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BACKPEDAL (COASTER) Brake Actuation for DErailleuRs



Backpedal stirrup schematic

 bucketOn a 5 speed. Watch Video

bucket Ratchet tripped, arm swung back, brakes pulled, chain slacked




Farthing Penny & cargo bucket








bicycletrailer    ReCycle Trailer from scrap frame

Pedal axles in rear wheels


Inverted trailer to show frame, slit in torque tube, central pin









    Rear front wheel stored by front




·         Strong controllable braking independent of hand position/signalling/cargo

·         Ideal for the rear stirrup brake of traditional English/Indian/Chinese bikes

·         Also simple for cable braking and rear derailleur gearing

·         2 or 3 moving parts very simple to make

FARTHING PENNY  Bucket (Bouquet) Cargo Bicycle 

·         Carries a 20L bucket of cargo with multi- pocket organiser for mobile etc 

·         Small bike handling and manoeuvrability with big bike power

·         Silent and powerful backpedal braking with derailleur gearing

·         Sit up & Beg handlebars provide elbow rests for Praying extension

This design arose from use of standard bucket and bucket organiser to transport cargo (mainly groceries) in living without a car. Panniers require extensive frames and support points to keep them out of the spokes, complicating removal. In the front their weight and volume capacity is limited by turning with the wheel. Rear panniers or racks do not allow monitoring the contents when riding and add extra spoke-breaking load to the rear wheel which already bears 110 lbs  of a 175 lb  rider.  Backpacks have a particularly high center of gravity again too far back and exacerbate the differential cooling problem that leads to a wet and clammy back yet a frozen front.

 A cheaper system is to take advantage of the ubiquitous 5 gallon bucket and the cheap pail organisers that are mass produced for the building trades. These hang over the bucket rim with numerous pockets on the inside and outside. The inside pockets are useful for small valuable ‘purse’ items like a notepad, cheque book, pens and mobile phones which help prevent fruitless tiring cycling. The outside pockets are good for spare inner tubes, glasses cases, bike tools etc. Instead of adding wind resistance, a front mounting provides a bit of a round entry fairing to the body behind. The maximum 45 lbs of 5 gal bucket full of liquid then evens the weight on each wheels at 100lbs for a 175 lb adult

  At first a bucket was suspended inside the “praying” handlebars of a standard 10 speed but a full load then affected the steering a bit severely. So it was clamped in front of the steering tube to the frame with a quick release lever whilst straight handlebars on a simple gooseneck gave sufficient steering movement behind it.  In fact the movement was often annoyingly more restricted by the near interference of the toe in front of the pedal hitting the back of the front wheel. This begs for a smaller front wheel which would also lower the weight of the cargo and the top of the bucket below the arc of the handlebars. The grocery delivery and Paschley Post Office bikes in the UK have slightly smaller front wheels under their trays attached to the frame  The stability and control of a bicycle are largely governed by the steering front wheel, and folding bicycles have shown that a small front wheel has very good balance as well as high manoeuvrability.

But the standard rear frame is a lighter way to stiffly support the seat and a fullsize rear wheel allows light yet high derailleur gearing. So the idea was to just change the frame ahead of the seat-tube to allow a small front wheel but to keep it and the handlebars stiff.   Since the steering tube is parallel to the seat tube, the front end can be lowered by cutting the front and top tubes at the seat tube. For a match the tubes should be cut at the same angle to the seat-tube. Since the original top tube is smaller it should be cut say ¼” minimum clear of any lug, so that the downtube can then locate over this stub flush with the lug. The downtube  should be cut at its lug outer edge for this. The clean end of the downtube will fit inside what is left as deep as possible. The overlaps and lugs if present allow stick welding

A bracket to hold the bottom lip of the bucket is welded to the bottom of the steering tube just above the tire, and a circle of banding strap projected from the top of the steering tube holds the bucket dropped into place.

The prototype also has backpedal braking with a silent ratchet on the chainwheel and a small chain pulley on the same ratchet brake lever which causes top side slack with the backpedalling (to allow forward pedalling and so brake release.) The handlebars are an inverted “sit up and beg” so that there is a hollow for the elbows to locate in when the forearms are resting on a delta “praying tuck” extension.

2011: Prototype Farthing Penny Plus  ARM ASSISTED  bucket bike: click for detailled description and for video

2012: 2nd generation Folding ARM BOOST Bouquet Cargo BIKE

2013 3rd generation  Rock’n Roll Bucket Cargo Bike

  ReCYCLE Bike  Cargo Trailer

     Compared to car utility and boat trailers, bike 2 wheel trailers have a much narrower wheelbase and less deadweight so it is  preferable to have the bottom at minimum ground clearance of say 4” , (the same as the pedal). Otherwise with the good inclined cornering of the bike a heavy (and high) load can easily flip the trailer. Even with inflated wheels the shock on rigid trailer (and bucket) cargo is fairly high so a suspension is useful to reduce the noise of loose cargo and possible damage.

   Remarkably these desiderata,  rarely achieved in custom trailers,  can be met with a compact trailer weighing only 18 lbs and made entirely of cycle components.  An old bike frame makes a lightweight trailer skeleton with an offset rising arm for loose vertical bolting to your bicycle for short loads. The seatstays are cut off and rewelded to the bottom bracket lugs of the removed chainstays to form this triangulated arm.

The trailer wheels are 16” or 20” rear wheels with the axles replaced by pedal axles Make sure you mount the wheels freewheel-side in, as they are dished, and mount the lefthanded crank thread on the lefthand side. They are easily screwed onto pedal cranks whose big ends are welded to the ends of (1" EMT electrical conduit) tubing which passes through the  head tube with a central locating pin. This EMT is best slit lengthwise for torsional flexibility to give a suspension to the extent the cranks are angled ahead. The cranks are pointed up too to lower the frame below the wheel axles.

Multiple pin holes in the frame allow adjusting the height and suspension effect between straight ahead cranks for storage and max suspension for heavy fragile loads to be cycled slowly to say 60 degree up cranks for light rugged loads to be carried low and fast.

There are mainly different styles of pedals. ½” or 9/16” interthreads and outer . 5/16 or .278”(24 tpi)  threads. One piece cranks are always ½” and the right side often has a flaring at the axle which is easy to weld to the EMT as is the big end of a standard cranks.  Front wheel axles are 5/16-24 so their threaded cones can used instead of the too-small pedal outer cone on 5/16 pedal axle ends. The dirt cover can be pressed off and replaced with a bigger one or the entire hub outer end covered.

 A sleeve can drilled from 3/8 rear axle to allow mounting the normal 3/8-24 thread rear cone on a .278” pedal. Chuck the axle segment in a drill press and use a stationary center drill and then H&J letter drills clamped in the table vice. Set those upright by lightly chucking the wrong ends. 

Tow-a-Bike to a Friend

      This is an easy way to tow an empty bicycle behind your bike, for instance to public transport to provide your visitor with a bike. Basically the idea is to remove the front wheel of the bike to be towed and carry it bolted on one side of your front fork. And then mount the front fork of the rear bike over the ends of your rear axle either directly or with some flat bar with holes for the axle and hose clamps for the forks. The connection must be strong but allow the fork to pivot to conform to bumps in the road. The empty rear bike will then tow obediantly behind you with very little drag. The connection is not strong or stiff enough to make this a tandem. Please don’t try