not quite Parking Lot Syndrome

It wasn't quite Parking Lot Syndrome because no parking lots were involved, but it was a blast anyway.

Since being inspired at Okoume Fest 08, I have, since late May, been building a Jimmy Skiff.  It has been a long process.  It is about 98% constructed with another coat of epoxy, the deck and rails, and a lot of sanding, painting, and varnishing left to do.  But as my build space is unheated and unelectrified, and as Autumn sets in, building season is effectively closed.  I really wanted to take the boat for a spin before putting it all away until Spring, and today the weather finally cooperated.

I have been building the boat in a shipping container at a construction yard about three miles from my home.  My recommendation to anyone: don't do this.  But I’ll leave the many lessons-learned for another day.  Behind the yard is an old rail line that has been a paved bicycle path for at least my whole lifetime.  I built a homemade cart and decided to tow the boat home.  I went about 1 mile down the bicycle path, then I had to go about 1/2 mile through a residential neighborhood and cross the highway and then the operational railroad tracks.  From there it is about 1+ miles to my house.

On the bicycle path another rider went by (I was going quite slow with a 100 lb boat behind me) and asked "Is that a Chesapeake Light Craft?"  I wasn't expecting that.  So we stopped and had a chat.  He's about to start an Oxford Shell.  Then as he pulled away another biker stopped and we chatted.  Everyone on a warm October sunny day on this busy path said hello as we passed.   

As I got off the path and was riding through the residential neighborhood, an older man came running out in the street and shouted for me to stop after I passed his house.  I thought something must have fallen out of the boat, but that wasn't it.  He said he was doing a crossword on the porch and looked up as I came by.  He builds model boats and was quite interested in my usable 1:1 scale version.  

Everyone I passed waved or tooted their horn.  One guy came along side and slowed his pickup, which initially got me worried, but as I looked over he gave me the thumbs up.  My friend, Carl, who got me thinking about building a boat fifteen years ago, drove by the other way, and he shouted, "Did you build it?" and then "Excellent" as I shouted that I had.  It took me about 1.5 hours to pedal 3 miles, and it was the best three mile bike ride I have ever had.

And the row was excellent too.  Did a few laps of the little sheltered bay, and took my nieces and nephews for rides.  So nice to get out once even for just an hour.  It made all the memory of the frustrating build slip away.  It was a joyful day.  Spring is coming!

Thanks to all for the help so far.


boat and cart

2 replies:

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RE: not quite Parking Lot Syndrome

m.c., Great story! Thanks for sharing.  I too have a Jimmy Skiff and a boat dolly that I use to move it around, and have often thought about using it to get to a small lake which is only about 1/4 mile from my house.  How did you manage to hitch the boat to your bike?

- Ron Paro

RE: not quite Parking Lot Syndrome

Well it was crude, but it worked.  Plenty good for short trips, although I can already think of improvements.  

I bolted a couple of 6" 2x4's to the frame of the bicycle under the seat and put a large screw eye into them.  I put a matching screw eye into the front of my "trailer" and shackled them together.

The boat is already away for the winter so I couldn't get a better picture for you. 

cart hitch

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