A couple of years ago my wife bought a bicycle. It’s been sitting in the garage ever since. I know better than to make any type of comment on the situation so I have never questioned the acquisition, Then a few weeks ago she said to me ‘Do you know why I never ride that bicycle?’ Yes I do but here again, I know better than to share that information. ‘I don’t ride it’ she went on, ‘because you don’t have one. If you had a bike we could go riding together.’ Okay so all of a sudden I’m the problem. Again. I don’t like to lie so I just stay quiet but here’s the thing – I’m not a bicycle guy. I’m a car guy. I could be a motorcycle guy if I had to but I am certainly not a bicycle guy. Sadly that point of view is not regarded as an acceptable defense in my local courthouse/family room.
So I went to WalMart and bought a bicycle. But I didn’t want it assembled. I asked them to deliver it in a box. Then I went online and found a company in Alabama that makes small gas engines for bicycles. I ordered one and it arrived a few days later. There was an engine with a gearbox mounted on it and a whole bunch of nuts and bolts and a hub with a sprocket on each side and other stuff. But no instructions. I called the company and was told they don’t provide instructions. Instead I was to go the Photo Gallery on their website, find a bike that looks like mine and do that. About twenty-seven trips to Lowes later, I had the engine mounted on the bike:
I didn’t do the whole job myself. You have to remove all the spokes from the back wheel, take off the old hub and replace it with this new hub that has sprockets on each side. One for the pedals and one for the engine.
I got a bicycle shop to swap the hubs. To my surprise the removal of the old hub meant I no longer had brakes. The process of adding an engine while removing the brakes didn’t seem like an ideal plan to me. So I installed hand brakes but I was concerned about slamming on the brakes and cartwheeling forward over the handlebars so I put both brakes on the rear wheel.
As you see I had to also remove the rear fender to make the engine fit. I made a mental note not to ever ride through puddles. The next issue was that the added weight of the engine moved the centre of gravity so far back that the kickstand was ineffective. Rather than replace it, I just added another one closer to the rear hub.
Now it was time for a test drive. I fired up the engine and away I went. With the gear ratio I ordered, I had to pedal to get the bike moving and then I could open the throttle and the engine would take over. Everything worked well but I was curious about how fast I was going and how far I could travel on a tank of gas so I installed a little wireless gizmo that would give me that info.
It was like a mini-computer or something. You had to program in your age and weight for some reason. Once I got it working I went for a ride around my neighbourhood. When I got back I pressed the buttons and got the report. I had travelled 3.58 miles at an average speed of 15 mph and a top speed of 23 mph and here’s the best part, I had burned 375 calories. The gizmo didn’t know I wasn’t pedaling. I went in the house and had a piece of pie. Later that week my wife gave her bike to a friend. I’ve still got mine.