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Monday, October 23, 2017

Zombie Bike Ride

Open to anyone - You don't have to be a zombie to ride
There will be a free famtly bike ride this Friday night in Irvington. It's called the Zombie Bike Ride, and it starts at Indy Cycle Specialist in Irvington. Sunset on Friday is at 6:48 PM, so lights are highly recommended. We have a very inexpensive set of lights that sells for only $13. They aren't particularly bright, but bright enough that people will see you, especially in flashing mode. Both have lithium batteries that are good for 100 hours, and operate in either steady or flashing modes. We also have a front light that provides 450 lumens for only $25, which is a great deal.

Here's a video of riders leaving at the start of the 2011 Zombie Ride:


Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Photo - Red Baron Bicycle Trailer

The Red Baron is about to go out on patrol
There are a number of bicycle trailers that you can buy for transporting kids. Burley trailers are the best known, but there other companies who also make quality bicycle trailers. To get something really cool like this Red Baron trailer, you'll need to make it yourself. Fortunately, Instructables has a ten step guide to making one. Most of the materials are fairly common: Things like boards, brads, screws and brackets. The finished product looks really good. There's even a dashboard with switches and buttons for the kid / pilot to push. The only thing missing that would make it look more authentic is a black Iron Cross on the sides, just like Baron Manfred von Richthofen had on his plane.

Here's a 20 second video of a flight up the driveway.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thursday Video - How to Build a Bike-Riding Centaur Costume

Ready for a Halloween ride
Here's a video that might come in handy this month. Kyle Scheele shows how to make a centaur costume. For those of you who have forgotten your Greek mythology, a centaur is a half man half horse creature. Kyle starts with a tandem bicycle, to which he makes no permanent alterations. He uses simple materials like cardboard, PVC pipe and paint. The final product looks pretty good. The back legs move in tandem with the front pedals, so it actually looks like the centaur is moving forward.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Deliveroo Upcycle Bike

The Deliveroo Upcycle bike has 34 kitchen gadgets
This has to be one of the weirdest bikes featured on this blog. It was created by the European delivery company Deliveroo and Designworks. The inspiration for this machine was the fact that the average British household has $345 worth of unused kitchen gadgets. This bike contains 34 kitchen utensils, including:
  • Rolling pin handlebars
  • Potato masher pedals
  • Panini press seat
  • Whisk spokes
  • Can opener brake levers
  • Countertop frame
  • Turkey baster horn
  • Microwave as the rear storage unit
  • Meat thermometer speedometer
You can read more about the bike on GearJunkie. Here's  a video about it:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Touring Tuesday - The Little Train of the North

Have Native Americans traded in their horses for bicycles?
You might want to put this trip on your schedule for next summer. There is a 200 kilometer (124 miles) bike trail north of Montreal, Canada called the P'tit train du Nord. The name translates to "little train of the north" in English. It's a popular trail, so it has all the amenities you would expect. Things like bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, restaurants and bars. The trail winds through the Laurentian Mountains, but since it's built on an old rail line, the grade is very gentle. The northern part of the trail is paved, while the south end is crushed limestone. If you just want to ride the trail one direction, there are shuttle buses that can take you from one end to the other. If you are going to ride one way, the prevailing wind in the area is out of the northwest.

You can find more information about the trail at GoBiking.ca - Cycling in Ottawa-Gattineau. One thing they don't mention is the tee-pees you can camp in along the trail. According to information on Oopsmark, they camped in tee-pees all three nights they spend on the trail. Here's a four minute video of a three day ride on the trail:


Monday, October 16, 2017

McKinley and Hobart Bicycle Club

1896 Campaign button for the McKinley and Hobart Club
Bicycling was a crucial component of the 1896 presidential election, and not just because cyclists advocated for better roads. The Panic of 1893 and widespread dissatisfaction with Democratic President Grover Cleveland seemed to indicate an easy win for Republican William McKinley. Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan threatened to pull off an upset with a radical new campaign strategy. Up until this time, presidential candidates did little traveling for two reasons. First, it was very difficult in those days. Secondly, by the standards of the day, it was considered beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate to actively campaign in that manner. In regards to the first point, Bryan realized that railroads made travel much easier. As far as the second point was concerned, he just didn't care. He was going to take his message to the people with a "whistle stop" campaign and establish a new norm.

McKinley stuck to his "front porch campaign," where he remained at home and made speeches to supporters who came to visit. He reminded an aide, "Don't you remember that I announced that I would not under any circumstances go on a speech making tour?" Over 750,000 people would come to his home in Canton, Ohio before election day. Republicans came up with the idea of flooding the country with their campaign literature, much it transported and distributed by cyclists. They also formed the McKinley and Hobart Bicycle Club (Hobart was the Republican vice-presidential candidate). The club was formed on August 5, 1896 in Chicago, and chapters were soon springing up all across the country. Members of this club took part in many parades, and also escorted Republican candidates and speakers. On October 9, three hundred cyclists rode through Indianapolis before getting on a train to Canton, Ohio for a speech by McKinley at his home. Along the way, the train stopped at other cities to pick up additional cyclists heading to Canton. On October 30 one hundred Indianapolis cyclists rode to former President Benjamin Harrison's home and escorted him to Union Station, where he embarked on a speaking tour supporting McKinley. The McKinley and Hobart Bicycle Club was prominent in smaller towns also. By the end of October, the Terre Haute chapter had 850 members. Thirty-five members of the Rockville chapter attended a rally in the town of Montezuma.

So did the McKinley and Hobart Bicycle Club make the difference in the election? It's hard to say. The 45 states were split pretty evenly. McKinley took all of the Northeast and most of the Midwest for 23 states. Bryan took all of the South and most of the sparsely populated West, totaling 22 states. Since McKinley carried the more populated northern states, he won the electoral count handily, 271 to 176. For more information, check out The Bicycle Boom and the Bicycle Bloc: Cycling and Politics in the 1890s.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Photo - Heading to that Great Bike Path in the Sky

Gordon Thorpe's family transporting his body to the funeral
Avid cyclist Gordon Thorpe died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 49. He never liked coffins or hearses, so his family took him to the funeral on a modified tandem bicycle. His coffin had a window in it so he could see the sky during the ride. Gordon liked to ride BMX bikes, so two of his riding buddies followed behind, holding onto opposite end of the handlebars on Gordon's riderless bike, which was between them. Other riders followed them.

You can find more photos and information at DailyMail.com. Here's the video of Gordon's final ride - May he rest in peace.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Thursday Video - Bike Lanes by Casey Neistat

Beware of obstacles in bike lanes!
This week's video is by Casey Neistat from 2011. He had just received a ticket for not riding his bike in the bike lane. This isn't illegal, but the cop told him he always had to ride in the bike lane. So he made this video to show that there are often hazards in the bike lane that make it dangerous to ride there.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Bicycle Powered Washing Machine

Go for a ride and wash your clothes (photo courtesy of Design Buzz)
Now here's an interesting bicycle that was created by industrial designer Mitch Shivers from the Philippines. It's a 30 gallon drum attached to the bike that washes your clothes while you ride. The best part is that you don't have to be stationary like other systems I have seen. You can just go on your normal ride (at a slower pace) and wash your clothes at the same time. Also the washing attachment will force cars to give you reasonable clearance when passing. Additional photos can be found on the Design Buzz website.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Cycling in Tennessee

River crossing by ferry in Tennessee (photo courtesy of Peter C. Koczera)
Tennessee is a very picturesque state with friendly people and drivers who are patient and courteous to cyclists. If you are looking for a place to do some bicycle touring, it's a  good choice. While touring, you might come across a river ferry like the one above. The state operates one on the Tennessee River, and one on the Cumberland River. According to their fee schedule, a car is one dollar and a person on foot is fifty cents. It doesn't say what they charge someone on a bicycle.

If you would like to be part of an organized tour, the Bicycle Ride Across Tennessee (BRAT) is held each fall in mid-September. It's a five day ride with camping each night at one of Tennessee's state parks. The route varies, and visits a different part of the state each year. If you would like to tour on your own, the Tennessee Department of Transportation lists five bicycle routes in different sections of the state. Turn by turn directions are available for each route. These routes are all from previous BRAT rides.

There are many interesting sights to visit in Tennessee, such as:

Monday, October 9, 2017

Newby Oval - The 1898 Indianapolis Velodrome

Advertisement for opening races (photo courtesy of Indiana Historical Society)
Indy's Major Taylor velodrome opened in 1982 and hosted track cycling events that were part of the 1982 U.S. Olympic Festival. Over 80 years earlier, The Newby Oval was opened for the 1898 League of American Wheelmen meet. Considering the state of sports at the time:
  • Baseball's first World Series would be held five years later in 1903
  • The Indianapolis 500 would not be held until 1911
  • The National Football League wasn't formed until 1920
  • James Naismith invented basketball just 7 years earlier. The National Basketball Association wouldn't come along until after World War II
Hosting the LAW Meet was like hosting the Super Bowl today. To get them to come to Indy, Arther Newby built the Newby Oval in the northeast corner of 30th Street and Central Avenue. It was state of the art at the time, featuring electric lighting (Edison demonstrated his first incandescent bulb less than twenty years earlier) and the grandstands could accommodate 20,000 fans (Today Bankers Life Fieldhouse can only seat 18,000 for basketball games (19,000 for concerts). The track was a quarter mile long and made from white pine. It was one of the fastest tracks in the country and numerous speed records were set there. The LAW meet went well, but railroads raised ticket prices, and the attendance was less than anticipated.

They say timing is everything, and Newby's timing was terrible. After years of rapid growth, LAW membership peaked in 1898. Automobiles were starting to appear, and they drew attention away from cycling. The facility was used for other purposes as well as bicycle races, but it was never able to generate enough revenue to pay its operating expenses. Demolition on the Newby Oval began just four years after it opened.

So did Arthur Newby declare bankruptcy and die penniless? Oh no - He and three other investors later built the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In 1915 the state of Indiana was outbid by a lumber company for the property that would become Turkey Run State Park. Newby and the other investors donated money to the state so they could buy it from the lumber company. Newby was a prominent Indianapolis philanthropist and later gave $100,000 to the Riley Children's Hospital. He also donated $50,000 each to Butler University and Earlham College.

Nearly everything is more expensive now than in 1898, but a look at the handbill above shows there are exceptions. Note the part that says "Wheels checked on grounds .... 5 cents." Today, with Pedal & Park, you get that free at many major events in Indianapolis.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Friday Photo - Cycling Past a Rainbow

Cycling Past a Rainbow on Glacier's Weeping Wall
Here's a sight that would cheer up any cyclist - A rainbow on the Weeping Wall in Glacier National Park. This is along the Going to the Sun Road, which is a National Historic Landmark. The road was the first major project by the National Park Service designed to accommodate tourists in automobiles. Construction began in 1921 and the road opened in 1933.

This photo comes from the Traipsing About: Stories and Insights from the Road website. Its about a couple named Dakota and Chelsea, who spent about three years cycling around the world. The last post on their website is from 2016, when the said they were going to spend some time in one place. That one place is Bend, Oregon.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Thursday Video - Bike Lane Opponents


Coronado, California has won national awards for bike friendliness
This week's video comes from the September 29, 2015 broadcast of the Late, Late Show. James Corden shows people at a public hearing speaking out against bike lanes in Coronado, California. Among their arguments:
  • We are covering Coronado with "paint stripe pollution"
  • The "graffiti" on streets reduces property values.
  • Markings can induce "a dizzying type of vertigo."
Despite the absurdity of the arguments, city officials tabled the plan, at least temporarily. I have no idea how this eventually turned out.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Motorhome Bicycle

Brian Campbell with his motorhome bike (photo courtesy of BikePortland.org)
Brian Campbell in Portland, Oregon built the motorhome bike shown above. Despite its size, the bike is relatively light. The structural pieces are aluminum and the panels are styrofoam roofing panels. It has a fairing and a canopy to protect him from from rain, which is especially important in Portland. This is the only home that he has. He earns some money building these bikes for others, but there isn't a lot of demand. Brian and his bike have been featured on Tiny House Blog and BikePortland.org.

 Here's a video of Brian talking about his bike with some interested visitors. He says he has ridden it all over the country. He also says that he has gone over 70 miles per hour in it, which I find a little hard to believe.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Cycling in South America

The sign says 'Share the Road" in Spanish
Here's an interesting blog called Rob's South America Trip 2014 by Rob Ainsley. It's about his travels through South America a few years ago. He did a lot of traveling by bus and took side trips by rented bicycle. Rob did a good job of getting to know the locals and visited many off the beaten path places. He found out that in Bogota, Colombia, they close off many of the downtown streets to cars from 7:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. on Sundays. During that time it's a festival with street vendors and people biking, walking, jogging and skating.

One of the most interesting places was an isolated town of about 500 inhabitants called San Cipriano. It used to have train service, but the trains have stopped running. To get there, you now have to take a three hour bus ride, then cross a river on a footbridge. Once on the other side, it is time to wait for what the locals call a "little witch." It's a small wooden platform with wheels that fit on the tracks. In one of the back corners is a motorcycle with the front wheel on the platform and the rear wheel on one of the tracks. These contraptions take travelers the final 7 miles to San Cipriano.

Rail service to San Cipriano

Friday, September 29, 2017

Friday Photo - Cyclists Encounter Storm Trooper

Luke! There's a storm trooper on the other side of the road! (photo courtesy of CyclingTips)
There's just no telling what you are going to see out on the road while riding your bike. In 2012 racers in Australia's Tour Down Under came across a storm trooper. We was walking across Australia to raise money for Starlight Children's Foundation. Those guys around the storm trooper are telling him "These aren't the cyclists you're looking for."

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - LFN Bicycle


The LFN bicycle (photo courtesy of New Atlas)
Here's a weird bike that was on Kickstarter in 2016. Instead of using a circular pedaling motion, it employs a vertical stepping motion. They bill it as "The only bike that makes you climb a mountain without the mountain." That doesn't really inspire me to buy one. It is also an e-bike. Apparently it didn't do too well on Kickstarter. They were looking to get $100,000 but only got $1,500 from 9 backers, so the project was cancelled. Here's the video from Kickstarter.











http://newatlas.com/lfn-bike-electric-vertical-pedaling/43689/

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Cycling on Nantucket Island

Montague folding bike parked in front of house on Nantucket Island
It's a little late in the season now, but you might want to take a look at cycling on Nantucket Island during the summer of 2018. The island is about 100 square miles in size, and roughly 30 miles south of Cape Cod. It's a popular summer vacation spot, and a good spot for casual, family riding. The high point is only 109 feet high, so there won't be any major climbs. You can take a 46 mile ride around the island. Be sure to allow time for sightseeing. There are three lighthouses and a whaling museum to visit. Among the artifacts at the museum is a 46 foot sperm whale skeleton.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday Photo - Milk Cans on Bicycles

Indian cyclists with milk cans on their bikes (Photo courtesy of Sarawakiana@2)
Here's a couple cyclists in Indiana carrying something I haven't seen in a while - old style steel milk cans. My aunt and uncle used these when they milked cows. I don't know if these cans are full or not. Empty, a milk can weighs about 20 pounds, so they would each be carrying about 40 pounds. The cans hold 10 gallons, and whole milk weighs 8.6 pounds per gallon, so that's 86 pounds per can for the milk. If they are full, each cyclist would be hauling 212 pounds.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Thursday Video - Hidden Motor Demonstration with Greg LeMond

Femke Van den Driessche prior to being busted for mechanical doping
Allegations of "mechanical doping," or the use of hidden electric motors in professional cycling have been around since 2010. It wasn't until 2016 that there was a confirmed case of this type of cheating. Femke Van den Driessche was competing in the women's under 23 competition at the Cyclocross World Championship when officials noticed wires coming out of her bike. For this she earned a six year ban from professional cycling.

In this short (under a minute) video, three time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond shows a bicycle with a hidden motor. I had always wondered if these motors were powerful enough to actually make much difference. As you will see, the motor makes the rear wheel spin at a pretty good clip. LeMond says it can deliver 250 watts for a half hour. That's pretty significant. While Mark Cavendish might generate over 1500 watts in a sprint, a typical pro cyclist will max out around 400 watts over a one hour time period.




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:



Monday, September 11, 2017

Alberto Contador Goes Out in Style with Stage 20 Win at Vuelta a Espana

Alberto Contador celebrates his stage victory
Alberto Contador announced that he would retire from professional cycling at the conclusion of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana. Since the race is one of cycling's three grand tours, and in his home country of Spain, fans were cheering him on during the entire race. Contador is one of only six cyclists to win all three grand tours (Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana). 2017 had been a tough year for Alberto, with no stage wins and a ninth place finish in the Tour de France.

Things didn't start off well at the Vuelta, and Contador lost several minutes in the first week of the three week race. He seemed to get stronger in weeks two and three, launching numerous attacks. Chris Froome, the leader and eventual winner, was able to match most of these, but on stage 17, Contador gained some time on the other contenders with a second place stage finish. He attacked again on stage 18, but was caught by Froome and others before reaching the finish line.

Stage 20 was the toughest of this year's Vuelta. After two category 1 climbs, it culminated with an out of category climb up Alto de L'Angliru. Considered by some the toughest climb in professional cycling, Contador took off early on the final climb, eventually passing all of those who were part of an earlier breakaway. The climb is nearly eight miles long, with an average gradient of 10%. Portions of it are over 20% grade, maxing out at 23.6% on the steepest section. Chris Froome had over three minutes on Contador, so he was cautious, not wanting to risk cracking and losing the overall victory. At one time Contador held a one minute 20 second lead over Froome and the other contenders. As they got closer to the summit, Froome and his Team Sky teammate Wout Poels mounted a charge, but Alberto managed to hang on and win the stage by 17 seconds. After finishing, Froome, who had just clinched his first Vuelta overall win, congratulated Contador.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Friday Photo - Atomic Bicycle Rack

I'm not a fan of nuclear energy, but I like this bike rack
Here's an interesting bike rack out in front of the Milton J. Rubinstein Museum of Science & Technology in Syracuse, New York. It depicts an atom with electrons flying around. There are three electrons flying around, so this must be a lithium atom.

I know this will offend some cyclists, but I find most bicycle racks to be eyesores. I think anyone installing a bike rack should invest more money and come up with something that is more attractive than the basic bicycle rack. Check out the Dero Bicycle Rack page for ideas. They have one shaped like a bicycle, you can spell out words in letters, add your custom logo to a rack, or come up with your own personal design.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Thursday Video - Copenhagen Bike Paths: An Example to All Cities

Copenhagen uses bicycle counters to record the number of cyclists passing by a given point
Here is a 2010 video about cycling in Copenhagen, capital of Denmark. The metropolitan area has a population of over two million, making it a little larger than Indianapolis. The technology they deploy for cycling is impressive. They have:
  • Automatic counters to measure the amount of bicycle traffic
  • For over 3 miles into the city center, stoplights are synchronized for cyclists. If you maintain a steady 12 miles per hour, you should not have to stop at all.
  •  At some stoplights, bicycles get a green light a few seconds before the cars. This allows the cyclists to get moving by the time the cars are starting to move.
  •  To reduce accidents at intersections where a car turns right and hits a bicycle going straight, there are flashing LED lights to warn drivers there is a cyclist comping up behind them in the bike lane.
  •  They have locked, on street parking for cargo bikes, which are linger than standard bicycles.
37% of commuters to work or school use bicycles. Some of their bike lanes are double, so faster cyclists can pass slower ones without moving into the automobile lanes. One of the streets shown in the video is considered to be the busiest cycling street in the western world.

The narrator for this video is Mikael Colville-Anderson, who was born in Canada. He is listed as Denmark's Bicycle Ambassador, but that is not a formal government post. He is an expert on urban design and mobility.


Here's the video:




Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Volkswagen Think Blue Electric Bike

Volkswagen's Think Blue Electric Bike at the 2010 Auto China Show
This week's weird bike is a folding electric bicycle from the automaker Volkswagen. It was shown at a Chinese car show in 2010. The the video below you can see Volkswagen's Chief of Research & Development riding it around. It folds up pretty easily to about the size of a spare tire. In this video, a guy unfolds one and gets it ready in about 45 seconds. The only bad thing about it is there are no pedals. It only runs off  a battery.

I have not been able to find any recent information about the Think Blue Electric Bike, although Volkswagen has continued the Think Clue program. Anyway, here's the video:


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Bed and Breakfasts Near the Cardinal Greenway.

Cyclists outside the McDowell-Nearing House Bed and Breakfast in Muncie
Looking for a short cycling vacation not too far away? Consider this idea. The Cardinal Greenway is Indiana's longest bike trail. Why not stay at a bed and breakfast near the Cardinal Greenway, and spend a couple days biking and a few local attractions. The Greenway runs from Richmond through Muncie and on to Marion. Here are some bed and breakfasts along the way:

Richmond:
Muncie:
Marion:

Friday, September 1, 2017

Friday Photo - Cyclists with the World's Largest Aardvark

Cyclists in front of the world's largest aardvark
This week's photo features cyclists in front of the world's largest aardvark. This photo comes from the website cycling.martinhilbers.info. This photo was taken on a bicycle trip from Victoria Falls to Cape Town. The aaradvark is made of concrete and is apparently used to mark the entrance to Planet Baobab in Botswana. Planet Baobab offers luxury accommodations and safaris (according to their website).

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thursday Video - 9 Worst Bike Lanes

Couldn't they just move the sign?
Think you have seen bad bike lanes? Check out the ones featured in this video. My favorite is the one in Holland. They have a lot of problems with automobiles and bicycles falling into canals. This video will show why.



Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - World's Longest Bicycle

The world's longest bicycle
This week's weird bike was the longest bike in the world when it was constructed in 2014, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.. This 117 foot long monstrosity was created by the Dutch cycling group Mijl Van Meres Werkploeg. Most of the bike is aluminum trusses, which connect the front wheel to the rear wheel.The rider at the back does all the pedaling. The rider in front has no pedals, and only steers. According to Frank Pelt, the group leader, the bike is easy to ride as long as you don't try to turn any corners.

Holding a Guinness World Record is often a fleeting thing. In 2015, a group in Australia created a bicycle that was 5 inches longer. Here is a video of the Dutch long bike in action:


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Biking Along Hadrian's Wall

Taking a break while cycling along Hadrian's Wall
If you like mixing your bicycle touring with history, consider taking a tour of Hadrian's Cycleway in England. Along the way you can see the remnants of Hadrian's Wall, A World Heritage site. Other historical sites include a Roman bath house, a Medieval priory, a couple Roman forts, a Roman museum and numerous castles.

The route is 174 miles on bike trails and country roads. You can ride it either way, but most riders go from west to east. The majority finish the ride in three days, but four or five days is recommended if you want to stop and visit the sites along the route. The sections on both ends of the route are relatively flat, but in the middle there are some steep but short hills. The route is marked as National Route 72, and can be seen on this map.

Here's a short video about cycling along Hadrian's wall:

 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Franklin's Lion Pride Ride

Riding through Franklin on the 2016 Lion Pride Ride
Coming up this Saturday is the Lion Pride Ride in Franklin Indiana. This is a fundraiser for the organizations which the Franklin Lions Club supports. There are three mileage options:
  • 12 mile family ride
  • 30 mile intermediate ride
  • 62 mile pride ride
The cost of the family ride is $30 per family, up to five family members. The other two options are $25 if you pre-register online, or $30 on the day of the ride. Police officers, veterans, and active duty military personnel may ride for free. Before the ride, doughnuts from Long's Bakery (Their doughnuts are hands down the best in Indy) will be available at no additional charge. After the ride, Hillbilly Hot Dogs will be onsite, and you may purchase an after ride snack.

Circle City Bicycles has a personal connection to this ride. Phil Thorpe was an active member of the Franklin Lions club before he passed away in 2016. He was one of the key organizers of this ride. Phil also worked part time at Circle City Bicycles for a number of years.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Photo - Header into Hay Bale

He must have been riding awfully fast
I found this out on Pinterest. No information on where this is, but I'm guessing somewhere in the Midwest. I like seeing roadside works of art. You never know what you might find when you're out cycling around in the country.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Thursday Video - World's Top Ten Cycling Cities

Cyclist getting on train in Tokyo
The video below lists the top ten cycling cities in the world. They say they rated 136 cities worldwide to come up with the top ten. Here they care in alphabetical order:
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Antwerp, Belgium
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Bordeaux, France
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Malmo, Sweden
  • Strasbourg, France
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Utrecht, Netherlands
To find out where each ranked, you'll have to watch the video. I couldn't help but note that all but one of these were in Europe, and none were in the Americas. Be sure and look over some of the comments. One of them said that Tokyo was not "cycling friendly" just "cycling chaotically."



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Sunkyong Bicycle Lawn Mover

Hammacher-Schlemmer sold this in 1985
Hammacher-Schlemmer is known for selling some oddball and expensive items. Things like a flying tricycle for $45,000. I ran across an article about their Sunkyong bicycle lawn mower which they sold in 1985 on the Classic Cycle website. Others have developed bicycle lawn mower prototypes, using  old style reel mowers to cut the grass. This design uses a spinning blade underneath the crank. This contraption never caught on, since it had some design flaws:
  • It wouldn't cut if the grass is wet.
  • The gearing was just too low. If you spun the crank at 100 revolutions per minute in high gear, the forward speed is just a bit more than one mile per hour, so it would take a while to finish cutting your lawn.
  • At a weight of 63 pounds, it took off on a downhill, and the single caliper brake didn't have adequate stopping power.
On the plus side, the mower had an MSRP of $399, which made it more affordable than most of the special items that Hammacher-Schlemmer sells.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Cycling Along Lake Titicaca

Cycling along Lake Titicaca
Looking to venture someplace exotic on your next cycling trip? Consider visiting Lake Titicaca in South America along the Peru Bolivia border. At an altitude of over 12,000 feet, it is the highest navigable lake in the world. With a surface area of over 3,200 square miles (roughly equal to eight Indiana counties), it is the largest lake in South America. It has been considered sacred by many cultures, including the Inca. It was also a center of political power.

For information about cycling along Lake Titicaca, visit Andes by Bike. At first there doesn't seem to be much there. Click on the heading that says "Sketch Map" to see a diagram of the route. Click on "Google Map" and you can see that the route goes around the northern tip of the lake and along much of its eastern shore.

Here's a video that shows some of the sights in and around Lake Titicaca:


Monday, August 21, 2017

Wabash River Ride

Crossing the Wabash River
This Saturday the Wabash River Cycle Club will hold its annual Wabash River Ride. The ride begins at Fort Ouiatenon in West Lafayette, with several mileage options:
  • 34 miles
  • 47 miles
  • 65 miles
  • 107 miles
I've ridden this ride a couple times in the past. It's a good ride with interesting scenery along the Wabash River. At the sag stops there will be cookies that are home baked by members of the Wabash River Bicycle Club. After the ride there will be a barbecue lunch.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Photo - Aero Helmet on a Budget

Do it yourself aero helmet
Okay, let's say that you're going to do a time trial, but you don't have the money for one of those fancy aerodynamic bike helmets. What do you do? The guy above came up with the answer. Just get some cardboard, fold it up so it ends with point, and attach it to your regular helmet.

This photo came from the blog Bikenarian - Inconsequential Ramblings of a Vet on His Bike.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thursday Video - Mark Cavendish / Peter Sagan Crash

Mark Cavendish (far left) going down after contact with Peter Sagan
The big controversy in this year's Tour de France was the disqualification of Peter Sagan after his contact with Mark Cavendish during stage 4. Cavendish suffered a broken shoulder blade and had to abandon the race. There seems to be little agreement over the incident. Some called it a "dirty" move by Sagan, while others thought it was "just racing." Most thought the penalty was overly harsh. I think this incident will be talked about by cycling fans for years to come, and there will never be agreement about Sagan's guilt or innocence. Take a look at the video below and see what you think.
 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - 1948 4-Man Bicycle

4-Man bicycle featured in a 1948 issue of Life magazine
Mankind has been building weird bikes for quite a while now. This 4-man bicycle was featured (along with other weird bikes) in a 1948 issue of Life magazine. There are 5 bike chains on it, so everyone is helping to propel it forward. The guy in front has his hand on the horn. The guy on top is Art Rothschild, who built the bicycle. He suffered three broken ribs while learning to ride it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Ten Best Cycling Holdays

See the world best by bicycle
I ran across an interesting article on the website of the London newspaper The Telegraph entitled "10 of the Best Cycling Holidays of 2017." All of these ten are commercial tours:
  • River Roaming, Czech Republic & Germany (Chapters Experience Holidays) - Starts with a day of sightseeing in Prague, then follows the Vlatava and Elbe Rivers to Dresden. They say along a river in Germany, you will always find a castle and a bike path.
  • Winelands & Whales, South Africa (KF Adventure Travel) - An eight day exploration of South Africa's western cape. Highlights include vineyards, whale watching and penguins on Boulders Beach.
  • Best of the British Isles (Wilderness Scotland) -  A twelve day ride through five countries (Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland).
  • Backroads of Burma (Intrepid Travel) -  Here's a chance to spend two weeks in a country that was closed to outsiders until recently.
  • Finland in Winter (Exodus Travels) - Here's one for you cold weather fans. Fat tire biking on frozen tundra, watching for elk and reindeer.
  • Bikes and Barges in Provence,France (Saddle Skedaddle) - Eight days in France. Along with beautiful views of other sites, you will get to see (but won't have to climb) the dreaded Mount Ventoux you've seen in the Tour de France.
  • Classic Cycling Tour of Nepal (Mountain Kingdoms) - Ten days of cycling with views of the Himalayas, plus a chance to see rhino, crocodiles and tigers in Chitwan National Park.
  • Seville to Porto (Explore!) - An eight day ride from Seville in southern Spain to Porto in northern Portugal. Along the way you can see sites left by the Romans and Moors.
  • Classic Wales (The Carter Company) - Most of the cycling is offroad. Highlights include Brecon Beacons National Park, St. David's Cathedral and a boat trip to Ramsey Island.
  • Vietnam End to End (Freedom Treks) - Here's a challenging 17 day, 1,000 mile trip from Ho Chi Minh City in the south to Hanoi inn the north.
While I have no doubt that these trips are all fantastic, I can't help but notice the anti Western Hemisphere bias. No tour in North, South or Central America made the list. There also seems to be a home country bias as well. The British Isles, which have about the same area as the state of New Mexico, have two of the ten tours.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Kokomo's Sizzling Century Ride

Not many hills on the Sizzling Century (photo courtesy of The Ride So Far)
If you are looking to ride your first century, and want to find one that isn't too difficult, consider the Sizzling Century coming up this Saturday. The event is run by Kokomo's Breakaway Bicycle Club.   The route is pretty flat (Where are you going to find hills around Kokomo?). Of course, the weather could make it quite challenging (It's called the Sizzling Century for a reason). Fortunately, they have some other route options (40, 62 and 80 as well as 100 miles) in case the weather drains your energy a little too fast. You can register online.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Photo - Bicycle Into this Post

Huh?
I found this image at Pathetic Photos. There's no information about where this photo was taken. Wherever it is, the Department of Public Works must hate cyclists, and is trying to kill them off.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thursday Video - Tegan's Bicycle Adventure


Tegan Phillips with her new touring bike
In 2014, Tom Allen of Tom's Bike Trip held a contest to give away his no budget touring bike and gear to whoever came up with the best plan for its next adventure. The winner was a South African college student named Tegan Phillips. Her video entry won the contest. Tegan's plan was to pick up the bike and ride from England through France and into Spain, where she could visit her sister. Since Tegan's trip, the bike (also known as "Charlie the Scrapyard Touring Bike," has passed through several more owners, and was last in seen in Hong Kong during late 2016. His current whereabouts are unknown.

Here's Tegan's bike winning video: