Bike builders news – Pedal Positive!

Think Positive…Pedal Positive! In this issue, Joe Crennen, the creative genius behind Pedal Positive, reveals what drives his creativity, the birth of Pedalpalooza and pedal tractor pull competitions. Folks in Colorado love bikes. Read about some of the unique human powered projects Joe works on.

Also in this issue, Builders Gallery: recumbents, trikes, choppers, tandems, kids’ bikes, tallbikes, electric and motor cycles, cargo bicycles, and more. More than 2 million views!

We need your help. Find out how you can get involved.

This and archived newsletters can be found here: http://atomiczombie.com/NewsLetters.aspx

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Human powered helicopter

It was great to hear that the Sikorsky challenge has finally been conquered. This challenge was put forward by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation way back in 1980 offering half a million smackers to anyone who could create a human only powered craft that would hover stationary in a space of no more than 30 feet x 30 feet for a minimum of 60 seconds at an altitude of at least 10 feet. Anyone who knows something about air flight will tell you that this a huge challenge, pushing the absolute boundaries of what is considered possible.

But, in July a Canadian team (Aerovelo) at the University of Toronto comprised of students, staff, volunteers and professionals claimed the prize with their human powered copter called “Atlas”.

The amount of engineering and trial and error that went into designing and building the ‘copter is daunting. Here are some impressive specs of the machine:

Rotor Radius: 10.2m (33.5ft)
Maximum Dimension: 46.4m (154ft)
Height: 3.7m (12.1ft)
Overall Weight: 55Kg (121.4lb)

Can you imagine what it takes to spin up a four 33 foot blades and lift yourself plus the 120 pound machine into the air, at the same time controlling the flight in three dimensions? WOW is all I can say!

Atlas ready for the winning flight

 

When you see the entire copter sitting there on the ground, you can really appreciate the engineering that went into making such a huge machine only weighing 120 pounds. The framework is made of composite rods and wire, so it is lightweight and just strong enough for the task at hand. The team went through many design changes over a year as they worked out the limits of the framework, snapping tubes and breaking many support wires along the way.

The Atlas transmission system

 

Everything about this craft is cool! Here is a shot of the transmission system which includes a high RPM fixed gear rear wheel that acts as a dampening system to smooth out the pilot’s pedaling efforts. This makes sense because there is little power at top dead center during a crank revolution that would lead to slowing of the rotors and would probably cause huge oscillations in the frame and massive power loss. This flywheel keeps the power output constant without really storing any energy and that would break the rules of the contest. On the left side of the crank, there is a set of pulleys and guide idlers that transfer power via cable to the rotors. Cable drive is necessary because a chain of that length would weigh too much. Check out the huge chainring; there must be 80 teeth on the beast!

The cockpit?

 

The pilot sits atop a carbon fibre road bike frame that is suspended in the main frame by wires. Craft control is accomplished by rods attached to what used to be the brake levers. I have not seen much detail on the control system, but would I imagine that it works by simply flexing the frame so that the pilot can change the angle of the rotors slightly to fine tune position while in flight. According to the rules, they have to stay within a 30 foot by 30 foot space for one minute.

One of the rotor flywheels

 

Every part of the craft is made using the lightest possible materials. This required some seriously detailed work from the team. The picture above is one of the four rotors, a huge spoked wheel made of composite materials and wire for spokes. If you think that lacing a 36 hole bicycle rim is a chore, just imagine making this wheel!

So, a big AtomicZombie congrats to Team Aerovelo for rising to the challenge and pressing forward after many broken frames, snapped wires and crash test flights! A lot more info on Team Aerovelo’s Atlas craft can be found on their website here: www.aerovelo.com

Apples, Sparks and Skitters

Summer is definitely a lot better than winter! Let’s face it, when it’s -30C out or even -10C, you cannot work in an unheated space. I have tried this in the past, and even if you can keep your hands warm somehow, the welder won’t run right, causing sticking and burn-throughs nonstop.

There are good and bad things about summer as well, but for the most part summer beats winter any day. Along the pathway down the hill to my building shack are several apple trees and Saskatoon bushes, and I find myself living on the fruit for days on end when I work on a new project. A few gallons of ice water and the apples are usually enough fuel to keep me going for eight hours or more.

Thanks to a lot of rainfall lately, the Saskatoon berries are almost ready to pick, the raspberries are coming along and the apples are about half way there. I look forward to “living off the land” once the berries are ripe, but will probably have to deal with that bear again. Oh well, I have a plan this year, and it involves some “MacGyver-like” contraptions.

Of course, summer does bring it’s annoyances as well and yesterday they almost drove me completely mad. Yeah, you already know what I am going to say…black flies, ticks and mosquitoes! It was raining yesterday afternoon and then the temperature went right up to 30C, so I took the opportunity to head down the hill and see if I could get the Transporter Cargo Bike together for this morning’s blog, but the mosquitoes were so bad that I had to run like a coward back into the house.

Since there is a 60 foot difference in height between the old shack I work in and our house, the climate is completely different down there much of the time. Up on the hill, it is always dry and breezy, but down the hill, it can seem twice as hot, muggy and often no breeze at all. Add to that the fact that my shack has no doors and you have mosquito hell sometimes.

I did manage to get the wheels and chain on the bike, but after dropping the bike twice to swat humming bird sized mosquitoes off my neck, I gave up in frustration. The grass was too long, the place was humid like the rain forest and water was leaking through the roof, so it just wasn’t a productive afternoon. I am really looking forward to getting the new bike out for a test run, so I will see what the weather has in store for me today.

So far, the Transporter Cargo Bike came together very well and only needs to have the brake and shifter cables installed to be usable. I also have to come up with some kind of latch to hold the kickstand up, but have a plan on the drawing board for that. The other tricky bits will be the rear shifter and brake cables, since they need to be more than twice as long as those on a regular bike. I do have some long throttle cable that was purchased off a roll from a motorcycle shop, so I think that will do the trick.

Well, that’s it for this morning; not too much to report on the new bike. If it dries out a bit today, I may get the chance to add the cables and get a few action photos of the completed bike for tomorrow’s blog. Hey, I wonder if I could weld and grind with a mosquito net over my face.

~ Brad

Bike builders news – May 3

bike builders news

Feature article by RadicalBrad of AtomicZombie.com:

Build the HighLander Chopper – Part 2

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Head tubes and bottom brackets for your bike projects – now on sale
Hub flanges and axle adapters for your bike projects – shipping worldwide   
Chains and brake cables – we want your input
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Spring Special – Save 10% on all bike parts
Washington students strut their stuff 
 
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Bike builders community chat – hot topics of conversation
Bike builders gallery new additions – recumbents, trikes, motorized bikes, choppers & more
Builders Feedback – we love to hear from you.

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Free DIY tutorials – most available in PDF format
AZTV webisode – There and Back Again: A Zombie’s Tale
 
This and archived newsletters are here.

July 3 AtomicZombie newsletter

Feature article by Brad Graham (Radical Brad):
“Build a simple mountain bike tandem” Part 1
From the Builders Gallery
Atomic Zombie parts for your projects:
trike adapters (coming soon)
head tubes
bottom brackets
Bike builders community chat
Zombie bike builders feedback
From our Facebook group

This and archived Atomic Zombie newsletters are here.

AZ newsletter for Oct. 8 – AZTV & The Lost Files Part 2

Also in this issue, Part 2 of The Lost Files: TriTanic Tandem
This and archived Atomic Zombie newsletter are here:

Holger’s recumbent tadpole trike – Germany

Hello, here is my second Project. Holger Wagner, Germany.”

 

our own AtomicZombie tadpole trike