Tinkering is the word that I use the most to describe my garage activities. There is something about engaging your hands to manipulate reality that is really special to me. This, coupled with a love of bicycles, engines, and a little bit of grit all mean that I have discovered an incredible way to spend some of my free time. Below are a few of my favorite projects.
Skidmark Motorcycle Garage Internship
During 2019 I suggested and started an internship at Cleveland's only DIY motorcycle garage. The premise of the garage is simple: offer tools and a workspace to enable people of all backgrounds to work on any and all kinds of two-wheeled motorized vehicles and foster an inclusive community comprising of everyone from novices to master builders. I can't think of a better community to be part of. Much of my work there is simple: cleaning up, moving motorcycles, organizing tools, welcoming new members, helping people find tools, etc... At the end, I can use the space to work on any of my projects. It's a pretty good deal.
1981 Motobecane Moped
This is the project that started it all. I paid $100 for a 1981, 50cc 2-stroke moped made by the now defunct French company Motobecane. And let me tell you, it's been an absolute blast to fix up. A lot of research went into sourcing parts, repair manuals, and figuring out how various components work. A lot of time, sweat, and even some blood has gone into this project. As it was the first project that I worked on, it will most likely be the last that I get rid of (I can't fathom it).
Ground-Up Go Kart
During spring of my sophomore year, a friend and I decided to take an introduction to MIG welding class at Skidmark Garage and then to build a go-kart. The build process was informative; I learned a lot about everything from frame construction to how to incorporate common go kart parts (axle and wheels come to mind). This project truly was ground-up, I sourced feet upon feet of one inch square steel tube from my local hardware store, sold in eight foot incriments. From there it was design, cutting and using our newfound welding skills to construct the frame. An engine had to be fitted, we used an old 5HP Briggs & Stratton from a snowblower. Reflecting on the project, it was not easy. There are a hundred different design and construction choices that could have been made, but I would not change anything. The learning experience was worthwhile in and of itself. I don't know many kids these days that can weld or cut steel, bolt an engine onto something, and make it go. I think that's seriously cool.