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A Car-free Earth Day

In new britain on April 26, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Cruisin’ New Britain in a Velomobile.

Merrill Gay looks through the one side view mirrror on his home-built velomobile. (4/22/09)

Merrill Gay looks through the one side view mirrror on his home-built velomobile. (4/22/09)


Chris Richie | Staff

Merrill Gay is not an engineer or a scientist. As the executive director of the New Britain Discovery Collaborative, Gay, a resident of the city for the last 19 years, went to school for political science, and can best be described as a public service/community organizer. Merrill Gay is however a self admitted environmentalist and tinkerer. 

Gay had always been an avid bicyclist, but as riding upright around town became less comfortable, he decided he wanted to ride recumbent and for it to be a tricycle for more stability. After searching for just the right model, Gay was dissuaded by the high prices of these niche vehicles, so he decided to build his own. After the months of drawing schematics, assembling the aluminum frame, and putting in the bike chain and wheels, Gay had his recumbent tricycle. With the addition of a corrugated plastic enclosure, the trike could now officially be called a velomobile. 

Gay rides his velomobile for picking up groceries, to and from work, and he’s even ridden it up to the capitol building in Hartford. Two years ago Gay took part in a month long “Car Free Challenge.” The month long challenge he took part in underscores his commitment and ideals concerning environmentalism.

“When I was 16 or 17, one of the first things I got to drive to was a gas[station] line.” 

This was during the early 70’s oil crisis, and it made an impression on Gay. “The fact that I was standing in line told me there’s a limited supply of this stuff.”

Though saving the environment might be a noble cause, Gay is also keen on the workout he gets pedaling around town. “Our lifestyle – exercise is walking out the door and getting in the car to go to work.” 

It was fitting then, that on Earth Day 2009, Merrill Gay could be found cruising the roads of New Britain, carbon free and getting some great exercise up the hills. 
  

Merrill Gay rides his home-built recumbent tricycle velomobile, around New Britain on Earth Day. (4/22/09)

Merrill Gay rides his home-built recumbent tricycle velomobile, around New Britain on Earth Day. (4/22/09)

Merrill Gay with his home-built recumbent tricycle, velomobile's hood opened in his driveway in New Britain. Gay's blog address, where he posts his latest velomobile exploits, is prominantly displayed. (4/22/09)

Merrill Gay with his home-built recumbent tricycle, velomobile's hood opened in his driveway in New Britain. Gay's blog address, where he posts his latest velomobile exploits, is prominantly displayed. (4/22/09)

Merrill Gay has an odometer/speedometer fixed inside his recumbent tricycle, velomobile. (4/22/09)

Merrill Gay has an odometer/speedometer fixed inside his recumbent tricycle, velomobile. (4/22/09)

Merrill Gay at his home in New Britain, kneels by his next project, a tandem recumbent tricycle. When complete, the tandem tricycle will measure around 13 feet long and will not have a shell, making it less suseptable to side winds, therefore it will not be a velomobile. (4/22/09)

Merrill Gay at his home in New Britain, kneels by his next project, a tandem recumbent tricycle. When complete, the tandem tricycle will measure around 13 feet long and will not have a shell, making it less suseptable to side winds, therefore it will not be a velomobile. (4/22/09)

Merrill Gay rides his home-built recumbent tricycle, velomobile, around New Britain on Earth Day. (4/22/09)

Merrill Gay rides his home-built recumbent tricycle, velomobile, around New Britain on Earth Day. (4/22/09)

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  1. Nice job, Merrill! We need more “go green” citizens like you!

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