Monday, December 25, 2017

Santa Claus Tests Cargo Bike

Santa Claus making deliveries with a cargo bike (photo courtesy of Bikes Welcome)
Santa tested out a cargo bike for delivering presents on Christmas Eve. He reported the bike worked out well getting presents to the homes of nice boys and girls. The only problem was getting up on the roof once he got to a residence. He stated "Flying reindeer just can't be beat when it comes to rooftop landings."

Friday, December 22, 2017

Friday Photo - Christmas Sweater Cycling Jersey

Dress for Christmas dinner plus the ride there and back
If you are fortunate enough to have good riding weather on Christmas day, this cycling jersey might be perfect for you. It is a cycling jersey with the image of a Christmas sweater vest printed on it. I don't know what you do with it the other 364 days each year. There's no surprise that it comes from Brisbane, Australia. They can generally count on pretty good weather for Christmas. You can buy it from Online Cycling Gear. If this is isn't formal enough for you, consider the tuxedo bicycle jersey from Corbah below. You can also ride to weddings with it.
Perfect for riding to a wedding

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Thursday Video - Mountain Biking Down an Olympic Bobsled Track

Mountain biking down a bobsled run
The Winter Olympics will begin on February 9 of 2018, so I thought this video was timely. Unfortunately, they don't yet have an Olympic event that involves mountain biking down a bobsled track, which is what this guy is doing. This activity belongs in the "Don't try this at home" category. Of course, unless you live in Lake Placid, New York, you don't have a bobsled track nearby anyway.

A couple things you should know about bobsledding - It looks like it's just sledding you did as a kid but on a bigger, faster sled. Bobsleds can hit top speeds of 90 miles per hour, well above highway speeds in your car. They also go through turns that can produce accelerations up to 5 g. This is the point that fighter pilots begin to black out. Pilots use special suits and techniques to counter this. In the video, you can't tell how fast they are going, but they don't go up high in the turns like the bobsleds do. Still, when the guys high five at the end, you can tell it was quite an experience for them.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday Photo - Stopped by the Police

What law was he breaking?
Check out this article in the from November of 2013. London had just had a spate of six cyclist deaths in just two weeks. London authorities then put another 600 police officers out on the streets at dangerous intersections, where they pulled over unsafe motorists and cyclists. Ben Watson had been taking his daughters to school in a cargo bike for four years. He was pulled over by a police officer who asked him if it was legal. Eventually, they let him go. I found it amazing that the article referred to his bike as "rickety." It doesn't look rickety at all to me.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Photo - Ferris Wheel on a Bicycle

Impressive - But how do you ride it?
Here's a unique photo of a bicycle with a Ferris wheel for the rear wheel. It comes from an article at Oddee called "15 of the Coolest Forced Perspective Photos. The other 12 photos are also quite good, but they have nothing to do with cycling.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thursday Video - Schwinn Sting-Ray Krate Collection

The second bike is a Schwinn Sting-Ray Orange Krate
This week's video features a gentleman showing his collection of Schwinn Sting-Ray Krates. These include:
  • 1968 Apple Krate
  • 1969 Orange Krate
  • 1969 Lemon Peeler
  • 1971 Grey Ghost
  • 1971 Apple Krate
  • 1971 Pea Picker
  • 1972 Apple Krate
If you were a kid in the late 60s / early 70s, you know these were the coolest bikes around. Over at Bike History they list the progression of the models from 1968 to 1973. These bikes are now very popular with collectors. If you have any of these bikes, they are worth a lot more than their original purchase price.

If you are like old bikes, there is a club in town called the Hoosier Antique & Classic Bicycle Club that night interest you. They will be having their winter swap meet on Saturday, January 27 at the Boone County Fairgrounds in Lebanon.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Rungu Electric Trike

The Rungu features two closely spaced front wheels
There are a lot of electric trikes out there these days, but the Rungu is unique. It has two wheels in front instead of in the rear, but it's the tight spacing of those wheels that really stands out. The distance between them is roughly equal to the rider's shoulder width. During turns, the outside front wheel rises up into the air, as seen in the photo above.

The bike was designed by Peter Godlewski, an avid surfer who lives in southern California. He used to ride an old beater bicycle to the beach, towing his surfboard behind him. That was fine until he reached the beach, and had to push the bike through the sand. The Rungu has been designed to go through difficult terrain, like sand, mud and snow. It's getting good publicity - The Rungu has been featured in:
 Here's a short video that shows the Rungu in action on the beach, in the desert, and going through snow:

Friday, December 1, 2017

Friday Photo - Dinosaur Attacks Cyclists!

Fortunately the T-Rex was slow and the cyclists escaped
You just never know what obstacles you will encounter when bicycle touring. Surely these two cyclists didn't expect to run into a tyrannosaurus rex - They haven't roamed the planet for 60 million years. When asked about this, the dinosaur responded "Rumors of our extinction have been greatly exaggerated."

You might notice that the right hand of this creature looks remarkeably like that of a human. That's because it is the hand of Zeb King, who works for Trek Travel. The photo is from one of his Twitter posts. He says this was just a "normal day of work" for him. Makes you wonder what else he does on the job..

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thursday Video - Touring Shiloh National Military Park

Entrance to Shiloh National Military Park (photo courtesy of
Last week we had a post on Touring Tuesday about riding through Shiloh National Military Park in Tennessee. One of the earliest major battles of the Civil War, the Battle of Shiloh was fought in 1862. This week we feature a video from a bike tour around the battlefield. It is two  minutes and twenty seconds long. There is no narration, just some pleasant music. The video shows some period cannons, monuments to various soldiers, and rows & rows of grave markers.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - World's Largest Cargo Bike

8rad - The World's Largest Cargo Bicycle
I ran across an article on the IceBike website about 8rad, the world's largest cargo bicycle. It has 8 wheels, is over 6 feet wide and 16 feet long. It was created by Nico Jungel. The article said he lived in Germany, but didn't say what city. Wherever it is, I sure hope it's flat. Jungel says it rides real smooth because the wheels have independent suspension.

8rad is now equipped with an electric motor. You can see it in action in this video. As you can see in the video, it is often  used as a flatbed, with the sides and top removed.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Bicycling, Mountain Biking and BMX Christmas Ornaments

Our exclusive tandem cycling Christmas ornament
At Circle City Bicycles we have a sister site called Fun Christmas Ornaments. Things can get a little slow at the shop this time of year, so we supplement our cycling business with selling Christmas ornaments online. Naturally, we have ornaments for cycling and mountain biking, plus over 100 other activities people do for fun - Everything from archery to zip lines. You should be able to find something for everyone on your Christmas list for around $10.

Please note that we do not sell traditional or religious Christmas ornaments. If you are looking for a red ball that says "Merry Christmas," we don't have any. But if you're looking for Santa Claus on a Float Plane, you've come to the right place.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday Photo - Don't Kill Me Texting

"Don't Kill Me Texting" - A message that needs wider circulation

These jerseys carry an important message for motorists - Texting and driving can be a deadly combination. If you want one of these, head over to the Don't Kill Me Texting website where they have them for sale. While I love the message, I have one complaint about these jerseys - Why are they mostly black? Wouldn't bright colors make the cyclists more visible and therefore safer?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thursday Video - Bicycle Jump Over 7 People with No Ramp!

Can he make it? or will he leave tread marks on their butts?
This week's video is a short one, only eight seconds long. A daring young man aspires to be the next Evel Knievil. Seven equally brave young men are laying on the pavement, to provide an obstacle he must jump over. How will this turn out? Will he leave tread marks across their backs, or will he successfully complete the jump and land safely? The only way to find out is to watch the video below.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Raptor Tricycle

Artist Markkus Moestue riding his dinosaur bike across Norway
Norwegian artist Markkus Moestue created a three wheeled velociraptor bicycle. He then road 300 kilometers across Norway's "Bible Belt." According to Moestue, this was a protest against creationism. The frame is actually parts of three bikes welded together. For the head and tail he hand carved these from styrofoam, then coated them with glass fiber epoxy before painting.

Here's a two minute video from his trip. Watch for the reaction of a horse when he rides by. The dinosaur bike apparently doesn't climb very well. There is footage of him pushing it up a hill. There was apparently some problem with the frame - The video shows a guy named Andre welding it back together.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Shiloh National Military Park

Cycling past cannons at the Shiloh Battlefield (photo courtesy of Memphis Cyclist)
If you want to combine American history and cycling, a great way to do that is to visit national historic parks. One that I had the pleasure of visiting many years ago was Shiloh National Military Park in western Tennessee. Shiloh was a battle that really opened the eyes of both sides regarding how bloody the conflict was going to be. It had the 7th highest number of casualties of any battle during the war, and it occurred relatively early (April of 1862). The only major battle prior to Shiloh was the First Battle of Bull Run. It only had a total of about 5,000 casualties, compared to 23,000 at Shiloh). It became the benchmark that future battles were compared to. Many Civil War veterans said they were never more afraid than they were at Shiloh.

You can ride the 13 mile route in the park, where the posted speed limit is only 25 miles per hour and auto traffic is fairly light. You will get a sense of the ebb and flow of the battle. Confederate general Sidney Johnston, considered the South's finest officer at the time, launched a surprise attack that caught the Union troops completely off-guard. It looked like the battle could be a spectacular victory for the Rebels, but Johnston was shot (probably by friendly fire). His death caused the attack to lose some steam, and Union lines began to stiffen. Although Southern troops continued to push forward that day, they could not break Grant's last line of defense, which had some pretty formidable artillery that you can see in the park. Despite the difficulties, Grant remained his usual unflappable self. When Sherman said it had been a tough day, Grant agreed but added "Get 'em tomorrow, though." After General Buell arrived with fresh troops that night, they pushed the Confederates back the next day.

If you ride your bike through the park, it's very easy to stop and read the information on markers, or admire the monuments that have been placed there by states where the troops came from and other organizations. You will also pass by features like the "Hornet's Nest" (so many bullets were whistling by they sounded like a bunch of hornets) and "Bloody Pond" (wounded men drank from the pond and it eventually became red from their blood). There's also the "Peach Orchard'" where so many peach blossoms were clipped by bullets that it looked like falling snow to some soldiers.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Photo - Cyclist with Wheelbarrow on His Head

How do you transport a wheelbarrow with a bicycle?
This week's photo comes from Cybersalt. There's no information about where this photo was taken. The guy at Cybersalt thought this was a way to comply with a helmet law. My guess is that this fellow simply came up with an innovative way to transport the wheelbarrow with a bicycle. I would never have come up with this solution. This is truly "Out of the box" thinking.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thursday Video - Golden Retrievers Go for a Bike Ride

We're all in, let's go
Here's a really short video, only thirteen seconds long. The lady has a three wheeled pedicab like bicycle. Instead of people, she's transporting three golden retrievers. They seem well-trained and don't jump off, but I wonder what would happen if they saw a squirrel.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Wheelbarrow Bicycle

It looks rideable, but can you carry anything in the wheelbarrow?
I ran across this photo out on Pinterest. It says it came from, but it looks like that site is now dead. The bike's original fork, wheel and handlebars have been replaced with a wheelbarrow. No brake levers are visible on the wheelbarrow handlebars, so I guess the rider has to stop with his feet. It doesn't look like you could carry much in the wheelbarrow, since it is tipped up pretty high. While I admire this gentleman's creativity, I think he should just so with a cargo bike instead.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Touring Tuesday - New Orleans Ninth Ward

The Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans
Here's a tour that's a little different from your average bike tour. Maybe that's because New Orleans is a little different than your average city. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans hard, and one of the hardest hit parts was the Ninth Ward. After the storm they fixed the levees, pumped out the water and started rebuilding. Ninth Ward Rebirth Tours shows you the people and culture of this area, and how they have persevered and rebuilt after the 2005 Great Flood.

This is a leisurely, four hour tour on cruiser bikes. Total cost (not counting lunch) is $65, with $5 being donated to a variety of local charities. One of the stops is a local museum called House of Dance and Feathers, which celebrates New Orleans street culture. At the lunch stop you'll get a chance to try a local po boy sandwich at Cajun Joe's, unless you ride on Sunday, when they are closed.

Ninth Ward Bike Tours has a sister company called the New Orleans Confederacy of Cruisers. They offer several other tours of New Orleans, including:
  • Creole Tour
  • Cocktails in New Orleans Tour
  • Culinary Tour
 Here's a short (just over a minute) video about their tours:

Monday, November 13, 2017

Gravel Grovel Coming Up Saturday, November 25

Competitors on a previous Gravel Grovel
The Gravel Grovel will be held on Saturday, November 25. That will be two days after Thanksgiving, giving you a chance to ride off some of those excess calories. For the hardcore types there is a 60 mile ride through Hoosier National Forest on a combination of gravel roads, singletrack trail and pavement. If you are looking for something a bit less strenuous, there is a 20 mile route. On both rides, you can save $10 by registering online. The rides start in Norman, Indiana, which is near the southern edge of Hoosier National Forest (the section just south of Brown County State Park).

Here's a video by Ed Green, who rode his first Gravel Grovel in 2016:

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Photo - Glacier Bike Downhill

Is this an invasion force? (photo courtesy of
Now here's a really wild mountain bike race called the Glacier Bike Downhill. It starts on a glacier about 3,500 meters (roughly 11,500 feet) above sea level in Switzerland. The competitors start off by running to their mountain bikes and then go screaming downhill, at speeds up to 90 miles per hour. The race doesn't last long - The winner usually finishes in less that eight minutes.

The photo above and the video below are from the 2012 race. Winning times through the years are listed at the Glacier Bike Downhill website. The winning time in 2017 was just five and a half minutes, which is about two minutes quicker than any other year. I don't know if they changed the route or if the conditions were easier than usual. Here's a video from a helmet mounted camera on the rider which finished tenth in the 2012 competition:

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thursday Video - Mountain Bike Speed Record

A little extra streamlining with a shell that covers the head & neck while resting on the shoulders
Here's the official video of Eric Barone setting a world speed record for a mountain bike. He maxed out at 138.75 miles per hour. To put this in perspective, think about driving your car on the interstate at 70 mph. You're going pretty fast - now double that speed. Now think about doing away with the car and traveling that fast on a bicycle.

You'll notice when Eric gets on the bike, he doesn't seem to have a lot of flexibility. That suit must be stuffed with insulation. Can you imagine the wind chill at 138 mile per hour?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Weird Bike Wedneday - Strandbeest Bicycle

The front wheel rolls while the back walks (photo courtesy of Digital Trends)
This week's weird bike is the strandbeest bicycle. If you're like me, you're asking "What's a strandbeest"? The word is Dutch for "beach animal," and was coined by Dutch artist Theo Jansen to describe his artistic creations. His works are kinetic sculptures that appear to walk, driven by wind on beaches. Check out this video to see one in motion.

Inspired by Jansen's work, The folks at CARV (California Art & Engineering Collective) began work on a strandbeest bicycle. After 700 man-hours of work over seven months, they took their new bike and participated in the Santa Barbara Solstice Parade. If you're wondering how it rides, here's what one of the bike's creators, Jon Paul Berti says:
  • A flat surface is required
  • Speed is about the pace of a brisk walk
  • It doesn't turn well 
Here's a two and a half minute video that shows the bike in action (They only show it traveling in a straight line):

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Oldenburg, Indiana

When you see Oldenburg, it's hard to believe you're in Indiana (photo courtesy of Chris Flook)
One of the great things about bicycle touring in Indiana is all the little towns you came across. If you're visiting a town for the first time, you never know what you'll find. One of those little gems is Oldenburg, Indiana, also known as the "Village of Spires." It's located in Southeastern Indiana, just a few miles north of Batesville. It was founded in 1817, and was intended to be a German Catholic town. To get Germans, they handed out flyers about their town in Cincinnati written in German. Later a convent, monastery and Catholic church were established in town. Today, much of the town is on the National Register of Historic Places. The streets all have German names, with English subtitles.

If you're looking to do a bike ride which starts in Oldenburg, you might want to visit Metamora, which is about ten miles away. It's home to the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site. There is a grist mill that you can visit, and you can take a ride on a canal boat. There are also plenty of small shops to visit - It's kind of like a small Nashville, Indiana.

There are a number of bed breakfasts in and around Metamora and Oldenburg:
At some time when you are in Oldenburg, I recommend that you stop in at the Brau Haus for their fried chicken. You may know that Indiana was a Wine Trail or a Chocolate trail, but there's also a Chicken Trail, which features over 30 places in southeastern Indiana known for their fried chicken. The trail features two places in Oldenburg: the Brau Haus and Wagner's Village Inn. I haven't had the fried chicken at Wagner's, but I've had it several times at the Brau Haus, and it has always been great.

Here's a short (one and a half minutes) video that highlights the attractions in Oldenburg:

Monday, November 6, 2017

CIBA Foundation Friend-Raiser on Thursday, November 16

The CIBA Foundation was founded by the Central Indiana Bicycling Association
The CIBA Foundation will hold a Friend-Raiser at the TwoDEEP Brewing Company on Thursday, November 16. It is scheduled for 5:30 to 8:00 PM. TwoDEEP Brewing is located downtown at 741 North Capitol (Capitol Avenue and St. Clair Street). If you are wondering what a Friend-Raiser is, it's a night of beer, CIBA stories and prizes according to online information. There is no charge, but they do ask that you register at Eventbrite.

The CIBA foundation was started in 1996 and has donated over 400,000 dollars to a variety of cycling related organizations, mostly in Central Indiana. These include:
  • Freewheelin'
  • Indy Criterium Cycling Festival
  • IndyCog
  • Pedal & Park
  • Bicycle Indiana
  • B & O Trail Association
  • Indy Cycloplex
  • Indy Bike Hub
To find out more about the CIBA Foundation, stop in at the Friend-Raiser on November 16.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Friday Photo - Bicycle Towing a Corgi on a Skateboard

Out for a ride
Here's an interesting photo than I found out on BuzzFeed. There was no information like where the photo was taken or who the guy is. While I like to see people riding and I like dogs, I have some safety concerns here:
  • The cyclist is not wearing a helmet
  • He only has one hand on the handlebars
  • The small wheels on the skateboard could easily get caught by obstacles and send the dog flying
 Now I'm sure the cyclist was very careful and both of them made it back home safely - But it's always a good idea to be as safe as possible.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Thusday Video - Kangaroo Horde During Bike Ride

The Kangaroos are watching Ben as he rides by

Here's a video that shows a huge gathering of kangaroos that cyclist Ben Vezina rode through. This area is Hawkstowe Park, which is just north of Melbourne in Australia. Now you may be thinking, they're just kangaroos, they're not carnivorous. Just keep in mind that the largest kangaroos are over six feet tall and weigh 200 pounds.

Australia gets a lot of press about all the deadly creatures that it has. These include all kinds of deadly snakes, venomous spiders and saltwater crocodiles. In the surrounding ocean there are sharks, plus the venomous box jellyfish and blue-ringed octopus. In an Australian study of deaths caused by animals, most were caused by domesticated animals (horses, cows and dogs). The wild animal that caused the most deaths? It was the kangaroo.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Mattapan Mobile Farmstand

The Mobile Farmstand in display mode
Here's another one of those odd but practical bikes (actually it's a trike). This one is called the mobile farmstand. The idea here was to come up with something that a person could fill up with produce, pedal over to the farmer's market, open up and start selling. There are 4 compartments, each with two bins. In transport mode, the two top bins and their covers fold down. Once on location, the two top bins are propped up and their covers are opened.

This bike was created by a group in Boston called BRACE. They developed it for the Mattapan Food & Fitness Coalition Mattapan is a neighborhood in Boston, and it apparently has a lot of immigrants from Haiti. One of the services the group offers is Haitian Creole language translation.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Mountain Bike Murder Mystery

Ken Kifer, ready to go touring
Today is Halloween, which means it's time for scary stuff. Check out Ken Kifer's The Mountain Bike Touring Trip, where mountain bikers on an isolated trail disappear one by one. Ken was one of the first to put a lot of material about bicycle touring on the Internet. I think he started back when most people didn't know what the Internet was. His site, Ken Kifer's Bike Pages, features a lot of  how-to information on bicycle touring and articles about his many bicycle tours. On three of those trips, he traveled over 4,000 miles.

As many of you know, Ken was killed by a drunk driver in 2003. The driver had been released from jail just four hours earlier for drunk driving. He apparently went to a bar, got drunk again and hit Ken. Kifer was only 57 at the time of his death, and he no doubt had a lot more bike touring left in him. His bike pages have been preserved out on the Internet, and you can still visit them today. It's just a shame that Ken's not adding to them. On the bright side, he made good use of the time he did have on Earth.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday Photo - Cycling and Deer Hunting

Off to the deer stand (photo courtesy of The Bicycle Blog of Wisconsin)

Here are four popular activities in the state of Wisconsin:
  • Rooting for the Green Bay Packers
  • Eating cheese
  • Deer hunting
  • Cycling
Here's a guy who has managed to combine the last two.  It's Dave Schlabowske, deputy director of the the Wisconsin Bike Federation. He's heading out to his deer stand on a fat bike with a Gates carbon belt in place of a chain.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Thursday Video - How We Do Laundry Off Grid with a Bike Powered Washing Machine

Reading a book while washing clothes off grid
Last week on Weird Bike Wednesday we featured a bike you could ride around town while washing your clothes. This week's video shows how the Fouch family wash their clothes while living off the grid. Power is provided by a stationary bicycle. In the video Esther takes you through the entire process: Wash, spin, rinse and a final spin. Don't worry - The video has been edited down to two minutes and 41 seconds. The family has three kids, so Esther must get plenty of exercise from doing the laundry.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Di-Cycle

My what big wheels you have!
According to Wikipedia, a dicycle is any vehicle with two parallel wheels. This particular one was developed by a Dutch company called GBO Design. The goal was to come up with a bike that could travel on land or water. In Holland, this would allow you to take the canals when the roads are too crowded. This vehicle won a 2005 design competition, but there isn't a lot of information about it on the Internet now. Steering is tricky on a dicycle, since you have to make a turn by slowing one wheel. How much you slow it relative to the other wheel determines determines the sharpness of the turn. I assume the lady in the photograph has her right hand on the steering control. There is probably a similar control on her left side as well. You can read more about the Di-Cycle on MethodShop.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Paying for Your Bicycle Touring

Team Road Show providing entertainment at RAGBRAI
Let's say you want to go on a nice bicycle ride like RAGBRAI, but you don't have the money to pay for it. What do you do? Well, for the folks at Team Road Show, the answer was obvious. They would provide entertainment nightly in exchange for their registration fees. They have done this every year at RAGBRAI since 2003. According to their website, the group includes:
  • Jugglers
  • Clowns
  • Circus folk artists
  • Musicians
  • Acrobats
  • Engineers and scientists
Most of them are from Iowa and Wisconsin, but they also have members in Oregon and Indiana. Below is a short video from one of their performances. If you want to see more, check out their video page.

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 - 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 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
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

 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