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Tuesday, July 24th 2007

20:12

A Trip to Pine Grove and other News

We decided to make a trip to one of our winter cross-country skiing haunts. The cycle to Pine Grove only took us 25 minutes and was really pleasant. The morning was crisp and cool as we had left early to avoid the later heat of the day.

We took a route that avoided most of the busiest roads and instead took suburban streets until we could get onto the rural road network. Rural highways are great for quadracycling as they tend to not be too busy and so other traffic just passes us without delay. We get lots of looks and the occasional “thumbs up” or even positive comment about the quadracycle.

Once we got to Pine Grove we took a break in the parking lot and took some photos. There was a nature trail that we ski in the winter that we could have cycled on, but we decided not to head off road today.

Our Truck

After enjoying the peace and quite at the park we headed back into the suburban area. We wanted to go and see our truck and find out how it is doing. It broke down two weeks ago and has been in the shop ever since – prognosis unknown.

We caught up with the mechanic, who said that he was glad we dropped by as he was just going to call us. He has determined that the problem is, as we suspected, a pooched computer. He is trying to find a replacement "used" one from the vehicle type-club as the ones in wrecker's yards are expensive and may well suffer from the same problem that ours does. Apparently this failure mode is not uncommon on these models.

We have been preparing for the permanent loss of our truck out of all this and have decided that if it is “gone”, then we won't replace it. We just don't use a vehicle enough to justify owning one and have found that the quadracycle is of more use to us, at least in the non-winter months.

The decision hasn't been made yet, but I will write more if that turns out to be the case. We hadn't expected to be “car free” at this point in time and that requires a more detailed explanation of what that all means for us.

Quadracycle Mods

After four months of cycling, we have decided to carry out a modification on our quadracycle.

The two-seaters that come from the Rhoades Car factory have all the gear shifters mounted below the steering handle bars, at the left seat position. This means that the person in the right seat relies on the person steering to also shift gears for both people.

The work-load on the person in the left seat can be quite high at times, such as when starting up from a stop that goes around a curve and up a hill at the same time – you have to start pedaling, shift perhaps all four shifters, steer, watch for traffic and signal all at the same time. Shifting gears for the person in the right seat means watching their feet and knees to see if they are pedalling too fast or too slowly. It gets busy. We have put many hundreds of kilometers on the quadracycle with the shifters in this configuration. It works, but it could be improved upon.

Moving the gears for the right seat person to the right side so that person can shift their own gears makes a lot of sense. That way it will reduce the left seat person's workload and at the same time allow the right seat person to decide what gear they should be in for themselves.

The main problem is that there is no where to mount the shifters on, where the right seat person can reach them. So I have designed a simple mount to make this work. I made a prototype in cardboard and we have both tested it for ergonomics. Now I just have to get the design fabricated at our local welding shop and then install it.

This will make a good separate article, when I get it all complete and tested. If it is successful then perhaps we will offer the mount to other Rhoades Car owners as a mod kit.

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