Sunday, September 02, 2007

Behold, The Pedal Car!

After mentioning the pedal car that my brother and I (and DY) rolled around in back in the day in yesterday's post, I became curious as to whether or not my parents still had it. So I asked them, and they said that they do, but the front tire is flat. Guess what my project is going to be when I'm home over the holidays?

A bit of online investigation turned up the following picture from the original brochure for the pedal car, which was actually branded the "PPV" - People-Powered Vehicle (that's why I couldn't find a picture of it beforehand, I got the name of it wrong).



The company who manufactured the PPV was truly ahead of its time, don't you think? They made about 5000 of these babies in the mid-1970s because of the oil crisis. But NOW is when they should be making them... can't you just see Leonardo Dicaprio and Cameron Diaz and all the wannabe environmentalist celebrities pedaling around L.A. in the name of global warming? It's good for the Earth AND it's a good work-out!!! You can't beat that, come on. Bring back the PPV!!! There is already a cult-like obsession over these contraptions - this guy runs a site that attempts to bring together current owners to establish where the vehicles still exist.

The best thing about the picture above is the hilarious "marketing" copy - how couples can enjoy the "pleasure of conversation while pedaling this noiseless and healthful vehicle." I don't remember my parents ever taking the pedal car out for a romantic date-night, I have to say. What I DO remember is tying a very long rope onto the front handlebar and attempting to "ski" behind it going down a hill on my roller skates (this was WAY before blades, my friends) with a friend driving. What resulted from that ingenious idea was a huge gravel-filled tear all down the side of my leg, as well as cuts all over my face, the day before I started junior high school. It was the end of the world to me back then, having always been quite a vain creature. Since DY did not look at me like I was a leper when we met each other for the first time in band class the following day, that is how we became friends. The pedal car, bringing people together!

You may be asking yourself, how could three kids possibly fit in the back of that thing (as I stated in my post yesterday)? Well, when you didn't have two adults in the front seats, you could move the seats forward and there was a ledge for a back seat that you could squeeze smaller kids onto. I found this picture where you can kind of see what I'm talking about on this site that is dedicated to the PPV.


There was also a rockin' canopy top - which you can see from a picture I found on that same web site:


This has all brought back some very fond memories. I am definitely going to fix the pedal car and take it for a spin again. Who knows, since we DO have the yellow one, perhaps I will bring it to Chicago, draw a big smiley face on it and write "HI!" on it and become The Hi Gal, and give The Hi Guy a run for his money.

- e

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's awesome... The only possible quality that would make it better would be if it was amphibious!
Diane in RI

Anonymous said...

That is so cool! I wish they would start making them again, I'd sure buy one. I liked to ride bikes when I was a kid, but something about bike seats and adult bootys just doesn't jive!

Anonymous said...

There is a group on yahoo that also is dedicated to the PPV. I have two.

Anonymous said...

I have a yellow one and a green one. The green one needs a new white top...does anyone know where I can get one!
salwilkins2000@yahoo.com
Thanks

Anonymous said...

I've a blue one, in process...

Larry said...

They are making the same vehicle for a price of $2,395. The only significant difference I see is the 7 speed transmission instead of the 3 speed like I have, which is tough pedaling for some of us, at least up hill.

http://surreycompany.com/impello.htm

http://www.industrialbicycles.com/The_Impello.htm

I would love to have the new one.

Mark said...

I loved our PPV and took it everywhere. Living in Seattle I quickly found out that the 3 speed sucked for our hills so I found a guy who made custom bikes and he helped me add a ten speed front sprocket so it took the 3 speed to a six speed and made a huge difference. My favorite place to ride was on the Green Lake bike path with my brother and the new “cooler” that I build to hang off the back loaded with beer. We hit a little bump and watched my cooler fall off, leaving a trail of ice, beer, and wood pieces all over the path. Then about the same place with younger brother playing Billy Idol White Wedding blasting my Sony boom box as loud as it could go. And then there was younger sister flying over the top of me while taking a corner a little too fast and to avoid that on coming car! I learned then that if you’re going to turn that sharp, you better have the heavier person on the high side! But the most vivid memory was going down that huge hill on the north end of Lincoln Park down to a 4 way stop and knowing that we would not be able to stop. By then I had the fish-tail method perfected for slowing down. We must have hit 35 mph and realized there was a stop at the bottom. The little disc brake was not working so I got the back end skidding back and forth and brought it down to a controlled 34. There was only a metro bus at the intersection so just had to dodge him and we were good to use the momentum to get us to Alki. Many other near death experiences! Thanks for blogging about it. I think we'll go home and fix the broken wheel and see if we can't get it running again!

Matchmaker Friend said...

I love reading about people's memories of the PPV. I don't have old ones but I do have new ones. I bought a PPV on craigslist a couple of years ago so I could take my two kids out for rides (8 and 4 when I bought it) but we didn't use it much since we lived in the city. We moved to the suburbs a few months ago and it is finally getting used like it should. My 10 yr old and the friends she has made in our new neighborhood are having a great time riding up and down the local streets. It has got more use in the last couple of months than in the previous 2 yrs altogether. I have a couple of problems though that could use some solving:

Our front tire was in bad shape so I recently bought just a plain 16 inch bicyle tire and tube. It isn't great. Have to keep repumping it. Not sure what type to buy that will be a better, sturdier type. I wrote to the surrey company that is making the new 2011 PPVs but never heard back from them.

The second probelm is that I don't have the windshield anymore. It cracked so I took it off so the kids don't get hurt on it. Does anyone have the pattern for the windshield or could someone trace their windshield and send me the paper or scan it and just tell me the dimensions?

Also I would love to build the canopy for the kids but I can't find the pattern anywhere. Does anyone have the pattern for the canopy?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. My e-mail is matchmakerfriend@gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

My grandmother recently gave my husband & I her people powered vehicle that she purchased in the 70's. It was stored in the garage & is in great shape. Unfortunately, an uncle took a few pieces apart (we have all the pieces) and we are not sure how to assemble them. We have been looking for schematics online & can't find any. We would love some advice!

Anonymous said...

My friend and I bought a used one in the suburbs of Chicago in the late seventies - it was blue and white. It had a giant (and very loud) hand pump air horn on the hood. We got paid to ride in a 4th of July parade one year. These "bikes" are tremendous fun, I wish I still had ours.

Anonymous said...

There is a group site on yahoo dedicated to the ppv: http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/PeoplePoweredVehicle/
The members have all kinds of imformation and are willing to help.

Anonymous said...

Yeah i remember back in 73 i was about 12 years old and my friends dad bought one in Watsonville,ca and it was the hit of the block. We used to ride in it all the time. I remember we went down the alley in 3 rd gear and rolled it and i went flying out but we flipped it back over and got our 5cent candy bar and off we went. I ended up buying it off my friends dad for 400$ back in 2000 and fixed the broken axle after my friend abused it when i loaned it to him and his family. He used to cruz it in Santa Cruz and it brought smiles to everyone hwho saw it. If i took it down to the beach in L.A. area it would pick up on more chicks than a Ferrari f50 especially it i had a puppy but that's not going to happen. I planned on selling it but nobody wants to give me what i want which is worth more than my Mercedes i have in the garage plus it has sentimental value. I will put it away and wait for the next 4th of July parade in La Selva Beach. If you want to see a picture of mine shoot me an email at maperez@cruzio.com