John Sehman of Urbandale retired after working 37 years as a machinist first for Parker Brothers then Meredith/R.R. Donnelly.
After a short time into retirement, he converted the third stall of his three-car garage to a machine shop with numerous metal tools. He soon got the urge for a project and purchased a used bike on Craigslist that needed a little fixing up. While working on it, he got the idea to add a gas engine. Since that time, he has built and sold about 15 bikes with gas powered-engines he purchased new from eBay.
His latest creation is an electric battery-powered bike. He had seen several electric bikes and studied how this was done, then found a donor “Trec” bike, again on Craigslist.
“These bikes were made with chrome molly tubing, which is a strong material but lightweight, making them the perfect match,” Sehman says.
Sehman decided to build this with the electric motor up front as compared to most “store bought” bikes that have the engine mounted in the rear, down low. This requires a custom double chain and double sprockets in the rear hub, one on each side of the frame. This way the rider may pedal the bike or use the electric engine.
Sehman then built a platform behind the seat to mount the two batteries used to power the engine. This is a 24-volt system, so now he is looking for 24-volt lights to replace the original lights that came with the bike.
“The results are amazing and provide a fun, quiet ride,” he says. Sehman built this for his wife when they go riding. He has also added personal touches such as polished aluminum items making this a true “custom bike.”
If you are cruising in the Days Run area this spring and get passed by a bicycle, give a wave. It is probably Sehman.
Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”