Gas-powered wheelchair bike spotted in Old Town

Posted by on September 22nd, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Gas powered wheelchair bike-1

Yes that’s a gas tank.
See more photos below.
(Photos © J. Maus)

With the Oregon Manifest set to start tomorrow, I’ve been thinking a lot about just what exactly is the “ultimate modern utility bike.”

I’ve also been thinking about the many people in our community who make bikes. From the visionary ‘velocipedes’ of Neal Fegan, the ‘rejuiced’ functionality of Johnnie Olivan, the large-scale production of the folks at Chris King, and of course the independent artisan craftsmen and craftswomen pursuing perfection for hours on end.

We’ll see plenty of that last group in the coming days; but there are bike constructors among us who don’t get nearly as much attention. As I shared a few times several years ago in my “Street Life” column, there are quite a few innovative bike makers among Portland’s homeless population.

I saw one such bike on my ride into work today. Out of respect for the guy sleeping next to it, I couldn’t get too close; but from what I can tell, it’s a gas-assisted bike that I assume folds into a wheelchair? I’m sure brilliant readers can this bike better than I can…

With my new office downtown I’m hoping to share more of the crazy, beautiful, head-scratching bikes I see locked up down here. Stay tuned.

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q`Tzal
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q`Tzal

That looks so odd as to discourage me from trying anything like it.
Was that the point of this art project: to inspire confusion and fear?

Esther
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Esther

Love this series!
Check out this scrappy, super cheap, super utilitarian city bike I spotted at St. Johns Fred Meyer once. Definitely tons of utility!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/theta444/4321599070/

Barney
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Barney

It is not all there, the rear wheel is missing. You can tell it is supposed to be there because the drive chains are hanging loose. If it had the rear wheel in place and the chair was flipped over it would simply look like a motorized bicycle with a wheelchair trailer.

What the picture does not show are the clouds of smoke that these little chinese built 2 stroke engines belch out when they run.

Chris I
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Chris I

These motors are worse for air quality than nearly every car/truck/SUV on the road. The only saving grace for this one is that it probably doesn’t get used very often.

9watts
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9watts

Let’s not be so hard on folks. In terms of air quality (criteria pollutants such as NOx, SOx, CO, HC) you may be almost right, but that is the 20th Century way of measuring the impacts from cars. These days some of us are far more worried about the CO2 and other greenhouse gases that are emitted from internal combustion engines, and on that score this thing is not even worth mentioning. Look at the size of the gas tank!

Spiffy
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Spiffy

I agree, it’s not going anywhere until it gets a drive wheel…

but using the wheelchair as a trailer is pretty cool… I wonder if he hauls a person around on that…

I’ve seen an increasing number of those little engines on cruiser bikes… their owners are usually about as clean as the emissions…

this bike and chair seem to be in decent condition, which is a nice change from what I usually see as far as bikes with …

sabes
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sabes

I read somewhere that the old-school Vespa scooter engines belch out more pollution in a mile than a modern car does in 1000 miles.

9watts
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9watts

There’s a whole lot of Xtra- on that cycle.

Opus the Poet
Guest

From the looks of the setup, that’s probably the parking mode as there are several things that would have to be changed to make the mess rideable.

1) it needs a back wheel, and not just any back wheel but one with drive to both sides to accommodate both modes of propulsion, human and ICE.

2) the wheelchair needs to be turned around and set back on all 4 wheels to be usable to carry anything (it could be left in permanent wheelie mode with the casters in the air, but it still needs to be upright). being set up this way would keep the rear wheel from touching the ground.

So in all likelyhood, this is how the owner keeps the bike/trailer from being stolen.

Opus the Poet
Guest

Also it appears the rear brakes are on the wheelchair and not the bike, notice the line running from the handlebars to the cylinder on the rear rack and lines running from the cylinder to the wheels on the wheelchair So, electric brakes run by a battery on the bike that is charged by the lighting coils from the ICE? (There are wires from the engine to this cylinder also)

And the brake studs on the rear of the bike are bare.

captainkarma
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captainkarma

My son calls this “bum-tech”.

Speaking of which, I was pedaling down the I-205 path after dark recently, and something like this came screaming towards me at maybe 25-30 mph? I don’t know, but it was pulling a trailer of some sort stacked about 4 feet high & wide with cans.

He had no lights whatsoever, I don’t want to even guess about brakes, his fumes leaving a trail-of-dead among the mosquito population along the 205 after he went through.

I wouldn’t mind so much, but he came out of nowhere with no lights (seems to be the topic of the day) and was really screaming, lots of inertia with his load, and might’ve had a lifestyle choice that involved shaky states of consciousness.

Who has jurisdiction on these routes, police, park-rangers, tri-met, nobody?

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

…it’s Portland’s newest pedicab…

wsbob
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wsbob

I wonder if this belongs to the same guy I saw 4-5 years ago down in Old Town. Different rig, rougher, possibly similar concept. Trying to remember….think he’d just attached to the front of his chair, one of those gas powered skateboards…go-peds… that were kind of in vogue for awhile.

Extremely flimsy looking, but the guy was taking it right up Broadway. At the time I saw him, it was usable, but he was having problem with his frame…needed a little welding work. Maybe this is his upgrade. Should of snapped a photo…wrong time of day…rig wasn’t very photogenic.