Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thinking Inside The Box

I have yet another addition to my ever-growing list of Loftily-Envisioned-Yet-Bound-To-Become-Barely-Functional-And-Nothing-More projects, a sub-category of the Do-It-Yourself genre in which I was recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement award.  (The award is widely considered as an apology for the travesty of justice incurred when my now-legendary 1983 “Homemade Cycling Wind Trainers” effort was snubbed.)

My current work is in preparation for an anticipated greater commitment to and reliance upon my bicycle(s) for excursions on which I would normally convince myself to drive with little, if any, resistance from any internal agonist advocating health or environmental benefits.

I’m serious this time, dang it!  Quit giggling!

I have had, for several years, one of those child-carrier trailer thingies that attaches to the rear axle.  The Live Acorn, of course, is well past the age of wanting to be seen with her dad needing such transport, and my original plan of using it to garner the sympathy of comely lasses at the park by borrowing a friend’s baby and explaining that the mother had died during childbirth never really came to fruition, and so it’s mainly been employed to haul beer and peanuts home from the store.

But no more!  “It’s time to get serious!” I said to myself in a stern, lecturing tone, and then chuckled, because I always try, unsuccessfully, to raise one eyebrow when I speak in a stern, lecturing tone, and I find my persistence at this task amusing.  But apparently I was stern and lecturing enough, because I set about ripping all of the nylon fabric that comprised the child carrier off of the trailer frame in a chaotic fit, my thought (or whatever it is that passes for thought in the midst of a chaotic fit) being that if I destroyed any transportational capability that existed, I would be forced to replace it with something.

And sure enough, it worked seems to be working:

Above:  I really hope that neither Ernesto Colnago nor Eddy Merckx reads this … it’s enough that I lose sleep knowing that I’m using one of the great classic Italian road frames as a utilitarian grocery hauler.  I don’t need either of those two showing up and kicking my ass.

I write “seems to be working” as technically, I have not reached the “Barely-Functional” part of the project yet, though all it really needs is to be connected to the frame.  In my younger days, I would have opted for a duct tape-based approach to minimize effort and time, but alas, I am not the impatient flibbertigibbet I once was, and am committed to a hardware based solution involving bolts and lockwashers and other hardware-y types of things.  I also plan on painting flames on the side, and perhaps Thomas The Train on the front.

I showed this picture to several people, and there seemed to be a common reaction of “umm … it’s quite … large, isn’t it?  Are you opening a catering service?  You ARE joking when you occasionally mention getting rid of dead hookers, aren’t you?”  And yes, while it may seem a bit excessive, I’m simply erring on the side of caution.  Plus, the lid is going to comprise two pieces that slide together with a hole for Indy’s neck, akin to the tables used to serve the eastern delicacy “brains of live monkeys” (that would be the east side of Dead Falls, North Dakota – I’m pretty sure outside of there, that’s just a rumor).  She loves it already:

Above:  She’s now part boxer.

Well, crap ... it just occurred to me that I didn’t measure the front door …


Sarah said...

That looks really heavy. Did you have those pieces lying around or did you specifically choose OSB because you don't have a make it out of reinforced steel.

The Dead Acorn said...

Let's just say it was a financially-influenced decision. Balsa is NOT cheap. And yeah, it's kinda heavy ... and that's without the concrete base and refrigeration unit I'm going to install. We can't have those Skinny Cows melting on the ride home.

Sarah said...

Save the Skinny Cows!

The Bug said...

Well that's QUITE some contraption you have there! How much DOES it weigh? Will you be lumbering along with it behind you, or will it be more streamlined than it looks?

On the other hand - I live in bicycle central & the grocery store is only about 5 miles from my house (oh wait, I just googled it - it's less than 2 miles from my house) - I could use such a contraption & save myself a little bit of gas! Although my internal agonist is pretty tepid.

The Dead Acorn said...

I'm afraid to weigh it, Bug. But I'll be mostly towing it behind my mtn bike, which has pretty low gearing, and all of my shopping takes place over pretty flat ground. I'm already envisioning the replacement for it, which will be made out of steel conduit pipe for the frame (the stuff electricians run wire through) and nylon for the walls. Less secure, but way lighter. And above all, a relatively unnecessary project to distract me from things that really need attention in my life.