A company called Energy Return has been playing with an airless tire for a mountain bike. Pretty awesome when I consider how much time I spend changing and pumping up tires! I want my hours back!
This isn't really new technology. The first thing I thought of when I read about this was flat free tires for construction equipment. Here is a airless tire on a Caterpillar Skid Steer:
Crocodile Airless Tires
These tires are also available for cars, to some extent:
Fitted on a Hummer
This company has started working on putting them on a bicycle. Here's a shot from their site:
Skidding it out!
The idea seems pretty cool. Lighter than a standard tube and tire, no chance of getting a flat. The almost unanimous question from every comment thread it, "What if they get caked with mud?" A valid concern, but the Energy Return people are apparently working on a slick coating for the tire that will shed mud more easily. Here's another close up also from their site:
The Energy Return company has a video on Youtube showing off the tires. The camera work is a bit overdone, but the idea seems solid. They have a bunch more videos on their Youtube page, including a teaser at a road tire.
One thing I noticed is that there are some snarky responses from the Energy Return people to the Youtube comments:
"Just asking...How many products have you brought to market?" - Energy Return
I don't know who their online media marketing person is, but it seems like a good rule that you don't get into a pissing match with some nameless person on the internet when you're representing a start up. So we'll give tem +1 for cool product, and -1 for some a-hole working the YouTube account. But maybe it's just YouTube that turns you into an a-hole.
A couple years ago at VeloSwap, a company was showing off a mountain bike with what's called 650b tires. These are exactly between a standard 26 inch wheel and a 29 inch wheel at 27.5 inches. They said it was the best of both worlds, and would soon be adopted by everyone and we'd all be using our 29ers for doorstops and paper weights. Here, have an unnecessary graphic.
26" wheel 650b wheel 29" wheel
Is that too complicated? Here's a more simple graphic:
Still too hard? I can't help you.
One consideration for changing a wheel size (as opposed to adding frame size options) is that you need a completely redesigned frame and fork to accomodate the various sizes. That may be why 650b is a hard sell - frame, wheel, tire and tube companies must all be aboard. This is slowly changing however, as more and more companies are making 650b compatible parts.
Apparently, the concept is a popular one because Faction Bike Co started doing something similar with BMX bikes. Presenting the 22" BMX bicycle:
Again the proponents say it will revolutionize the BMX world like 650B will someday with the mountain bike world. Will 22" catch on? Well, BMX product giant Dan's Competition is now offering an S and M frame, fork and wheel kit that's 22":
Dan's watermark detected...
They claim "the quickness of a 20 inch, with the stability of a 24 inch". Sound familiar? I think these guys could save money and use the same marketing campaign as the 650B folks.
Our bedroom has been pretty goofy since we moved in. We have a nice bed and frame, but had been using a bar stool as a side table and had a terrible red accent wall. After some internet inspiration, the project was on! We read several how-to's on painting a chevron, or herringbone pattern, and we were off.
1. The first step was to sketch the wall and lay out the pattern. I measured the wall and window and sketched it all out on paper.
2. We weren't sure what size we wanted the pattern, so I taped out a couple ideas on the wall. We also ended up using a different angle, as you can see at the end.
3. Once we'd decided on the size of the pattern, I sketched it in SketchUp
I didn't want to have to do anything twice, so I drew everything up including the tape. This way, it was pretty well planned out before we started drawing.
4. We decided to paint the whole room and adjacent bathroom with the base color, a light gray. That took a couple extra days, but turned out good. We were also able to cover the terrible red wall (after several coats). You can see that we taped around the base board with 12 inches of butcher paper. This was great because it caught a couple errant drips that got away painting.
5. I used this green tape called Frog Tape, which was a great improvement on the blue painters tape. I will only use this in the future! The window was def the hardest part of the taping, and took the longest to be sure it lined up with the rest of the pattern.
6. Here's the whole wall taped. I also used a technique that I read about on another blog: Once we had everything taped of, we painted over the accent (white) areas with the base color. This way if the paint bled under the tape at all, it would be all gray. I also had to hand trim the tape in the areas where it needed to have a sharp edge. I did that with a breakaway knife and was careful not to cut too deep into the wall.
7. Once the base layer was dry, we went over it with the white accent color. We used a little 6" roller for this, which made quick work of the accent areas.
Natalie hard at work!
8. And here it is all dry. We let it dry for a few hours before pulling the tape off. The green dots are some small pieces of tape so I'd remember where to paint and where not to paint.
9. I don't have any pictures of us pulling off the tape, but we did a few things to make it easier: pulled it off at a 90 degree angle, and pulled it off kind of slowly. Only in a couple of places did it pull up the base layer, which we touched up with a brush.
And this is the final product! With some new white side tables and gray lamps and bed cover it looks pretty nice!
Every baby needs a few things, some you buy, and some you can come up with on your own. We were looking for cool mobils for the crib, and I came across a few neat ones:
Nice Futrama looking ship
Cool little astronaut
These were available over on ETSY, and seemed perfect for the little man... except holy shit find one under $50! I'm pretty open to spending dollar$ and cent$ on the little man, but it seemed like a lot for what we were getting. ARCHITECTURE SKILLS ACTIVATE! With some pretty inexpensive materials from Joannes Fabrics and some creativity juice, I was able to cobble something together:
Building the felt things that hang from the mobil was actually a lot of fun. They are filled with some pillow stuffing and sewed with thick yarn to give the edges a little more pop.
Ready for hanging!
For the frame, I took some 1/16' x 1/2" x 12" wood for modeling architectural models, and bent, clamped and glued it to a form. This would be done three times for the spider the felt things hang from.
The arm that supported the spider was the same material, although a little more of it.
Bending the support arms
I mocked up the whole thing in the vice to see how it was going to bend with the weight. Ultimately there were two of the support arms holding up the spider and felt things.
Early mock up
And here it is in action. It is all glued and clamped in place, so there aren't any fasteners in the while thing. There are two pieces of a larger, heavier wood block attached to the back for balast, so it can slide along the back rail of the crib easily, and be removed by just pulling it off.
I considered how the final loo was going to be for a long time, and decided to simulate that the joints were handled by the same satin ribbon suspending the felt things. They are only for looks, but I liked the softness of it all.
And, that is, as they say, all she wrote! Natalie is pretty pleased with the mobil, and that's what really counts. Total cost? About $8. Total awesomeness? Well, you will have to ask the little man after he's the first man on Mars.
If you were to log onto the internet, and search for 'Cherubim Bicycle' you would be in for a treat. These single speed and track bikes are super sexy and awesome. We saw one at the NAHBS last month, and it was really cool! Here's a couple of their more eccentric frames:
These are opposites in terms of stand over height, but this one is my favorite:
This one is a little wacky for my tastes, but I do love the handlebars!
And speaking of handlebars, check out these brakes:
Lastly, a shot with a guy... possibly the designer?
In any case, if this bike doesn't make you want to get a tubing bender and a welder, nothing will.
No, no it's not. But these alternative material bikes sure are cool! We'll start with the plastics:
But seriously folks, here are some pretty sweet plastic and composite material rides. This design is by industrial designer Matt Clark. According to the article, his vision is to mass produce this bike as cheaply as possible using recycled materials. How very Southern California, where the design originates.
Next is a bike produced by Saab called the DINGS. Theres not a ton of information on this bike out there, except that it was a prototype and was built in 1981.
I really like this view of the bike showing the structure of the frame.
And now for the wooden entries! Plenty of wood bikes have made the rounds, so we're going to focus on three of the coolest. First, there has to be more of these wood bikes than any other type:
Getting them hooked young
Next - this has to be one of the coolest designs I've seen. This is the Splinter Bike:
IN this CAD drawing you can really see how the drive system works. The crank turns a massive, 128 tooth ring that drives the rear wheel:
Lastly, a nice little angle shot:
Wood stand, naturally
Lastly, here's a gravity bike from Polynesia. This pic has been floating around the web for a while now, but no less cool for it:
All of these are sure forward thinking. Someday maybe we'll all be riding plastic bikes!