Tuesday, February 19, 2008

$6.97 Experiment

That's what I ended up putting into this contraption. I built it up for the fun of it, without a plan really. It's more fun to have a shell of an idea, a basic understanding, and just dive into it. Thanks to Varnum for his input on the centering of the rollers (28cm/83.2cm) and to Goodwill for selling used Rollerblades for $5.00, and to the Chinese for crating their furniture in solid lumber (usually better wood than the furniture inside of the crate) and to the guys in our shop at Redeker's for their tech support and just letting me use the tools and shutting up about how crazy I must be! They know...

Each roller is a pair of Rollerblade wheels screwed into the ends of a 12" piece of 3"i.d. PVC. I used washers as spacers because the wheels are only 77mm, short of the 3" inside diameter.

The two forward rollers have a granny gear bolted to a wooden spacer, which is then screwed into the solid center of the Rollerblade wheel. Added some Delrin spacers to take out the side to side slack and equalize the pressure.

Slipped the chain around the granny gears and DAMN! there's too much slack. Can't take out a complete link, so I fabbed up a chainwheel roller. Adjustable if I ever run a smaller wheel on it. Actually, there is enough off-center in the way I drilled out the wooden adapter for the grannys (like an ENO hub, kinda) that I could play around and probably get the chain tension to work, but I wanted to ride it soon, so I just did a stop-gap fix for now.

I "rode" it in my basement today and I don't know, it's pretty squirrely on this thing! I was not able to master it yet, but it works if I have something to hold myself up! I consider myself better than average in bike handling skills, and slippery mud/ice is no problem, but this is wild! I'll have to take it outside and learn to ride it where I won't brain myself on a water heater or stairwell stringer if I fall. Besides, my wife will kill me if I die in the basement!? If I master it, I will take it all apart and stain it up. Then hang it on a peg and forget about it! My next project is a replica of an 80's era "brick" cell phone shell that I can slide my Motorola into and take "Retro" to a new level (lower, but new) Later! Travel Gravel!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Gotta Brag A Little

I am going to do something that I rarely ever do... BRAG. I am lucky to have been blessed with two of the nicest children ever (I know...) and my now 11 year old son has done something wonderful, again. Last year, as a 4th grader, he wrote an essay as part of the local V.F.W. Ladies Auxiliary writing contest. The kids were given a theme to consider, and then had to write an essay without any help from their teacher. The following is my son's entry from last year, which won at the county and district levels, and was placed second in the state. I have copied it as he published it, with his grammar, spelling, and structure:

What The Flag Means To Me
The flag means honor, dignity, and pride that's what the flag means to me. Thoughs three things. Honor is knowing that we are free, united, and can't be broken but bent.
Dignity is knowing that we can help other countries and not just our own.
Pride is the most important. It is knowing that the flag stands for our proud country and the men and women in Iraq. And all the good decisions that are made for the country and our rights.
God bless America the country of the free!
Pretty cool considering that it came from the heart of a ten year old! He was asked to read it at the monthly meeting at the post and brought tears to the eyes of grown men! This year he entered again, and won again:) He is so modest about it too. He encouraged six other classmates to enter too. As the awards for third and second were given out, and Marshall was still not named, he shook the hands of the other kids and told them he hoped one of them was the winner. Then they called his name and he flipped out! I must have given him the old "flip the switch" gene. Here is his entry from this year's contest:
What Loyalty Means To Me
Loyalty goes like this to me: It's just plain old loyalty. Like going to school and putting that hand on your heart and thinking...standing there and thinking of all the things America has done for us, and sticking to it, watching the news and seeing Iraq harming people and killing America's troops, but not giving up on America knowing that we are strong and can overcome the obstacles we face.
Loyalty is the key to victory!
Pretty cool I think. A bit of a run-on sentence, and a little Republican slant to both, but damn impressive. I think it was a T-shirt slogan that said it best, "It ain't bragging if you can back it up!" Later! Travel Gravel!