Here it is Thanksgiving Day. All of us are lolling around eating turkey and mincemeat pie. We will be watching gigantic human beings in helmets and pads crash into each other from noon until night. Isn’t it really time for something different, something unique, something lighthearted to divert your attention from the ordinary? If you have a Chromecast dongle on your TV, you might want to cast this delightful video to the 72″ screen in your living room and invite everyone to share in a moment (actually 6 minutes) of whimsy.
YouTube regular Lyn Gentry is here to show us this wooden frame steam powered recumbent bicycle. Someone has obviously put a lot of time and effort into designing this contraption. The frame is made from 17 wood laminations. A 6 liter water tank nestles behind the curve of the seat back. A 2 liter propane tank provides the fuel to the steam boiler, which is fed by a pump scavenged from a coffee maker. Steam comes up in 30 seconds or less, so you don’t have to wait long before you go chuffing down the road, scaring small animals and children as you pass by.
The bike retains its 7 speed derailleur on the right side. A drive belt on the left transmits torque from the 1.5″ bore steam engine via a simple clutch to the left side of the rear hub. A small micro-processor controls the flow of water to the boiler and a tiny pop off valve behind the rider’s head prevents any dangerous build up of pressure.
The steam bike may not be suitable for every purpose. For one thing, it doesn’t fit very well on a standard bike rack, in case you want to take it on vacation with you. For another, holding a spare propane tank on your lap may not be everyone’s idea of a good time. It’s unlikely that Elon Musk will suddenly see the error of his ways and switch to building premium steam powered cars. What this vehicle is, is a testament to the indomitable human spirit of invention and creativity. For that, we can all be abundantly thankful.