recumbent I built for her. The following year Rosie did the ride with me, we rode a tandem bike that I had built the year before. We had fun...

Chilly as it has been, the lawn is actually turning a little green!

Seems like the deer are able to find a little something to eat out in the field. Looks pretty brown to me, but what do I know?

We had quite a storm last Friday, lots of lightning, thunder and about an inch of rain. Some of the clouds looked pretty weird.

I just liked the colors in these pieces of wood. Really, I will quit with the wood stuff. But I guess that soon we will saw into that pulp pile in the field......

I gotta go, Carlo



Anonymous said...

I didn't realize that your bike took so much planning, etc. I just saw it after it was built and thought you had done a great job!!! Now I think you did a great, great job. Glad to see some green on the lawn. Not too much greener down here. When is the big sale to take place???


Anonymous said...

That recumbant bike looks so relaxing to ride, compared to a regular bike. May have to try it sometime to see how it rides!

And the end of the firewood - what a bitter sweet day! While it means spring is on the way, it also means good bye to the warmth it provides!