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[personal profile] alessandro_bard
 It's been a couple of weeks now, and I have more results from and thoughts about the Handcar Regatta.

The Past...

As I mentioned, my railbike "Cyclotron" set the fastest time of the day (23.17 seconds) but lost in the finals when I crashed. For your amusement, here it is in living video! A fellow was at the perfect angle to capture it, and he talked to me after the race. He's now put it up on YouTube.

One of the heat races is shown right at the beginning of this video. I'm on the far track. The fellows on the handcar on the near track are tossing chicken feathers to the crowd - they also had a chicken in a cage as part of their handcar. I have to say, the camaraderie among the racers was terrific, everybody was playing honorably, and the creativity of the builders was truly astonishing. The Nordic Tracker may have been one of the slowest in the field, but it had to be the most awesome method of propulsion for a rail-bound machine I have ever seen.

It made me feel at times like my little railbike was much too plain for this event. On the other hand, I was the only one-man team to enter, and at least a dozen people came up to me and asked about the plans for mine so they could build their own. I have no idea how I would diagram what I built, but the interest is indeed out there!

I do have to say it's rather amazing how consistently the sound of a starting gun will cause people to jump out onto the railroad tracks. Sometimes they cross the tracks completely. And, just to add a degree of difficulty, one time someone crossed with a stroller - during the race. Just couldn't wait that 30 seconds or so, I guess...

Anyway, the Big Crash is farther along, at the final race, starting at 4 minutes in. From this vantage point, I'm on the right hand track. Initially, anyway.

The Present...

The parts to the railbike are downstairs, waiting on a little bit of bending back into shape. I want to ride it all the way from here to Santa Cruz, though with the weather system coming in, a strategic time to do so will need to be chosen. Also, the line from Santa Cruz to Davenport is not in use at this point (the cement plant closed earlier this year) and it's along some beautiful parts of the ocean shore - where the Ocean Shore Railroad used to run, that is. That's an inviting bit of track as well.

Meanwhile, there are many projects to be done around Meadows and Trees. Mostly in anticipation of future weather and (maybe sometime) future horses. So taking the railbike out for a spin may be just a fun thing to do on occasion
The Future...

We had so much fun that on the way home, [ profile] acanthusleaf and I, though we were tired, dehydrated, dusty, sunburned, and exhausted, were already discussing plans for next year. At the moment, we're thinking of going with a Jules Verne submarine-like thing, complete with a conning tower, fins, and spinning propellers. Oh, and with waving water, too. And bubbles. And fish chasing it. [ profile] acanthusleaf  is confident that we can make it look truly cool. I am confident we can make it go truly fast. Weight was indeed a key factor in speed, so it will be lightweight. I might have to get a MIG adaptor for the welder so I can use aluminum framing. Then I suppose I ought to learn to weld aluminum.

Hey, maybe we can shoot torpedoes at our competition....

Well, however the plans may wander, we're holding off on any formal work on it until we hear official word about next year's time and place. Then, look out!

For more videos of the mayhem (there are shorter and more concise ones than the one above), go to YouTube and search for "Handcar Regatta 2009". Try these:

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May 2010

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