Steve Solves Sidecar Steering Situation

Thanks to Steve in Nova Scotia, the side car now maneuvers like a dream! The key was, as he suspected, removing the "inside" wheel of the car. My theory is that the side car will offer some added safety while riding, as the increased width and mass will make us far more visible, and force motorists to shove over. Luckily for us, Oregon law grants cyclists the full lane (absent bike lanes), and I have found I am (or at least feel) safer when I take the lane.

I had thought seriously about comming up with some kind of pivoting system, as another contributor suggested, but a)couldn't quite figure out how to do it, b)had been given an equally persuasive argument to NOT have pivots c) removing the middle wheel was quick, easy, and worked like a charm.

The day dawned gorgous, all sunshine and blue skies, and having been loligagin around the house for the past several days I couldnt wait to get out for a ride. I was trying to coax The Boy into coming with me when he shocked my socks off by asking if we could try the sidecar! Well why not? (it's hard to see in the photo, but he is cuddling his cat, who came up to see what the heck the kid was doing)

It worked like a dream, even with all 60+ pounds of boy in it ~and boy, did we attract attention! With it being such a nice day, many folks were out on their bikes, and several folks actually stopped us to ask about the rig, many more smiled and waved, or gave us thumbs up. We felt like celebrities!

We made a stop at Goodwill, and as I was locking up the bike, I had a wonderful chat with a German fellow who began the conversation with "Hey, can I have a ride in that?" If he had not been traveling with a lovely young lady, and I with my son, I might have picked him up. In stead, The Boy and I went in and found ~wait for it~ a bean bag chair! in his favorite color blue and the works! Yes, we did pop it on the side car and road home with him, quite literally, in the lap of luxury.

The beanbag has pockets on either side for The Boy to stash snacks, in this case, a soft pretzel. I dont know what the waight capacity for the sidecar is, I'm a little concerned though, the kid is lookin mighty comfortible there, he may never want to ride his own bike again!

In this shot you can see that the rail on the right side of the bean bag is a bit wabbly, tending to lean in a bit. The Burley flatbed is designed to disassemble and fold flat easily, which is great if your main concern is storage space. I have bolted the left rail ridgedly into possition, and plan to do the same to that limp right side rail this weekend, when I will also begin working on the "box"

tune in next time for the amazing adventures of "Biofuel* Mamma & The Boy" . . .

(*cyclists are the ultimate biofule vehicle, and the only sustainable one)


steve said...

Glad I was able to help :-)

Some other ideas:

* Put in a mini wheel to replace the missing wheel, so if something collapses or otherwise goes wrong the sidecar has a chance of degrading gracefully.

* Shim the outside wheel so it has a bit more clearance. A hacky way to fix it would be to dish it in further, but (a) it'll reduce the strength of the wheel a bit, and (b) you'll probably need to change out the spokes on one side.

* Footrest? The Boy looks like his feet are hanging over there, add in some nice footrests and the beanbag should add up to major cushiness!

* Maybe get a triangular support welded up out of two bars to go underneath, with the point attaching by the outside wheel and the two ends attaching to the inside of the sidecar by the rear wheel and bottom bracket? It'll add some extra weight, but should ramp up the safety factor - better overbuild than underbuild!

Someone else you might want to contact is Gerry Lauzon - he's done a lot of weird and wonderful stuff like this so he might have some better pointers.

Kyr said...

Thanks so much for all the ideas!
We are planning to "beef up" the trailer quite a bit, including a longer platform under the bean bag. Yesturday The Boy was curling his feet up onto the beanbag when we were in motion.
I really like the idea of a small inside wheel "just in case", right now the trailer is attached at the front with a trailer hitch, and at the back it bolts into the Xtracycle frame, but ya cant be too careful.
I also like the triangel idea, as I dont imagine that the original trailer was designed for the kind of loads I plan to haul.
thanks again

Darren J said...

Very cool! Nice setup.

You could probably carry just about anything (or anyone) with that machine. I'm impressed.

John said...

Wow! I've totally missed out on this whole side car story line. I have to start reading your blog more regularly. How about an RSS feed? Or do you have one that I've missed?

Kyr said...

well, I guess I better start _writing_ more, then ;)
The side car really has been a whole lot of fun!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the idea.