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A pedal-powered produce cart for a local urban gardening program and the development of a jig to produce future custom cargo tricycles.
A pedal-powered produce cart for a local urban gardening program and the development of a jig to produce future custom cargo tricycles.
67 backers pledged $4,156 to help bring this project to life.

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Taking a moment to be grateful

Massimiliano Vitali
Cit: Paulo Coelho.

Before you begin anything, seek out your allies, people who are interested in what you are doing.
Your allies are people who are not afraid of making mistakes and who do, therefore, make mistakes, which is why their work often goes unrecognized. Yet they are just the kind of people who transform the world and, after many mistakes, manage to do something that can make a real difference in their community. They are people who can't bear to sit around waiting for things to happen in order to decide which attitude to adopt; they decide as they act, well aware that this could prove highly dangerous.
People always judge others by taking as a model their own limitations, and other people's opinions are often full of prejudice and fear.
Join with all those who experiment, take risks, fall, get hurt and then take more risks. Stay away from those who affirm truths, who criticize those who do not think like them, people who have never once taken a step unless they were sure they would be respected for doing so, and who prefer certainties to doubts.
Join with those who are open and not afraid to be vulnerable: they understand that people can only improve once they start looking at what their fellows are doing, not in order to judge them, but to admire them for their dedication and courage.

Let's do that!

This was just sent to me and reading it has helped to bring my mind and attitude back on track.  This has not been an easy build.  There has been experimentation, money issues, mechanical setbacks, contractor issues, blah blah blah.  More importantly, there have been friends, family, and associates who has been there - whether to loan tools, donate money, parts, time, or advice, offer encouragement, bounce ideas off of, and sometimes just to listen.  Off the top, I'd like to thank Noah Bauer, Permaganic, all the donators, my family, Daniela Leonard, Mosh n Brew Bicycle Crew, Rat Patrol Bicycle Club, MoBo Bicycle Cooperative, Tim Burns, Stephen Case, Jason Hines, Dave Willman, Nancy Terrell, Kelon Buncher, Stephanie Winters, Chris Vorhees, Liz from the Village Green, Doppes Lumber, Ace Hardware on Ludlow and Hamilton Aves.  And everyone else who have been there. Thank you all.

Ok.... on to the update!  Box is built!  Frame is painted!  That's right.  Now some details...

Built the box sides from 1/4" exterior AC plywood and 1"x3" furring strips.  Fastened it together with 2"x2"s.  Its not the lightest thing in the world, but it is solid.  Decided to put the framework on the outside.   Made life easier on building and I like the old-timey look it has.  After going over the finances, and weighing time vs money vs weight vs durability, this seemed like the most feasible solution.

And the trike frame....  taped off the headset, gave the frame a light sanding with 600 grit, and mineral spirit wipe down. Rattlecanned a several coats of white primer, followed by automotive paint (Performance Red) brushed on with a mist coat of rattlecan red.


Second coat of primer is drying as I type this!  Rattle can white primer.  Tomorrow will follow with brush on red enamel.  Also solved a problem where I thought we were going to have to weld on shims.  After going out to the junk pile behind MoBo to find a frame to cut for shims, I noticed some really small cable guides on those scrap frames.  Big ups to Mike Ilee for the advice of always going and checking out the scrap bike pile.  Also picked up a couple of sealed bottom brackets with longer axles to try out when the paint dries.

Good News And Bad News

First the good news....

Rode the produce cart on two 7 miles trips last week and it did alright.  Not perfect, but not bad.  Anyone riding this thing regularly will have thighs and an ass carved from stone! Speaking of butts, so glad we splurged on the Brooks saddle with the springs.  It definitely made for an extremely comfortable sit.  Plus, if treated with Sno-Seal a couple times a year and kept protected from wet salt, it will last a lifetime. Found a couple of small problems during those rides.  The drive axle needs to be longer to allow for shifting down to the smallest chainring with the front derailleur.  Our shifter cable routers' shims need to be permanently attached.  One of the brake cables is not quite long enough.  Its long enough to work for now, but for long term use, it needs a bit more slack in it.  Mind you, that's a wicked long tandem brake line.  Luckily they make one for tandems that is longer.  A couple of the support tubes are not welded all the way around allowing for water to enter inside the tube and sit, which will lead to premature rusting. Minor things. 

Also, exciting is that I picked up the awning from Main Awning and Tent last week.  Made from Sunbrella material with a 10 year warranty and in Permaganic's colors!  It has a nice scallop along the ends, eyelets for attachment of other sun shades, and two pockets along its short sides for poles to slide into, and tie strings for when its rolled up during transport.  Here's a pic of it before the tie straps and eyelets were added.

Adding the tie-down straps

Now the bad news...

Learned a valuable lesson this last week.  Learned to always get my estimates (and everything else) on paper.  Had spoken with a gentleman at Spring Grove Sheet Metal a few months back about fabricating the box and he gave a very reasonable quote.  So reasonable that it made more sense to have them make it than us.  So I rode the cart down there finally and followed up to get it done.  Well, not having it on paper, the quote quadrupled, putting it way out of our budget.  Just a small setback.  Researching cost vs usability vs sturdiness vs weight of stainless steel, aluminum, and Baltic birch plywood now.  

Another exciting note.... once those welds are sealed, the shims put on, and any sharp edges ground down, we will be taking it apart to paint it an enamel red to round out the Permaganic colors. 

CAD Drawings!

After having gone down to Spring Grove Sheet Metal, they told me it would be a lot easier for them to fabricate what I wanted if I dialed in the drawings for the cooler box to go on the back of the cart.  So after a couple of sit down sessions with some graph paper, and a meeting with Noah, a tape measure, and a calculator, detailed drafts were made.  While finishing these up, I had the pleasure of running into Stephanie Winters, Architectural MFA, model builder, and draftperson.  She was kind enough to critique my drafts and offered to put them into CAD so to make them clearer and easier to read.  It was a big help.  Working with her showed me where the designs were unclear,  She also put upon me the importance of a spec sheet to get across all the different hardware used.  The one thing I realized was left off was a drawing of the inside of the box!  Here are the drafts after Steph translated them...

Out and About

Fixed the chain, tightened up some bolts, attached the other rear brake and took the cart out on the road yesterday.  Handled better than I expected.  A differential would definitely make for even better handling.  Made several successful loops around the neighborhood, including some small hills.  After a while, the chain tensioner began slipping, giving too much slack to the chain and eventually throwing it off.  May have to do a couple of small modifications to it. 

Have a meeting with Les Goldfarb, of Main Awning and Tent, tomorrow morning to see what is going on with the awning we ordered.  Hope to pedal the cart down in the next couple of days to Spring Grove Sheet Metal for them to check out for making the cooler box.