Sept 14

September 14, 2005

Upside down in a drainage ditch

I can just imagine what the neighbors are thinking....

I wanted to do an easy ride down the street with the fairing on to test out the video monitor, windows, turning radius, etc before Fridays speed trials at Race City Speedway. Angel was my helper for the day.

We leaned the bike over on the front of my car, and with one fairing shell fastened in place, I crawled in and clipped into the peddles. Angle proceeded to fasten the other fairing half to the frame with 4 wood screws. Once he had the fairing on, he pushed the bike backwards to get it out of the wheel block that was helping to hold it up. I took off backwards and rolled down a small hill into a some dirt and mud in a drainage ditch. The fairing crumpled in, tore off the frame and I was pinned under the mess. As Angle tried to lift the frame off me and pry me out, he took the camera out of his pocket and got this shot. I'm laughing because I felt like a total idiot.

We were able to pop out the dents on the fairing and after a quick inspection of the frame, everything still looked OK. We tried the same thing again, this time duct taping the fairing shells together. As Angle push-started me, I totally could NOT get a sense of any balance at all using that stupid video system and crashed again.

The fairings are OK - good thing it's just a 'work' body. It's crumpled and dented, but still generally holds the basic shape.

I really need to take a step back and plan a few things better here before getting into any actual road tests. Here is what NEEDS to be done first:

1. The video SUCKS. I knew that before, but now I really know it. A periscope system would work far better, but for now I think I am going to build a larger window in the nose. I have the plastic and the vacuum forming set-up, so it should not be that difficult to get a decent nose shape and splice it into the work fairing. I can start from there, get the vehicle somewhat road worthy and work back to the simplest vision system possible which MIGHT be the periscope - then again, it may end up being the large nose window.

2. Retractable landing gear!!!! I need a way to start on my own, and stop on my own. Warren has some great info on landing gears here.

3. Entry/exit. It's OK to have to rely on someone to bolt on the fairing after you get into it, but if I can get some time at the velodrome to train, I am going to want to do that on my own, and will require some way of getting in and out of this thing by myself. I hesitate cutting up the fairing to make a door, but perhaps with the 'work' fairing, it is going to have to be that way. I'm also trying to keep it as simple as I can here, but I must also consider how practical the vehicle is for training purposes and practice.

Two steps forward, one back. I need to focus on what needs to be done and how much progress I have made so far, and NOT on these silly failures. If it was easy, then everyone would be doing it.

View from inside the wreck.

I re-though my todo list and put the items in order of importance:

To do now:

1. Build retractable landing gear
2. Build a window for the nose
3. Fit and securely fasten fairing into place, then cut a removable door for self-entry/exit. I'm thinking a simple hinge at the top would work
4. Make THIRD fiberglass plug for body work
5. Finish the rear wheel fairing attachments

To do eventually:

6. Build a new fairing mold from the new plug
7. Pull carbon fairing shells from the new mold
8. Will periscope work instead of the nose window?
9. Build proper SEAT!
10. Mid-drive lightening holes (James Kenny)
10. New carbon fork?
11. Add a thin coat of epoxy to the left hand wheel disc because it is not air tight
12. Carbon wheel disc for front wheel

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