At a time of year when it’s easy to get stressed out with w0rries, future plans, and the whole “where is my life going” thing, it’s nice to escape into a bit of pure creative fun with an angle grinder, welder and a selection of knacked bikes. As in January 2008, when I did my first bike build making a tall bike, I spent time over the last week putting together a rather odd bicycle. This one is a stretched-out bike. I’ve called it a longtail, though I’m not sure if that’s an accepetd term.
I got the idea last autumn. The Hastings bike group HUB got use of a great basement workshop in the town centre and we ran bike mechanics sessions with young people. We got donated a load of bikes. I was looking for a project and an crappy Halfords dual suspension MTB caught my eye. I thought about taking the rear frame section from that and slapping it on another mountain bike, making a long low bike that could be a load-carrier, like the xtracycle cargo bikes.
I made a mockup by just placing the bits of bike together to see how they looked. It all seemed to line up by eye without much work (as with earlier the tall bike). No precise technical drawings here! With a piece of frame tubing cut from another crappy mountain bike, things were taking shape. Seb came by for a couple of days and sorted out the bottom bracket of the rear frame. With a little bit of bending of the dropouts, the axle of this slotted in where the rear wheel would have been in the front bike frame. The new piece of tubing was bolted in at one end and welded to the frame at the other. I used the awful arc welder I found in the road years ago. This is a brutal beast, and if you are not very careful it will blow holes in bike tubing, which then you have to go back and fill. Very slow and messy, and not good for the strength of the final work, but good enough.
Choosing from a bag of donated spray paints, the new creation became a two tone blue, including the bars too! Components from here and there completed the job, and it had it’s first ride on Hastings seafront in the rain today.
Further work? Well, I guess a rack and/or a platform at the back. Perhaps a frame-mounted wheel-driven generator and a big stand that will raise the back wheel up off the ground and turn the machine into an instant pedal generator. Perhaps a built in sound, cinema and power system – an all-in-one energy bike?
Anyway, it served its immediate purpose – getting me through the dark days of early January without a nervous breakdown!