Everything a Car Can Do, So Can a Bicycle

I'm one of those "Clives" (old men) who, as well as a touring bike, has a cargo bike. I usually put it to work doing this kind of thing...

I call it "Thunderbird 2" because It's my plan to have some standard pods. There's a big black load deck on the front, where most, middle-class people have a kiddie carrier, but why would I bother with that? My kids are old enough to have kids, if they want to. Mine's the bicycle equivalent of a Toyota Hilux, it has a box pod that normally mounts on the load deck, the original plan was to put a counter and coffee machine on it (but food truck laws! Jesus, was going to cost as much as doing the same with a large van! Tens of thousands of bucks, just to get compliant!) and I've even built a disability seat, but that's yet to be pressed into service, or even tested.

However, today I started building a campervan pod for it. A 1.8m x 0.5m camp bed with a bivi, that folds up into 0.6m wide,0.52m tall pod. This is something that's been burning my shorts for a while, how could a cargo bike improve cycle touring? By carrying a wardrobe pannier, a kitchen pannier and a bed-in-a-box. (Yes, that sticker advises, "Don't read the Herald-Sun.")

Behind the grill that has the "Thunderbird 2" badge is a two-tone air horn, because a bell just won't do, but the black plastic box comes off the load deck by undoing 4 M6 bolts, and what I plan to bolt on in its stead is something like this...

The light blue and grey part is a polytarp and poly cat litter bag derived bivi bag. The dark blue part sits over the load deck box and is shown above as it is opened up and ready to sleep in. The bivi zipper will run down the front-left edge, and along the floor a-way. It'll be squishy inside, but so is my military spec, touring bivi. I have a "wardrobe" and a "kitchen" pannier, built from a pair of salvaged suitcases, they hook onto the rack.

Halfway through folding the camp stretcher bivi, it looks something like this, sitting on the load deck box this time...

Completely folded, it looks a bit like this...

Here's how it looks after an afternoon running a 1200x1200x15mm piece of plywood over my table saw in various directions and clamping it up to see if it's feasible. It is, of course, awaiting hinges, hardware and paint, as well as the necessary stitching together a bivi and making of the grey, lean-out poles...

Because it's really quite compact when just that prism shape, and sort of "roomy" when open, I plan to paint it dark blue and give it a TARDIS exterior design. With one exception, though. It'll have a false window on the front, with an interior photo of a campervan behind the glass, to create the illusion that there's an entire campervan inside. Now you understand the TARDIS look, "...it's bigger on the inside?!" That beam across the middle is just there for sizing, that'll be the "roof ridge."

Ambition becomes reality. First the box and, when that works, I'll stitch up the bivi. Meanwhile, there's M6 countersunk machine screws, t-nuts, hinges, locking hardware and paint to acquire, as well as some salvaged Ikea furniture fasteners to find in the "junk box."

Some specs:

The cargo bike is a Zeitbikes short wheelbase,
- The complete load deck box, with airhorn, battery and a few bits of hardware is 10kg,
- The estimated, final weight of the TARDIS/campervan is 16kg,
- The "wardrobe pannier", stuffed to bursting, weighs 12kg,
- The "kitchen pannier" is about the same,
- I weigh 80kg and,
- The maximum load rating for the Zeitbikes cargo is "160kg, including the rider."

From this, I reckon there's plenty of load capacity to spare as me and my gear is 130kg. The bike itself is 20kg and the gear range is 20 gear inches to 80 gear inches, over 9 cogs. She's not fast, she's not pretty, but, by god! She's practical! BTW, the front hub is a dynamo that charges the headlight and tail light. For devices, this pod will get a solar panel.

I won't bore you with my plans for a fire fighting pod, complete with 50 litre water tank, high pressure pump and a garden hose on a reel...
...This time, at least. (Although, I am wondering if the pump could be driven from a pedal PTO mech.)


Popular posts from this blog

What Am I Doing On _MY_ Clunkerbike, Though?

The Merger Is Complete