As I turned 82, several years ago, I began thinking of a more comfortable bicycle to ride. Since I wasn't ready to quit bicycling I set out to convert my old aluminum-frame Specialized bicycle into a front wheel drive recumbent (aka bent). There expensive commercially available bents and conversion kits that offer similar configurations but I really wanted to build my own. Just to add a little challenge to the effort three goals had to be met: all fabrication done without welding, total cost less than $100, and overall weight within 35 lbs. With a little ingenuity, I met the first two goals, however the overall weight is approximately 38 lbs. I’d like to share my solutions to the problems I encountered that resulted in a rather simple functional design. Over time I was able to make adjustments to the design geometry to help improve riding characteristics to my liking. In the attached clip I am riding an earlier iteration of design with a straight handle bar and a stiffer back rest.
Step 1: The steering column and handle bars
1) Used MTB - aluminum frame, suspension fork, wheels
2) Road bike frame – sacrificed frame: chain stay and bottom bracket assembly, drivetrain
3) Razor scooter – sacrificed aluminum tubes, steering column
4) Aluminum walker
5) Miscellaneous bike parts, metal brackets, pvc pipe cut-offs, sturdy mesh, nuts and bolts.