[permaculture] Looking for pedalpower resources - any bicycle experts in the list?

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lfl at intrex.net
Mon Jan 1 22:14:56 EST 2007

Eric Kemp wrote:
> Hi....I live in the Chapel Hill area.....and I was wondering if you knew about the recyclery......
> it is in Carrboro and they salvage bikes and distribute them through town for people to use.....
> they call it the blue bike program....they also have a build a bike program for kids......the point is...
> they have a ton of parts and bikes that they wont ever use ....the guy who runs the place is nice and i dont 
> know if he is exactly into permaculture but I would bet he would be into your project.......www.recyclery.info  

Never heard of them until now. Looked at their website and it looks like a very worthwhile organization.
If they have unused parts and components I might want to buy some of these to make a few prototypes so I can text the 
machine in the garden and develop the tillage implement. I may try to use some recycled circular saw blades to make the 
teeth or points for the tillage tool, adjustable side to side, up and down and pitch to alter the apporach angle of the 
tines or blades.

> they are there on sunday afternoons 12- 5....I would also be willing to volunteer some time to it myself ,

That would be great. I'd welcome some additional ideas and prototyping skills during the development stage.
Email me about this.

> if you are into that, as I have wondered about this type of thing ....if farm equipment could be pedal powered?????  

The thing is, I need this machine early this month to prepare several acres of garden beds for early planting of
spinach and several other crops. The only alternative is to do the work with a hoe and rake.

 > ....if farm equipment could be pedal powered?????

Absolutely and without pedals too as with wheeled machines that you push and steer with handlebars - same implement: 
weeder and seedbed preparation, like a large multi-wheeled wheel hoe. The pedal-powered version is the best option as 
far as I can tell for large gardens; the single wheel hoe would be appropriate for small gardens and row cropping.
My 4 wheel version is to be used on 36-44" raised beds. Other versions would have the wheel spacing adapted to
garden beds of other widths. With the riding version, the weight of the operator would add wheel traction and force the 
tines into the soil for more complete tillage and weed removal.

Rather than reinvent the wheel I would like to have a bicycle manufacturer create the neccessary quadricycle, with 
mounting plate for tiller implement and frame with seat and pedals placed high enough to clear the top of the bed,
a little higher than the front and rear axles; wheels would need to be of large diameter and tires, mudgrip. Since there 
is already a huge bicycle prototyping and manufacturing industry there is no need for me to build my own, only to 
concentrate on the tillage implement that would be attached.

Using recycled parts and bike components is another matter; each unit could be custom built for the type of garden row 
or bed it is to be used on; wouldn't look as pretty but it would make grand use of old bikes that otherwise might be
scrapped out.

I am sure the design I have in mind would work well in a wide variety of garden settings. One variant would be a 
wide-wheeled version to cover two narrow raised beds or rows at once, or even three. Another option would involve using 
it for deep tillage of beds and serious removal of thick, tough, tall weeds. Of course, a scythe is the tool of choice
for that task. Better not to let weeds get that tall in the first place - that is a job for a 4 wheeled, pedaled tiller.

Lawrence F. London, Jr.
Venaura Farm
lfl at intrex.net

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