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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 05-09-08, 08:43 PM   #1
StephenH
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The Thing

Got me one of these:


It's a Worksman Front Loader Tricycle, actually. Think I'll just call it The Thing.

Bought it off Ebay. Maybe paid (Edited to correct spelling!) a bit too much, but they're sort of scarce, and generally local-pickup only, so you can be waiting a long time for one to pop up in your neighborhood.

This one has been rode hard and put up wet, so to speak. I don't know how old it is. It's missing the rear fender. The rear wheel is not the original Worksman wheel, although it seems fairly heavy. The coaster brake has a lot of slack, so you can actually run the pedals a full revolution before hitting the brake. The front platform is a metal angle frame with a plywood bottom. That plywood is in pretty crummy condition, and I'll try to replace it tomorrow. There has been some welding done on the frame, so I'm not sure what was done or why.

The platform measures 30"x34", I think. The frame actually has handle holes on two sides, so you can rotate it to be 30" wide or 34" wide. The 34" wide would give you a bit more knee room, the 30" is more likely to fit through doors. The plywood bottom of that platform just bolts to the springs, and it would be pretty simple to make any kind of homemade box or container or platform and bolt it up there.

These things can handle quite a bit of weight on the platform. However, that weight ideally needs to be pretty well centered over the front axle, as those springs are also the only thing that keep it from tilting front-to-back. It doesn't look to me like a good pedicab base.

The Thing is heavy. It's not that noticeable at first, because most of the weight is in the front. But, upon loading it in the Vue, I noticed the weight there.

Riding it is a very strange experience that takes some getting used to, but it sort of grows on you, too. On the one hand, you don't need to balance it like a bike, but on the other hand, you can't, and that gets irritating. So if you're on sloped ground, The Thing is going to lean, and you just have to deal with it. Riding it on a sloped shoulder of a road would get irritating, I can tell. I guess I was riding at maybe 8-10 mph maximum, maybe not that fast. But you have to slow down considerably for curves, and for a sharp corner, you almost have to stop. The steering is not stable like most bikes, and some minor bobbles (trying to ride with one hand, for example) can get you some fast back-and-forth oscillations. It is geared low (although I'm not sure if either front or back sprocket is original!), but I still had to hop off to push it up a sort 20% incline on the bike path. But on the longer less-steep inclines, no problem. The seat is down fairly low, not good for riding efficiency, but raising it would make the balance issue worse, so I'll likely leave it as is.

I rode this around the local bike path, about 3 miles. Got some odd stares, not odd like "Look, a unicycle!" stares, but odd like "What is that and why is that man riding it" stares. I shall have to make a trip or two to Wallyworld with it, which is fortunately within easy Thing range. I'm contemplating taking it on one of these group rides, and the more I think of that, the better I like the idea.
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Old 05-10-08, 12:38 AM   #2
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I can see the picnic basket and cooler on that platform, and you being the star of any group ride that way. Good score!
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Old 05-10-08, 03:58 AM   #3
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Got me one of these:


It's a Worksman Front Loader Tricycle, actually. Think I'll just call it The Thing.

Bought it off Ebay. Maybe payed a bit too much, but they're sort of scarce, and generally local-pickup only, so you can be waiting a long time for one to pop up in your neighborhood.

This one has been rode hard and put up wet, so to speak. I don't know how old it is. It's missing the rear fender. The rear wheel is not the original Worksman wheel, although it seems fairly heavy. The coaster brake has a lot of slack, so you can actually run the pedals a full revolution before hitting the brake. The front platform is a metal angle frame with a plywood bottom. That plywood is in pretty crummy condition, and I'll try to replace it tomorrow. There has been some welding done on the frame, so I'm not sure what was done or why.

The platform measures 30"x34", I think. The frame actually has handle holes on two sides, so you can rotate it to be 30" wide or 34" wide. The 34" wide would give you a bit more knee room, the 30" is more likely to fit through doors. The plywood bottom of that platform just bolts to the springs, and it would be pretty simple to make any kind of homemade box or container or platform and bolt it up there.

These things can handle quite a bit of weight on the platform. However, that weight ideally needs to be pretty well centered over the front axle, as those springs are also the only thing that keep it from tilting front-to-back. It doesn't look to me like a good pedicab base.

The Thing is heavy. It's not that noticeable at first, because most of the weight is in the front. But, upon loading it in the Vue, I noticed the weight there.

Riding it is a very strange experience that takes some getting used to, but it sort of grows on you, too. On the one hand, you don't need to balance it like a bike, but on the other hand, you can't, and that gets irritating. So if you're on sloped ground, The Thing is going to lean, and you just have to deal with it. Riding it on a sloped shoulder of a road would get irritating, I can tell. I guess I was riding at maybe 8-10 mph maximum, maybe not that fast. But you have to slow down considerably for curves, and for a sharp corner, you almost have to stop. The steering is not stable like most bikes, and some minor bobbles (trying to ride with one hand, for example) can get you some fast back-and-forth oscillations. It is geared low (although I'm not sure if either front or back sprocket is original!), but I still had to hop off to push it up a sort 20% incline on the bike path. But on the longer less-steep inclines, no problem. The seat is down fairly low, not good for riding efficiency, but raising it would make the balance issue worse, so I'll likely leave it as is.

I rode this around the local bike path, about 3 miles. Got some odd stares, not odd like "Look, a unicycle!" stares, but odd like "What is that and why is that man riding it" stares. I shall have to make a trip or two to Wallyworld with it, which is fortunately within easy Thing range. I'm contemplating taking it on one of these group rides, and the more I think of that, the better I like the idea.
Don't sweat the feel of it. What you felt is quite normal for a trike. You'll get used to it and will be whipping round corners like an Indy car in no time..
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Old 05-10-08, 06:24 AM   #4
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Love it. And the name you've given this...Thing. Perfect.
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Old 05-10-08, 02:34 PM   #5
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Got the deck plywood replaced, used 3/4" plywood, which was the same as what was in there.




And, filmed a test run with passenger (seems to work okay):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cW6EeVbKS50
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Old 05-11-08, 05:16 AM   #6
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Lookin good! I do hope to see you on the road. It would make my day.
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Old 05-11-08, 11:40 AM   #7
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Cool, another Garlandite! I go riding on the bike/hike paths by Duck Creek near the Audobon Park area. On unicycle, bicycle, or The Thing (only had it out once so far). On bike, I loop around some of the area neighborhoods as well. I can can ride via bike path to the Walmart at Broadway and I-30 and via mostly alleys and side streets to the Walmart Neighborhood Market at Wynn Joyce and Broadway.

In replacing the wood, I did see that the bearings in the front swivel were pretty well shot, so I've ordered some replacements from Worksman. They work similar to crank bearings on an Ashtabula crank, shouldn't be too hard to change out, except they haven't been touched in ages. WD 40 will be in order!
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Old 05-11-08, 07:36 PM   #8
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Well, my son and I went out to White Rock Lake and took The Thing plus two unicycles, and made the 10 miles around the lake, about 80% of it with me on unicycle and him on The Thing. We tried me pedaling and him and the two unicyles on the front. Worked fine, but as we were going along, somebody back behind us started hollering "Nacho! Nacho! Nacho Libre!", etc. We got smoked by about ten thousand roadies, and got passed by the same handcyclist three times. Saw some cool recumbents and a couple of tandems along, too.
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Old 05-12-08, 05:47 AM   #9
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Gotta say it again...that's a great score, StephenH.
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Old 05-12-08, 09:22 PM   #10
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Cool trike
Seems opportune for a multi gear hub
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Old 05-15-08, 11:13 PM   #11
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The transplant was successful.

Took the rear wheel off the old Huffy tandem, swapped it out for this rear wheel, kept the same tire and rear sprocket. That gives me a better functioning coaster brake without spinning the pedals one ore more full turns in reverse before anything happens.

And I just signed up for the 16 mile Wild Ride in Richardson. Should take about two hours.
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Old 05-16-08, 04:30 AM   #12
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And I just signed up for the 16 mile Wild Ride in Richardson. Should take about two hours.
But think of the snacks you can haul! Dude! It'll be like a cornucopia on wheels!
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Old 05-16-08, 08:39 AM   #13
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Next time you're on your uni, wear a garish rodie kit and use clipless pedals. That way no one will be confused.



(I also agree that trikes are the pits on slopes, esp. with something that heavy.)
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Old 05-17-08, 03:13 PM   #14
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Did the Wild Ride this morning, right at two hours with maybe a ten minute rest stop, went pretty well. Some minor hills (for this area) so I got more of a workout than I expected, but in a good way.

And added some sides. They are attached to each other, but not to the base, so they can just be lifted out:
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Old 05-17-08, 04:01 PM   #15
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I love your Thing. If you know what I mean.
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Old 05-18-08, 10:20 AM   #16
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You can make a huge improvement to this trike just by swapping in a
shimano 3sp coaster brake hub and a small 23t chainring.

This is the set up on my Worksman PAV and it makes the trike much more
fun, and easier, to ride.
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Old 06-27-08, 10:29 PM   #17
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Just got done with some Thing work. I stained the deck and sideboards to a darker color. They're not cabinet-quality or anything, but looks a little neater. I added front reflectors to the front axle under the box, added a rear reflector to the seatpost, added wheel reflectors on the rear wheel. And replaced the seat with a Worksman seat off Ebay. I didn't realize it, but this trike uses a solid seatpost where the part that goes in the seat is only 1/2" diameter or so, unlike my Worksman bike. And several weeks ago, I got a rear fender in, and put it on. I put a bid in on a couple of Worksman wheels on Ebay, but got beat out on them.

Oh, I got the bearings in for the front swivel, wanted to get the parts before I tore into it. But then when I took it apart, the bearings that were in there looked fine. They were bone dry and dirty and loose, but didn't look worn or anything. So I just cleaned 'em up, greased 'em good, put them back in, and adjusted the doohingy so there's not any slop. Should be ready to go now.

I was looking at maybe going to the Waxahachie ride, but it says the 20 mile and longer routes are on roads with no shoulders, and the in-town route is only 10 miles, so maybe not. Maybe I'll make a trip to Walmart tomorrow with it. It's pretty well ready to roll now.
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Old 06-27-08, 10:42 PM   #18
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Dude, no pics? Foul.

Sounds sweet. Congrats on a cool ride.
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Old 06-27-08, 11:12 PM   #19
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It was dark when I got done! I didn't figure a flash shot would look that good. I'll try to take a shot if I go to Walmart tomorrow with it, for the "grocery run" thread.
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Old 06-27-08, 11:34 PM   #20
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But think of the snacks you can haul! Dude! It'll be like a cornucopia on wheels!
No Kidding! He could be the HPV refreshment station!
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Old 06-28-08, 09:19 AM   #21
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I took it out for a test run and photo shoot. Seems to be doing fine.
One thing I need to fix, though, is that the sideboards are not attached to the baseboard. I did that on purpose so that I could take them out to carry different stuff. Only they rattle. So either some rubber bumpers or some screws are in order.

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Old 06-28-08, 11:57 AM   #22
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Maiden voyage for working, so to speak. Took a run to Walmart for some groceries, got a pretty good load. Start putting it on that platform and that platform looks smaller! Glad I got the sideboards on it. I did have some little angle brackets and that took care of the rattling.

I just bought a little ice chest for $1.47 there at Walmart for the milk and stuff. I didn't have any way to keep the lid from blowing off, so I put my U-lock on top and hooked it through the handles of several of the bags, and that worked just fine. There is one little rise coming back to the house here, and I was able to make it up that okay. I can see how the models with the big cabinet would work pretty well.

Tightwad, in response to your suggestion on the gearing, it looks like this will be workable as currently set up for my loads and location. If I had longer hills or steeper hills or heavier loads, I'd need to do something different. I don't really need it geared any higher as it just doesn't normally need to go that fast.

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Old 06-28-08, 07:38 PM   #23
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You can make a huge improvement to this trike just by swapping in a
shimano 3sp coaster brake hub and a small 23t chainring.

This is the set up on my Worksman PAV and it makes the trike much more
fun, and easier, to ride.
I may have a use for one of those. I've never heard of such a critter! How is it shifted? By backpeddling like the old Bendix two speed, or is there a small handlebar mounted shifter?
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Old 06-28-08, 08:06 PM   #24
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I think the Worksman 3-speeds just use a little lever on the handlebars with cable back to the rear hub. At least on the bikes and the PAV, which has handlebars like a bike. It could be a bit different here due to the greater movement in the platform. But mine is a single speed.
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Old 06-28-08, 08:48 PM   #25
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Stephen, congrats, that has become a fantastic craft.
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