Water bicycles afford fine sport, and, like many another device boys make, can be made of material often cast off by their people as rubbish. The principle material necessary for the construction of a water bicycle is oil barrels. Flour barrels will not do-they are not strong enough, nor can they be made perfectly airtight. The grocer can furnish you with oil barrels at a very small cost, probably let you have for making a few deliveries for him. Three barrels are required for the water bicycle, although it can be made with but two. Figure 1 shows the method of arranging the barrels; after the manner of bicycle wheels.
Procure an old bicycle frame and make for it a board platform about 3 ft. wide at the rear end and tapering to about 2 ft. at the front, using cleats to hold the board frame, as shown at the shaded portion K. The construction of the barrel part is shown in Fig. 2. Bore holes in the center of the heads of the two rear barrels and also in the heads of the first barrel and put a shaft of wood, through the rear barrels and one through the front barrel, adjusting the side pieces to the shafts, as indicated.
Illustration: Water, Bicycle Complete
Next place the platform of the bicycle frame and connections thereon. Going back to Fig. 1 we see that the driving chain passes from the sprocket driver L of the bicycle frame to the place downward between the slits in the platform to the driven sprocket on the shaft between the two barrels. Thus a center drive is made. The rear barrels are, fitted with paddles as at M, consisting of four pieces of board nailed and cleated about the circumference of the barrels, as shown in Fig. 1.
Illustration: Barrel Float for Bicycle
The new craft is now ready for a first voyage. To propel it, seat yourself on the bicycle seat, feet on the pedals, just as you would were you on a bicycle out in the street. The steering is effected by simply bending the body to the right or left, which causes the craft to dip to the inclined side and the affair turns in the dipped direction. The speed is slow at first, but increases as the force is generated and as one becomes familiar with the working of the affair. There is no danger, as the airtight barrels cannot possibly sink.
Another mode of putting together the set of barrels, using one large one in the rear and a small one in the front is presented in Fig, 3. These two barrels are empty oil barrels like the others. The head holes are bored and the proper wooden shafts are inserted and the entrance to the bores closed tight by calking with hemp and putty or clay. The ends of the shafts turn in the wooden frame where the required bores are made to receive the same. If the journals thus made are well oiled, there will not be much friction. Such a frame can be fitted with a platform and a raft to suit one's individual fancy built upon it, which can be paddled about with ease and safety on any pond. A sail can be rigged up by using a mast and some sheeting; or even a little houseboat, which will give any amount of pleasure, can be built.
Illustration: Another Type of Float