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Plowcycle

For those who want to perform a public service, be environmentally friendly, and get a really good workout all at once.
 
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This idea was inspired in part by perhaps the most amazing and inspiring sight I've ever witnessed. Last week, I was driving up Doomsday Hill, a daunting, nearly 45-degree, half-mile long hill leading into Spokane. There were at least a couple inches of snow on the ground, and more was falling at an impressive rate, and I saw an elderly gentleman, white hair, not much met the eye but skin and bones, riding a *bicycle* up the damned hill! The guy looked like he was in his 70's! I don't think I could ride the entire hill on my bicycle in PERFECT weather, and this old guy was doing it in the worst! Anyway, this idea was inspired, in part, by that sight.

A bicycle with a snow plow on the front. 'nuff said.

21 Quest, Dec 24 2007

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       Damn small plough, but [+] for the tough old guy .... hope he made it...
8th of 7, Dec 24 2007
  

       I'm sure he did... there's a bunch of old iron men in this town. I like to tell myself he definitely made it. He was a 3rd or the way up and going strong when I passed him in my car. Though he was on the sidewalk, I reverently gave him a wide berth.
21 Quest, Dec 24 2007
  

       "an elderly gentleman, white hair, not much met the eye but skin and bones" - methinks you narrowly missed an appointment with the Ghost of Christmas Past!
DrCurry, Dec 25 2007
  

       I like it [+], maybe a small hub motor on the back though, just in case?
acurafan07, Dec 25 2007
  

       I think pretty quickly the resistance from the snow piled up in front is gonna overcome whatever traction you might have on the drive wheel. Possibly a power-take-off driving a rotary snowblower on the front might make it easier. (Seems like [acurafan07] once cooked up something we might be able to adapt.)
lurch, Dec 25 2007
  

       Hm... have the plow slanted sideways so it simply shunts the snow off to the side of the walkway, rather than trying to push great heaping mounds. Might that work? Perhaps a small motor wouldn't hurt, not enough torque to actually push a great amount amount of snow, but enough to assist your manual efforts.
21 Quest, Dec 25 2007
  

       Yes, I think you can do it with an angled plow; but I think center-toggled (pointed) with two faces shoving snow both ways - to keep your equal-and-opposite reaction from shoving the plowcyclist out into the street. Adjusting the angle at the point will determine the swath width, and therefore the resistance. The deeper or wetter the snow gets, the narrower the path you can force.
lurch, Dec 25 2007
  

       Agreed, pointed would probably be better.
21 Quest, Dec 25 2007
  

       My worry is catching the plow. Bikes are reasonably easy to flip over the handle bars, I can only imagine catching a grate or something causing the plower to become an acrobat.
MisterQED, Dec 26 2007
  

       Problem is weight. Bicycles are light and not right for plowing. Why do you think real plows are dump trucks filled with salt? They're heavy as hell. What we need here is a tricycle, weighed down with tons of salt and geared down to multiply the power provided by the operator.
evilpenguin, Dec 26 2007
  

       I suspect that the old man you saw could well have been my maternal great-grandfather, Aloysius Collander Brulee-Buchanan. This is an old trick of his and, if I'm correct, you'll find that Doomsday Hill is part of a geological formation rich in various iron ores.
  

       If you looked closely, you'll have seen that his jacket and plus-fours were suspiciously over-padded: they are actually helium-filled, and his bicycle frame supports a near-perfect vacuum for added lift. This, coupled with the powerful magnets in the wheel hubs, allows him to "struggle" up steep iron- ore-rich mountains, whilst actually free-wheeling. It's his little joke. He occasionally likes to taunt ardent young cyclists by resting his foot on the handlebars whilst overtaking them. (Did I mention he has only one foot? Terrible pogo accident back in the Hebrides. Fortunately, they were able to save the toes.)
  

       He's actually in his late '80s, and is a remarkable character, so your admiration is not misplaced.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 26 2007
  

       [MrQED] - look on the bright side. If you're going to flip your bike, what better time to do it than when there's snow to land in?
lurch, Dec 26 2007
  

       Or you could always equip the rider with some sort of parachute or ejector seat.
acurafan07, Dec 26 2007
  

       // ejector seat //
  

       The force-per-unit-area of a racing bicycle seat is pretty fearsome to begin with.
  

       Add a pyrotechnic recation thrust and the unfortunate user woulde end up with what might euphemistically be described as "pelvic floor issues" (after, or if, the ER surgeons manage to extract the bicycle saddle).
  

       However, we are willing to try. anyone wishing to try the Acme bicycle ejector saddle, please take one pace forward... while you still can.
8th of 7, Dec 26 2007
  
      
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