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Saturday, February 24th 2007

15:13

First Time on the Road

Cargo Deck

On Friday the touch-up paint arrived from Rhoades Car – a little bottle with a built in brush, similar to nail polish. It smelled like nail polish, too. So today I finished the paint touch-ups and that meant that the rear cargo deck could be properly installed.

I put it in place and then installed the tie-wraps to retain it. I wasn’t sure how those would hold and whether the plywood would slip or not. The use of three strips on each side of window sealing foam helped cushion the plywood and with the tie-wraps in place there was no slipping.

I test-fitted the three Rubbermaid Roughtote 68 litre bins in place and cargo-strapped them all down with a one inch wide ratchet tie-down. It fit perfectly – kinda eerie!

I put the removable lights on that then shot a few photos.

Photos in the garage weren’t the ideal solution and so I decided to roll the quadracycle outside and shoot the photos of how it looks and fits the bins.

Photos

It was a nice day out, with a temperature of minus 8C (18F) and a brisk north wind gusting to 32 km/hr (20 mph), but sunny and good for pictures. The photos are on the new gallery page.

First Ride

After the photos were done I called Ruth to grab her coat and come on outside as, looking at the dry streets, I had an idea. She said, “Hey the streets are almost dry – let’s go for a ride!” which was what I was thinking, too. So Ruth took the driver’s seat and I hopped on and off we sped. People stared and we waved. After our ride around the street, Ruth took a solo turn and then we went again together with me driving. It was great fun, but cold riding into the north wind at these temperatures!  You can certainly feel the drag of the side-by-side seating into a brisk wind.

The steering is sensitive and the gears perfect for the vehicle. We got going surprisingly fast! One of the criticisms of the Rhoades Car is that the passenger has to ask the driver to shift for them as the driver’s knees are in the way of the shift levers. It required some verbal coordination, but wasn’t a problem so far. It wouldn’t be hard to re-locate the passenger’s gear levers so they could shift for themselves, if need be.

We ran through all the gears, tried the brakes and steering. No surprises there- everything worked fine. It wasn’t a very complete try-out. That will have to wait for better weather. I asked Ruth to write her impressions, as I dried the quadracycle off and put it in the garage. I noticed that she couldn’t stop smiling – that is a good sign.

Ruth Writes

Responsive – that’s the first impression I had of the Rhoades Car. The steering in particular was very responsive, especially when meandering around trying to avoid the innumerable salt laden puddles and icy slush berms that dot the streets at this time of year.

The brakes didn’t show any weird surprises, although I felt I had to apply them rather more sternly than I had expected. I even went to the end of one of the small cul-de-sacs in our neighbourhood where no sun shone and tested the brakes on the compact icy snow. Although the quadracycle didn’t instantly stop, I never felt as though I had no control over where the machine was going.

The gears were a snap, literally, to operate and they shifted smoothly and immediately. With Adam sitting in the passenger seat, communication was easy – no having to shout to be heard – and so his asking me to shift up for him made for a very smooth ride.

Even though we only went up and down our street a couple of times, I can’t overstate just how much fun it was, despite the late February chill. We had winds gusting from the north so it did make for a cold ride. Spring is not far away and neither is more quadracycling.

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