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TdS Report #36: On Display: The Spin Cycle

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TdS Report #36: On Display: The Spin Cycle

Not all the vehicles that show up at the Tour de Sol compete in the rally. For
example Josh Kerson is a student at the University of Massachusetts who has
brought along a personal project. It is a human-electric hybrid tricycle that
he designed and built himself -- actually the second version.

It looks like a heavy-duty recumbent cycle with the pedals way out in front and
a long chain back to the derailer hub on the rear wheel. "The boom that
supports the pedals is adjustable and the seat can move back and forth to
accommodate different people's body types." The chain is guided from the front
to the rear and back in plastic tubes. That's temporary, "but I've seen it
work before. We'll run it this way this week." Later he'll put in guide

Three 12-Volt Optima yellow-top batteries are under the seat and an electric
motor behind the seat the drives a sprocket on the opposite side from the
derailer. I thought the motor might be a "pancake" type, such as Lynch makes.
"Close. It's Briggs & Stratton's new VTAC. It is a four-quadrant, rare-earth
permanent magnet motor that is really efficient." Nothing was wired up on
Saturday morning. "I'll probably get it wired up today."

"This is my own personal project at U-Mass; my second one. I'm interested in
opening up a category for short-range commuters at the Tour de Sol. People
could travel maybe 45 miles at 20 miles per hour, get a moderate amount of
exercise and carry a substantial load. This is an exercise bike that can
really take you places.

"I drew it up and wrote a grant proposal. I got a lot of these parts and then
started cutting tubes, fitting angels and welding." The core frame is made out
of square or rectangular cross-section 4130 chromally steel tubing, but the
rest is round tubing, most bent into graceful curves. "That for me was a
substantial, beautiful step forward. The last one was almost all rectangles
and cut angles. Getting a hydraulic tubing bender let me reduce the amount of
metal and give it a very pleasing look."

"We are going to try to make 10 of these this summer. We're going to the
Netherlands for a semester abroad. We hope to go into production in about a
year or two and we are looking for any helpful information."

- - - -
The complete set of Tour de Sol Reports for 2002 can be found at:
The complete set of past Tour de Sol Reports can be found at:
- - - -
The above is Copyright 2002 by Michael H. Bianchi.
Permission to copy is granted provided the entire article is presented
without modification and this notice remains attached.
For other arrangements, contact me at +1-973-822-2024 .
- - - -
For more on the NESEA Tour de Sol, see the web page at
- - - -
Official NESEA Tour de Sol information is available from the sponsor,
the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) at
413 774-6051 , and 50 Miles Street, Greenfield, MA 01301 , and
[email protected] . All media enquiries should be addressed to ...
Jack Groh
Groh Associates
[email protected] email
401 732-1551 telephone
401 732-0547 fax
401 952-0886 cell/pager
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