Checking back in.
So I decided to continue to aim high, and I built the granny bike from two of the recommended bike frames - just so happened to be huffy cranbrooks, aka what yellow bikes are made from! Thought that was nifty. It also happened to be the body popular bike on playa this year, so I felt self conscious since I hadn't spray-painted the wheels... Still that teal that I saw everywhere..
To make a long story short, the granny bike is not for a beginner, and definitely not as functional as it seems. The instructions are incredibly vague and the diagrams don't even match up with that you end up with. Part of the diagrams involve attaching non-moving parts directly into the front fork, which would prevent it from turning. Once I had gotten all of the pieces in, through a combination of luck, familial aid, and beer, I discovered that the bikes liked to buckle in and slowly warp all the nicely cut steel parts. Even after re-adjusting the bikes multiple times, it kept failing. I had to improvise and add two more PVC braces to the front to even hold the damn thing together.
On playa, pedaling was an unpleasant chore. It felt like the bikes were constantly fighting eachother and it was the opposite of fun to be on. It looked great and functioned as a mini-camp, leaving us able to carry a bag with essentials like sunscreen and lotion, but the effort of pedaling what felt like ten bikes at once was not worth it. I ended up turning it into two bikes midweek because my ten-mile-a-day bike commute legs were sore and miserable from pushing it around.
The granny bike looks attractive, and maybe it will work better for you, dear reader, but for me, it was money and dreams down the hole... There's always next year. I think I'm going with an American speedster, since I've heard great things about them from the folks i talked to on playa... Another disaster? Or will I finally find my dessert?
The bright side of the granny bike fiasco is that I earned myself some tinkering skills! Albeit, weak skills, but tinkering nonetheless!!!