What isn't a vicious cycle?


     Harriet the Chariot  Vicious started out as our walking machine. We called it Harriet the Chariot. This was about the time of The Mondo Spider and the giant Beast walking machines at Burning Man. Their machines sort of worked. Ours walked across the street with help and then broke. We gave up, took it apart and built

the Parlor Car: (here's a long video) a four person pedal powered vehicle, which was too slow and hard to pedal, too heavy and too hard to store because it was so big.

      We cut that up after a few years. My friend wanted a vehicle that if you slammed on the brakes, you would roll completely over and keep going. I realized the rear axle of the Parlor Car could be used intact and it might would work. The wheels turned out to be a little too small for it to roll completely over. But it does spin too fast for me. It seems to be about right for teenagers.

     Vicious is a Dicycle. Apparently they've been around for 150 years. I thought maybe we were unique but now I see that there are many. Some of them look unsettlingly like ours. Here's one called the Unwheeldy, which actually entered the Grand Championship Kinetic Sculpture Race in Ferndale in 2005. We were there in 2013 and only a couple of people had a vague recollection of a previous vehicle like ours but no one could remember any details. Fame is short lived. Check out this depressingly huge set of dicycle images. The Killer Tomato entered in the mid nineties.

     But ours is robust and available to rent or buy and seems to work okay with short and tall people. With a walk behind adult even little kids have fun. Ours has been to Burning Man and returned unfazed. The chains don't fall off and the wheels stay true.

     Originally the Parlor Car had a complicated suspension system which I called the suspension of disbelief. When the one inch diameter solid axle snapped off at the end of the Grand Championship Race we rebuilt it simpler and beefier. 1 1/2" diameter chrome-moly fixed axle is four times stronger and half the weight of a solid bar. We built our own wheels with the same diameter but out of aluminum. They are almost the same design as the Unwheeledy vehicle from a few years before, Damn them. But we have giant 24" 144 tooth gears for #40 chain. I realized we could make them when I found out the pattern is 5/16" holes spaced 1/2" apart. Convincing my friends was fun. The animated gif shows Spaceman Sam, Vicki, and Matt Sponer working the fantastic machines we had available for a very short time. I had to finish the second one by hand. After drilling we used a jigsaw and welding grinder to finish the sprocket. These sprockets can't fail because there are about 100 teeth engaging the chain at all times. So anyway, If you are the new owner, you should know, there's no reason to have gears this big, it was just for  the glory. We plan to reupholster Vicious in tuck and roll vinyl. Probably should have lighted flag poles.

     You have to cooperate to steer. I call it the What-The-Hell-Are-You-Doing Steering. If you can do this without words then you will have achieved "Flock" Steering. Most people can't do it without cursing. One thing I learned, never tell your partner that their their gender is simply no good at this. Shannon built a "Marriage Machine." This one is effectively a breakup machine. But everyone still thinks it's the best vehicle we've ever built. I want to build another. Need money. For sale as is.

Harriet the Chaiot Walking Vehicle was taken apart in 2009 to make the Parlor Car

The Parlor Car was taken apart in 2013

Vicious looks suspiciously like Unwheeldy vehicle from 2005.   510-967-4071    Oakland CA.