Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the playa

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Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the playa

Postby Mrs.Damato » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:41 pm

Hey guys!

Back in December 2011 i was in a gnarly car accident where i broke my tibia and fibula. They are healing thankfully, but the type of break i have can take up to six months to fully heal. My doctor has advised me that due to my rate of healing that i should be perfectly fine to go to burning man this year. I am however concerned about getting around. I am worried about having a regular bike because if it tips over and i throw my leg out to stop from falling, it may make for a very uncomfortable few days, and no one wants a cranky Mallory. So i have been doing a lot of research about trikes and there are quite a few pros and cons to them. Does anyone have any advice on what kind of trike to get if i want something that will be easy enough to peddle without getting too worn out after day one of riding? Also keep in mind this is my first year on the playa and therefore i don't have the experience to determine what the conditions will be like. I have heard that this year they are expecting it to be pretty solid with some soft spots in the deeper playa regions, but it is months away and anything could happen to change that.

Does anyone else have any other ideas on transportation other than a trike that might suit my needs that is relatively cost effective? Any and all advice is welcomed!
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby ygmir » Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:40 pm

There are a couple of camps, that might help, also.
and some threads here, dealing with folks who have trouble getting around.
I can't remember the thread name, but, try some general search terms here, or through google, adding "eplaya" the search term.
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Rice » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:08 pm

Playa condition forecasts are, at best, guesses... From what I have heard it has been a dry winter, so I have heard the exact opposite as to what you have :) The last couple years have been more than perfect as far as weather goes. Plan for crappy loose ground, big dunes and ruts - if the playa is better, you are golden...

I suggest the back seat on a trike, or a golf cart. viewtopic.php?f=188&t=41106

(in google: eplaya searchword(s) )

Good luck!
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Savannah » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:29 pm

Hopefully someone with a trike recommendation will chime in . . .

You can be on the safe side and get a license to drive an ordinary vehicle on the playa in case your leg isn't 100%. (The dunes and grooves in 2008 were just unmerciful on bikes.)

Vehicles for People with Disabilities:
http://www.burningman.com/on_the_playa/ ... enses.html

Email the DMV from that page if you have questions about what would be allowed and what wouldn't. Golf carts are a great choice, if you can swing it:

Gas golf/utility cart: considerations for bringing to playa?
viewtopic.php?f=286&t=53033

Find other golf cart threads by googling golf cart eplaya and then narrowing the search by site.

ETA: I note there are also some trike eplaya threads, but I don't know yet if any address the use of trikes by the injured.
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby junglesmacks » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:31 pm

While wakeskating and going wake to wake I tore my meniscus and strained my MCL and ACL about 4 months before the 2010 burn.. and then re-injured it doing the same thing about 3 weeks before the 2011 burn. It sucks.. bad..

Give yourself some time to heal.. you have a long, long time before now and then. Don't worry about it too much.. just concentrate on staying healthy and recovering. Keep your diet right, try some light yoga and maybe even some light stationary biking as health and leg permits. Start with almost no load and just get the motion down slowly.. and increase the load and speed as you can. I bought a used recumbent bike off of CL and that really made all the rehab difference in the world. I would highly recommend the small investment. Wheel it in front of the TV and relax with it starting a few days/nights a week. Eventually, you'll be goign 5 days a week for 30 mins at 20mph..

STAY HEALTHY! EXERCISE! Those are the best things that you can do for yourself between now and then.. and if you work at it, I can almost promise you that you'll have no trouble at all.
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Mrs.Damato » Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:34 pm

Thanks for the encouragement junglesmacks! I appreciate it and i will check CL tonight!
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Elliot » Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:35 pm

You might consider a Rhoades Car. Their web site is easy to find and has pictures. These things are not cheap, but can sometimes be found more reasonably second hand.

Although I have not used one on the Playa, I do have one, so I can tell you a little bit about them.

The Rhoades Car is made in Tennessee. They make several models; the most common seems to be a basic two-seater.

As the name implies, the Rhoades Car has four wheels. This can be seen as a drawback, since rolling resistance increases over any three wheel design. On the other hand, the Rhoades Car is less likely to tip over.

Any front wheel misalignment increases rolling resistance dramatically. The Rhoades Car is specially prone to front wheel misalignment because a key component of the steering mechanism (the “tie rod”) is exposed at the front of the vehicle.
Front wheel alignment should be inspected by a qualified person. That said, anybody can learn in five seconds how to inspect the “tie rod” for damage. It should quite simply be straight. People tend to pick a Rhoades Car up by the tie rod, bending it. These things desperately need a front bumper.

The Rhoades Car drives on both rear wheels. This is good. It does however not work like an automobile; there is no differential. Instead, each wheel has an over-running clutch. This works very well in gentle turns, but works less well in sharp turns. It should work fine on the Playa.

The Rhoades Car has practically no suspension, but this is not much of an issue on the Playa – or perhaps anywhere reasonably level -- since most of the weight is on the driving wheels.

The tires are 20 x 2.125 – same as a kid’s “stump jumper” or “BMX” bike. Larger would be better.

The Rhoades Car has an advantage over some adult tricycles in that both rear wheels always drive. In contrast, some adult tricycles drive on only one wheel and can easier get stuck.

The Rhoades Car has real seats with backrest – except some models. Much more comfortable than a bicycle saddle.

Rhoades Cars have derailer gears just like bicycles, so there ought to be a nice easy gear for loose Playa dunes but I have not verified this.
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Mrs.Damato » Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:59 pm

Hey Elliot,
I looked at these when we first decided to go to BM, and i saw the price and went "ouch!" i looked all over for a 2nd hand one but to no avail in my local area. I would love to have one of these wonderful transportation devices, but it simply isn't in the budget. :( if you happen to hear of one near ventura county, CA for cheap, please let me know! Thanks a bunch!!!
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby trilobyte » Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:09 pm

You should be able to get an adult sized trike for under $300 new (from the likes of Schwinn). Space (both to haul and to store back home) was an issue for us, so we spent about double that to get a port-o-trike (from Worksman), which has a folding frame and fits into a space smaller than 3' cubed. Yep, that's considerably more expensive than a 2-wheeled bike you'd take to the playa, but it's still fairly small potatoes in the grand scheme of the money you spend preparing for and going to the playa. And worth every nickel, from my experience. Aside from any issues you may or may not experience as a result of your injury, they're great for hauling ice or running aluminum cans to recycle camp, or just exploring the playa whimsically (on a 2-wheeler you're constantly doing stop/starts, or you end up circling a lot as you take things in or wait for pokey campmates…. on a trike you just stop pedaling without fear of falling over). Plus of course, rough spots, strong gusts, and general clumsiness aren't likely to make you take a tumble. I wish I'd gotten one years ago.
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Mrs.Damato » Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:20 pm

trilobyte wrote: (on a 2-wheeler you're constantly doing stop/starts, or you end up circling a lot as you take things in or wait for pokey campmates…. on a trike you just stop pedaling without fear of falling over). Plus of course, rough spots, strong gusts, and general clumsiness aren't likely to make you take a tumble. I wish I'd gotten one years ago.


Thanks Trilobyte! Always glad to hear from someone who has already used these things on the playa! Your advice will definitely be in my mind when i make my final decision. Especially the part about a three wheeler helping me to NOT become a tumbling fool! hehe!
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby FIGJAM » Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:25 pm

Search "Adult trike" on CL.

Seniors buy them, then find they don't ride them enough, and sell them.

I like mine better! 8)



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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Trishntek » Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:48 pm

I broke my tib-fib in four places on a motorcycle and was in a cast for 4 months and walking cast for 2 months. While in the walking cast, I would use a stationary bike daily for about 20 minutes to strengthen my wimpy calf muscle and work on range of motion. I was golfing in 7 months and walking the entire 18 holes. Mind you, I could not bear the weight of my golf bag and used a carrier. Even today, 7 years later, I cannot go hiking like I used to but can ride a bike just fine.

The real key is to strengthen your calf and work on range of motion. If you can elevate it when sitting in camp, that should help alleviate any swelling. I still have 3 screws in my tibia that will be there forever, which is better than the nine screws and two plates I had. Those were removed a year after the original incident.

I would strongly suggest using a bike or trike to get around on the playa and work on strength ASAP. Do regular stretches and practice standing on that foot whenever you can tolerate it. It's those fine motor skills that take the longest to redevelop. Good luck! And please let me pamper your feet and ankles at Retrofrolic!
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby inthecolumbiagorge » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:12 pm

Mrs.Damato wrote:Hey guys!

Back in December 2011 i was in a gnarly car accident where i broke my tibia and fibula. They are healing thankfully, but the type of break i have can take up to six months to fully heal. My doctor has advised me that due to my rate of healing that i should be perfectly fine to go to burning man this year. I am however concerned about getting around. I am worried about having a regular bike because if it tips over and i throw my leg out to stop from falling, it may make for a very uncomfortable few days, and no one wants a cranky Mallory. So i have been doing a lot of research about trikes and there are quite a few pros and cons to them. Does anyone have any advice on what kind of trike to get if i want something that will be easy enough to peddle without getting too worn out after day one of riding? Also keep in mind this is my first year on the playa and therefore i don't have the experience to determine what the conditions will be like. I have heard that this year they are expecting it to be pretty solid with some soft spots in the deeper playa regions, but it is months away and anything could happen to change that.

Does anyone else have any other ideas on transportation other than a trike that might suit my needs that is relatively cost effective? Any and all advice is welcomed!


We found 2 trikes so far on Craigslist in Portland, one was $75 and the other was $100. They are not necessarily easier to ride than a regular bike although they are more stable when stopped. One of the is a folding model and it has a regular chain and an extra one and it is much easier to ride than the one with just one chain. Neither have any extra speeds so they are 1 speeds. We are bringing them for sure as well as a few beach cruisers, also purchased on Craigslist for about $50 each. I hope to have an alter abled vehicle of some sort to help the limited mobility folks around and of course you would be welcome to use it or even drive it if you want. Had a 6 seater golf cart in mind but someone else got it before I did (from Craigslist of course) so I am still looking but am pretty confident I will have something managed in the next 6 months:-) That should help somewhat!
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Elliot » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:38 pm

Mrs.Damato wrote:Hey Elliot,
I looked at these when we first decided to go to BM, and i saw the price and went "ouch!" i looked all over for a 2nd hand one but to no avail in my local area. I would love to have one of these wonderful transportation devices, but it simply isn't in the budget. :( if you happen to hear of one near ventura county, CA for cheap, please let me know! Thanks a bunch!!!

Search Craigslist daily. Maybe you can set up a "bookmark" or two (or three) that take you straight to likely CL pages, to save time?

Set up a running search on eBay. I forget what they call it -- "save this search" or some such. You can tailor it by miles from home and whatnot. Then you receive an e-mail whenever one is posted for sale. You can make a bunch of searches -- Rhoades Car, rhoadescar, etc. Include misspellings. Works great, costs nothing.

I had my right leg in a cast from crotch to foot once. Gotta work that thing to rebuild the strength. :D
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby moonrise » Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:30 pm

www.searchtempest.com this searches all of craigslist and can be customized for distance, crosses state lines etc etc. It's a GOOD one.
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby AntiM » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:07 am

We have a rhoadescar because I can't ride a bike with my screwed up spine. Everything Elliot said... and yeah that stupid tie rod. Our four wheeler has acquired a canopy, a deck, cooler, misting system, solar lighting and 12V lights and a back up horn. Like a little rolling pleasure dome.

We also have a single which we mean to fix up, picked it up from another burner for under $500. So they do come on the market. We've used ours for ten years now, so the cost has evened out. You can also make your own four wheeler from PVC, I've seen a few out there.

Bigger expense ended up being the trailer to haul it out there.

We have a cheap trike too. Trikes rock, but don't go too cheap. I got two trikes off eBay (one was damaged in shipping, they sent a replacement). They don't steer well, and the axle on one locked up after two years. They are also bulky to haul. With three wheels you can use an electric assist, which may be well worth the price.
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Elliot » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:17 am

AntiM wrote: You can also make your own four wheeler from PVC, I've seen a few out there.

Here we are probably talking about the American Speedster kit, which I'm also familiar with. This kit has a serious design weakness in the area of the front chain sprocket, and guidance (lack thereof) of the chain. If you simply assemble it as per instructions and start pedaling, you can expect the chain to fall off every few feet.
A skilled fabricator can make it work, and some certainly do, but if you are a skilled fabricator you are probably better off building a vehicle from scratch out of metal.
The American Speedster kit also requires both riders to keep their pedaling synchronized; a major nuisance.
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Mrs.Damato » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:36 am

Thanks you guys! I will look into these options! And moonrise, i will DEFINITELY check out that site, quite helpful! Thanks doll!
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Marscrumbs » Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:59 pm

I've had and seen other trikes with an emotor placed on the front wheel. Just a few hundred extra bucks. These are awlsome additions for getting around on the deep playa.
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Savannah » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:14 pm

Anything with a motor should be checked against the Department of Mutant Vehicles, early on. Just to be on the safe side . . .
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Canoe » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:28 am

I'd go for the trike as well, but I can't help but wonder about adding stabilizer wheels (training wheels for adults). Should be an easy & cheap DIY, and it's also available online. A cruiser seat & handlebars to a bike you already have should make it more comfortable. Still think a trike is a better solution, but these would be easier to transport.

stabilizer-wheels.jpg

another type
stabilizing wheels.jpg
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Canoe » Sat Mar 10, 2012 11:42 am

Making whatever an e-bike means you have a way to get back to camp if you decide it's time to stop pedaling. You're limited to 5 mph on-playa anyway, so you shouldn't need to spend a lot of bucks.

Usually, a front wheel hub-kit is the easiest conversion to e-bike. It appears to be the preferred method in Europe, where in NA we tend to go for the rear wheel hub-motor setups (and odd balls like myself go for mid-drive).

There's also motors that use a bracket to bolt onto the chainstays, and you run your bike's chain over the motor's cog (get the right size cog for the chain). You're limited to one gear, but it's in the middle of the range.
Simple controller (usually 24V, 36V or 48V, or 24-60V) and thumb throttle, plus whatever battery pack to get your voltage. This is a simple install and easily transferable to another bike/trike down the line. Not the best, but a simple solution for on-playa use. The variable controller (24-60V) means you can upgrade your battery pack from 24V to 36V or 48V without having to upgrade the controller (don't over-drive a lower voltage motor though - watch your throttle - but as a higher voltage pack depletes and its voltage drops, you've still got 24V available for the motor).

e-bike simple.jpg

TNC Scooter DC motor & chainstay bracket.jpg
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Elliot » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:07 pm

"Training" wheels might cause trouble on a loose surface. I imagine getting stuck rather easily when the weight rests on the "training" wheels and the regular wheel digs a hole in the loose surface. And we can expect a very loose surface this year, because of the lack of rain.
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Canoe » Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:23 pm

Elliot wrote:"Training" wheels might cause trouble on a loose surface. I imagine getting stuck rather easily when the weight rests on the "training" wheels and the regular wheel digs a hole in the loose surface. And we can expect a very loose surface this year, because of the lack of rain.

Right. Three wheels at the back, not the two of a trike.

Any issues with a bicycle side-car?
(three wheels: front & rear of bike, one for the sidecar)
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Elliot » Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:42 pm

Canoe wrote:
Elliot wrote:Any issues with a bicycle side-car?
(three wheels: front & rear of bike, one for the sidecar)

Hmmmm... well.... It so happens you asked one of the comparatively few people on Earth who have experience riding a motorcycle with sidecar.
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As a sporting proposition, good fun. As a practical solution to the question before us... I don't think so.
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Canoe » Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:01 pm

Elliot wrote:It so happens you asked one of the comparatively few people on Earth who have experience riding a motorcycle with sidecar.
As a sporting proposition, good fun. As a practical solution to the question before us... I don't think so.

I see a trike as a superior solution, but can a simple sidecar provide that "can't fall down" stability for a bike? Functioning as a single "training" wheel. For transport to/from playa, it has the advantage of detaching?

(drift: on-playa I haul around a wheeled 120 qt. cooler as a trailer behind my bike. Need to add a second cooler for two trailers (one pulling the other), or go for a sidecar. Any issues?)
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Elliot » Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:09 pm

My definition of a cycle with sidecar is "two utterly different vehicles with one license plate". Left turns and right turns are two completely different types of maneuvers.

Let's say we put the sidecar on the right-hand side of the bike, since that's what I had.

You now have good protection against tipping to the right, regardless of the weight in the sidecar.

You may or may not have much protection against tipping to the left. If the sidecar is light, you have little protection. If the sidecar is heavy, you have good protection -- but you have to drag all that @#$%^&* weight around with you.
In addition, the heavy sidecar will drag the vehicle toward the right even when you want to go straight.

So the heavy sidecar makes it easy to steer the vehicle toward the right when you wish to turn in that direction.

But the heavy sidecar makes it difficult to turn toward the left. In fact, with the motorcycle, my primary means of turning left was to apply the rear brake and let the momentum of the sidecar push the vehicle around toward the left. This is not practical with pedal power, where you have barely enough power to get around at all, much less waste momentum by applying a brake just to steer.
Conversely with turning toward the right. I used to apply engine power. Again, precious little surplus power available with leg-power.

I loved my sidecar. For several years I installed it in the autumn and took it off in the spring. All winter I traveled mostly sideways. (Exaggerating just a tiny bit.) On steel-studded tires. This was 40-plus years ago in rural Norway -- on nice snowy icy roads, with thick cushy snowbanks to crash into. As tried to hint at... great sport.

But as Playa transportation for a person with a weak leg? Fuggeddaboutit.

.................

As for hauling 240 quarts of ice and beer around BRC in a pedal-powered sidecar.... I once filled my sidecar with firewood. Piled high. Had to make all my left turns by making three right turns.

A sidecar is an abomination of engineering. It's only excuse for existing was to allow transportation of more people and goods with a motorcycle, in a world short of automobiles and money to buy such.

But hey... prove me wrong, and I'll help celebrate with all that beer! :D
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Canoe » Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:56 am

wow
I had no idea. Thank you.
I'll stick to trailers where I can keep the load in-line. (Or have an e-bike and an e-sidecare too. Two throttles - steer it like a tank. :D Too many points of failure. :( )

For a trike, can the pedals drive one rear wheel or for sand-dune playa years do you need one with a diff of some sort to drive both rear wheels? (I've seen both types in the local refurb bike shop)
And I guess that's why trikes that go e-bike use the front-wheel hub kits?
Odd. No bears to watch in the dump. Oh well, lets go across the road & pick blueberries.
.
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby Elliot » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:08 am

Having "two throttles" is actually the best way to configure a two-person pedal-vehicle. Even if one chain breaks, the other rider can continue to propel the vehicle.
Also, the riders can make steering easier by coordinating their muscle input. We use this to great advantage on sand in Kinetic Sculpture Racing. (As you mention about tanks, yes.)

Driving only one rear wheel is the least favorable arrangement on a loose surface. Driving both wheels thru a differential is better, but you can still get stuck -- as most people have experience with an automobile. Some automobiles have "Posi Traction", which solves the problem by temporarily locking the two wheels together -- and this is the most useful option you can ever buy on an automobile.

So.... (*deep breath*) How about connecting both tricycle rear wheels together? ...

... On a very loose surface, this works great. Trouble is, as soon as you hit a firm surface, you cannot turn. At all. So on the Playa, the ability to use this simple expediency of a solid rear axle varies from spot to spot, and the extent of the variation changes from year to year. I think I would try it. Specially this year.

On my trike with the race car tires, I have a very crude arrangement that serves spectacularly well in the Kinetic Sculpture Races. On pavement and "mild" dirt, I drive with only one wheel. When I get to sand or mud, I stop, step off, walk around to the rear axle, and install a bolt-and-nut (or quick-release pin) thru two flanges. Then I get back on and resume pedaling. The bolt connects the two wheels together. It's soooooooo simple -- but it requires a few seconds of mechanical work whenever you need "the Posi Traction to kick in". This includes picking one wheel up off the ground to align the holes in the flanges.

This may be the best approach for the purpose before us -- for a one-person conveyance. Of course, no such thing can be purchased from any store. It must be fabricated.

Now I need to take a break so my brain can cool off a bit. :lol:
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Re: Healing a broken leg, worried about getting around the p

Postby theCryptofishist » Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:36 am

If the playa surface is going to be as crappy as that, maybe I should be glad I don't have a ticket...
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