Monday, November 16, 2009

Life - Modding A Childhood Experience

I have to admit something: I never got to finish out my childhood pedal car experiences.

See, my first wheeled experience, at least that I remember, was trying to use a green pedal car (I won't say "mine" because everything was both my brother's and mine) to pull my brother on his tricycle, all on our gravel driveway.

Front wheel steering trikes aren't good for getting pulled, and ultimately I had to give up the coolness factor of the green pedal car. See, swapping vehicles made things work. The trike could pull the car, but the trike had a different problem:

Front wheel drive.

And the emphasis is on "Front" and "Wheel", meaning singular.

On that gravel driveway, my front wheel drive trike spun its wheel while 6 wheels of cargo (2 from the trike, 4 from the pedal car) steadfastly refused to move.

Of course, it could have been those massive quads putting out massive watts in a desperate sprint, but trust me, at that age I was better at eating than I was at pedaling.

Ultimately I think I got it to work (downhill?) but at the end of the day all I had were bruised shins.

Shortly thereafter the green car went away, given to friends when the family up and moved to Holland. I must have cried or thrown a tantrum because I wasn't ready to let it go, not like the orange bike in Holland, or the blue one, or the Tonka Toys, so on and so forth.

But that "tow a trike" day taught me some basic things that I've yet to stray from. I realized, even at the tender age of "almost 5 years old" that I'd rather the following:

1. I liked cars better than trikes.
2. I liked low (car) better than tall (trike).
3. I liked rear wheel drive better than front wheel drive.
4. I really wanted a paved driveway.

You can see where I started to realize that mountain biking, although fun, wasn't necessarily for me. Tall bikes, unpaved roads, not good. I like cars better than trucks, to an extend. I follow F1 closer than I do, say, the Baja 1000. (I admit I watch the occasional rally video, but that's because they drive on unpaved roads as if they were paved.)

It took me a while but I managed, about 6 years ago, to finally acquire all the above. I had a low car with rear wheel drive that parked on a paved driveway.

I do admit that I long for a pedal car though.


And then, in the mail, I saw the new Hammacher Schlemmer catalog.

And on the cover...

Seven speed, digital dash, innovative shifter, two point harness, and 12" wheels.

Wait, 12 inches? Wide, right? Not tall?

Nope, they're 12 inches tall. About the same size as the original Mini Cooper, and smaller than even the super-small, super-light Prius wheels.

And what about power?

Well, it's in the mid-200 range, at least for me. You're mileage may vary.


It's a pedal car!

It's a sorry excuse of the picture from the real site, so here's the link.

Just to clarify, for me it'd be a mid-200 WATT power machine. Your wattage will vary.

Anyway, push-button digital dashboard, aero fairings, Ferrari emblems, and, get this...

A SRAM 7-speed twist shift transmission system.

That's cool.

(It's not cool that you can't link to particular pages in the SRAM site, but so be it. They have an uncool website.)

My more cynical side thinks, "Oh, 7 speed is outdated, that's why they used it on the pedal car, otherwise they'd have gotten the 9-speed version." Inevitably these gadgety creatures get built using left-over, less-than-cutting-edge stock.

Wait, you say. 9 speed?

Yeah, you heard right. Your grandma's 3 speed bike can now be a 9 speed internally geared bike.

The best parts of the pedal car?

One is the weight limit: 300 pounds.

The other?

"For ages 5 and up."

That means that I'd qualify, right?

Because, you know, our house has a paved driveway.

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