It is that time of year when leaves are falling and covering over the trails. A friend of mine swept and raked leaves off of the trail last year. It is a lot of work and quite tiring. He accomplished about a mile of trail per day walking along doing it the “conventional way”. This year he got innovative. When I first saw what he came up with I didn’t think it would work very well (and he had his doubts as well), but upon trying it out we were both quite surprised at how well it works. Keep in mind that the leaves continue to fall down so it makes no sense to try to get the trail cleaned off perfectly as an hour later it is a mess again. Anyway, without further ado here is what he came up with. (He has modified it considerably since he first made it. This picture is when it was brand new.)
He simply pulls it behind his tadpole trike and with it can get more work done in one day than he could accomplish walking in an entire week. Like many projects if he were to make it again he would make some changes. Never the less, what he has now does a pretty decent job. My thinking on the design is that the side piece should be angled out instead of at a 90 degree angle. Also I think there should be a side piece on the other side which can be easily and quickly removed and switched like I show in this drawing I made.
He had swept the trail the day before so there are not a whole lot of leaves on it as he was sweeping it this day I took these pictures.
When the leaves accumulate ahead of his rig he has to stop and pick up the rig and set it over to the side. Then he takes a leaf rake he has along with him and rakes the accumulated leaves over off to the side of the trail.
I know I certainly appreciate his efforts as it makes it a whole lot safer to ride on the trail when you can see it. It is very rare for the city government to clean off the trails … at least this particular one which happens to be our favorite to ride. So it is good that there are those of us who volunteer to help maintain it. Occasionally a trail user will even say “thanks” for our efforts … something which is always appreciated. Having nice clean trails to ride on helps to be able to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
P.S. – After watching how his rig works and what is involved in using it I gave some thought as to how to make one for myself to use. I think that an angled plow type unit would work better so that the leaves roll off to the side of the plow unloading itself and eliminating the need to stop and get off like my friend is doing.
Update – I made my own leaf removal rig today, but I will have to wait to try it out and see how it works. It has been raining and the eleaves are quite wet. Here is a drawing I made of what I came up with.
Update: My design works great … far better than my friends.
With my friend’s leaf removal rig the load of leaves he pulls behind him keeps growing and getting heavier and heavier wearing him out trying to pedal. If he doesn’t stop to unload his rig it will unload itself leaving a big pile of leaves right on the trail which then needs to be removed. It is a real pain to use in my opinion. My outfit is so much simpler, better and faster. I just keep riding and the leaves unload themselves off to the side.
It leaves a pretty clean trail and this was even after removing wet leaves which is a lot more difficult and challenging than dry leaves.
If I were to do it over I would make it a little different though as I have learned from this one. I would add a second board and put weight in between the two boards to help hold it down. Right now I am hanging hand weights to both the front and the back side of the board. Of course, the weights on the front side are obstructing the leaf flow. Also I think I would eliminate the broom altogether and have the pull be from the top of the boards so that there is no obstruction of any kind to the flow of leaves as they move over to the side and off load.
Placing the weight on the back side of the one board I am using now results in tipping the rig over backwards so now I have to have weight on at least the front side to prevent this. It needs more weight so I am using the back side too, but I can’t put as much weight on the back side as I can the front side. With the two board design everything will be a clean smooth surface with the weight inside out of the way. I can easily adjust the amount of weight according to how the rig performs. The idea is to keep the rig down on the trail surface so it isn’t allowing the leaves to pick it up and dump them out underneath of it. Of course, one doesn’t want any more weight back there than necessary since it makes a difference in how hard it is to pull it along.