Friday, December 19, 2008

New bike project



I know, like I don't have enough projects to work on! I don't care. Some projects are just fun (re-finishing laundry room cabinets is NOT fun) and this is one. This bike has been at my parent's house for over 30 years. I remember riding on it as a kid. It has been sitting outside rusting for decades. My dad doesn't seem to be able to observe current conditions of objects. "It's brand new and a good bike." Um, dad, it WAS brand new, until you left it outside for 30 years. I decided to rescue it and dragged it home to fix it up.

Here's what I know so far. The bike frame is actually a regular production bike frame, with the rear wheel removed and a triwheel kit installed. Kind of a cool idea. Use just about any production frame and bolt a kit to it. This is the head badge on the frame:
HAWTHORNE
MADE BY
THE HERCULES CYCLE & MOTOR CO. LTD
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND
I'm still researching the bike, but this is what I've found so far on nostalgic.net. The Hawthorne bikes were sold through Montgomery Ward stores from the 1930s - 1960s. There is also a Wikipedia page on Hercules Cycles. So first guess is this frame is somewhere around the 1950s. More research is needed though. I love projects that require research!
Here's a closer look at the sticker (or what used to be the sticker) on the Tri Wheel:
TRI WHEEL
MADE BY
RET BAR
CYCLE
OF ARIZONA
MODEL NO. 976
PATENT NO. 3,368,823
A patent number! What luck! Off to the USPTO to dig up the patent, and here it is: Means for Converting a Bicycle to a Tricycle. The patent was filed May 26, 1966 and filed Feb 13, 1968 by Raymond E. Templeton of Peoria, AZ. Hence the "RET BAR CYCLE" (RET = Raymond E. Templeton). Wow, that was a quick turnaround by the USPTO (my patent took 7 years to get through the USPTO...oh how times have changed). I shall continue to Google and research this more later.
I have restored a couple of motorcycles in the past, so this is a pretty simple project. So far, my list of what it needs is:
  • Handlebar grips
  • Head badge (either new or clearcoat and attach the old one)
  • Headset
  • 26 inch diameter rims (3)
  • Tires
  • Seat
  • Seat post
  • Bottom bracket
  • Pedals
  • Crank
  • Chain - front and back
  • Coaster hub

Without an engine, projects become much more simple. I will disassemble and clean everything, and then re-assess what is needed. The frame will be sandblasted and painted Pepsi Co. blue. Why? Because paint is expensive, and I happen to have Saturn Red, Pepsi blue, Penske yellow, fuschia, and silver available in automotive paint leftover from our motorcycle roadracing days. I think Pepsi blue will look the best. I will pick up a can of white, for the Tri Wheel and basket as I think those would look best in white, even though I have silver available. For now, the fenders will get sandblasted and painted silver, until I can find better chrome ones. The front fender is in good shape, so some chrome polish will help. The same goes for the handlebars. The basket is held on by a hose clamp, so after sandblasting I will spot weld it back onto the rear frame. I'm considering having one of my dad's friends do some pinstriping in white on the chain guard and frame as a unique touch.

The chain guard has a dent in it, but I can pull that out and re-work it. If smaller dents remain, I can take those out with bondo and sanding. Rebuilding the Tri Wheel drive shaft shouldn't be too bad, but I need to tear it down to see what it needs. The patent drawings will come in handy. I'll pick up a singlespeed chain and cut it to the right length for the front and back. Everything else should be easy to pick up at bike stores, eBay, or at the March bike swap. I'll probably keep my eye out there for the chrome fenders.

So that's where it stands. I'll be posting progress pics, and pics when it's done. I can totally see cruising down to the nursery to get flowers in this, or the grocery store up the street, or just hanging out at bike events with it.

This brings our total household bicycle count up to 11. The bicycles are trailing the motorcycles by only 2.

2 comments:

Holly said...

First, that bike is AWESOME. And second, I tried to read through your patent and was lost by Claim #2. You're a freakin' genius and I stand in awe!!!

Joyce said...

Cool project! I look forward to seeing the finished product!