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Monday, June 25, 2012

The Avery Dicycle

This entry is about explaining what a dicycle is and also gives you a link to vote for my brother Jim's creation in the Boca Bearings Innovation Competition.  If you just want to go vote for Jim's project, which will help him get it to Burning Man later this summer as well as to expand his shop and take on mentees, then GO VOTE FOR JIM'S PROJECT HERE.

And now for the full story:
A dicycle (also known as a diwheel) is a vehicle with two wheels side by side, unlike single-track vehicles such as motorcycles and bicycles, which have one wheel followed by another.  The diwheel design has the two large outer wheels completely encompassing an inner frame. The inner frame is free to rotate within the wheels, and is typically supported by a common axle or idlers which roll on the wheels (see figure).  (Source:
image from Wikipedia
Ok.  What does this have to do with my adventures on a bicycle?  Nothing.  But it does have to a lot to do with my genius brother, Jim.  (And I don't throw that word around lightly.  He is a genius.)

You see, Jim decided that he wanted to build something cool and unique to take to the Burning Man Festival in Nevada this year.  (Follow that link to learn more about it if you're interested.) So, he designed what he originally called the "Avery Tandem," a 12' wide cycle with the wheels (and two riders sitting) side-by-side. 
Original computer design
The wheels were 12' (yes, twelve feet) in diameter.  The riders sit inside the giant wheels and pedal a single-geared drive system.  Using two riders allows for turning - one pedals and the other doesn't.  It's hard to picture in this image where exactly the spokes are going and how the riders are inside the wheels.

Over the last several months, when he wasn't busy making and installing custom wrought iron decorative fencing he was working on building this cycle in his shop.  Because of space limitations, he did have to adjust the size, shrinking it to 11' high by 11' wide.  And even that was too big to get out the dock door.

On Father's Day the big unveiling.  (At our Dad's request, they did measure clearance to wires on the telephone poles, just to be safe.)  And here it is - the Jim Avery Dicycle:
Jim is in the seat nearest to the camera.
They rolled it out and rode it for a bit.  It was quite the site (wish I had been there to see it live).  And here it is:

While it needs a little tweeking, the Avery Dicycle is ready for Burning Man.  Now to get it from Iowa to Nevada.

Jim has also applied to the Boca Bearing Innovation Projects competition.  The prize is $10,000, which he wants to expand his operations to include a studio and to mentor other aspiring metal working artists.  If you could go here and vote for Jim's project, he would greatly appreciate your support.  There is another video there as well as some more information about his project.

Interesting side note: After he began construction of this dicycle, I was given a link to a collection of cycles at the Smithsonian.  I was clicking through and found this - a monocycle patented in 1869 that the operator rides inside the 8' wheel.  It should be noted though, that unlike the Avery Dicycle, this monocycle "crashed badly on its first trial run, and proved to be unsatisfactory."

Support Jim in his quest to get to Burning Man. Click here to see his entry page for the 2012 BOCA Bearing Innovation Competition, then scroll to the middle of the page and Vote for Jim!THANKS!


  1. Replies
    1. You bet! Happy to do it. I've been pimping it on twitter as well. Don't know of it's having an impact or not, but I'm happy to try and help promote this. Good luck, Bro!