«Previous    Next»
Home-Built Tandem Rail Bike
After reading the stories in our last issue about home-built bikes for riding abandoned railways, Jim Johnson sent photos of a tandem bike he and his brother Cliff take for a ride when they're in the mood to kick back and relax.
"I chopped up a couple of old bikes and inverted the wheels so the rear section with the chain drive is now in front," says Johnson. "The recumbent style seats were sliced from the sides of a herbicide drum."
The main frame for the two-person bike is made with 1-in. square steel tubing with cross braces welded onto the corners. Side to side, the frame is 56 1/2 in., the width of a railroad track. The sections below the riders overlap for extra strength, with upright sections of tubing supporting the drum seats at their relaxed angles.
Steel rod welded to the axle stubs ties the two rear wheels together. The wheels are mounted to the main frame using their original bike frame yokes. A second set of yokes extends from the wheel hubs up to the base of the seat, adding support and stability there. Two more steel rods extend between the seat base and midway up the back of the seats.
The front wheels also mount on their original yokes, but are reversed. The yoke that previously extended up towards the seat is now attached to the main frame. The yoke that once extended parallel to the ground toward the pedals now extends up and back towards the riders. This positions the pedals and chain drive directly in front of the rider's seat for easy pedaling.
Track guides consist of two sets of polypropylene disks mounted to the corners of frame extensions front and back. The frame extensions are also made with 1-in. steel tubing. They extend out about 6 in. and down about 8 in. and down from the mainframe front and back about 10 in. They are mounted to the main frame with spring mounts allowing the bikes to ride up and over crossings.
A large mirror recycled from a Hiniker tractor cab mounts at the center front of the main frame to provide Johnson with a view of any train approaching from the rear, although he and his brother rarely ride actively used trucks.
"Rail lines seldom exceed 4 degrees of slope, so pedaling is effortless compared to a road surface," says Johnson. "Additionally, it is amazing how one can be close to roads and trucks and yet see all forms of wildlife. The sense of being in remote wilderness is both amazing and rewarding."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jim Johnson, 9515 166 St., Cologne, Minn. 55322 (ph 952 466-5979; jj.etal@att.net).

  Click here to download page story appeared in.

  Click here to read entire issue

To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.
Order the Issue Containing This Story
2007 - Volume #31, Issue #6