Things have been quiet but slowly we are re-emerging. In the last few weeks Jeff & I have returned to the farm to work on the cargo bikes, No.1 & No.2. Both have a laundry list of changes, upgrades and unfinished details leftover from the Oregon Manifest. Finally we have enough distance from the project to approach it again with clear heads. No.1 is in the process of getting a glass fiber coat on the cargo bed in preparation for painting. The birch ply was never going to look as good as the bamboo used on No.2 so the decision to paint was a no brainer. Jeff is keen (one might even say obsessed) with using GripCoat, a glutinous, non-slip concoction designed for the decks of boats. I believe it comes in a jolly primer gray color. In addition we have covered the holes in the frame. They never saved anything more than a negligible amount of weight plus it was impossible to get inside and clean up the visible surfaces of all that epoxy resin gloop. Jeff sprung for for a sweet Sturmey Archer 3sp with coaster brake which I laced up into a wheel. We also discovered that the cheap-ass forks I had found had unnaturally wide cantilever bosses which negatively affected the braking so we have ground them of and will weld a new pair on. I think these upgrades will result in a thoroughly practical cargo bike that will be perfect for Jeff’s dog Essy who is getting old and lame and can’t jump into the box of his Joe Bike.
No.2 is a whole other story as we struggle to improve the cable steering. It works, kinda sorta, but as weight is added the steering becomes ever more vague and unpredictable. We used standard brake cables and my suspicion is that under load they have too much stretch. Our first step is to upgrade to a thicker braided hawser but first we have to figure out some improved steering cams. This is going to take a while longer to figure out………….