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Hammered Dulcimer design, construction, and unrelated stuff

Monday, May 16, 2011

Going Green


I have been a cyclist all my life, mostly for commuting and fun. I came across this 1965 Huffy Sportsman last fall at the Salvation Army. Got it for $10.00, and all it needed to be ridable was a new plastic cable stop for the shifter cable and a whole lot of TLC and adjustment. It even had good tires. A friend contributed a junker like it which had the fenders, and a smaller chain ring to get it into the right gear range. The rack and kick stand came off other bikes I had, and I put my good Brooks saddle on it. This bike is almost like the Huffy I grew up on, and has the same Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub which is bullet proof. This one works perfectly after 46 years.

The bike was so much fun to ride! It is solid and smooth, a really nice ride, and so nondescript I can slip through town and no one even notices me. No one would ever want to steal it.

It was so much fun I decided to make this trailer for it so I can carry my hammered dulcimer across town every week to our jam session at a local pizza place. The frame of the trailer is made of wood, bolted together. It is pretty light. The wheels I had lying around from 10 years ago and another project. The tires are 40 years old, and came off one of our English folding bikes. The drop outs are steel that I cut from a piece of 2" square tube. The hitch I am especially proud of, it is a ball type hitch. A smaller version of one on a car. The ball is a plastic knob off one of my drill press handles. I found it to be a perfect 1 1/8" diameter, which I had a drill bit that matched. So the hitch is birch plywood with a 1 1/8" hole drilled through it, and another thin piece of plywood glued on top of it. Then a keeper piece that comes up under the ball to keep it in the hitch. To make the cavity of the hitch spherical to match the ball, I coated the ball with wax, then filled the hole with epoxy and stuck the ball it it till it dried, then pulled the ball out. It works great! This trailer tows smooth and quiet and easy. And my dulcimer rides on it just great. This is really fun, and feels good knowing I am getting there without starting up our van. I am convinced on level ground that a person could tow a very large load indeed on a bike trailer.

Since this was all stuff I had lying around I don't have much in it, just the bolts that I bought, maybe $5.00. I have a total of $35.00 in the bike except the seat, which will migrate to something else one day. So if I used the old saddle that was on the bike when I got it, I'd have a total of $40.00 in this very useful and fun rig. I also hope to use this rig to deliver dulcimers to FedEx, but think 2 is all I can carry with this bike, since it isn't geared low enough. I'm working on another that is geared low enough. If this interests you, google bicycle trailers and see what you find. There's a world of creativity out there that is really fun. Also google cargo bikes.

When my friends saw this they said, "Now that's green!"