Friday, October 31, 2014

Vintage Electric Car Profile: Zagato Elcar

From a blog post about ugly electric cars that you probably shouldn't translate

One of the sites I like to visit often is EV Tradin' Post. If you want to find a used electric vehicle or parts, it's a great place to start. You never know what you will find there. When I looked today, there were a few Beetles, a few Porsches, a Fiero, a BMW, a Mustang, a Focus, a Miata, Rangers, S10s, a box truck, a Zenn, a few scooters and motorcycles, and a $750 ZAGATO ELCAR! (A Zagato Zele if you picked yours up in Italy)

From Wikipedia

A what?!!! Well, for those of you who in the know, imagine a Citicar, then make it less of a wedge and more of a box, and make it Italian, but boxy Italian - not sexy Italian. It was produced around the same time - mid 1970s. It came in versions from 48 volts to 96 volts and had a range up to 50 miles. Pretty impressive for the time! And it's one more reason that my wife is thankful that I have very little disposable income and garage space.

May your beloved electric car not make the top 10 ugly list, and if it does, may you revel in it, snagit!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pedal Power: Cool Alternative Uses for Bicycles

So, I was checking Treehugger this morning and ran across something very cool - a bicycle-powered centrifuge. Such a powerful and empowering idea from something so very simple. You can read about it here: Student invents low-tech bicycle-powered blood centrifuge

So, it got the old brain to rolling around the other ideas floating around the internet about bicycle-powered machines, and I hoped you'd be as inspired by the ideas as I am. Enjoy!

May your brain and your legs power us into a healthier world!

PS. Many of these can be found as projects on Instructables!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Another Milestone: 10,000 views

10,000 views of the Mesquite Hugger blog - it will happen today or tomorrow, and it astounds me. I am thankful to each of you who reads this little blog from our flat and dusty place.

So, what's next? Stay tuned for

  • updates on the electric bike kit which is now at my house but is not yet installed on the bike - it's killing me!
  • for an entry on our visit to the Earthships in Taos and other cool surprises from Northern New Mexico.
  • for updates on the vintage electric scooter projects.
  • for every random creature that wanders through my line of sight.
  • for winter energy saving tips.
  • for lots of other cool stuff about working to make this world a better place.

Until then, get out there and do something that helps us all to breathe a little easier and to create a little more hope for those around you. May you indeed be the change you want to see in the world!

Thank you!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Electric Pigeons! (Vintage Scooters that is)

Electric pigeon - further proof that you can find anything on the internet!

Yep, I have been holding out on you.

The rundown:
It's no secret to those of you who hang out around here that I love vintage scooters, that I have built a vintage electric scooter, that I was a little disappointed in that first draft project, and that I have wanted to build another vintage electric scooter that's a little more practical in the real world. And I have been looking at viable candidates for a successful EV conversion. The two top contenders have been the Allstate Jetsweep (thanks to Bo Diddley on that one), and the Mitsubishi Silver Pigeon (thanks to Mitsubishi on that one).

For more than twenty years now, my friend Spencer and I have swapped bad habits, mostly in the form of motorcycles and scooters, sometimes in the form of music and books. And I am thankful to have him as a friend and bad-habit supporter. He showed up at Scooter Workshop Night a few weeks ago and casually mentioned that he just went to look at a BSA motorcycle for sale (pause for dramatic effect) and the seller just happened to have a pair of Silver Pigeons.

You can imagine the rest, and here are photos to help the imagination: 

Silver Pigeon #1, Forklift, Lucy

Silver Pigeon #2, Forklift, Lucy, Spencer, and the passerby who tried to buy both Pigeons

Silver Pigeons #1&2, No Forklift, and Lucy

Silver Pigeons in the coop with EVT168 donor bike

I will leave details sketchy at this point, and I promise that these two will be slow projects, but #1 will have a hubmotor from the EVT scooter, #2 will have the running gear from an early Zero motorcycle, and I need to sell some other toys to finance the building of these two.

And snagit, I am excited!!!

May the Pigeons soar cleanly and greenly, and may you be excited about your own green projects!

Thanks again, Spencer, for a great deal on these Pigeons in the rough!

If you liked this post, here are a few more that may interest you:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lubbock: Thank you tiny predators!

I came home last night to find a tiny Mediterranean gecko munching on mosquitoes near our garage light. Being me, my spirit soared to see our sticky-footed visitor. 

This morning, I swatted a mosquito in the house. I fed it to our betta - she loves skeeters! And it got me to thinking. So, thank you to those prayerful mantises.
A mantis looks into the Mesquite Hugger living room.

Thank you to the spiders, the bats, the dragonflies. Thank you to the playa-pond dwellers: the frogs, fish, toads, and birds. In the worst mosquito season I have seen in Lubbock, thank you for fighting the good fight while eating local!

May your day be bite free, and may the little insectivores be blessed.

PS. Think twice before killing that spider.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Lubbock Reminder: Downtown Farmers Market Tomorrow

Farmers Market Season is almost over, so don't forget to check out Christmas and other seasonal gifts at the market while you still have easy access. I know from experience that people love to receive Kell B jams around the holidays. The farmers market is a great place to find gifts that let the people around you know you care enough to seek out something special.

And you need to be consuming more local produce, honey, and Holy Cow beef (if you're into that sort of thing!)

Learn more here:

May you and your neighbors thrive!!!!!

Electric Bikes: Gateway Drug, Moustaches, and a Kit on the Way

Here at Mesquite Hugger, you know we love bikes, and you know we love electric bikes, and you know we are frugal cheap, and you know we are always trying to find ways to avoid buying and burning petroleum. Recently, I ran across a blog post that embraced all of these things, but it's not so much a planet-hugging blog - more of a save money, live well, and retire early blog with a funny name.

So, this is one more article that explains the benefits of an e-bike to the uninitiated, but this one comes from a guy who offers a lot of practical financial advice in a very, dare I say it, hipster manner. If that sounds negative, I apologize - I have been reading the blog a lot, and I am impressed and will continue to read it even when no bicycles are mentioned. So, I will shut up about it and let you read it for yourself:

Mr. Money Moustache - Electric Bikes: Gateway Drug to Bike Commuting?

Mesquite Hugger confession: So, for those of you who are interested in electric two-wheelers, I have been holding out on you. I sold the electric motorcycle a little while back, and that left a little money open and a little space in the garage. And it left me in a position where I became more dependent on burning gasoline for transportation. So I broke down and ordered an electric bike kit of my own. (And I am picking up a pair of vintage scooters today to convert to electric. More about them later.)

I did not order a Copenhagen wheel. I am still really leery of the wait time, and, at $800 plus shipping, it's still out of my (cheapo) price range. So, I decided on a rear, geared hubmotor setup with a 36V 10Ah water bottle battery. It should be here within two weeks, and I am very excited. I will definitely keep you posted. It will look something like this:

May the darn thing get here soon, and may we all find transportation that is more enjoyable and less destructive - and cheap!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and REPAIR, Snagit!

Snagit! Pure carelessness on my part.

Let me tell you about Jo's Coffee on South Congress in Austin. One of my favorite places and times to be is Sunday morning at Jo's. It's a walk-up coffee house in view of the state capitol. They have outdoor seating under something that eventually became known as a pergola. On the back wall of the pergola thingy is a wall of live music and cultural event flyers. (I was phenomenally happy the day I found Sarah Hickman next to the Old 97's.) And everybody comes to Jo's on Sunday morning.

Find this image here.

There is usually a trio or so of musicians playing - it is the live music capitol, you know. The dog walkers are there in force. The vintage motorcyclists, scooterists, and bicyclists show up. The wealthy show up, as do the homeless. The photography students show up to take photos of ironically placed biscotti. Foreign tourists show up to take photos of the photo students. The granolas sneer at the hipsters, The hipsters sneer at the obviously wealthy.

My two favorite groups there are the dogs and the birds. The dogs are always overwhelmedly bored, and the birds are thrilled with the messy humans and their crumbs. Mostly, there are English sparrows and grackles. And I know that it is an unpopular thing to say, but I love grackles. We tend to love things until they become successful, and grackles are hated for thriving. These mean, beautiful, and graceful creatures offer me endless enjoyment in watching their antics, and they represent Jo's in my memories.

So, I was thrilled a while back when my beautiful wife went by Jo's and bought me a coffee mug with their grackle logo.

And snagit, I almost cried this morning when a wall carelessly jumped out and knocked the mug from my hand.

This one is going into the repair stack. I am not ready to part with it. So, what adhesive do you recommend for putting a porcelain cup back together?

May you enjoy the antics of a grackle this week. And may your favorite cup be immortal.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Little Perspective on a Porch

The first day home from a five-day vacation, and the old brain is buzzing with the inspiration overload of the last week. To quote the Swartzy, "woooooow."

One of my favorite blogs, and one that always encourages me to keep an eye on perspective, is The Little People Project. While this link is to only one entry, I encourage you to keep flipping through to see what visual poetry this particular blogger creates. I remember the awe I felt when I first ran across the blog.

In homage to that blog, I took the following photos to share with you:

May your perspective bring you more wisdom and joy.

Thanks again to Keith for graciously sharing the porch.

Images from the Enchanted Circle, New Mexico

My lovely wife dragged me off to the mountains to celebrate our wedding anniversary - and I am thankful she did!

Lots of blog posts to follow, but here are some preview photos! Enjoy!

May your trip be book-ended by caterpillars!

PS. Thank you, Knippa!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Lubbock People Who Rock: SPWRC

Bob-a-Lou  the dove on the way to get some help

Running an errand in the Rush neighborhood yesterday, we ran across this little guy running across a street. A few minutes later, we were headed home with a healthy but injured white-winged dove. Not too long after that, Bob-a-Lou made it to the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center where he(?) was fortunate enough to meet Daniel Andrews. All I have to say is that the SPWRC and the people who work there rock!

In case you share that sentiment, here is an easy way to show them a little love: the SPWRC currently has a gofundme campaign. Local people doing great things for local wildlife - what better neighbors could we ask for?

May it always be this easy to support people who help others!

PS. Please tell them the Mesquite Hugger said hi!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Lubbock on a Bike: I am 2097th!

With apologies to my wife and co-workers who have had to endure my sweaty self...

The National Bike Challenge finished a few days ago. I finished 2097th out of 47,099 in the U.S. Woohoo!!
That's me back in 1978 - the last time I was involved in any competitive cycling events.

And I am very thankful to have been a part of it! What started as little more than a whim turned into a daily part of my life. And it did not involve spending lots of money - it actually saved a fair amount. It did let me know that I am happier on days when I ride. Work is better, home is better, there is more hope, and there is more resilience. I lost 14 pounds and I have a lot more stamina in getting around Thank you, League of American Bicyclists!

I rode every single day in September - who knew this out-of-shape old guy had it in him?

That's either me or Dark Helmet from Spaceballs.

Another thing the challenge did for me was serve as a reminder of how much I love bicycling and have for most of my life.

May you find your challenge to keep you moving, to make you and our world much healthier.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Stealthified Vintage Ram!

Nothing new here:
I love vintage vehicles.
I love electric vehicles.
I love vintage electric vehicles.

Apparently, many of you do too.

{{Warning - Blogger Chases-a-Rabbit Paragraph}}
Mesquite Hugger is my first attempt at blogging. One thing that was a nice surprise for me as a beginning blogger was being able to look at basic stats on visitors to the blog. I can see how many page views there are each day, where people are finding the blog, which country the readers are located in, and other basic info like that. (Someone from RĂ©union read an entry recently. I had to look the country up and read the Wiki. Now I want to go there! MH also has a surprising number of vsits from the Ukraine. Who knew?)

A surprise runaway post lately is one I wrote back in April. There was little interest in it when I posted it, but it has developed a second life lately. It has had 30 views in the last month, which is really heavy traffic for this little ol' blog from Lubbock. It deals with vintage scooter, moped, and minibike EV conversions that I have admired. The rat rod bikes and bike trailers also get more views than the average posts, as do posts about electric VWs.

So, today when I ran across a Gas 2 post about a Kentucky man who  converted his '39 Dodge Pickup to be an electric with range and speed capabilities very similar to a Nissan Leaf. I knew you would be as excited to learn more about it as I was. Snagit, this thing is cool!!!

Why is Lexington man's 1939 Dodge pickup so quiet? Its secret may surprise you

Pickups from this era are great candidates for conversion - light weight, sturdy frames, easy access for working, inherent coolness and inherent function. Plus, it's hard to beat a Ram hood ornament!

May your recycled green transportation be this cool too!