My Go-Cart

When I was 8 or 9 years old, my Dad decided to make a go-cart for me. My Dad made a lot of stuff for me, rather than buying stuff. There was the solid steel skateboard, and the steel ring basketball hoop, and the go-cart, to name a few.

The go-cart was based on a Briggs and Stratton gasoline engine mounted on a steel pipe frame. It had a seat made of 1×12 pine, wide enough for two people. It even had a body made of half of a 55 gallon barrel cut lengthwise. It was painted a bright green.

It was pretty neat, but I never actually used it much. For one thing, because the seat was made of wood, bolted rigidly to the frame, as was the motor, it vibrated. A lot. In fact, if the motor was running and you were sitting on it, you would find yourself slowly moving sideways on the bench seat. This was – well – tingly, besides not feeling very secure.

The other show-stopper was the body. You see, Dad had designed it so that my right leg was inside the body and my left leg was outside the body. I was straddling the raw cut edge of the barrel. Now, imagine sitting in your car, with a vertical, curved piece of steel about 1/8″ thick mounted about two inches in front of your crotch. I was constantly in fear of being cut in half if I ran into anything. I was a very careful driver.

So the go-cart was not a great success. I don’t think my Dad ever really understood why. But he did go to a lot of trouble to do something nice for me.

– Popgun

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