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

The Past... )
The Present... )
The Future... )
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The good news: I had the best time of all entrants.
The bad news: I didn't win.

Why? Well, my fastest run was in one of the heat races, but I had mechanical failure (lost the chain) in the finals, which caused a crash.

Which means even though I set out to do only one of two things, in reality I did them both! Be the fastest, _and_ crash spectacularly for the collective amusement of the assembled masses. 

In the finals, my opponents also suffered a mechanical failure, but having the virtue of four wheels, they stayed on the rails and managed to limp past the finish line. Meanwhile, I dusted myself off, bent a few things back into place, got the bike back on the rails, re-set the chain, and (slowly) pedaled across the line a short time later.

It was oodles of fun. The entrants all had a real camaraderie, a sense of fair play and always helped each other out. It took a while to get things organized, but then things ran smoothly. There were many thousands of spectators, even though it was 100 degrees. Both [livejournal.com profile] acanthusleaf  and I battled the heat, and it was great to have a Racer's tent with lots of cold things to drink and salty foods. We both had a blast. There were loads of merchants, loads of steampunk groups and displays of wonderful inventions, and loads of general goofiness.

Pictures and such are soon to come. At this point, I'm exhausted and sunburned (kept sweating the sunblock off) and I will write more after I get some sleep and recover a bit.


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The last few days have been trying. I've been down a few side paths, but now I'm back on track (so to speak). 

Much mechanical mayhem... )

Another run tomorrow morning!
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So I took the railbike out for a ride today.

Pics of the adventure )
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What have I gotten myself into?

About a month and a half ago, some friends told me about the Great Handcar Regatta handcar-regatta.com. For years I've been kicking around the idea of building a railbike, and here was an opportunity. I sent in my registration, dubbed my soon-to-be-invented contraption "Cyclotron", and got busy at the drawing board.

My evenings are now filled with cutting, welding, finagling, and bludgeoning of metal, wood, and bicycle parts. What has emerged from the cacophony is in no way historic, whimsical, nor steampunk. But, it works - to a first approximation. There are some abandoned tracks near my house, and after several test runs, there is still a lot of refinement needed. Stability comes first, then speed. I'm a long way from maximum speed, and someday I'll want to be able to ride from here to Santa Cruz and back - but that's getting ahead of myself.

So, the day after Bardic (Sunday the 27th), I'll be in Santa Rosa at the race. [livejournal.com profile] acanthusleaf  will be along as my guide to all things steampunk, and I'll do my best to charge to victory. Or crash spectacularly. Whatever is more amusing to the collected gallery.

Either way, this is going to be fun! Heck, it's already a lot of fun!

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May 2010

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