How to make apple cider with a bike.

I know a guy who rides a bike and has a small apple orchard. These two seemingly unrelated facts had him in my shop searching for a solution. Now you all know I love bikes, but apples? I love apples and I’m in the right place for them. Nothing beats apple pie for breakfast, homemade apple sauce (warm of course!), apple cider, apple juice and HARD apple cider Yeah! Garrett, my customer turned friend, has a big party every year in his orchard. The purpose for the party is two-fold. Naturally bringing together old friends to share food, drink and companionship in a gorgeous setting is a pretty good reason. Harvesting 20 heavily laden apple trees to grind and press into cider is another one. This kind of work needs man power!

Last year Garrett unveiled his man-powered apple grinder for the harvest. He used a bike to drive the grinder. Unfortunately his system broke a few times delaying the process and cutting into the drinking and general relaxation that comes with festivities. Garrett is very handy with wood, I’ll give him that. He built an ingenious wooden barrel with partially inserted stainless (food-grade of course!) screws creating a nice grinding action. However, the gears, aka. the drive mechanism, needed an upgrade.

Once I learned I would be paid in apple cider I perked up. We brainstormed and came up with a metal axle with key slot and a freewheel mount. Garrett got some cool Teflon bearings to mount the axle. This would solve the problem of the chain popping and the uneven spinning of the grinding barrel. Oh yeah, welding was also involved. I welded a flange on the shaft to drive the wooden barrel. The result? Smooth sailing and 25 gallons of cider! Thanks Garrett for sharing your food, beverage, friends and music with the best home karaoke machine, for a memorable family afternoon where adults sing, and the kid could play video games and even go online to obtain CSGO skins so  everyone had fun.