Paul and Rando the pug stopped by the Velo Cult photo studio to show their recently completed Pugeot Sidecar. Paul was nice enough to send us the history of the project. You can check out Rando’s fan page here.
You can also check out Paul’s progress pictures throughout the process here.
The first thing I noticed while riding the “Pugeot” is how happy it makes people. Random bystanders scream out “PUG” and jerk their heads around for a double take as I ride past. It took a lot of work and 12 months of evil genius planning with a community of collaborators to get to the finished product. The Pugeot spreads happiness wherever it goes.
The bike started out as an idea during the summer of 2012 and pre Pug puppy. I asked myself, “How can I make the greatest Pedalpalooza party bike ever?”. I decided on a side car because it was a challenge and I had never been satisfied with them. I looked at a lot of side car setups on bicycles, most of which were early 1900′s designed for children. I took a lot of notes from Ziba + Signal Cycles’ 2011 Oregon Manifest bike. However, Signal Cycles’ bike was made for grocery transportation. Mine was going to be for fun. I wanted it to be a traditional bike, but I wanted it to stand out. The 20″ wheel base is an homage to Bruno and Molton bikes. I have always loved the small wheels and thought that if done right it would make a unique yet eye catching bike. I wanted to transport the unusual. The expectation was that it needed to transport an ice chest full of beer without compromising the bike ride. It needed to Keep Portland Weird.
The engineer on the project was Adam George of Bound Bikes. We discussed the core theories behind sidecars. How does it work, what should it look like and how do we keep it from being a death trap. The main problem with sidecars is the side pull. If done incorrectly the side wheel will push or pull against you while riding. For a time we considered having the sidecar attach to the front fork and head tube. Adam suggested that the sidecar’s connection be located behind and close into the rear axel. Using the rear wheel to resist the sidecar’s pull. We finalized our plan and off we went. The bike frame is an early to mid 90′s BMX frame and the sidecar is made from the lower platform from a shopping cart. It is a true garage hack coupled with custom handlebars, an extra long seat post, reinforced side platform, and a few bottle openers. Completely functional, but something that you don’t see everyday.
Around this time the pug known as Rando Awesome came into the equation. The bike quickly went from being a beer bike to pug bike. I had tried some off the shelf pet carriers. They half worked, Rando disliked the position it put him in, he pulled my handlebars whenever he shifted weight and he even managed to fall off the bike once. I was (and still am) disappointed that only Chiwauwa handle bar bags and large Burley trailers are available for transporting dogs via bikes. A 15-25 lbs dog carrier is nonexistent for bikes. I knew the sidecar could be made to perfectly transport my 19lbs pug.
I began 3D modeling the bike and sidecar platform. Taking cues from Metrofiets and Bakfiets I designed a box that could latch onto the existing metal frame. Something not too heavy, but durable enough to withstand years of Portland rain and riding. After I had completed the box CADD drawings I approached Metrofiets in Portland to find out the best way to build the box. Metrofiets was blown away by the idea and made recommendations on assembly. We settled on marine grade Okoumé plywood, glue, screws, epoxy and a polyurethane seal for the best possible weight to durability balance. Using the 3D CADD files we cut the individual plywood panels out on Metrofiets’ CNC machine (Computer Numeric Controlled cutting machine).
The last stage was the assembly and finish. The bike’s color scheme was inspired by 1970′s Peugeot bicycle and my old Playmate cooler. Class Act Powder Coating in Portland finished the bike frame, seat post, handlebars, sidecar platform and 12″ rim in a shimmering pearl. Black Star Bags made the custom handlebar bag for the bike. The Pugeot ,pronounced “Pug-gzoh” branding is a joke. Regrettably satire became reality when I began parting out the bike’s unusual geometry. 32.5mm – 1″ threaded headset, American to English bottom bracket adaptor, non-standard seat post clamp and 21.1mm quill to threadless stem. It was enough to drive a sane man to his breaking point.
So how does Rando like his sweet ride? He loves it! The second I pull the bike out he freaks out and becomes uncontrollably excited. Only after he jumps in and sits down does he calm down. While riding he can be heard barking (or bragging) to the other dogs we pass on the sidewalk. This pug has personality and he is ready to take on the internets. My hope is that one day when you search Bicycle & Pug that our photo pops up.
-Rando Awesome and the Pugeot.