Keeping My Fingers Crossed

I vaguely remember that feeling…

It’s kind of strange, this blogging everyday about bike riding, while sitting around nursing a bad knee; I feek like a person on a calorie-restricted diet reviewing all-you-can-eat buffets.

I’ve been off the bike for coming up on 6 weeks now. The knee has improved to some degree, but I’ve plateaued at the level of not-quite-good-enough-to-commute-by-bike. The most challenging thing has been keeping myself from getting on the bike too soon and re-injuring the knee (been there, done that). Fortunately, I finally obtained a referral to a physical therapist this week, and I’m optimistic that getting on a rehab program will hasten along the healing process. We’ll see how it goes – I’m keeping my fingers crossed and my knees bent.

Ann & Tara

Ann Steele of Gold Country Cyclery out for a ride with “Tara”, her Silken Windhound

From the Gold Country Blog:

Some of our customers know that we own and breed racing and lure coursing hounds called “Silken Windhounds”. For more information on them visit our kennel website Sciroccohounds.

Back to the subject, our hounds need more exercise than just running about in our back yard. With trikes such as the Greenspeed GT3 that my wife Ann is riding in the picture with Tara in tow, show an excellent platform for exercising both the rider and the hound. The stability of tadpole (two front wheels) trikes provides more assurance that your hound can’t pull you to the side and lose control as you might on a bicycle. Ann has had as many as three hounds leashed to the trike’s rear rack. —Rick

[Greenspeed trikes are popular for touring and commuting as well. —ed.]

Gallery: Dennis’ Commuter Bike Projects

A couple of commuters for ya.

It’s taken me a couple attempts to figure out how to make my commute in a sustainable manner. My commute is 30miles each way, 20miles of that being gravel with a river valley and a couple of creeks to cross on either end. I work 7:00 to 3:30 or 6:00 to 4:30 five days a week as a machinist. The rest of the time I’m just a bike nerd.

My first attempt was on my custom Badger CX bike setup for commuter duty. This bike was built to accomadate 29×2.0 tires with fenders and has Surly horizontal dropouts with a der tab for use with gearhubs/singlespeed use. Odd mix of rock solid components including a White Industry cassette hub, Schmitt Dynohub, Paul brakes, Square taper FSA crank, XT Shadow rear der, Shimano600 8sp brake shift levers, Thomson stem, Ritchey Biomax bars, Planet Bike Cascadia fenders, and Brooks saddle.

I tried riding a mock bicycle commutes a few times on weekends, it was taking me 2-3 hours to ride in depending on the wind and gravel conditions, and that wasn’t going to be an acceptable or sustainable commute five days a week.

I thought about adding an electric assist, but considering the conditions I would be putting it through and what I wanted out of it, it just wasn’t penciling out. So started brewing up ideas with other projects I’ve been wanting to try out. I started with an old Schwinn Homegrown and an Xtracycle kit and here’s what I ended up with:

It’s still a work in progress, but it has made the difference between being able to bike commute and being stuck in the steel cage, err, car.

My assist is designed to run the constant on the way in, boosting my avgerage speed to 30mph, hence cutting my commute time down to an hour regardless of conditions. The motor is a 33cc 4cycle Suburu/Robins with a centrifugal clutch, this drives a Staton-inc 18.75 to 1 two stage gear to gear reduction. I have a freewheel on the gear reduction which then drives a  cog on my central jackshaft which then drives the rear wheel. There is also a freewheel on the jackshaft for the pedal chain, so the pedals freewheel separate form the motor drive, and the motor freewheels separate from the pedals. The motor is rated for a peak of 1.76Nm of torque at 5000rpm and a peak of 1.18kW power at 7000rpm. I geared my 80rpm cadence(my peak torque) to match the motor’s peak torque at 5000rpm. This puts the motor’s peak power at 7000rpm to my 110rpm cadence  which is pretty close to my peak power.

The final drive is through a Fallbrook Nuvinci continuously variable gear hub which allows a constant rpm input, helps maximize my fuel economy, and boosts my speeds. Geared the way it is now, running at full throttle unassisted, the motor is getting about 120mpg. More pedaling equals better fuel mileage and/or higher speeds.

I know my drivetrain is woefully inefficient, with the gear to gear reduction and all the chains open to the elements,  but it was the somewhat readily available starting point and I was tired of waiting. The next version will be much improved with all the chains and gear to gear reduction replaced with a custom fully enclosed Gates cog belt drivetrain I’m working up to fit on a much stiffer Surly Big Dummy frame.

Fairing will make the next big difference. Originally my plan was to modify a moped as a recumbent frame and fair that, and I may still, but the Xtracycle sure opens the doors to carrying capacity. I’m not sure how the upright fairing will handle, I guess I’ll find out. I plan on keeping it low. I’ll tuck down to complete the shape for maximum efficiency, and sit up for stability on the sketchy sections of gravel and traffic, and retain the ability to stand and climb. I’m planning on using a combination of Zote, Coroplast, and Lycra or some other flexible material over a frame to keep my carrying capacity and maximize the usefulness of the bike. The lack of carrying capacity in velomobiles has been a pet peeve of mine for awhile. Fast is good, but what use is it if I can’t use it for anything?

Anyways, enough of my rambling. There’s a bit more info and insight on what I’ve been doing with this creature and what lead me to it on my blog here: www.nonconformcycling.blogspot.comDennis

Trash Talking

Rep. McHenry doesn’t like bikes

A recent article published at the League of American Bicyclists website quotes a number of politicians and journalists who have gone on the record criticizing the use of federal funds for bicycling projects. Each quote is followed by an explanation of the issue and a refutation of the erroneous statements. Visit the League website to find out who’s trash-talking your favorite mode of transport.

[via BikePortland]

Gallery: Nico’s Diamant Montezuma

My bike is a black Diamant Montezuma, built in 2000 and bought new in 2001. The well-established German manufacturer Diamant now belongs to Trek and unfortunately doesn’t produce steel frames any more. So one could say that my bike has one of the last steel frames made by Diamant. I really love this bike. It’s now seven years old and I expect it to last at least another seven years.

I use my bike for nearly everything because it is the only vehicle I own (I’m 30 years old and have never bought a car). I grew up in Germany where it is normal to get around by bike. I did go to school by bike as well as to university and to work. Of course I also use public transportation from time to time. —Nico

  • Wheel size: 28″
  • Drivetrain components: Shimano Deore (3 x 9)
  • Rear brake: Avid Single Digit 7
  • Generator: Busch & Müller Dymotec 6
  • Headlight: Busch & Müller Lumotec IQ Fly plus
  • Taillight: Busch & Müller D-Toplight plus
  • Grips: Ergon GP1

And the Winners Are…

In late July the EcoVelo Bicycle Gallery only contained around around 15 bikes. Since it was a little slow-going to start, I set-up a raffle to help jump-start the submissions:

The EcoVelo Gallery is a community project comprised of photos of transportational/utility bikes* submitted by readers from all over the world. To show my appreciation and encourage submissions, I’m currently running a little raffle. Here’s the deal: I have 3 pairs of lightly used Speedplay Frog SS pedals that I’m raffling off to 3 lucky winners. All you have to do is send me 4-6 photos of your bike, accompanied by a brief description of how you use it, and your name will be thrown into the hat for the drawing. If you have more than one bike you use for transportation, feel free to submit multiple (separate) entries – I’ll enter a ticket for each bike you submit. When we reach 100 gallery entries I’ll draw three names and ship the pedals to the winners. The sooner we fill the gallery, the sooner I pick the winners, so spread this around and tell your fellow bike commuters. Let’s build a gallery!

The response was far better than I could’ve hoped for, and 6 weeks later I’m happy to report we’re at 109 entries. The first few people whose names were drawn were already good in the pedal department, but I did eventually find three eager recipients. So without further ado, the winners are… Jim, Tim, and Dartanyon.

Congratulations to the winners, and many thanks to everyone who participated. Let’s keep it going and grow the Gallery into something even bigger and better! —Alan

Bank More by Going Car-Less

According to a recent report published by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), using public transportation instead of driving a personal car will yield an average annual savings of $9,596 per year based on today’s gas prices and the average unreserved parking rate. The monthly “Transit Savings Report” is developed using data from the APTA Fare Collection Survey, the Colliers International Parking Rate Study, and the AAA Cost of Driving Formula. The figures assume the elimination of one car from the household.

The report also ranks U.S. cities individually, with Boston coming out on top (or bottom, depending upon how you look at it) with a whopping $13,490 annual savings, followed closely by New York and San Francisco.

City Monthly Savings Annual Savings
1 Boston $1,124 $13,490
2 New York $1,119 $13,431
3 San Francisco $1,054 $12,648
4 Chicago $978 $11,738
5 Philadelphia $946 $11,346
6 Seattle $944 $11,327
7 Honolulu $935 $11,215
8 Washington DC $883 $10,593
9 Los Angeles $871 $10,455
10 Minneapolis $859 $10,302

Of course, bike commuting yields even greater savings by eliminating transit fees and reducing long-term health care costs.

More at the APTA website

© 2011 EcoVelo™