By on January 25, 2010

In Eugene, you learn to expect the unexpected; anywhere, any time. Like this bicycle-RV, for instance: no biggie. We have lots of pedal-powered delivery bikes and trikes in town, including rural organic farmers who pedal their produce into town regularly on trikes like this. And they’re even made here in a small factory in Eugene, so that they can be delivered by pedal-power to their pedaling buyers. OK; this RV is different, and it really is kind of big for a bike; 800 lbs, to be precise. And it’s grown over time; I saw it a year or so ago, before it sprouted the rear upper-level addition. And the owner actually takes this on the road, having recently made the trip back from an extended visit to Portland (110 miles away). I tried to get more information from him about details, and the solar-assisted electric motor, but I forgot one important thing:

Cash! See the black little rectangle between the windows? That’s the donation slot; money talks, or more precisely, money will get him to talk. I wasn’t carrying any, and he doesn’t take plastic. So all I got out of him was that it weighs 800 lbs, and is fully self sufficient, and that he just came back from Portland on it. A look underneath showed about three or four sets of derailleurs and gears, and an electric motor. PV cells are on the canopy. There’s been little if any sun all month. Which leads me to believe it was a leisurely trip from P-town to Skinner’s Mudhole. A quick glance inside showed many of the comforts of a space capsule: a sleeping area, a food prep and cooking area, water, books, decorations, etc. My questions and lack of cash resulted in the door being slowly slid shut. We all have to make a living somehow, and unique lifestyle choices can be monetized. In Eugene, anyway. Come back when you have money!

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17 Comments on “Curbside Classic Outtake: The Human Powered RV...”

  • avatar

    Do things like this have to be registered or licensed before they are allowed out into the gerneral population?

    BTW, I see your reflection in the window of that first photo!

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    No. It’s technically a bike, even with electric assist.
    My reflection shows up all too often.

  • avatar

    What a money grubbing capitalist pig :)

    I think if I wanted to do something like that, I’d go more for the pop-top tent trailer type design with outside cooking station. He’d have to be going like 1/8 mph to pedal that thing over the west hills. I’m sure he uses lead-acid batteries, too. They probably barely compensate for their own weight.

    I wonder how he balances it or, you know…sees forward.

  • avatar

    With a bowtie on the front, you could call it the “PhotoVOLTaic”.

  • avatar

    Is that a sneak-peek at the next generation Prius? Sheesh, Toyota’s really reaching.

    Nice green/yellow/red accent stripe and front spoiler, though.

    I like the guy sitting inside in the first photo.

  • avatar

    Hey, it’s parked next to a first-gen Sable, not too different from the one I used to have! I don’t see many of these around anymore.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Solar power in Eugene. According to NOAA, Eugene has 209 cloudy days a year, and 82 partly cloudy days, and 75 that are clear.

    Great for the complexion, no doubt. OTOH, Solar power is better in Yuma AZ with 242 clear days.

  • avatar

    This story reminds me of the Roz Chast NYer cartoon, “The guy who invented the weel.” YOu see this neolithic looking guy with a scowly expression, with this big round thing with a flower design on it. He’s saying, “No, it’s NOT exactly th same as a wheel.” “look, mine has a flower painted on it.” “If you want to use it like a wheel, that’s YOUR business.”

  • avatar

    This was the Mystery Photo in the October 2009 issue of Sports Car Market Magazine, although this must be the more modern, face-lifted version, as it did not have those aggressive stripes.

  • avatar

    I’m sure that those drivers stuck behind this guy on a windy road really appreciate his innovative and green spirit.

  • avatar

    Wild thing. Weight seems to be a bit too much though.

  • avatar

    Enough. I’m getting a headache. Why not just rename this site thetruthaboutoregon?

  • avatar

    209 + 82 + 75 = 1 year.

    They do do things different in Oregon!!!!

  • avatar

    1 leap year – must have been 2008.

  • avatar

    Woah.  Glad I went browsing here.

    First, lemme say that when I saw this thing several years ago someone claimed it was fitted with flywheel(s) and that when he got it spinning up to capacity it would drive the vehicle at over 50 miles per hour.

    Looks as if either this is not the same bike or there’s another enough like it for my friend to have made a mistake about it or else my friend’s totally full of baloney.

    OK, now.  I’ve been hoping to run into this thing again (figuratively) for years and last week I spotted him coming down 10th Ave and I pulled along side and asked if he’d mind stopping for a minute so I could talk with him and take a few snaps.

    He did so down on 11th in that commercial strip just west of The Kiva–but no sooner did I walk up to him than he launched into this outrageous turrets tirade.  Perhaps amongst all the curses and sputterings there was some mention of money but I missed that and anyway it’s been years since I used real money.

    Did snap a few shots but frankly this fellow was so crackers I didn’t wanna risk violence so I thanked him for his time (when I could get a word in edgewise) and got back in my truck. (It’s ‘Gus’ the ’56 Ford flatbed featured elsewhere here).

    Would love to share my snaps here as the bike I photo’d seems a bit different from the one you’re featuring (perhaps he has more than one) but I see no method of attaching or inserting photos so lemme know if you wanna see the bike I photo’d.

    Also, does anyone know anything about an actual flywheel bike?

    Thanx Paul,

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