Mr. Sharkey’s Fat-Tire Electric Bike in the Oregon Sand Dunes

Particulars on my fat-tire e-bike:

It’s a custom build, consisting of:

  • Soma “Sandworm” chrome-moly steel frame
  • Single-speed chain drive (no derailleur to need adjustment or break on the trail)
  • Bafang BBSHD mid-drive motor
  • Luna Cycle 1,000-watt controller and display, with the controller software reprogrammed to 30 amperes of current at 52 volts (1,500 watts, or 2 horsepower)
  • Luna Cycle 4p14s 52-volt, 12 ampere-hour lithium battery
  • Relatively inexpensive after market hydraulic front forks
  • 26 × 4.40 sand tires, running ~5 PSI (pressure depends on sand conditions)
  • Salsa “Bend” 23-degree swept-back handlebars (for arthritic thumb comfort)
  • More than I can remember at one sitting

Basically, this bike was custom assembled for riding on sand dunes. It’s also comfortable on the beach, and I even use it around the farm to get from place to place instead of walking sometimes.

The Luna controller integrates nicely with the Bafang motor and allows nine levels of pedal assist, which comes in handy for a variety of sand conditions and terrain slopes. The hand throttle is always available for use when desired.

Much of the riding I’ve been doing lately is going out on isolated dunes and seeking out wind-swept contours to surf, climbing to heights and carving the curves and troughs on the downhill run. Sometimes it’s possible to find formations that mimic a road course with banked turns, deep drops into depressions with easy exit slopes, or moguls, small jumps and the sort for some light trick riding. There’s also a fair amount of coastal forest trails connecting various dunes, which provides to opportunity for obstacle course practice and collision avoidance. Crashes are not uncommon, but the sand is pretty forgiving to the falling rider. Bruises are temporary, but good times live forever!
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Biking in the Woods

Phew! Getting to bottom of a pretty steep (for me) trail through the woods last week. My Specialized Turbo Levo full suspension carbon fibre bike with 29″ wheels, one of the best tools I’ve ever bought (among which I include my 2003 Tacoma 4×4 and my iPhone).

Photos by Chris Deam

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Solar-Powered Thatched Hut

Photo by Jon Kalish

Handmade living structure built from invasive grass by Daren Rabinovitch on the Aptos, California homestead known as Trout Gulch, created by members of the animation company Encyclopedia Pictura.

Note: Sean Hellfritsch, who lived at Trout Farm for a while, commented that they could not keep the woodrats out of the building. (Makes sense, it looks like a giant woodrat nest.)

Link to the NPR story Jon did about the place:

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More on Greg Ryan’s Trusses

The 20-by-30-foot truss structure at the Turtle Island Children’s Center in Montpelier. Photo courtesy of Turtle Island Children’s Center

Nine outdoor classrooms designed specifically for the pandemic have been installed at schools in central Vermont, thanks to a Rochester family.

Dubbed the RyanTruss, each structure is basically a series of wooden trusses topped with a corrugated fiberglass roof. Trusses are the frames traditionally employed to support a roof.

After hearing about the need for outdoor classrooms from a teacher at the Stockbridge Central School, Greg Ryan designed a structure that would be relatively cheap and easy to assemble. Ryan, who is currently riding out the winter in New Mexico, has built tiny houses and unconventional buildings.

“I have been intrigued by how strong something could be while still being incredibly light,” said the 52-year-old builder and musician.…

This article sent us by Jon Kalish.

See earlier post on the Ryan Truss here:

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Gravity-Powered Shingle Shuttle

I’m going to put on a new roof soon, working by myself. Hardest part is getting the shingles up on the roof. I’m building a gable patio roof at the same time so I don’t want to rent a lift several times to load different roof areas as it progresses. While doing a search for info I came across this:

–Lew Lewandowski

A little blurry, but you get the idea. I’ve asked Lew to send us a video of his version.
Bundles of asphalt shingles are heavy!

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Restoring an Old Ruin in Cornwall, UK

Hi Lloyd,

Love Shelter and ever since a friend showed me your book a decade ago I’ve been dreaming of taking a copy of it with me to a hillside somewhere in Europe and seeing what might be possible haha

I’ve done bits of labouring and landscaping and walling over the years here in Cornwall, and have never quite managed to earn and save up enough to get a foot on the ladder towards some land here or even elsewhere as life has been quite hectic. However, I somehow managed to come away with enough money to buy the old ruin I’d dreamed of since being 15.

It’s not on a hillside somewhere sunny yet, but that might be the next one, but it is a very special place in an incredibly beautiful and historic area within a world heritage site.

It was built in the late 1700s to early 1800s and the archaeologists that we have to use here in the preliminary stages of the build because of the surrounding ancient history even found a couple of shetland pony shoes (that were often used by the coast here to pull up carts full of seaweed). We also found an old pair of sugar tongs and a half penny from 1861 which was really cool.

From the patchy information that we’ve managed to find in some of the old records it’s likely that it was lived in by mining and agricultural workers as there is an ancient farm 100m down the track and many disused copper and tin mines scattered all over the fields and into the valley.

I’m probably only one third of the way through the works (with some help along the way) towards reinstating it traditionally and working it into a cosy tiny home that will sleep 2 to 3 and maybe even a couple more outside in a small yurt or something.
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