GetBetterMPG how it started
 

-----Original Message-----

From: skypilot@getbettermpg.org

Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2008 3:44 PM

To: 'guerilla-touring@micapeak.com'

Subject: Re: farfetched projects

 

On Wed, 23 Jan 2008, ##### ####### wrote: 

> Y'all wanted a project story. So I wanna hear yours.

>You know, the extreme kind with welding and cutting

>and violation of the usual laws of reasonable behavior.

 

Hmmmmm, violation of the usual laws of reasonable behavior huh?  OK, I'm in then. The following has not been put in writing before today although I will probably post this in getbettermpg.org after I have sent it.

So one day we are hanging around the room I work in, a locked room in a datacenter with a bunch or techno types in it, chatting about the high MPG contest Craig Vetter has on his web site. See

http://www.craigvetter.com/pages/470MPG/470MPG%20Main.html for further explanation on this.

I bring up that I would love to try riding around in one of those, to which this guy I work with replies "Ya but there is no way one of those could be used in the real world".  So being the dummy that I am I play along by asking "what is the real world and what would prove they could function in it?" Looking back I am quite sure I should have fled the room at that point. I didn’t flee, so he replies "ride it coast to coast. Then it's real".

The minute it came out I knew I was in it deep. I had already been toying with the idea of building a bike like the ones in the contest for kicks. Now there was no way I could actually build it but not put it up against this new challenge. No, he didn’t mean it as a challenge but I had no choice but to take it that way once it was out. That was all it took, the damage was done and the project had begun.

It took a year of research to figure out what kind of bike I wanted to start with a another 6 months to find one and get it running and registered. I now referred to that part of this project as phase 1. During that time I also figured that if I was going to do this in the age of the Internet then I should put everything I learn on the web. To that end I set up GetBetterMPG.org to document everything. Eventually GetBetterMPG.org has morphed in an attempt to position it for a theoretical future in which it has some value.

Now I am in phase 2 of this thing. This is where all the hacking and welding begins. In this phase I am testing all of the different changes I want to make individually to see which ones work and how well they work. The bike is becoming a rolling test bed complete with a Heineken draft keg for a gas tank and an electronics package test platform. The frame has been cut and welded a few times to mount stuff and change seating position.

I hope to have it ready so that this summer I can make two test runs a week to try everything. That means every change needs to be test fitted now. Not sure If I can keep the time frame I want or not but I am trying. Right now it looks silly but that’s ok, It just needs to get the job done.

After that come phase 3 (maybe starting by Fall 08 ???) I will build a new frame from scratch complete with a fully enclosed tear drop fairing. That is when it will begin to look like something. I am not going to lay over the engine like most of the ones in the 80s since I will need to go for a long ride on this one. Still it will be a dramatic leap from what is considered conventional at this point

I still have to plan a ride once I know what I can and cant do with it. That can probably begin once the testing is done this summer but it may need to wait until the phase 3 bike is running since I still don’t know how much gas it will carry. Maybe I could even drum up some publicity out of the ride to drive people into the web site. I have some ideas about that but I am not in a rush.

I am trying to document everything I am doing at

http://www.getbettermpg.org/bike1. The phase two page is where I am working mostly right now although I have done some work getting ready for the frame and fairing in phase 3. As test results become available I will put the results in the tips page as well.

Later,

skypilot