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SnowBus Winter Tandem - stoker handlebars

Rear handlebars and seat assembly.

The end of the gooseneck is cut from the stem with about an inch to spare. It is then welded just under the junction between the thin and thick part of the tube in order to make room for the seat. In order to make sure the handlebars will be straight, tack weld the top at first, so you can make adjustments to the angle, then tack the bottom after everything is straight. Weld all around the joint, making sure the weld is strong and free from cracks and then grind the weld.

When the seat post is mounted to the bike, the stoker should be in a good position, and be able to pedal without hitting the bars or captain’s seat. The captain should also be able to sit on the seat without having to squeeze in between the handlebars.

SnowBus Winter Tandem - truss welded

Ready for that initial test ride!

Now the part you have been waiting for — the test ride (sometimes called the “crash test”). Tighten all nuts, align both crank sets so the pedals are in sync and get out your helmet.

First, take the trike out by yourself, and get a feel for the handling. You will notice that the trike actually feels more stable and may have better traction through the deeper snow, this is due to the longer back end dividing the weight more evenly across all three wheels. Other than that, the machine should feel like it did before you cut it in half to add the second frame. Once you know the bike is in working order, find a stoker, and see how it goes.

Make sure you tell your passenger the rules — lean when I lean, stop pedaling when I stop pedaling, and jump off promptly if I yell, “Bail Dude”! Leaning together into fast corners is important, and you will soon see that the stoker does can have just as much effect on the bike as what you do. Teamwork is important.

SnowBus Winter Tandem - frame painted

The painted SnowBus Frame.

How did it handle? Did the chain stay on? Did the frame snap in half? Chances are everything went well, and both captain and stoker had a great time. Now you need to rip it all apart again, and paint the back three quarters of the bike. Don’t be tempted to skip the painting stage, as this vehicle will be subjected to harsh elements such as slush, road salt and sand.

Use a good paint, and give it a little extra on the underside since this will be an area getting constant abuse from moisture. Also, you may want to leave the trike outside if you plan to ride often, since the warming up process will cause a lot of condensation leading to increased rust.

SnowBus Winter Tandem - test ride

Riding on the snow covered streets.

Once captain and stoker are working together as a team, the Snow Bus is a fast, fun sociable vehicle great for beating those winter blahs. It’s surprising how fast you warm up even on those unbearable -30º nights that drive even the heartiest winter lover running indoors. With a full-face mask, two layers of clothes, and warm gloves, you can ride for hours and stay at a very comfortable temperature due to the aerobic effect of pedaling. The vehicle is also surprisingly fast, even on snow or rough ground. When both captain and stoker are pedaling hard and in sync, use defensive driving methods and be weary of stopping power on icy surfaces. Think ahead as much as possible and drive wisely.

SnowBus Winter Tandem - offroad ride

Testing the SnowBus on the trails.

I am glad that I started this project, as it really turned out to be a fun and useful vehicle. I use the Snow Bus for both exercise and entertainment, and it has taken a lot of punishment without any problem. For keeping in shape, a 30-minute or one hour ride is great, especially since plundering through the snow is more work than riding on a flat surface in the summer.

If you really want to build up your riding stamina, tie a rope to the seat post, and pull someone on a sled for a few blocks if you can, this is a lot of fun, and a real leg blaster as well! We have conquered everything from hockey rinks to steep hills and always find something new to do on the trike each time we go out, and always have a blast. That’s how AZ does it in the Great White North!

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