Tue | Dec 12, 2017

Road Flex: A true display of creativity

Published:Sunday | September 10, 2017 | 12:00 AMKareem Latouche
Designed by electrician Zelbert Reid, the cart uses two 100-pound rechargeable batteries to power the lights and music.
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With the current craze around mechanical innovation, it seems as though a handcart vendor is ahead of many automotive manufacturers. Relying solely on a 110cc bike engine, Kenroy 'Road Flex' Hibbert has been operating his mechanical cart for more than a year without any major mechanical challenges.

Before Hibbert was a handcart vendor, he was selling goods on the street, where he developed his sales techniques. However, he wanted to do something that would make him more mobile, so he and his friends decided to build a mechanical handcart with a twist. "Before the handcart, I used to have a trolley, but it was hard to push around, especially when the sun well hot, so we have to do tings to make life easier," Hibbert told Automotives.

 

SETTING THINGS UP

 

Instead of tiring himself by pushing the cart to and fro, he found a way to incorporate the assistance of an automotive mechanism to lighten the workload of manoeuvering the cart. However, finding a way to execute this plan required a lot of ingenuity and the assistance of some of his friends. "I started by doing most of the carpentry work myself, using two pieces of ply and some two-by-four. Over all, the entire process took me about three weeks," said Hibbert.

After the frame was built. he laid down the foundation paint, however, he was quick to point out that he was not responsible for the design. "We have to mek our ting look different, so I rope in my designer friend to do the artist work to mek sure the design stand out," said Hibbert.

Then came the challenging part of making provisions to house a battery and all the relevant mechanisms to move the handcart. "This use everything that a car use. It has indicator, gas tank, brake, headlamp, and a built-in clutch. Much like a motor bike, there is a chain that drives the back wheel," said Hibbert.

The next major addition to complete his dream project was to add a formidable sound system, which would comprise two rechargeable batteries. "From the cart build, mi start to put in the box dem and run the wire same time to make sure it sound nice, wid 15-inch speaker playing the bass and 12-inch playing the mid range. Of course, all dis need power, so we did buy two of the 100-pound batteries that they usually use with solar," revealed Zelbert Reid, electrician.

Eager to show how the cart works, he placed his feet on the standing rail, where there is also an emergency brake below his right foot, made from the rubber of a tyre. Then he placed the key in the ignition and started the cart while using his left hand to hold the brake on the handle bar. Once this was done, the cart was immediately in drive mode and was ready to be manoeuvered.

Whenever he needs to stop the cart suddenly, he simply steps on the emergency brake while holding the handbrake. So far, he has not had to use it. He emphasised that he is very cautious on the roads.

 

MORE THAN A MACHINE

 

Not only is Hibbert's machine for commerce, he also uses it to bond with his four-year-old daughter, who accompanies him some weekends. "She love it, especially when me tun on the lights dem. Is this time me use fi par wid har because she usually busy wid school in the week. So it's all about the weekends," said Hibbert.

His bestsellers are colognes and perfumes, followed by cellphone cases that have colourful designs. For a culture that likes to stay connected via telecommunications, this business was a no-brainer for Hibbert. "Everybody always asking me for cell-phone stuff, so I have to give them what they want, and as for the cologne, mi always give people good deals," said Hibbert.

Hibbert doesn't plan to stop here as he considers the possibility of expanding his selection of goods. "Mi waan have it as a mobile wholesale, where people can get things like thumbdrive and car radio to buy. Everyting - even rake and broom," Hibbert said with a smile.