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

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:

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Car Sized Bicycle

Is this to ensure safe passing? (photo courtesy of Inhabitat)
For World Carfree Day (September 22) in 2015, a group of cyclists took to the streets of Riga, the capital city of Latvia. To demonstrate how much space cars took up, they attached frames of bamboo poles to their bicycles and cycled around town for a few hours. I'm sure this improved improve cyclist / motorist relations.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Touring Turesday - Best Cycling Routes in France

Cycling through the French countryside
If you plan on visiting France, check out what tour operators Butterfield & Robinson call the 8 Best Cycling Routes in France. They are all day rides, from 25 to 55 miles in length. All are mapped out on Google Maps, so anyone can access them. Highlights of these routes include:
  • A visit to the historic area of Normandy, where the Allies first landed in France during World War II.
  • Trips through French wine growing regions.
  •  Magnificent Medieval castles
  • Battle sites of the Hundred Years War
  • Ride on a 2,000 year old Roman bridge
  • A loop around the French Atlantic island of Ile de Re.
Of course on any cycling trip to France, you will find many opportunities to sample French food and wine. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Ladies Mallow Run Winery Ride August 19

The Blue River Band will perform August 19 at Mallow Run Winery
The ladies cycling club Women Bike Indy will be having a bicycle ride starting at Mallow Run Winery on Saturday, August 19. Meet at the winery at 2:30 and be ready to ride at 3:00 PM. After the ride there will be a free concert featuring Blue River Band. The route will be 23 miles long on lightly traveled rural roads. You can see the route on Google Maps.

Mallow Run Winery is located in northwestern Johnson county, between Waverly and Bargersville. George Mallow settled the area in 1835 and built the barn which is now the tasting room. A nearby creek was named Mallow Run after him, which is the source of the winery's name. John Richardson grew up on this farm, then moved away to teach for 35 years. He came back after retiring, and planted his first grapes in 2000 on the 600 acre family farm. Today there are 8 acres of grapes, with the rest of the farm mostly planted in corn and soybeans. The tasting room opened in 2005.   

Mallow Run has a picnic concert series with performances each Saturday from Memorial weekend through September. Some of the concerts are free while there is a charge for others. Blue River Band will be performing a free show on August 19.They are a local country band, and have twice won the 8 Seconds Saloon "Country Battle of the Bands." Below are a couple videos of their songs:

Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday Photo - Zoobombing

Zoobomber in Action
Portland, Oregon is well known as a hub of cycling activity. One of their stranger activities is called "Zoobombing." Participants, usually 20 to 40 years in age, ride children's bicycles downhill. The name came about because the starting point is near the Oregon Zoo. This sounds like the kind of activity that would be frowned upon by the police and local government, but not in Portland. The Portland Police Bureau say the riders pretty much police themselves. Riding begins at 11:00 PM on Sundays.

Here's a video of a zoobombing run:

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Thursday Video - OttoLock

The OttoLock is now available at Circle City Bicycles
We just got in a new product called the OttoLock. It is a lightweight lock that can fit in your jersey pocket. Just looking at it, it's hard to believe it would actually provide much security. With multiple layers of steel and Kevlar, the lark is far more stout than it looks. The video below shows Ben Fox, Gear Editor at Outside magazine, trying to cut it with bolt cutters. While he does considerable damage, he does not break it. Afterwards, he shows how easily can cut a cable lock.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - The Aquaduct

The Aquaduct is a water purifier & transporter device
Here is a very odd-looking yet practical bike. It's called the Aquaduct because it is designed to transport and filter water for people in developing countries without a reliable source of clean drinking water. In between the rear wheels is a large, 20 gallon tank, which the user fills up at the well or other source. While pedaling the bike home, water is pumped from the large tank in the rear through a filter, and up to the small (2 gallon) tank in front. Once back home, there is a lever which can be moved to disengage the rear wheels, allowing the user to filter additional water while the bike is stationary.

The design is quite ingenious and won a prize in Google's 2007 "Innovate or Die" contest for a pedal-powered machine. Unfortunately, it looks like it never went into production. The latest post on their blog is dated 2008.

Here's a video about the Aquaduct:

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Biking Point Roberts, An Isolated Part of America

Low tide at Point Roberts
In 1846 Great Britain and the United States signed the Oregon Treaty, which specified the western borders of Canada and the U.S. It was decided the border should be at the 49th parallel. Unfortunately there is a peninsula that juts southward from the mainland just below the 49th parallel. This small area, just under 5 square miles, is known as Point Roberts. While it is part of Washington state, to get anywhere by land, you first have to go into Canada.

It's probably not worth making a special trip to Point Roberts, but if you should ever be in downtown Vancouver British Columbia, you're only twenty miles from this little outpost of America. According to the blog Life in Magic Land, there is a 12 mile loop that you can do in Point Roberts. The route is scenic, with views of beaches, eagles, Mt. Baker, and Gulf Islands. Traffic is light, since there is obviously no through traffic. If you want to rent a bike in Port Roberts, stop in at Pedal Pushers.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mass Avenue Criterium This Saturday

Action at the 2016 Mass Avenue Criterium
This Mass Avenue Criterium will be held downtown this Saturday. There will be racing all day, starting with a kids race at 1:00 P.M. At 7:00 PM, just before the big finale, there will be a 20 minute fixed gear race. The final race of the day will be a 90 minute mens race with $1,900 in prize money up for grabs. There are numerous restaurants around the course, including the Rathskeller and Nine Irish Brothers. The Bier Brewery Beer Garden is located on the outside of turn 1, offering good refreshment and a good view of the race.

Here's a video showing some of the action from the 2015 event:

Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday Photo - The Cyclisk

The Cyclisk in Santa Rosa, California
The Cyclisk is an obelisk made out of bicycles - 340 bicycles and one tricycle to be exact. The sculpture is 65 feet tall and weighs five tons. Oddly, it sits in an area of car dealerships, and was paid for by Nissan. The sculpture was created by artists Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector at a cost of $37,000. You might be wondering why Nissan would pay this much for art that features bicycles. It turns out that the city of Santa Rosa requires construction projects over $500,000 to spend one percent of the total on public art. Since the dealership they were building cost $3.7 million, they needed to spend $37.000 on art.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Thursday Video - Ram Attacks Cyclist

This ram hates bicycles
Although the title on this video is "Crazy Goat Versus Man on Bicycle," it is actually a ram (male sheep). If you wonder why it's called a ram, just watch the video. The video is only 51 seconds long, but the ram makes nine charges at the bicycle, then chases the cyclist around a car.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Picnic Bicycle

The picnic bicycle (photo courtesy of Instructables)
Are you looking to take a picnic lunch along for your bicycle ride this summer? Here's an article on the website Instructables that shows how you can make a picnic box that fits in the frame of your bicycle. Not surprisingly, the article is from a gentleman from the Netherlands. He now lives in Austria, where he quickly became known locally as "The crazy Dutch guy with his bicycle."

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Biking along the Ohio River

The Ramblin River Tour passes through Lincoln's birthplace (photo courtesy of Coast to Coast)
If you are looking for a route along the mighty Ohio River, Kentucky has the Ramblin' River Tour. The route starts at the southwestern tip of Kentucky and roughly follows the Mississippi River until the Ohio River splits off. From there the route turns east. It goes away from the Ohio River to avoid the congestion of Louisville, passing through Elizabethtown instead. It then heads north towards Cincinnati and again follows the Ohio River. The eastern end is across the river from Portsmouth, Ohio. State parks and other attractions along the way include:
  •  John James Audubon Museum & Nature Center (Henderson)
  • International Bluegrass Music Museum (Owensboro)
  • Rough River Dam State Resort Park
  • My Old Kentucky Home State Park
  • Abraham Lincoln's Birthplace (Hodgenville)
  • Old Kentucky Home State Park
  • General Butler State Resort Park
  • Greenbo Lake State Resort Park
You can download the kmz file from the website.

Monday, July 24, 2017

2017 Tour de France Results

Chris Froome celebrates his third straight & fourth overall Tour de France victory
Chris Froome won his third straight Tour de France on Sunday by 54 seconds. Although the winning margin was small, Froome & Team Sky looked strong through nearly all of the race. Their only moment of weakness was on the last climb of Stage 12. Fabio Aru took the yellow jersey as Froome faltered a bit and lost 20 seconds to him. Chris retook the jersey on Stage 14 and kept it the rest of the way. The big surprise in this year's tour was Colombian Rigoberto Uran who finished in second, only 54 seconds back.

The green jersey competition among the sprinters was chaotic. Two favorites, Peter Sagan & Mark Cavendish were out before the end of  the first week. Marcell Kittel of Germany looked like he had the green jersey won after winning five stages, and once had a more than 100 point advantage over Australian Michael Matthews. Matthews then went on a tear, winning stages and intermediate sprints. Just when it looked like it was going to be an exciting, down to the wire finish, Kittel crashed on Stage 17 and had to abandon the tour. After that, Matthews had an insurmountable lead and won his first green jersey.

There were only three Americans in this year's race. None did very well, but they all finished. Nathan Brown was 43rd, Andrew Talansky was 49th, and Taylor Phinney finished 159th in his first Tour de France.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Photo - Bicycling Musician

The Bicycling Musician (Ben Weaver) and his bike
Searching the Internet I found a article about Ben Weaver, a musician who travels from one show to another by bicycle. As you can see from the photo, he carries his guitar and banjo in special panniers on the back. The writer of the article (Jonathon Miles) rode with him from St. Paul, Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana. Along the way an elderly gentleman at a filling station talked to them a bit. When told what they were doing, he said "My mama told me never to talk to crazy people." Their tour featured 24 days of riding and 12 shows, covering 1,500 miles of travel. You can visit Ben's website and sign up for his newsletter if you want to stay up to date on his travels & music.

Here's a video for Ben's song "White Snow"


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thursday Video - Fleet Farming

Fleet Farming volunteers at one of their farmlettes
I'm on the fundraising committee for Bicycle Indiana. If you have any suggestions, please send them to me at I was doing some research when I ran across this group out of Orlando, Florida called Fleet Farming. They find homeowners who are willing to donate space (they call these farmlettes), which they use to grow salad greens. When the produce is ready to be harvested, it is picked and transported by bicycle to a couple local farmers' markets. The group has what they call "swarm rides" every couple of weeks. They ride to 3-5 farmlettes and do whatever work is necessary.

An owner of a local market came up with the idea in late 2013. By early 2014 the program was launched. It started with a borrowed bike trailer, 15 volunteers and 5 farmlettes comprising 2,500 square feet (about 1/16th of an acre). Not only have they grown in the Orlando area, but they have also added another local chapter on the other side of the country in Oakland, California. Their aim is to reduce the use of fossil fuels and agricultural chemicals. Their motto is:

Grow Food, Not Lawns!
Here is a video about the program:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Knot Bicycle

What went wrong with the top tube?
Now here's a unique bicycle frame. It's like a conventional frame except for the top tube, which has a big knot in it. This is the creation of a company in Milano, Italy called Otto Milano. There are three versions of this bike. Two are fixies without brakes, one with drop handlebars, and one with straight handlebars (shown above).  The other is a more standard bike with disk brakes.

I wasn't able to find any information about these bikes after 2015, so I don't think they were successful commercially. I wonder if they had problems with cracking in the top tube. That knot in there has to be a major stress riser.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Cycling Lake Erie Islands

Bicycles on Kelleys Island in Lake Erie (photo courtesy of A Dangerous Business Travel Blog)
Have you been dreaming of getting away from everything by going cycling on a remote island? Well, there are some islands in the Great Lakes that really aren't all that far away from central Indiana. The best known ones are Isle Royale in Lake Superior and Mackinac Island in Lake Huron, but all five lakes have islands. Here's a 2014 article about biking South Bass Island and Kelleys Island in Lake Erie.

The harbor area on South Bass Island is known as Put-In-Bay. It was the American base on Lake Erie during the War of 1812. From there, Oliver Hazard Perry led the American forces to victory at the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813. Today there is a 350 foot monument towering over the harbor, which is dedicated to Perry's victory and the peace that has existed between Great Britain, Canada and the United States since the War of 1812.

Kelleys Island is home to Kelleys Island State Park, which is located on the north side of the island. There are a couple mountain biking trails in the park. The North Shore / Alvar Loop Trail is a two mile intermediate level trail, while the East Quarry Trail is a beginner / intermediate trail that is five miles long. One sight that you will want to visit is the Glacial Grooves Geological Preserve. These grooves were carved out during the Ice Age.

To get to the islands you will need to take a ferry. There are several options:
Here is a short video about cycling on the Lake Erie islands:

Monday, July 17, 2017

2107 Tour de France Gets Intereesting

Fabio Aru in the Yellow Jersey after stage 12
After losing a couple star sprinters in the first week, the Tour de France got quite interesting in its second week. Chris Froome had looked unbeatable until the final climb on stage 12. Fabio Aru of Italy launched an attack and gained enough time to take the Yellow Jersey. He held it until stage 14, when he lost time in the short but steep climb to the finish line. Froome is back in the Yellow Jersey, but the standings are quite tight:
  1. Chris Froome (UK)
  2. Aru Fabio (Italy) 18 seconds back
  3. Bardet Romain (France) 23 seconds back
  4. Rigoberto Uran (Colombia) 29 seconds
Never in the history of the Tour have the top 4 riders been so close this late in the race. Froome has only a small lead, but he is the best time trial rider among the contenders. Since stage 20 on Saturday is a 14 mile time trial, he is expected to gain additional time against his rivals there. That means the challengers will have to take back considerable time before then. Their best chance to do that is on Thursday's Stage 18, which ends with an out of category climb up Col de Vars. The final climb is nearly 6 miles long with an average grade of 7.5%

In the sprints, Marcel Kittel of Germany has been dominant. With 5 stage wins, he has a chance to tie the record of 8 stage wins in one Tour de France. It has been done 4 times before:
  • Charles Pelissier (1930)
  • Eddy Merckx (1970 & 1974)
  • Freddy Maertens (1976)
Naturally, Kittel has a sizable lead in the Green Jersey standings. Michael Matthews of Australia is in second place with 294 points to Kittel's 373. Matthews may be able to pick up some points in the intermediate sprints of the mountain stages, but it will be very difficult for him to take the Green Jersey from Kittel.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday Photo - Dockless Bike Share

Abandoned bike share bicycles in China (photo courtesy of Streets Blog NYC)
Here in Indy, the bicycle sharing program uses fixed docking stations to rent and drop off bicycles. In China, private companies are using dockless bike sharing instead. The technology is quite impressive. To locate where the bikes are, they are equipped with GPS and you can locate them with your smartphone. After you pay (also with smartphone), the bike unlocks, which allows the front wheel to turn. When you are done using the bike, you don't have to return it to a docking station. Instead you just park it in an appropriate place. Some of the bikes used in China are quite cheaply made, which leads to piles like the ones shown in the photo. There have been some start-up companies formed in the U.S. that also plan to implement the dockless bike share model. In April of this year, the National Association of City Transportation Officials issued a statement entitled "Rogue Bike Share Providers Raise Concerns For Cities." Here is the first paragraph:

In recent weeks, “rogue” bike share companies have launched, uninvited, in U.S. cities with flimsy equipment and limited or no public notification, posing significant safety risks to the public, and fully divorced from larger transportation planning and municipal needs. Photos from cities in China, where rogue systems are already in place, show junk heaps of broken bikes. People who have used the bikes in the U.S. report that they are of poor quality and often unsafe.
Obviously, these officials are trying avoid the piles of abandoned bikes that have become eyesores in China.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thursday Video - Rattlesnake Encounter While Mountain Biking

Mountain biker's shadow as he flies over the handlebars
Now you would think that a rattlesnake stretched completely across a mountain bike trail would be easy to spot. In this video you'll see that isn't always the case. The snake looks remarkably like the shadows from bare tree branches. The cyclist hits his brakes really hard and flies over his handlebars. Fortunately, he didn't seem to have any serious injuries. Afterwards he had to wait while the rattler slithered through his back wheel before retrieving his mountain bike.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Bicycmple

The Bicymple - A Simplified Bike
The bicymple bills itself as "The bicycle simplified." It takes a minimalist design approach, doing away with the chain entirely. The frame is quite small compared to a standard bike, and there is a disk brake only on the front wheel. The crank does not drive the rear wheel directly, since this would make it to slow (That's why the highwheeler came about - Gearing later made the safety bicycle possible). The bicycmple has a speed similar to a fixed gear bicycle. With the optional rear wheel steering, it can turn in an exceptionally tight radius.

The bicymple was successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2013. The goal was $20,000 but over twice that much funding was raised. Exactly where this project stands now is unclear. According to their website they are taking pre-orders, but I didn't see anything saying when the bikes will be shipped. Here's a video about the bicymple:

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Springfield, Illinois

Darren Alff outside the Lincoln home in Springfield (photo courtesy of Bicycle Touring Pro)
If you want to take a cycling trip mixed in with some American history, consider Springfield Illinois. It's where Abraham Lincoln spent most of his adult life prior to becoming President. Among the sights you can visit are:
  • Lincoln Home Historic Site
  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
  • Lincoln-Herndon Law Office
  • Lincoln Tomb
While Springfield is the capital of Illinois, it is significantly smaller than Indianapolis, approximately the size of Evansville or Terre Haute. There are four trails available to cyclists:
  • Interurban Trail (8.4 miles)
  • Sangamon Valley Trail (5.7 miles)
  • Lost Bridge Trail (5.6 miles)
  • Wabash Trail (2.1 miles)
Here's a map of the trails.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Tour de France Update

Stage 7 finish - Who won?
So far the 2017 Tour de France has been disappointing. When it started, I was hoping to see:
  • Mark Cavendish chasing Eddy Merckx's record of 34 stage wins (Cavendish has 30)
  • Peter Sagan going for his sixth straight green jersey
  • Someone to come along & at least challenge Chris Froome for the overall title & make it interesting
On the Stage 4 sprint to the finish line Sagan & Cavendish collided, and Cavendish crashed, breaking his shoulder blade. Race officials disqualified Sagan, a  move which has been debated by many pro cyclists and cycling fans. In one instant, the Tour de France lost two of its biggest stars.

With those two out, Marcel Kittel of Germany looks like the favorite to win the sprinters' green jersey. He already has two stage wins, including the unbelievably close stage 7. In the photo above, it looks like a dead heat between Kittel (bottom) and Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen (top). The judges have access to a camera that takes 10,000 photos per second down the finish line. It showed that Kittel won by 0.2 inches.

So far, no one looks like a threat to Chris Froome, who is currently wearing the yellow jersey. Many thought that Richie Porte had the best chance to beat him. Unfortunately, Porte crashed while descending at 45 miles per hour, breaking his pelvis and collar bone on stage 9. Another contender, Nairo Quintana, is over two minutes behind Froome. Two time former champion Alberto Contador is more than five minutes back. Italian Fabio Aru is currently in second place, 18 seconds behind Froome. Perhaps he can make it interesting over the next two weeks.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Friday Photo - Cyclist Chased by Piglets

Found this photo on the Internet, but couldn't find any information about it. I guess the piglets just came out on the road to check him out. He's in no danger - Unless their mother comes looking for her little ones.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Thursday Video - Backflip from Swing onto BMX Bicycle

Preparing to backflip onto his bicycle
Check out this guy in the video below. It's a short video, under one minute. He builds up some height on the swing, then launches himself into the air. He does one backflip and nails the landing (10 out of 10). As soon as his feet hit the pedals, he starts riding away.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Bicycle with a Swing

This two story bicycle has a swing
Williamsburg, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York recently held its 13th annual Bicycle Fetish Day.The event brings out a lot  of crazy bicycles. It's hard to imagine anything crazier than the bike shown above. It has four pedalers (two low, two high) and one swinger.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Mountain Biking in Morrocco

Mountain biking in the Atlas Mountains
Let's say you do not like the color green. Perhaps you dislike the Boston Celtics or Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Why not try mountain biking in Morocco? The photo above brings to mind Buzz Aldrin's classic comment about the lunar surface - "Magnificent Desolation." The highest peak in the Atlas Mountains tops well over 13,000 feet.

There are a number of companies offering mountain biking tours in Morocco, including:

Here's some footage of mountain biking in the Atlas Mountains:

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Indy Criterium is this Saturday

Action at last year's Indy Crit (photo courtesy of Velerie DeWeese)
Saturday, July 8 will be an action packed day of cycling in Indianapolis. First up is the Indy Criterium. It kicks off with a CIBA ride at 9:00 AM, featuring 14, 32 & 52 mile options. There is also a 4.5 mile family ride starting at 9:30 AM. A 25 minute BMX stunt show will be performed several times during the day. Of course, there will be racing throughout the day, starting at 10:00 AM. There will be races for boys and girls, men and women, VIPs, and even one between two Handlebar bikes. At 6:00 PM there will be a bicycle parade, followed by the main attraction featuring the elite riders.

After the racing is done, it's time to get ready for the NITE (Navigate Indy This Evening) ride. The ride starts at 11:00 PM, and the twenty mile route passes through Butler University, Crown Hill Cemetery, and IUPUI. There will be an after party from 12:30 to 2:00 PM.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Friday Photo - Dodging Cows in the Tour de France

French Cyclist Warren Barguil dodging a cow in the 2015 Tour de France
The 2017 Tour de France starts on Saturday with a 9 mile time trial. While the race is always a grueling test of endurance, it seems like each year, some unlucky cyclists encounter additional obstacles. Last year the one kilometer to go banner crashed down on Adam Yates. In 2015 Warren Barguil had to dodge some cows while descending at a high rate of speed (above). In 2010 Marcus Burghardt crashed into a dog. The rider with the worst luck was Johnny Hoogereland in the 2011 TDF. A team car sideswiped Juan Antonio Flecha. This started a chain reaction which ended with Hoogerland flying into a barbed wire (see video below). Let's hope this year's Tour is a safe one with no major injuries.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thursday Video - Mark Cavendish's 30 Tour de France Stage Wins

Mark Cavendish pulling away for his 30th stage win in the Tour de France
The Tour de France begins on Saturday. Last year, Mark Cavendish increased his career stage wins to 30, trailing only the great Eddy Merckx with 34. Will Cavendish catch Merckx this year? We'll just have to watch and see. In the meantime, please enjoy this compilation of his 30 wins to date.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Carroll Gear Drive Bicycle

!897 Carroll Gear Drive Bicycle
Lots of people have wanted to get rid of the chain on the bicycle. Major Taylor set some of his speed records with a gear-driven bicycle. On his bike, the front sprocket rotated a shaft which transferred power to the rear wheel. The 1897 Carroll design used a third gear instead. This design came along as the bicycle boom was coming to an end, and never became very popular. It was built in Philadelphia by the Carroll Chainless Bicycle Company. One of these bikes sold for over $30,000 at an auction in 2007.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Evansville, Indiana to Haslett, Michigan

This hill near Waveland, Indiana is a little intimidating to the average cyclist
This week's post is about Jan Gagliano, who should provide inspiration to anyone who would like to go bicycle touring, but thinks they aren't physically up to it. She says she is the perfect weight for some 6' 4" - Unfortunately she is 5' 4". She is 64 years old, and rides at an average speed of 8 miles per hour. Her trip, which she took in 2012, went from from Evansville, Indiana to her home in Haslett, Michigan (A suburb of Lansing). Her report on the trip is on the Crazy Guy on a Bike website.

Jan was credit card touring (staying at motels), and only rode about 30 miles per day. There were numerous  anecdotes about the trip in, such as a visit to a cantaloupe farm near Vincennes. Her route took her through Terre Haute, where she was born. Her route passed through Amish country and spent a rest day in Shipshewanna. The biggest problem she encountered was the July heat.

Monday, June 26, 2017

2017 Tour de France Preview

2017 Tour de France route
The 2017 Tour de France begins on Saturday, July 1 with an 8 mile time trial. The Tour begins in Dusseldorf, Germany this year. It will go through Belgium and Luxembourg before entering France. Most of the first day's route will be along the Rhine River. It isn't until stage 9 that the riders will hit the mountains. That stage will have three out of category climbs on it. The riders to watch for this year's race are:
  1. Chris Froome is the defending champion and three-time winner of the Tour de France.
  2. Richie Porte has been strong this year - Perhaps this is his year to win the TDF.
  3. Nairo Quintana has two seconds and one third at the TDF. He's a tremendous climber but not so good on time trials.
  4. Romain Bardet is France's top hope to win.
  5. Alberto Contador has won the Tour de France twice. Can he do it again at age 34?
NBC Sports and NBC will provide live television coverage of the 2017 Tour de France. We'll have it on at the store. If you haven't followed the TDF before, you might want to visit our Understanding the Tour de France webpage to learn some of the race terms.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Photo - Indian School Bus

Not the most comfortable ride - But it beats walking
In parts of India they have school "buses" like the one shown above. They sometimes have as many as ten kids in them. Now if you add up all the weight of ten kids, their books and school supplies on the roof, and the bicycle itself, the guy riding this thing better be in good shape. God help him if there are any hills on his route. I'm guessing they don't use these trikes at villages located in the Himalayas. You can find more photos like this at Messy Nessy.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday Video - Bait Bicycle with a Hot Seat

This bicycle thief doesn't get far
This is one of the craziest videos I have seen. Three crazy guys set up a bait bike, and place it where they think bicycle thieves might try to steal it. The seat is made of metal, and there is black tape over it to make it look more like a normal saddle. They attach two Bernzomatic Torch Kits to the seat tube,which heat up the seat. I can't figure out if these are on all the time, or if they activate them remotely. None of the thieves get very far before hopping off the bike. After that the trio chases them down and say "You're on fire!" before spraying them with fire extinguishers.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - The Beer Trike

The Beer Trike from Coaster Pedicabs
This beer trike is made by Coaster Pedicab in Bonner, Montana. With it you can have two half kegs on tap. The tap handles have recycled bicycle chain around the outside. If you are wondering why you can only have two beers on tap, keep in mind that a full half keg weighs approximately 160 pounds. A brewery asked them come up with a bike that would let them serve beer, and this is what they came up with. If you want to buy one of these (or any other Coaster Pedicab bike), we can assist you. Just be prepared for a little sticker shock. They sell for nearly 7,000 dollars.

The video below is an interview with the Coaster Pedicab CPO (Chief Pedicab Officer) and their Vice President of Miscellaneous Stuff. The beer trike in the video is an early prototype. Note that the tap handles don't have bicycle chain. They have a small cog at the top instead.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Touring Tuesday - The Icefields Parkway

Spectacular scenery on the Icefields Parkway
The weather is getting hot here in Indiana. If you're looking for a cooler place to do some cycling, consider Canada's Icefield Parkway. It roughly parallels the continental divide in the Canadian Rockies for 144 miles. The entire highway is within Canada's Jasper National Park and Banff National Park. This route has been named as one of the World's Top 50 Riding Experiences. The route attracts a lot of auto traffic, and quite a few RVs as well, especially on weekends. If you are looking for a ride without a car in sight, this isn't the ride for you. However, there is a pretty good shoulder on most of the road. Along the route are over 100 glaciers, a couple waterfalls, and lots of great scenery. Be sure to bring warm clothing. Not only is the Parkway pretty far north, it's also pretty high. There are a couple passes that are over 6,500 feet high.

Here's a link to a map of the Parkway. Below is a video of cycling on the Parkway.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Stop in for Your Free Brown County Mountain Biking Guide

Free Brown County Mountain Biking Guide
The Brown County Convention & Visitor's Bureau has come up with a 26 page guide to mountain biking in their county. They are being distributed free, and you can come into Circle City Bicycles to get one. It has short descriptions of the mountain biking trails in Brown County State Park. If you aren't familiar with the park, it has mountain biking trails for all levels. You can find something appropriate whether you are a beginner, intermediate, advanced or expert rider. The guide also mentions the mountain bike trails outside the park. Last year, named Brown County as one of the ten best mountain bike destinations east of the Rockies. Much of this information can also be found online at

Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday Photo - Giant Squid Bicycle Rack

Giant squid attacking bicycles - Where's a sperm whale when you need one?
Well here's a bicycle rack that is a little different. Seattle has a giant squid that you can lock your bike up against. It was commissioned by the Seattle Department of Transportation in 2009. Artist Susan Robb created this sculpture and titled it 'Parking Squid." Note that the upper tentacle has a bicycle wheel on it.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thursday Video - Amazing Finish to a Bicycle Race

With a 30 second lead, Iljo Keisse crashes 1 kilometer from the finish line
This is a clip of Belgian cyclist Iljo Keisse in the 2012 Tour of Turkey. It has to be every pro cyclist's nightmare. The breakaway has succeeded, and one kilometer from the finish line he has an insurmountable lead of 30 seconds. Suddenly, disaster strikes - He goes down rounding a corner. Keisse quickly gets up and back on the bike. Then he realizes his chain is off. He quickly puts it back on and starts riding. Unfortunately, his lead has shrunk dramatically. Can he hold off the charging competition? You'll have to watch the video to find out.

Note: The announcers are supposed to stay neutral, but in this case they just couldn't help themselves.