1. Towing back the raft


    from Christian Benke Added 80 0 0

    On the second day of our trip towards Alappuzha, close to Willingdon Island (http://goo.gl/maps/GuOLu), we crashed into an underwater rock. Our pedal powered drive was bent and no longer usable. We had already had trouble with it the day before (Not to mention the weeks of tinkering we spent in the workshop) and we finally decided to give up on the drive - the design was obviously flawed and not fit for the shallow Kerala Backwaters. With the help of wind, waves and our emergency paddles, we hauled the raft to the shore, fixed it with rope to streetlight poles and dropped our anchors as well, so the raft would not crash against the shore over night. Early on the next morning we went out with a small motorboat to haul the raft back to the building site to dismantle it and sell the remains. In the mornings, the water is flat and peaceful as in the video. Later in the day, it usually gets choppy and unpleasant. We've spent a total of 6 weeks on this project and it was a bitter decision to give in, after all the energy and hope we had put into it. We had to face the reality though, which would have ment to spend another 2 weeks and 200 EUR on a new, improved drive - which we where not willing to invest, after having already greatly overdrawn our original plans and figures.

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    • Twisted Chain Drive


      from Christian Benke Added 340 0 0

      We've built this twisted chain drive in April 2014 in Fort Kochi, India from old (and some new) bicycle parts. It turned out to be a lot more tricky than we had expected, especially guiding the chain so it does not get stuck or fall off. Eventually we managed to get an acceptable result, but it's still far from gliding smoothly. The background sound is not from the drive itself but from the ship workshop where we've built it. We plan to use this drive to power a raft built from oil barrels and bamboo to cruise the Kerala Backwaters. For more info on the twisted chain drive and human powered boats in general, see http://www.recumbents.com/wisil/hpb/compact_drive.htm and http://www.recumbents.com/wisil/hpb/boat.htm To learn more about our travel through Asia by bike see http://poab.org

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      • MEUFL and his amphibian velomobile


        from Denis Ahrens Added 634 3 0

        A short video about a fun project. Harald Winkler aka MEUFL, a friend of mine created a few years ago a 2 person (side by side) velomobile which was called in German language "Asphalttretboot". This year he could finish step 2 for his velomobile and made it ready for amphibian use. There are for sure still some little things to improve. But the first prototype works already pretty good. Me for myself it was such a fun to have after 2 years again a camcorder in my hands. Music: Morning Wanderer by Olive Musique www.premiumbeat.com

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        • human powered boat lake test


          from Greg Kolodziejzyk Added 1,626 1 0

          www.adventuresofgreg.com Greg tests his human powered boat at Elbow Valley community lake in Calgary. The boat was designed for an attempt at the 24 hour human powered boat distance record.

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          • WiTHiN sea trials


            from Greg Kolodziejzyk Added 5,705 1 2

            Greg tests his human powered boat WiTHiN on a 9 hour training day in the Pacific ocean off the coast of Vancouver Island at Tofino, BC. "At first you are afraid you are going to die. Then you are afraid you are not going to die". This is what my support boat driver Matahil Lawson says about sea sickness. I can now attest that it is completely true, and in the midst of barfing my guts out for the third time in a brutal 9 hour training session 20 km into the pacific ocean off the west coast of Vancouver Island, I was having serious doubts about what I was setting out to do. It was an amazing experience - one that I will never forget, but also a real eye opener for me. My buddy Murray and I met Matahil for breakfast at 7:00 am at the WeighWest marina in Tofino, BC where WiTHiN was docked, and we were on the water by 8:00. Matahil has a 24 foot open aluminum boat that he built himself and agreed to support me for a full day out on the Pacific. My friend Murray from Houston, TX kindly agreed to come along and help out (he didn't know what he was in for). I had been watching the surf report closely for the week leading up to our sea trials, and I was anticipating some 5 meter (15 feet) waves further west off the coast. This would be my opportunity to experience some real open ocean conditions in WiTHiN - I was excited and ready. Packed on board was 7 liters of drinking water and a few packs of dehydrated meals with my JetBoil camp stove. I was wearing my life jacket with a personal emergency locator clipped on and had my GPS, SRM power meter, and iPod charged up and ready to go . I was in 2-way radio contact with Matahil and Murray, and I had a cell phone for back up. The objective was to get as far west off the coast in 4 hours as possible, then turn around and pedal back. I was immediately impressed with the visibility through my front window. During my last trip to Tofino, I had to use my video camera monitor system to see outside because my window fogged up on the inside, and water drops collected on the outside. This time, I had installed a manual window wiper, and my doctor buddy Chad gave me a bottle of his special surgery liquid that stops fogging on optics. Both worked perfectly and I had clear vision through the front window for the first time. We cleared the northern tip of Wickaninnish Island and headed west out to sea. The swells started to grow and within the first hour we were in 12 footers. I was apprehensive at first, but I didn't find them too scary. After a couple of hours the waves grew bigger and started coming in from different angles and my comfort level had grown considerably. I had my top hatch off and both side windows open for venting. As the water mountains grew in size, I became increasingly comfortable with how WiTHiN and I were handling the conditions. The new keel really helps dampen the rocking and it's all I need for stability to stand up without tipping over. My speed was about 7 kph on 150 watts into an oncoming sea. The wind was low and there is a 1 knot current that runs from south to north along the coast for about 200 km from shore which I was cutting directly across. My speed ranged from 5 km/hr riding up the swells to 12 km/hr surfing down. I headed West for 4 hours at an average speed of 6.4 km/hour and reached 20 km west of the coast. After 2 hours I started to feel a bit queasy, at 3 hours I felt very nauseous. It took every bit of concentration on the horizon to avoid throwing up. At 4 hours we reached a pod of feeding hump back wales (watch the video - truly AMAZING shots by Matahil and Murray from the support boat!) and as soon as I stopped moving I got violently ill. Serious projectile vomiting over the open top hatch - repeatedly until there was nothing of my breakfast left. I felt horrible. How was I going to make it back to shore now - maybe it would go away. Nope. I got sick 2 more times - each just as violent as the first, but the last time there was nothing left in my stomach so I just choked after each dry heave. By 6 hours in I had eaten exactly NOTHING and drank about a liter of water all day. Typically on long training rides I eat 300 calories per hour to keep my muscles fueled and my blood sugar levels up. I was TRULY running on empty - an empty stomach, low blood sugar and dehydrated. And on top of that, I felt like I was going to die. - no, I felt like I wished I would die. We couldn't tow at this point, as the ocean was just too big and it would have been too dangerous - this was obvious. I just had to suck it up and keep pressing on back to shore. I think Murray had it worse. He started to feel sick almost as soon as we reached the open ocean and he was sick for almost the whole 9 hour ordeal. When I saw him at the half way point I thought he looked like Fred Flintstones green Martian friend Kazoo. When Murray saw me he wondered if he looked as bad as I looked, and I was wondering the same thing about myself. Dam it, there goes another new friend. My friend burn rate is pretty high these days. When we reached the protected waters of the coast Matahil used a rope and a bucket as a drogue which he tied to my stern and he towed meback to WeighWest marina. I was completely spent. Total time spent pedaling was about 8 hours, total time spent on the water was 9 hours. The distance traveled west out to sea was 19.88 km from the far northern tip of Wickaninnish Island. The distance I ACTUALLY traveled as measured by my GPS track was 20.7 km. The 4% additional distance actually traveled is due to how much WiTHiN was veering off course due to directional stability issues caused by waves and surfing. You could call this a 4% "wobble factor". If I had to travel a 4000 km straight line, I would actually have to travel an additional 160 km due to the wobble factor. My moving average as measured from the GPS was 6.4 km/hour and my average watts of power was about 125 watts as measured by my SRM power meter. That compares to about 7 km/hr without the keel. Overall, it was a pretty thrilling experience. The ocean is one wild place - very humbling. We saw sea lions, a bunch of sea otters, numerous whales, an albatross, and some seals. Matahil was impressed with the average speed I maintained, and the fact that within a few hours we were 20 km out to sea in my human powered boat WiTHiN, which at it's basic essence is just a tandem kayak. He thought that pitching is a problem as is the directional stability. In some of the video footage, I can see the bow swing from right to left as waves push it around. He also thought that WiTHiN could benefit from a dagger board which would help her track straight when surfing down a wave. He noticed WITHiN veering right or left in the troughs rather than pushing straight through. Because my situational awareness inside WiTHiN is so poor, I really have no feedback aside from watching the heading indicator on my compass fluctuate wildly. Matahil said that ANYONE would get sick in WiTHiN in the conditions we were facing. It was really rocking and pitching quite a bit. Where do I go from here? I just don't know at this point. I need some time to digest these recent events, as it seems that there are many problems with this expedition and solutions aren't exactly obvious. I will expand on that later. "Life is a series of experiences, each of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward." Henry Ford www.pedaltheocean.com

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