Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday WTF: Uni-scooter

   Improving on the scooter is something innovators never get tired of. This version is called the Sbyke, and it *doesn't steer*. 


   Several lines from the trailer:

"It works on the principle of leaning to turn."
" steer from the rear."
"Rolls really nice because you have a large wheel in the front and small wheels in the back."
"If you're 50 or 60 you can probably still ride it."
"Kids need new things, they need toys."
"The Sbyke is much safer than a skateboard because... I do like the handlebars."

   For some reason, the UK version of the video has no dialogue. Check out more at

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Belt Drive with a Gearbox

   Say you want to run a belt drive, but you still want to run some gears. The obvious choice is an internal hub, like the Shimano Alfine 11 speed. I have this on the cargo bike and it's great, if a little heavy.

Shimano Alfine 11 speed hub

   There are actually other options for geared riding with a belt drive. The Santos Travelmaster has a Pinion gearbox at the bottom bracket allowing you run some gears one a single speed-type set up! The Pinion gear box has enough gears to legally buy cigarettes (18), using the standard 1 gear = 1 year conversion chart found here. Here is shot of the bike all loaded up:


   This travel master is all set up for bikepacking with racks all over the place. The heart of the bike is the gearbox, located at the bottom bracket. A bike frame has to be specially built to run this system. 

Pinion gearbox

You can also see the belt tensioning device off the bottom:

Integrated tensioner

   The Travelmaster has a few odd features to see. The obvious is the gearbox. As this test indicates, they are not quite perfected, but offer a lot of benefits such as range of gears, weight and perhaps most important: minimal maintenance.
   Second, The version of this bike with an internal hub has an eccentric bottom bracket. The chain tensioning is handled by rotating the bottom bracket. On the gearbox version, they have a built in tensioner hanging off the bottom. Since there is so much going on at the bb already, why not use a sliding dropout or something? Plenty of sexy options for that kind of tensioner.
   Last, and maybe least odd, the front brake is tucked behind the fork. I'm not sure this is anything more than an aesthetic choice, as it looks cool and different.

Cool brakes too

   Are gearboxes the future? Get that weight down and some standardization on frame mounting and maybe they are! 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Weekend Project: Log Seats

   It has been a wet spring here in Boulder, and we've had our share of downed trees. 

Path blocked by said trees

   When I was riding home the other day, I saw someone had left some cut up logs next to the road for the city to pick up. I saw them and I thought, "I can take those, and I can use them!". It took the help of a friendly passer by to help me even get these things in back of the truck.

Logs in the yard

   Once I got them home, I had to roll / drag them to the yard to see what we liked. The largest one was too big even to get through the gate.

Largest of the logs

   I ended up renting a dolly from Home Depot and using that to get the large log to the back yard. And I also rented a super awesome 20" gas chainsaw. Man, that thing made quick work of these logs. And a huge mess in the yard. 

Calvin and the chainsaw

  Usually timid around loud noises, Calvin's inner manly man came out and he was really interested in the chainsaw. He was quite a help when it came to spreading the saw dust all over the place. 

After the long cut

   I got comfortable making small cuts and then made one long one to flatten out the seat of the long log. I also used a couple lags to attach some legs to make it a little taller and a lot more stable.

Attaching feet

   After a log of grunting I got it flipped back over and it works perfect as a place to sit! We did generate a lot of saw dust, much to Calvin's pleasure:

Testing the bench out

   Once we got everything cleaned up, it looks pretty nice! I am looking forward to a long summer of sitting on that bench with Natalie enjoying a delicious IPA watching the kids play!

All cleaned up!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday WTF: Hot Tub Cycling

   The $18,000 Wet Fit hot tub stationary bicycle... "combines the benefits of a spinning workout with the therapeutic properties of water."

    "...most cutting edge development in mind-body health and fitness."

Engages all muscle groups for a full body workout

Strengthens muscles using water which produces greater resistance than air

Burns fat and reduces cellulite

Prevents calcium depletion and decreases the risk of osteoporosis 

Increases blood flow

   See it in action here:

Youtube Video

   Erase the memories of this thing here:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The IRO Has New Life

   I thinned the herd recently to free up some garage space and have less guilt about bike hoarding. Off to Chicago went the Cannondale single speed and Craigslist took care of the Salsa Fat Bike. The third bike to go was the IRO Model 19. This is a bike I've had a pretty colorful history with.

4th of July ride

2012: Bought the frame from Community Cycles
   Buying a stolen bike? Near as I can tell, the thief probably didn't realize what to do with the eccentric bottom bracket, and then in a weird act of integrity decided not to trash it and donated it. I set it up as a fixed gear, complete with disc brake and bar spin hacks.

2013: Sold back to the guy who it was stolen from
   Having no idea it was hot when I got it, I listed it on Craigslist after losing interest and a friend of the previous owner contacted me. In a poorly executed sting by him, I ended up selling it back to him for his friend.

2014: Bought it back from him
   Wanting to see what the single speed mountain bike racing scene was all about, I sent the owner an email asking if he wanted to sell the bike back to me and he was friendly and agreeable. I raced it in the CU short track series for a season.

Short track racing

   After that I set it back up as a commuter and was just tooling around on it. It was a good bike to ride to work, but more effort than I was enjoying.

Commuting in style

   With the addition of a real commuter to my stable, the IRO was relegated to hanging up in the garage. 

2016: Sold it to TradeDesk guy
   Upon the great purge of early 2016, the IRO was off to a new home. I sold it to a cool guy working at a local company called The Trade Desk. He was planning on setting it up as an office bike. He sent me a picture of some work he did to it recently:

Fresh paint and front wheel

   It's been a wild ride, baby, but it's great to see the new owner is taking care of it and putting new life in a bike with a lot of soul and a fun history. So long, IRO, thanks for the memories!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Stinner Bikes

   Stinner bikes come from just outside Santa Barbara, California specializing in steel and titanium frames and high end components. These eye catching bikes are available as road, cross, gravel, urban and mountain bikes. Here, have some eye candy:

Stinner CX

   Stinner bikes was started by Aaron Stinner in 2010. As one of a ton of small frame shops in the US, they work hard to separate themselves form the competition. They've done a great job of building clean, beautiful bikes that ride well by virtue of fit and finish.

Cyclocross titanium

   Stinner builds about 200 bikes a year. At a base price of $4000, they aren't cheap. But for $4k, you get a bike built to your size and use. Going on a lot of gravel rides and have short legs and long arms? They've got you covered.

Gravel titanium

   Stinner took Rookie of the year at the 2012 North American Hand Made Bicycle Show for his steel mountain bike.

MTB Steel

Road steel

   Not wanting to miss out on any part of the industry, they even offer a commuter bike. Who would spend a premium on a a casual use bike? Well, someone who commutes seriously!

Urban Steel

   Stinner strives to build bikes that, "unite their owners with the California spirit of freedom, fun and adventure." Check out the Instagram for more awesome shots of these bikes.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday WTF: Ice-Cycle

   We have an impending storm coming here in Boulder, time to break out your ICE CYCLE!

   Don't fall off the back.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Control Tech Affilado Seat and Post Combo

   If you're looking for a cool bicycle seat, there is no shortage of product out there for you. 

So many options!

   Leave it to Control Tech to leave everyone behind with the Affilado, a post / saddle combo that is cooler than the other side of the pillow. 

   This seat does away with all the hardware and is all carbon, baby. Tilt and forward and aft adjustment is accomplished with 20mm spacers. 


  This seat and post combo weighs in at a scant 260 grams. To compare, the Fizik Arione carbon braided saddle is 209 g + an FSA SLK seatpost is 250g = 460 grams. That's a heck of a savings! 

Seat apart

   This seat goes for around $300, although eBay listings have gone up to $360. A steal for a seat you have to anchor down so it doesn't float away. Check out more on the Control Tech site

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Drawbridge for Bikes!

   The Bay Farm Island Bridge is a draw bridge that connects Alameda Island and Bay Farm 'Island' (not really an island...) in the Bay area:

Bridge location in the Bay area

   What sets this bridge apart is that the Bay Farm Island Bike Bridge, which is a bicycle and pedestrian raising bridge alongside the automotive raising bridge! This encourages cyclists to ride between the islands without having to leave the bike path.

Bridge raised

   The Bike Bridge spans 125 feet and is the only drawbridge exclusively for bicycles and pedestrians in the US. It was build from '93 - '95 at a cost of 3.5 million dollars. That seems like a lot, but the 125 foot moving part is only a piece of the 800+ foot bridge.

Bridge entrance

   This bridge has some history. The original bridge was constructed in 1854 and had an oyster shell surface, whatever that means. The bike bridge differs form most other bridges that use gears to operate. The bike bridge uses a hydraulic system to operate two pistons raising and lowering the bridge.

Google Map View 
(Bike Bridge on right)

   Drawbridges just for bicycles!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Friday WTF: Ski Bike

   As old man winter is packing things up, lets harken back to a time before fat bikes allowed us to ride snow easily. A time when a combining of sports was as common as a combining of words (see portmanteau). Do these things even work?

Ready made product

Home made twin ski set up

For the little skier in your family

   Even the cargo crew is getting on board

Cargo ski bike

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Haanjo Follow Up - Now With More -Jo

   I've got about a couple hundred miles on the Haanjo, so I thought I'd write a follow up review. Following up on the initial report, I've added a couple things I'm excited to show off:

Money shot

   First, I installed some fenders. I got these bad boys at Community Cycles for a hard-to-turn-down $15. I had to mix and match the hardware a bit, but that's worth it. I was able to integrate the bracket for the rack with the fender mount, so everything is nice and secure and simple. 

Rack and fender mount

   I also did some bending of the mount to get around the disc caliper. 

Fender mounts

   With all the snow we have had, there's been plenty of water to ride through. The fenders work wonders! One sacrifice is that my mild toe overlap is now pretty significant. Have to try to keep the pedals opposite the fender when turning. At least I get a split second of the most horrible sound in the world before I go over the bars.
   Next was a light mount. I like to ride with my hands on the bars real narrow next to the stem, and my light didn't allow for that. I have seen mounts for stuff that works with the face place of your stem, and wanted to see if I could do something similar. Here's the result:

Stem mounted light mount

   I got some longer bolts for the face plate, and some small spacers and was able to mount the light below my stem.   This means the light is out of the way and also centered, which is nice. And I think it looks cool. 

   I bought a single pannier on eBay for a screaming deal to see how I liked it. Turns out I liked it so much I bought a matching set! I can carry everything now, in stylish matching blue:

Ortlieb bags

   I never thought I'd be riding such a seemingly pedestrian bike, but man is it convenient. I look forward to riding this bike not because it is is light or fast, but because it's so efficient and has the bells (literally) and whistles to make a commute easy. And it's just plain fun to ride.
   I also recently sold the single speed mtb I was using as a commuter before the Hanjo. So aside from the Cannondale SS, I have no single speed bikes. The times they are 'a changin'.