Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Weird Bike Wednesday - The Moox

The Moox is a bicycle / scooter hybrid
Here is the Moox, a bicycle and scooter hybrid. You can ride it like a normal bike or push off with one leg like a scooter. It has an aluminum frame and cro-moly handlebars. The Moox has 20 inch wheels with 4 inch wide tires. It is also equipped with 7 speeds and mechanical disk brakes. At the Moox website, you can buy one for $599 in any of these colors:
  • Green / Black
  • Blue / Black
  • Gray / Orange
  • White / Red
Personally, I'm not sure if these bikes will be a commercial success. I can't ever remember riding along on my bicycle and thinking "I wish I had a scooter instead of a bicycle right now."

Here's a two minute video that shows the Moox in action: 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday Photo - French Soldier with 1896 Gladiator Folding Bicycle

French Infantryman with folding bicycle
In the late 1890s, many European armies were looking at bicycles for military usage. There were two problems with standard bikes:
  • They took a lot of space when transported by train or ship
  • When troops had to fight their way across rough terrain, infantrymen would have to leave their bikes, fight their way forward, then go back, get their bikes and return.
In France, the Gladiator Cycle Company came up with a folding bicycle they wanted to sell to their military. A series of staged photos were taken, including the one above, showing a soldier in a variety of positions he might be expected to take while performing his duties. Other photos from the series can be seen on the Cycling History blog.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Thursday Video - Peter Sagan Avoids Dog Walker During Time Trial

Peter Sagan approaching an unsuspecting dog walker at high speed
Here's a very short (24 seconds) but exciting video of Peter Sagan during a time trial last year. The route was only six and a half miles long, so he's traveling at high speed when an elderly lady walking her dog starts to cross the road. What will happen? Will Peter crash into the woman? Will either one be injured? What about the dog? You'll have to watch the video below to see if Sagan's outstanding bike handling skill will save the day.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Weird Bike Wednesday - The Hoopy Wooden Bicycle

The Hoopy Wooden Bicycle
Bicycle frames can be made from a variety of materials, including aluminum, steel, titanium, carbon fiber and even plywood. Here's a bike called the Hoopy that I found on the Wooden Widgets website. They don't sell this bike, they sell plans so you can make one yourself. The frame is made from 3/8" plywood. There are numerous pieces that are glued together, fasteners are used to make the frame, which weighs about six and a half pounds. Wooden Widget says you should be able to make a Hoopy for about 300 Euros (about $370).

Here's a video that's just over two minutes long about the Hoopy. The first half shows just the bike. The second half shows people riding it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Touring Tuesday - Cycling Sri Lanka

Gwyn stayed at this private residence on his Sri Lankan trip
The weather has warmed up a little, but it's still pretty cold here in Indiana, so I'm thinking of tropical places where someone could go bicycle touring. Sri Lanka looks like it might be a good choice. It's not very far north of the equator, and since it's an island, the ocean ought to moderate the temperature somewhat.

While searching the Internet, I found an account by Gwyn Williams of New Zealand, who spent two months cycling around Sri Lanka. It's out on the Crazy Guy on a Bike website, which is a great resource if you are looking for first person information about cycling almost anywhere in the world. Gwyn took it pretty easy on his trip, averaging only about twenty miles per day. He must have spent a lot of time taking photos, because there are over 500 on the website - Many are of the local population.

Here are a takeaways from Gwyn:
  • He never camped - He always stayed at small hotels, guest houses or private homes. The owners of the home in the photo we're glad to have him. They said they needed the money.
  • Traffic was much less chaotic than in India.
  • Main highways were always in good shape. Other roads could be pretty rough.
  • Food was good as long as you like it hot.
  • National parks and archaeological sites are pricey - $100 (U.S.) or more
  • Mosquitoes weren't bad, and most accommodations had mosquito nets. Gwyn carried one with him - Some had holes in them.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Friday Photo - Riding on a Ledge

Don't look down!
I found this photo out on Pinterest. I don't know where it was taken, but it definitely was not Indiana. As someone who is terrified of heights, it scares me just to look at this photo. The view from there must be breathtaking, but anyone riding should keep their eyes on the trail!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thursday Video - Skunklock

Skunklock looks like an ordinary U lock
Well, here's an interesting product, but I'm not sure how successful it will be. It's called Skunklock, and it looks like an ordinary U lock for your bike. Inside, there is a noxious chemical under pressure. Should a bike thief try to cut the lock, it sprays out. The chemical is legal, but most unpleasant, often inducing vomiting. Skunklock had a very successful funding campaign on Indiegogo, raising over 75,000 dollars by the end of 2016. They project that the first locks will be available in May of 2018, with an MSRP of $159. I love their tagline: "The lock that fights back."

Here's the video:

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Weird Bike Wednesday - Ford's Inflatable Bicycle

Illustration of Ford's inflatable bike (courtesy of PSFK)
Now here's a weird bike that just looks stupid to me. The designers at Ford (Yes, the car company) have come up with a concept for an inflatable bike, and recently received a patent for it. They say they are focusing on the last mile, and this is to be ridden home from wherever you leave your car (assuming it's not in your garage). Now I don't doubt that an inflatable bicycle can be made. Back in 1956 Goodyear developed an inflatable airplane (Here's a 16 minute video about it). The purpose was to come up with a plane that could be dropped to pilots who had been shot down behind enemy lines.  But I just can't figure out what advantages an inflatable bicycle has over a folding bicycle - And there are plenty of good folding bicycles already on the market. We have some of them for sale at Circle City Bicycles.

They only practical use I can see for an inflatable bicycle is as a "bait bike." It could be fitted with a remote device to let the air out of the frame after someone steals it. Imagine the thief's shock when the bike deflates and becomes unrideable.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday Photo - Bicycle Towing a Rhino

Riding along with rhino in tow (photo courtesy of The Daily News)
It seems like you can transport just about anything by bicycle. In 2017, Matt Meyer from South Africa, towed a fiberglass replica of a rhino down the west coast of the United States. His goal was to rsie a quarter of a million dollars to aid rhino conservation through three non-profit organizations:
 His plan  was to ride nearly 2,000 miles from the Canadian border down to San Diego. He started on April 17, and reached San Diego on June 18. Matt's trip was sponsored by Piper & Heath Travel and Wilderness Safaris, so all of the donated funds went to the non-profits. Next time you are biking up a difficult hill, keep in mind that Matt Meyer did his trip while towing a 300 pound rhino.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thursday Video - Bicycle Powered Blenders

Boys enjoying smoothies from bike blender
Here's something for those of you who like smoothies. In this video, Paul Freedman shows you options for creating smoothies by bicycle. These products are available for sale at the Rock The Bike website. They offer three choices:
  • Fender Blender Universale: It is a rear rack with the blender attached. They say it should work on any bike.
  • Fender Blender Xtracycle: This is a similar blender, but made to fit on an Xtracycle.
  • Fender Blender Pro: This one is a stationary bicycle (actually there is only one wheel). With this one, the blender is right in front of you, so you don't have to turn around to see how if the smoothie is ready.
This is an interesting product, but I see two problems with it. First, I doubt that there is enough room for a bicycle in most kitchens - There certainly isn't in mine. Second, these blenders are expensive. The Fender Blender Universale starts at $249, the one for the Xtracycle begins at $225, and the Fender Bender Pro starts at $1,700. These are way to expensive for me, but then I don't like smoothies anyway.

Here's the video:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Weird Bike Wednesday - Mahalia, the Alligator

Riding Mahlia, the alligator tricycle
While looking for weird bikes this week, I found a whole bunch of them at Krewe of Kolossos. They are located in New Orleans, and have created quite a menagerie of "art bikes" for riding in parades. My favorite is an alligator called Mahlia (Named after local civil rights activist Mahlia Jackson). It was built on a tandem trike, and is 14 feet long. The head and tail were made from a variety of recycled materials, including cardboard beer boxes, New Orleans Yellow Pages and leftover paint. Mahlia debuted in 2011 and has been appearing in parades ever since. If you don't like riding an alligator, your other options include:
  • Hammerhead shark
  • Killer Whale
  • Crayfish
  • Eagle 
  • Bull 
  • Triceratops
  • Pelican
  • Grasshopper
  • Seahorse
  • Panda
  • Honey Bee

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Touring Tuesday - Southernmost Century

Mile 0 of U.S. Highway 1 in Key West
The southernmost century in the continental United States runs from Key Largo all the way down to Key West  At the end of the ride, you will be less than a century away from the island of Cuba. Lori Rackl, columnist for the Chicago Tribune, rode this this route and wrote about it for a newspaper article in the Chicago Tribune early last year. Key Largo Bike Tours offers supported bike tours, but Lori and her husband decided to go on their own after purchasing the company's $5, 54-page guide.

Originally, they planned to do the route in one day, but circumstances forced them to do it in two days instead. Lori said that was probably a good thing, otherwise they might have missed things like:
  • Hand feeding big tarpon at Robbie's Marina
  • Seeing rare and endangered key deer
  • No Name Pub, a former brothel with a ceiling covered by dollar bills
  • A homemade boat at Memorial Park that carried 17 Cubans to freedom in 2013
If you prefer to spend a little longer riding the keys, Pedal Across Wisconsin (yes, you read that right) has their annual Florida Keys Bike Ride scheduled for December 3-8 in 2018.

The ceiling at No Name Pub

Friday, January 5, 2018

Friday Photo - Muppets on Bicycles

Muppets breaking the law by riding more than two abreast
The Muppets have been riding bicycles for quite a while now. Kermit first rode a bike back in 1974. Director James Frawley said every time he shows The Muppet Movie, some asks how Kermit rode the bike. His reply is "I put him on a three-wheeler until he got his balance, and then I put him on the two-wheeler."

Frank Oz commented that he often works on difficult scenes that don't excite the public, but finds people get really excited about something that was easy to do. In the first film, considerable effort was required to do a balloon scene with Gonzo. Filming Kermit on the bike was easy, but that's what everybody talked about. "That's why we have a whole bicycle parade in The Great Muppet Caper."

I hope the Muppets continue to ride bikes, but they should do it safely. In the photo above from The Great Muppet Caper they are riding more than two abreast. Also, none of them are wearing helmets. Now I know it has to be tough finding helmets to fit frogs, pigs and whatever those other things are, but they need to set a good example for the young kids who admire them.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Thursday Video - Frank Zappa Plays the Bicycle

Frank Zappa playing a bicycle on the Steve Allen TV Show
This week's video goes way back - to 1963. Steve Allen had a syndicated late night TV show called "The Steve Allen Show." On it he had a variety of unusual guests, one of which was a young Frank Zappa playing the bicycle. Zappa is virtually unrecognizable here, since he lacks the mustache and beard of his later years. The quality of the music is rather dubious, but I think it's worth three minutes of your time. The video is black and white and of low quality (All video was low quality back then)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Weird Bike Wednesday - Rimski's Bicycle Piano

Rimski at his bicycle piano
This three-wheeled bicycle piano belongs to an Englishman named Rimski. He's a performer that you can book through the Let's Circus website. When he pedals, his piano bike moves sideways. If it moved forward, he wouldn't be able to see where he's going. I'm not sure how he steers.

Here's a video of Rimski in action. It's about three and a half minutes long and shows him doing a variety of things, including a headstand on his piano.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Touring Tuesday - Cycling Kangaroo Island

Cyclist in front of Remarkable Rocks (photo courtesy of Champion United)
As I write this, it's zero degrees with a few inches of show on the ground in Indianapolis. When the weather is like this, I dream of cycling in the tropics or the southern hemisphere. One such place I would like to ride is Kangaroo Island. As you might guess from its name, it is part of Australia. It is located about 70 miles south of Adelaide, in the state of South Australia. Roughly 90 miles long by 35 miles wide, it is considered one of the best islands in the world for viewing wildlife.

The island has numerous wildlife protection areas, with the largest and best known being the Flinders National Park. It was established as a wildlife conservation area in 1919 to protect endangered species. After its establishment, some native mainland Australia species were brought to the island. These include the duck billed platypus and the koala. The park also has some interesting geological formations, such as Remarkable Rocks in the photo above.

For a personal account of cycle touring Kangaroo Island, please visit Mike & Judith's Tour of Kangaroo Island. In 2008 they spent two weeks traveling from Perth to the island and cycling around. Here's a Lonely Planet video that shows some of the island's wildlife:

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year Doesn't Start With Good Cycling Weather

Poor Bicycle
Unfortunately, 2018 isn't starting out with bicycle friendly weather. Up in Goshen, Indiana the third annual Ice Cycle New Year's Day Ride is scheduled for 11:00 A.M. on New Year's Day. The expected temperature is 3 degrees with a wind chill of -14F.

Fortunately there is a spin class that meets at Circle City Bicycles on Mondays & Wednesdays at 6:00 P.M., and Saturday morning at 9:00 A.M. The first week is free, so why not give it a try? For more information, call our store at 317-786-9244.