Burningman pedal car



When my wife decided to come with me to the Burningman art festival I started looking for ideas on a two person pedal vehicle that I could make for the event.

I spied on this picture. During WWII when France was occupied by the Germans and fuel was confiscated for the war effort, a clever man named Mochet

developed this get-around pedal vehicle to fill the void. Many versions of this vehicle were made, even adding motor mounts to the vehicles when they suspected Germany

would soon be defeated.  I fell in love with the whole design and admire the brilliance of Mr. Mochet. Fantastique!

I got these off of my first Burningman trike. Each came from an old BMX steering assembly. The forks were cut off leaving the bottom stub.

For the axles, 1/2″ holes were drilled thru the stub to accommodate the grade 5 bolts. These were then welded in place. Steering arms were then added.

Due to the low speeds and to simplify the build, the head and beam were attached perpendicular to one another. No Ackermann geometry was added.

The main tubes are 1-1/2″ by 1″ box steel. The steering beam and rear forks are 1/1-2″ by 3/4″ box steel.

I found these bicycle type 20″ cart wheels with 1/2″ axle holes at a bike shop. I haven’t seen anything like them since.

The design is basically two recumbents welded together at the steering beam and a length of tubing near the rear wheels.

Each wheel is powered independently. For the body frame I used 1″ box aluminum. Fluted plastic (my favorite) was used for the body panels.

Self tapping pan-head screws were used to attach the panels to the frame. Small 4″ zip ties and 1/4″ rope in the corners were used to attach the curved

panels to the flat panels. Yellow duct tape was then applied over the seams.

The steering wheel is made of 1/2″ electrical conduit bent around a 20″ bicycle wheel. The dash board bling is mostly for fun. The clock works and

the MP3 speaker work, but that’s about it. It’s all more for show and fun.

The Pilot has 12 speeds, with shifters on the steering support. The passenger has 6 speeds with the shifter on the right.

There’s a little storage behind the 1/4″ plywood and naugahyde covered foam seat.

Here’s an undercarriage view.

Along with the shifters, a rear brake handle was added.

A PVC top was also added for sun protection.

In the middle of the playa, I was presented with a prestigious plastic trophy for the best of I’m not sure what exactly. I didn’t care though. I was thrilled!

The pedal car went to Burningman twice, and hopefully we’ll be back soon.

For now we take the pedal car each year to the Kalaloch camp ground on the coast of Washington state.

We get lots of exercise and lots of thumbs up, and the trunk can carry most all of our beach supplies.