Who am I?
Welcome, my name is Rickey Horwitz and this is my web page. My experience building recumbent trikes goes back to 1993. Back then, I didn't know anything about recumbents or recumbent tricycles. However, I did know the basics of structural design, human ergonomics and bicycle mechanics. 80% of what I needed to know I learned on my own. It was a long and painful process, much of which was a stern lesson in humiliation. However, I persevered and was able to produce three successful series of the Zephyr trikes and the Thunderbolt trike.
My affair with human powered vehicles started back in 1981 while working for Lockheed Missiles and Space. At the time, I was involved with in-flight hardware used for nuclear warheads and satellites. Most of this hardware was titanium or other types of strong exotic metallic alloys. Building up a vast supply of scrap material, I started building my own components for my bicycle. Eventually, it became a passion and I was regarded by my peers as a "Gear Head".
Back in 1983, I met a fellow riding an Avatar LWB recumbent. I had read about these bikes before, but had never seen one up close. I begged the guy to let me ride it. After much persuasion, he finally gave in. I hadn't ridden the bike half way across the parking lot before I crashed it. Luckily, no major damage to the bike or myself. It was at this time I envisioned building a stable recumbent tricycle. However, it would take 10 more years for me to finally turn it into a reality.
As mentioned, I started building recumbents back in 1993. In May of 1994 I announce the release of the Zephyr. This first model had mediocre disc brakes and weighed 48 Lbs. In spite of its performance drawbacks, the Zephyr was the most beautiful HPV ever produced, best of all it cost only $1,800. In June of 1995 I released the Zephyr Mk II. The Mk II looked almost identical to the original Zephyr, but weighed 10 Lbs less, handled better, had front spring suspension and disc brakes that actually worked. The Mk II sold for under $2,800. 1996 was the last year I was in business. I released the Mk III Zephyr and the Thunderbolt trike. The Mk III was slightly lighter than the Mk II and was a bit more refined. The Thunderbolt was a complete departure from the Zephyr, as the frame geometry was much different.
My professional background and education is in electrical engineering. This title is a bit convoluted, as I have worked in all facets of engineering including field operations, applications, development, manufacturing and test. †Chiefly, my expertise is in servo robotic controls and in microwave communications. However, I am currently focusing my attention towards manufacturing and test.† This allows me to exercise my agility with mechanical and electrical while using my documentation skills.
As a quick bio of my personal life. †In 1997, I relocated to Austin, TX to pursue an engineering career in a startup company that builds an innovative flywheel based UPS system (http//www.activepower.com).† In 2000, I divorced my wife of 15 years and have started my life all over again. †As a father of two teenagers (a son and daughter) I have more than one full time job.
Although I am sometimes described as an outgoing, humorous personality, I am an introvert and enjoy time to myself. †I am quick tempered with a passionate disposition. I am impatient- I draw a thin line between stupidity and perseverance. I relish sincerity and dislike arrogance. I enjoy people who are humble and understated. I strive to speak without bias and refrain from being dogmatic. I am a thinker, who always admires a good idea. †Last, I am a man of my word, and I hold my promises to the end.
So what are my future plans? Starting from the beginning again, Iíve recently put together a complete machine shop with all new machines (mill, lathe, welder, etc.).† My focus at this point is building a formidable product that can be easily manufactured.† At this moment, Iím building a series of experimental tricycles and should have a new website and possibly a new company by the fall of 2002.