Archive for the ‘FENX II’ Category

Not all Jackets are created equal, they just aren’t; it’s a fact of life.   I happen to know this because I own one of the coolest jackets ever; it’s so cool that it was probably the understudy for Luke Skywalker’s jacket at the Yavin awards ceremony in Star Wars Episode IV:  A New Hope (I wonder  if that got broadcast across the galaxy as”The First Yavin Awards”?)  This happens to be a black, red, and white Fox Racing  padded leather jacket given to me in college by my father; the first racing jacket he ever owned.  He previously tried to give it to my  brother, but for some reason the cool factor didn’t hit him the same way.  I pull it out every Spring and Fall, never knowing what adventures it might be involved in.

Several years ago, one Spring afternoon in April, this jacket was resting on a post in my dorm room at Cedarville University.  The weather was perfect and my brain told me that my Lake Ann Camp polo shirt didn’t need that jacket to tag along to ward off the elements; the elements weren’t the danger, something else was coming.    The clock on the wall said I was late for a afternoon class, my last class of the day before my dad was supposed to pick me up for Easter break in Michigan.  Exiting the room, I assessed my transportation options:  the Revo scooter wasn’t working, so my best option was the navy blue custom tricycle I sometimes called the “FENX II”.  Strapping my feet into the pedal locks and adjusting the handlebars, I flew out of the dorm at nearly top speed…right down the paved hill my dorm rested on.  Hurtling towards the sidewalk, I didn’t see the motorcycle coming right away; once I did the bigger cycle missed me, but my cycle still flipped over and I was attached to it at the pedals.

Next thing I knew, I was surrounded by people and Campus Safety was on it’s way.  I was back on the bike now, but there was blood flowing down my arm, and small chucks of asphalt embedded near my elbow.  Campus Safety arrived, put me in the back of the car, and drove me over to get cleaned up by the medical minds.  In the least, I was able to give them an amusing tale as they patched up my arm; a tale I’ve since then gotten decent mileage out of.  Afterwards, I tired to make the last few minutes of my class that afternoon; I was out of luck.  The professor was walking out of the room as I came down the hallway with the tricycle, and all I had to do was lift my arm as he asked where I’d been.

In short order my father arrived from the Mitten to the North, my accidental attempt at being a terrible Evil Kenevil (or Johnny Blaze for that matter) completely unknown to him.  As I staggered toward the truck (I don’t walk, I stagger), the first thing he spied was my arm.  In that moment I think I had an idea of what Marty McFly must have felt like when he burned the rug at age 8.  He looked at me, then my arm again: “What did you do?” (The “this time” was sort of implied.)  I explained my accidental acrobatics as best I could, and the matter of fact  response kinda surprised me:  “Well, I always wanted to build you something that would do a better job of getting you around and protecting you from the weather…and apparently, yourself”

And with those words The FENX Project was re-birthed in earnest; all because I didn’t wear my Fox Racing  Jacket and have the aiging scars of my elbow making out with the pavement to prove it.

Riding Towards Eternity,

Aaron

 

 

A few nights ago I was out to dinner with a friend of mine and we were in Union Station here in Washington.  Just for fun I parked the FENX 4.0 about twenty feet away so I could keep an eye on it, just watch people’s reactions.  While my friend and I were talking about the crazy world that is the Christian Music Industry, a family with kids comes up to the FENX 4.0 and starts opening the canopy and side door, thinking they could just get in and drive it off.  So, I jump up out of my seat and run over to them, telling them it’s not theirs to play with and that someone actually owns it (me) and uses it.  Having startled them with my running skills that would give The Flash a run for his money, one of them responds “well I thought it was a Space Ride for Children…”  I was dumbfounded.  I clearly explained it was not – they missed the HUGE handicapped sticker on the back and admitted as much.  They walked away rather embarrassed at their mistake.  Me?  I walked away cracking a smile and shaking my head, content to continue dinner and jump back in to the discussion of the recording industry and a band called Mute Math.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VTCigbZ5qU – my favorite video of the FENX 4.0

Riding towards eternity,

Aaron

Video Credit:  Brian C. Romano

What is the FENX 4.0;  How and why did the FENX 4.0 come into being – this is its origin story.

The FENX 4.0 is a experimental and battery powered scooter built for me by my father to help me get around town as as I live and work in our Nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.

Five years ago – in 2004 – I was almost hit by a motorcycle on my way to class at Cedarville University in Ohio; I was pedaling a larger than life tricycle, which I called “FENX II” – it had a huge bird emblem on the front.  The motorcycle was averted, but I flipped the tricycle.  My father came to take me home to Michgan later that day for Easter weekend.  When I relayed the tale to him of what happened, he offered a suprising revelation – he wanted to build me an electric vehicle which would do a better job of protecting me from what just happened, as well as the elements – winters in Cedarville are a force to be reckoned with.     During the next few days in Michigan we began talking about designs and features.  Dad unvieled the finished product to me during Thanksgiving Break that same year, and we drove it back to Cedarville.  After the first test run I dubbed it the “FENX III”.  The whole concept shocked Cedarville, as no one had seen anything like this before.  After graduation the following spring, the FENX III got a long respite.  In the spring of 2006, when I arrived in DC to work on Capitol Hill, the FENX III came along, as my father and I had a dream of crusing down the National Mall with it.  In accomplishing that dream, we realized the FENX III wasn’t configured for life in DC – so Dad went back to the drawing board.

Fast Forward to Summer 2009 – after three years of designing, building, testing, and re-working – countless hours of love expressed through creativity and physical labor, the FENX 4.0 arrived in DC for good.  There were some trail periods of on the ground testing in late 2008, but on June 29th 2009, the FENX 4.0 took to the National Mall again.  To say the FENX 4.0 has drawn attnetion would be an understatement.  I always have to allot extra time when I go somewhere because people always have questions and I do my best to answer them.

As the adventure continues,  so will this space filled with pictures, videos, observations, and stories of the folks I meet on my travels around our Nation’s Capital. For, as Lewis said,” [This] has only been the cover and the title page…”

Feel free to send any thoughts or comments to FENX04@gmail.com

Riding towards eternity.