It was the winter of '97. I was just moving from novice to strong intermediate in snowboarding. The previous season was the best I'd ever seen in Jersey. It seemed that each month of winter was filled with snow day after snow day, allowing me and my buddies to get out and ride the gnar under the power lines. And the entire following fall all I heard was that La Nina was going to show up with enough frosty wrath to make El Nino look like an impotent poseur. The winter of 97 was going to be one for the records.
And then, it wasn't. Not even close. I think we had one snow day that entire winter, and it was more because of New Jersey's ill-prepareness for snow than because of the ferocity of the storm. La Nina came and went with nary a whimper.
This year is different, though. La Nina is back and it's making up for old times. I live in the Rockies now, but my friends and family are still back east, and they've gotten more snow courtesy of La Nina than I have at the foot of 9,000-foot peaks. It seems like every week I'm seeing a Facebook update about a half-foot or foot-deep storm.
The moral is: you just don't $#*&ing know when it comes to snowstorms and anything Mother Nature. And that creates a problem when trying to prepare your snow-clearing arsenal. Do you spend all the money on a snowblower only to watch it collect dust during an unseasonably warm and dry winter, or do you stick with the shovel and muscle it out all winter if La Nina decides to put its game face on?
DIYer Craig Smith has come up with an alternative. More grunt than a shovel but none of the expense or pollution of a snowblower or truck plow. It's a bike plow! It's got three wheels, a plow and a series of levers and ropes for control. It's environmentally friendly and easier on your body than a shovel. Seems like a great option for all you folks that are getting buried by La Nina but may not see more than six inches all next year.
Smith actually has a snowblower and experiences more reliable snowfall up north in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He explains why he built the bike-powered plow system:
"The custom 3-wheel bike with sidecar was made years ago, a replica of a
bike my childhood friend had. Last winter I added a snow plow accessory.
Up to 1 inch of snow doesn't make it worthwhile to fire up my big 8HP
snowthrower. And shoveling my 90' long driveway by hand can be too much.
So my bike plow makes it easy to make a few runs up and down the
driveway to make 2 or 3 piles that can then be easily hand shoveled off
to the side."
Unfortunately, Smith's plow systems is only good for small storms. Also unfortunate is that there doesn't seem to be much motivation to produce and market it. But, if you're motivated, his description over at MakeZine could get you started in the the direction toward building your own. And it might prove just the thing for clearing your driveway during La Nina, El Nino or any nondescript winter without a special name.
Via: Trend Hunter