Do you ever think fate is playing a part in your life? That if fate did not exist or even the demon that sits on your shoulder is shouting, “What the hell are you doing now?” did not play their parts that you would get up to all kind of things? I do. Let me tell you this story.
I thought I had messed up my Uni course by opting out for a while – taking a break – to do this extended cycle trip. As it turns out, the Uni has gotten back to me saying that the three modules that I should have completed this semester can be completed next year as my tutors have agreed to give me tutorials instead of lessons! How cool is that? So cool that Plymouth must think the Artic Circle has dropped 800 miles.
Then, on Friday the 13th, a cheque comes through my door for £4,500. Then came the problem with the Bullitt bike and its engine. This chain, that has to do a figure of 8, has been driving my instincts mad. Although it works it is noisy and my gut is telling me that a whole lot of bad is waiting for me if I trying to make it last 5,000-6,000 miles. Not that it will be on all the time, only for the bad hills and mountains. It has still been bothering me until yesterday. I met with my brother Jon and one of us decided to turn it from a chain drive back into a belt drive. This idea grew over night and Jon suggested forgetting the idea of trying to connect the engine to the chainring by making a belt driven chainring instead of the chain driven chainring now on the bike. But no such chainring really exists that can be fitted so we hit on the idea of making it ourselves. I did say I had considered a tandem set up years ago that has chainrings both sides of the pedals. Using this kind of set up would mean that he engine could be turned so the drive shaft faced the port side and thus would be rotating the correct way. Unfortunately when I first considered the idea I could not find a chainring big enough to reduce by leg rotations to under 100 per minute. But now we had entered the realm of making our own chainring. Now there was a change and a whole new world of chainring manufacture had opened to us.
Enter David J Parr, an engineer in Starcross. He is going to make the chainring out of aluminium. He is also the South West agent for Gates Belts so we can get a belt made to fit with plenty of spares. He is going to fix a muffler to the Robin engine so it purrs quietly and his engineering budy Graham will make the gearbox pulley out of a solid lump of alloy on a lathe. For the first time I am looking forward to this trip. For the first time I believe it can be done. And it took FATE to step in with a jaw infection and Uni problems to slow me down to make sure all this was in place before I left.
So Fate exists and I now know that soon the Bullitt will be built as a perfected travel asset that will have the ability to take a man and his dog, a load of camping gear, is cheap to run, easy to ride, and will get up any mountain with ease. BMW GS? No way. On a bicycle you can experience nature and on cycle routes you can find inner peace.
No Bullitt in the world has this set-up and if it works I wonder if there will be an explosion of similar set-ups for other cargo bikes?