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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Dutch Bicycle Bus

Pedal powered Dutch bicycle bus (photo courtesy of treehugger)
This Dutch school bus is designed to hold one adult bus driver and up to 11 kids age twelve or younger. It also has an electric motor for those times when the pedal power just isn't enough. These buses are manufactured by a Dutch company called Tolkamp Metaalspecials. In a 2012 interview, the company said they had sold a little over 20 in Europe, and ha inquiries from around the world.

At around $15,000 these pedal powered buses aren't cheap. They also leave the kids exposed to the weather. One of the bus options is a waterproof storage box for the kids' backpacks. They don't offer any kind of shelter for the kids themselves in case of inclement weather.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Bike with Panniers

Arkel bags are great for touring
I found this photo out on Pinterest, and thought I would comment on it since it looks pretty similar to my touring arrangement. The panniers are all from Arkel. These are top of the line panniers. They aren't cheap, but they are made in North America of top quality materials and have a lifetime guarantee. The front panniers are the GT-18 model. There is also a GT-18BP, which looks the same, but can convert to a backpack. The mesh pockets on the outside are places where you can put items that need to dry out while you are riding. When doing an overnight ride, I put a change of clothes, shampoo and other items I need when taking a shower in the front right pannier. Then when I get into the campground, I just take the one pannier with me to the showers.

The rear panniers are Arkel GT-54 models. The first thing you notice about them is the left and right panniers are not identical. The right pannier has a long tube at the rear. This is for long items like tent poles or Thermarest pads. It's detachable, so you can remove it if you don't need it. There are plenty of pockets on these. I always used the lower outer pocket on the left rear pannier for my lock, keys and wallet. That way I can quickly lock the bike and get my wallet whenever I stopped somewhere.

If you have bulky items that don't fit into the panniers, you can use bungee cords to secure them to the top if the rear rack.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Indy's Brian Payne to be Keynote Speaker at Interbike

Brian Payne standing beside the Cultural Trail
Interbike, the bicycle industry's national trade show, will open on Wednesday. Brian Payne will be the keynote speaker. Brian is President and CEO of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, and was also the driving force behind Indy's Cultural Trail. Here's what Tim Blumenthal of People for Bikes said:

The success of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail is indisputable, as the bike business, general local business and property values have all increased since it was completed. We need retailers to attend this session to not just learn about what Brian and the city of Indianapolis did, but to come away with ideas on how similar trails or projects can be created across the country to boost local businesses and get more people on bikes.

The problem with having your project becoming a big hit like the Cultural Trail is "What do you do for an encore?" To find out what what he's looking at next, check out this article in Indianapolis Monthly.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday Photo - Alligator Bicycle Seat Cover

An alligator seat cover for your bicycle
Are you looking to make your bike stand out from the others? This alligator seat cover should do the trick. It is made from 100% acrylic yarn and can be found on Etsy. If you are a fan of the Florida Gators, you will have to get one of these. On the Etsy site it says these are sold out, but I bet if you asked Kalleen (the artist) she would be glad to make one for you.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thursday Video - Mackinac Island Bike Ride

Riding downtown on Mackinac Island
This week's video shows some of the cycling on Mackinac Island, located in Lake Huron. Since no cars are allowed on the island, people get around by horses, bicycles and walking. The most popular cycling route is M-185, which goes around the perimeter of the island. It's 8.2 miles long and offers views of Lake Huron on one side, and the island on the other. Most of the island is part of Mackinac Island State Park. Along the way you can see geological sites like Arch Rock, Devil's Kitchen and Skull Cave. The route also takes you past a historical site known as British Landing. When the War of 1812 broke out, British forces in Canada took advantage of Fort Mackinac's isolation. They landed at the north end of the island and stealthily moved towards the fort on the south end. Before the American defenders even knew there was a war going on, the British had surrounded the fort and demanded their surrender. The British took the fort without firing a shot.

There are a lot of bicycle rental places on the island, but I would recommend taking your own. At busy times your choice of bikes might be pretty limited. They also rent Burley trailers and Trail-A-Bikes for kids. Here's the video:

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Flatbed Truck Bicycle

Perfect for hauling bulky items
Here's the flatbed truck bicycle. It's an odd looking bicycle designed to transport bulky loads. It has a flat bed with a recumbent seat in the front left corner. There are four wheels underneath, and the crank and pedals are out in front. It was made by an Australian company called Trisled. They say they use it to transport bulky items around their factory and to their contractors. In 2010 it was apparently for sale to the public. Currently, it is not on their website. Instead they offer their maxi flatty, which appears to have a much smaller flat bed.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Touring Tuesday - On Hannibal's Trail

Crossing the Trebbia River with bicycles instead of elephants
The Wood brothers from Australia, came up with the idea of following Hannibal's route from Spain through the Alps into Italy while making a documentary. The documentary would simultaneously tell the story of Hannibal's march and their bicycle ride. Two years later they started filming for the BBC.

Hannibal's father fought in the First Punic War. His attack would start the Second Punic War between Carthage and Rome. To get into Italy, Hannibal had to cross the Alps with an army that consisted of thousands of infantry and cavalry, and 37 war elephants. Despite having a smaller army, he inflicted three major defeats on the Romans in the first three years of the war. The third one, the Battle of Cannae, is considered his masterpiece. Using his superiority in cavalry, he surrounded and annihilated a much larger Roman army.

During their tour, the Wood brothers visit the battlefields, along with other relevant sites. At the starting point of their journey (Cartagena, Spain) they visit the Punic Wall Museum, which shows the ancient fortifications around the city. It should be noted that there is no agreement by scholars on Hannibal's exact route. This topic was discussed in a recent issue of National Geographic. Here's a short video about the Wood brothers' documentary: