More and more electric bikes have been rolling out into the streets lately as people realize how inexpensive and easy they are to ride and use when compared to cars. They can also be pedaled like a normal bike, so it’s still possible to get some exercise with them too. Most have a range somewhere around 10-30 miles depending on battery size, weight, and aerodynamics, but with a few upgrades such as solar panels it’s possible to go much, much further on a charge.
[The Rambling Shepherd] had a tricycle (in the US, generally still considered a bicycle from a legal standpoint) that he had already converted to electric with a hub motor and battery, and was getting incredible range when using it to supplement his manual pedaling. He wanted to do better, though, and decided to add a few solar panels to his build. His first attempt didn’t fare so well as the 3D-printed mounts for the panel failed, but with a quick revision his second attempt survived a 50-mile trip. Even more impressive, he only had his battery half charged at the beginning of the journey but was still able to make it thanks to the added energy from the panels.
If you’re thinking that this looks familiar, we recently featured a tandem tricycle that was making a solar-powered trip from Europe to China with a similar design. It has the advantage of allowing the rider to pedal in the shade, and in a relatively comfortable riding position compared to a normal bike. Future planned upgrades include an MPPT charge controller to improve the efficiency of the panels.
Continue reading “Pedal Far With A Solar Powered Tricycle”
‘Tis soon to be the season when resolutions falter and exercise equipment purchased with the best of intentions is cast aside in frustration. But with a little motivation, like making your exercise machine a game console controller, you can maximize your exercise gear investment and get in some guilt-free gaming to boot.
Honestly, there is no better motivation for keeping up with exercise than taking classes, but not many people have the discipline — or the pocketbook — to keep going to the gym for the long haul. With this in mind, [Jason] looked for a way to control PS4 games like Mario Karts or TrackMania with his recumbent bike. In an attempt to avoid modifying the bike, [Jason] decided on a wearable motion sensor for his ankle. Consisting of an Uno, an MPU9250 accelerometer, and a transmitter for the 433-MHz ISM band, the wearable sends signals to a receiver whenever the feet are moving. This simulates pressing the up arrow controller key to set the game into action. Steering and other game actions are handled by a regular controller; we’d love to see this expanded to include strain gauges on the recumbent bike’s handles to allow left-right control by shifting weight in the seat. Talk about immersive gameplay!
While we like the simplicity of [Jason]’s build and the positive reinforcement it provides, it’s far from the first exercise machine hack we’ve seen. From making Google Street View bike-controlled to automatically logging workouts, exercise machines are ripe for the hacking.
Continue reading “Gamify Your Workout with this Wearable Console Controller”
Over the past year, [Dave] has been hard at work on his human powered vehicle. One year and six hundred hours of build time later, the Radius T-T Velomobile is complete. This 80 lb. vehicle features a custom body, mirrors, and integrated lights.
The Radius T-T started out as a TerraTrike recumbent tricycle. [Dave] built the body by laying up fiber glass on a foam mold. To that he added a variety of 3D printed accessories such as lights and mirrors. Inside the cockpit, the driver can control turn signals and flashers.
[Dave]’s blog provides a massive amount of documentation on the build. Everything from 3D modelling of the vehicle in Blender to the rear view mirror design is discussed. This great looking build should move along quickly with its lightweight design, but we’re still waiting to hear how fast it goes. Either way, it should be a fun mode of transport which will definitely turn some heads.
This recumbent trike was built using parts from three salvaged bikes and without welding. These bikes are a bit easier on the back and neck than the traditional riding position. This one also allows for a shorter pedal crank which was a concern for the creator, [Barry Millman]. Not only did he do a fantastic job of making the thing, but he shared the project in verbose detail.
It’s a good build. It won’t win a prize for light-weight design as it includes a big chunk of plywood. But it is worth the weight hit if welding is not an option. For your viewing pleasure you’ll find a short parking lot test-drive of the finished recumbent after the break.
Oh, and if you want a more dangerous cycling build, try this over-under tandem.
Continue reading “Building a recumbent trike from old parts”
in 1983, [Steve Roberts] packed up a Tandy 100 laptop and a 5-watt solar panel, fleeing suburbia on his recumbent bicycle on what would become a 17,000 mile journey that forever cemented his place in the geek pantheon…not just as a technology hacker, but as one of the preeminent “life hackers,” pursuing his own dreams on his own terms and inspiring others to do the same.
In this 1989 video, recently unearthed by Hack a Day, [Roberts] reflects on the first 16,000 miles of his voyage, detailing some of the technology that went into his then-current ride, the Winnebiko II.
Continue reading “Vintage Video: Computing Across America”
The earliest bicycles were made from wood. Nearly two centuries later, some garage tinkerers still turn to this most traditional of materials for their own creations, since welding one requires experience and tools beyond the reach of many. Resembling Gilligan’s Island props, the resulting bikes are both artistic and great fun, but not very practical for real use; often heavy, ill-fitting or lacking durability.
[Boris Beaulant’s] birch laminate Zelo, on the other hand, has cleaner lines than anything you’d see in an IKEA showroom. Not content with an ordinary two-wheeler, he’s tackled a three-wheeled recumbent trike, which requires even finer tolerances. Two months and over 1,300 miles later, the trike is still rolling strong through the French countryside, proving its mettle as legitimate transportation and not just a garage novelty. [Beaulant’s] build log (Google translation here) offers some insights into the development of this masterpiece, starting with prior woodworking projects (furniture, rolling toys and a children’s bike) and finding clever solutions to problems such as creating a mold of his own back for a custom-contoured seat.
[Justin Lemire-Elmore] spent one month riding his electric bike across Canada last summer. He made the journey from Vancouver to Halifax in 30 days using a mere $10 worth of electricity to recharge his bike. He put together a rather bizarre looking semi-recumbent bicycle to hold all of his gear. The motor controller, charge controller, battery packs, and lighting system were all his own design. He has a captivating 2 hour presentation embedded below in which he describes all the problems he had with his equipment during the trip as well as all the great experiences the journey offered. Continue reading “E-bike across Canada for $10”