Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Snowbike Enduro?

   Seems like fat bikes have really taken off, so here's one last post about riding in the snow before we only have smooth, dry, warm rides ahead. The Spirit Mountain Bike Enduro Challenge  is an event with a class dedicated to Fat Bikes.

Fat bike class

   They split up the classes at 3.8" tire size, and it was held like a regular enduro - fully timed. I like this because it's not shoe horning a fat bike into something it's not made for. This is racing an enduro format on the snow! Here's the only static shot I could find of this event:

Freeride Duluth pic cred

  I'm not sure if crashing in the snow is more or less scary than on the rocks. Check out a pretty cool GoPro video of the event here

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bob Trailer on a Thru Axle?

   I have a bob trailer that I used on the Colorado Trail, and I have to say - it was great. Easy access and no hassle at all. It comes with an axle for a 9mm quick release wheel, which is common enough. It looks like this:

9mm Axle

   You can see the extensions on the end that the trailer hooks on. Here's what it looks like mounted:

Mounted axle

   For the last few years, 9mm has been getting replaces by a 12mm thru axle. The advantages are a much stiffer rear end. Many companies are making slightly different axles, but they all work about the same.

Typical thru axle

   For a while they have only been on high end bikes that you wouldn't put a trailer on, so non-compatibility wasn't an issue. As Reganomics work their magic, technology trickles down to the more common bike, and BOOM we have the need for a trailer with a thru axle.
   Enter The Robert Axle Project. These guys are selling thru axles that will work with any frame and a Bob trailer.

   Their site is set up really great to help you find the axle for your bike. They run around $60 each, which is fair considering the axles are about that much without trailer towing capability.

Robert Axle Project site

   Now all we have to do is wait for the many other wacky technologies to catch up.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Winter Project: New Bike Box

   Get ready for a long one, because I'm excited and this is thorough! The cargo bike has been amazing. Calvin and I have put over 800 miles on it since we got it last year. 


   Calvin has been riding in a trailer modified to fit in the cargo area. It works great. It has restraints, some storage, a nice cover. 


Full 'o stuff

   As you see, there are a couple blankets in there. The front isn't sealed very well and when it's cold or wet, it is not comfortable. Since the winter was lots of time at home and no riding, it was a great chance to update the bike. This started as a 12 page Google doc with ideas, pictures and links. Here is how it went down:

Front protection

   Since the front protection was one of the biggest problems, I made the front nice and high. I used 3/8 plywood, and did a couple tests to see what the best way to keep it all together would be. First I laid out the bottom, front and rear. This would be most of the structure, with the sides as strengthening members, and the inner seat and back removable.

Judging sides and seat

   I had a lot of drawings and ideas, but didn't want to commit without laying the whole thing out and making sure it would work ok. Once the bottom, front and back were in, I clamped the sides on in several positions to see what would work out best. I also moved the backrest and seat around to see where they would be ideal. Calvin was my model since he would be the main user for a while:

Contain your excitement

   Once the sides were worked out, I went ahead and cut them down. You can see the general shape of the box starting to take.

Sides cut and clamped in place

   There is a space behind the backrest and the back of the box that provides some storage. Whatever we needed to carry could go here. Bike pump and spare tubes, jackets, lock, etc. It is nice and out of the way.

Storage area

   I  unmounted it from the bike to see how it would all look and weigh.

Inspecting the final design

From the back

   I took it all apart and sanded it nice and smooth, including the top edges. I also stained it a darker color to protect it from the elements.

Reassembly is the reverse of disassembly. 

   All done with the box, not it was just making the trailer work. Since the trailer has a great cover with all the clips and velcro, I removed the sides and mounted them into the box. 

Measuring the material

   The trailer sides and top are pretty stout. Inside there are new straps and belts to keep calvin secure. The front is sealed well, and when the top is closed it is nice and warm and protected inside. 

All done

   After getting everything together there were a few adjustments to make. I lowered the seat a little to give calvin more head room. He is very secure in it and we are sure ready for the Farmers Market to start up again!

Calvin ready to go for a ride

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday WTF: Cut Bike Lock With Twist

   Who is the bigger idiot - the thief or the owner??

What is the lesson here? 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Enough With the Cargo Bikes! OK One More.

  Check out the Scandinavian side bike, a production sidecar for a bike.

Scandinavian Side Bike

   This thing can be mounted on just about any bike with a normal rear triangle. The sidecar is a big a carbon fiber tub, making it a great choice for all weather riding. It also comes with a little windscreen to keep passengers protected from the wind.

Inside shot

   The inside has a pretty utility seat that will keep little ones comfortable. The site doesn't show anything in the sidecar besides kids, so their target demo seems to be family types.

   There are some shots of the hardware on the site, which is pretty interesting.  The sidecar is connected  by a rocker joint that allows the bike to lean.

Leaning the ride

   There is a plate connected to the seat and chain stay that interfaces with the sidecar.

Connector plate

   The base for the sidecar pivots, allowing the rider to lean while the sidecar stays on the ground. 

  The buckets come in a lot of colors, but we can all agree that raw carbon fiber is the coolest, right?

   The bottom of the sidecar is molded into two tracks that can be easily used for pulling with skis. Not terribly surprising considering it's called the 'Scandinavian' side bike. Although this kid appears to be attempting to escape.

"Get me out of here!"

   Are sidebikes the new cargo bike? No, no they are too wide to be used in most places. But they are also cool enough to consider!