Russian "Special Gendarmes" of 1890

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Found this while searching for images to add to my Pinterest board.

Love the uniforms and that patrol bike is a sweet bit of machinery.
I would love to take a trip through the Rockies on one!

So how does it work?
At first I thought the levers were brakes, but then if you blow up the picture you can see that the slot in the bottom of the lever the rider is holding, covers the whole potential range of the pedal cranks. Also there is what appears to be a pivot on the lever right next to his knee.

I think that the lever is used to add force to the pedals at the top and bottom of the crank turning. In the photo the pedals are level so the cranks are in the middle of the slot. That means, if my conjecture is correct, that the lever is as far back as it will go. As he pedals the lever rocks back and forth so that the driver can add force to the cranks at the positions where his legs cannot, ie the top and bottom of the crank path. The position of the handle and the distance between the pivot and the top of the slot, gives quite a bit of mechanical advantage. So the whole upper half of the crank movement would benefit.

That seems OK but a bit unbalanced being only on one side. If you look closely however, there is a lever on the other side too. The handle is just above the shoulder of the soldier standing beside the officer on the bike. If you line up the handle it points to about the same pivot point on the that side. This lever is at its maximum forward position which makes sense.

The third lever, with the offset handle is indeed a brake I think. The brake shoe is the block in front over the wheel.

I bet you got a pretty complete workout using this machine smile

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.


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