About the same time I gave up driving for a year, the school where I work was offered the pieces of an old quad bike. This beauty was designed with four wheels and four seats. The front two riders had pedals while the back two were just along for the ride. One of the front riders even had a steering wheel with gear shifters for both people and control of the brakes. That’s at least how it appeared to be designed. That’s not how we got it.
First, none of the wheels were attached and all were missing bushings or bearings. Next, the chains were heavily rusted and not attached. Also, both derailleurs were broken and all the cables for shifters and brake were bad. It was a perfect project for my high school students to tackle.
One group got started shortly after we moved into our building. They pulled off the chains and cleaned them up. One was salvageable but the other had to be replaced. Next, they wanted to get the wheels on so it could at least roll. After realizing the holes in the center of the wheels was much too large for the axle they were supposed to attach to, the students learned all about bearing and where to get them in Boise.
Excited about getting the quad bike moving, four of them went to the bearing shop in town. Once there, they were much more interested in the free hot chocolate, but eventually found someone to help them. Totaling up all the parts they needed, they were about $4 short. Luckily, the guys at the shop were so impressed with their enthusiasm, they called the rest a donation.
They came back so excited and quickly got three of the wheels on. Unfortunately, one of the wheel had a slight lip inside and the bushings didn’t fit. They tried many different ways of making it fit, but nothing worked. They got discouraged. Then the snow of our epic winter arrived and no one wanted to bike anywhere.
As the snow melted, another group of students picked up the task. They too tried to make the bushing fit into the wheel. Rather than continue to sand it down or buy a new one, they took a different approach. They decided to use PVC pipe. They found a scrap piece in the shop that was close to the right size and much easier to sand. Within an hour, the quad bike was rolling. They fixed up the chains and were able to pedal. Then (and only then) they realized the brakes didn’t work.
Luckily, they never built up enough speed for the lack of brakes to be too dangerous. With a new cable and housing, they were able to get that working too. Now there’s talk of adding a shell to it or taking out the back seats to make it a flatbed for hauling stuff or adding underglow and spinners or… or… or…
I’m excited to see where they take it from here and happy to see so many of them excited about a bike.