Living Sustainably

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DIY Rickshaw from a Trike

This is a clever adaptation of an “Adult Trike” commonly seen in retirement communities. Now you can safely give a small child a ride in this DIY Rickshaw. Now, to electrify it, with a solar canopy!


This bike started as a way for me to take my daughter on a ride and still carry groceries or diapers. Never liked the original dark blue color but lived with it. We then had another baby and this bike sat outside for a few summers. I thought I could build a larger basket for it and take both of them on rides. But first a color change was needed. The bike felt like everything was a quarter turn too tight from the factory so a full strip down was necessary. I took a rough pad to parts for painting, cleaned them and let them sit in the sun before paint. Sprayed a few coats of paint and put them inside to dry. It’s hard to let things dry for a few days but I held strong and waited. Started putting it back together and was surprised how nice it was looking. This is becoming a totally different bike from a color change.

Built a simple wood basket out of plywood, trimmed it out and stained it. Next was the seat. Ripped some ¼” oak into 1” strips cut them all to length and primed and spray painted them. Lightly sanded the lifted grain off and did one more coat. Stapled them onto basket and borrowed some seat belts form our wagon. Nice and shiny and the white seat shouldn’t get too hot in the sun.

Time for a shake down. Rode to the store with the girls, everything was going good until I realized I had no way to carry stuff other than my girls. No problem I have a huge basket in my shed I will add to the bike. This basket is very big and very silver. It’s all I see when I look at the bike. Hopefully a little more spray paint will help tone it down. Ahh that’s better. One last thing for this project an umbrella at a yard sale should add the finishing touch and turn this once ugly bicycle into a full on rickshaw.

Hope you all enjoy the pictures it has been a fun project. I even get some thumbs up from people when we go on tour.



Upgrade your bicycle to electric

We have had an eZip electric bike for 2 years. We have been very pleased with our solar charged electric transportation, and a kit is available for you to upgrade your bike.

This new Currie Electro-Drive Conversion Kit easily transforms a standard bicycle and converts it into a modern electric powered ride. The Currie Electro Drive conversion kit is designed to fit on bicycles that use a standard 7-speed freewheel which is quite common today. If the bike that you are planning on converting has something other then a 7-speed freewheel, the kit may still be fitted however we strongly recommend that the conversion be made by an authorized Currie Dealer.


* Powerful 450 Watt Rear Wheel Drive System
* Stylish Rack Mount Battery System
* Thumb Actuated Throttle with Battery Guage
* Complete with all the Necessities to Convert your Bike
* Easily Add an Optional Second Battery Pack to Double the Range


Putting it all together: The electric cargo bicycle

The longtail cargo bicycle and the electric assist are both pieces of a puzzle. That puzzle is how to make a bicycle into a practical people-and-stuff mover for everyday use for short trips, in place of a car. The cargo bicycle on its own is a great concept, but if you live in a hilly place (like I do), it can be a bit difficult to haul a hundred pounds of kids or dog food up and down those hills on a regular occasion. After we got our new Madsen cargo bike, which can haul up to four kids at once (covered in more detail in Part II), I was excited to own a whole-family transportation bike. But the ride from my home starts with a big hill. And if I was feeling less than 100%, I was just not motivated to pedal that bike full of kids up that hill. The end result was that, in the first 2 months that we had the bike, I used it about once every week or two for a weekend outing to the park or farmer’s market, and that was all I could handle. The point was really driven home to me on Easter weekend when I wanted to bike the family over to an Easter egg hunt, which was in a hilly part of town about 8-9 miles away. After getting everyone together, I realized that I didn’t even know exactly where the hunt was located, and since it was in the hilly part of town, I might get lost and wander around for a while looking for the place. The thought of hauling a bike full of kids over steep hills when lost was too much for me, so we took the car. It turns out we did have troubles finding the place, so my concerns were founded.

Then we installed an electric assist kit by eZee. What a difference! Suddenly it became fun to load up the bike with kids and go out for a ride. I wouldn’t have worried about getting lost, because hauling the kids up the hills became easy to do. This particular electric motor kit is activated by a throttle control that is on the handlebar, similar to a motorcycle throttle. I can pedal the bike, I can use electric power, or I can do both together. So I have complete control over when and how much power I want the electric motor to add (and even though I’m in pretty good shape, the motor can do more than I can!) We now use the bike all the time for running kids around the place. And it works great for doing errands like picking up dog food, garden mulch, and other big bulky stuff.


Solar Charged Transportation

Steve's E-bikeThe weather finally co-operated today. Sunny, windy, dry, and in the mid 40’s. I got out the E-bike, charged the battery up with the solar panels, and went for a nice spring ride. I put it into assist mode, so when I pedal, it adds to my efforts. The other mode is full electric mode. You can also pedal without power. More info on this bike can be found at


The lighter side of green

Ed Begley Jr, the star of countless quirky movies and the classic TV hit “St. Elsewhere,” stars in “Living with Ed,” which premieres New Year’s Day on HGTV, a show about how his wife, an aspiring Hollywood star, tries to handle his ultra-green lifestyle. The guy’s such a true believer, he’ll ride on a bike just to power his toaster.

The premiere is Jan 1, 1pm (EST and PST) – perfect for starting the new year off with a laugh. Then you can catch it Sunday nights at 10.

You will enjoy Ed’s 10 Tips for Going Green along with other ideas for green living at

TV and movie actor Ed Begley, perhaps the greenest man in Tinsel Town, rides his electric car to the Academy Awards and powers his home with the sun and his stationary bike. But Living with Ed and his environmentalist passion isn’t always a walk in the park for wife, Rachelle. This first-of-its-kind reality green show chronicles life with an earth-friendly fanatic with humor and heart. Check out this fresh unscripted docu-soap about the lifestyle of a diehard activist who puts his money and his time where his mouth is 24/7. Definitely not recycled TV.