Oregon Manifest Constructor’s Design Challenge

Oregon Manifest

The 2011 Oregon Manifest Constructor’s Design Challenge is coming up on September 23-24.

Oregon Manifest

Head Badges

Bicycle head badges are becoming more scarce every year, slowly being replaced by decals as a cost saving measure. I love head badges and in my opinion any bike without one feels incomplete and cheapened due to its absence. Some are works of art, while others are downright kitschy, but they all speak volumes about the bike on which they’re mounted. Let’s hope they don’t completely disappear in the coming years.

View some head badges at the following links:

NYT on Bike Storage in Apartment Buildings

NYT Screenshot

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A Trio of V/O Polyvalent Builds

V/O Polyvalent
Photo © Velo Orange

Velo Orange posted a trio of Polyvalent builds on their blog. It’s interesting to see how much of an effect component choices have on a final build, even when starting with the same base frameset.

Polyvalent Porteur
Polyvalent 650B Road
Polyvalent Commuter/Delivery Bike

Extanz Top 50 Bike Blog Refresh

Extanz

Extanz has published their second “Top 50 Most Influential Cycling Bloggers” list (the first was published back in May 2010). There are a number of new additions, with some of the more well-established blogs shifting positions up and down the list. Not surprisingly, Copenhagen Cycle Chic topped the list, with Bike Snob NYC taking the second spot. We were surprised to find ourselves a couple of spots higher this year at #5.

Thanks to Extanz and congrats to our fellow bike bloggers!

Extanz

Specialized Tools

I’m a big fan of versatile bikes that are ready for just about any challenge a year-round utility bicyclist might encounter. Bikes with strong frames, robust wheels, puncture-resistant tires, fenders, lights, racks, bells, and bags. Bikes that don’t provide any excuses for not using a bike instead of a car. I have a couple of bikes like this and I recommend them to friends. About 90% of my riding is done on all-purpose bikes.

I think of these bikes as being analogous to specialized tools such as freewheel spanners and headset wrenches. While we don’t use them as frequently as adjustable wrenches or multi-tools, a specialized tool for a specialized job is nice to have on-hand when it’s required.

While these “multi-tool” bikes see the most use, specialized bikes that fill the gaps not covered by more conventional designs can be an important part of a car-free or car-lite lifestyle. Cargo bikes and folding bikes (as shown above) are two of the niche bikes that serve specific purposes not covered by more versatile bikes. I think of these bikes as being analogous to specialized tools such as freewheel spanners and headset wrenches. While we don’t use them as frequently as adjustable wrenches or multi-tools, a specialized tool for a specialized job is nice to have on-hand when it’s required.

The Yuba Mundo and Brompton M3L shown above are at two ends of a spectrum of bikes that fall under the umbrella of “utility”. The Mundo is a dedicated cargo bike capable of hauling up to 440 lbs. plus rider. Yuba offers a number of accessories for the Mundo that make it possible to carry such diverse payloads as furniture, bicycles, 6-8 bags of groceries, a second adult, or even a pair of small children. You’re really only limited by what can be strapped on the side rails, and what the rider can comfortably hold up and balance while sitting still.

The Brompton represents the far opposite end of the utility spectrum. It’s one of the smallest folding bike available, which makes it immensely useful for those who ride public transit or drive sub-compact cars and have the need to carry a bicycle in the trunk. The fold is quick and easy; with a little practice, the M3L can go from rolling to fully folded in less than 30 seconds. The package is neat and tidy, and the chain is hidden between the two folding halves. Brompton offers a wide variety of bag options, making it possible to use their bikes for commuting, touring, travel, and grocery shopping (some people even fold the bike and place it right in their shopping cart with their groceries).

We reviewed both of these bikes if you’d like to have a closer look at either.

Yuba Mundo
Brompton M3L

David Gordon Wilson in the Boston Globe

David Gordon Wilson

The great David Gordon Wilson, Professor Emeritus of engineering at M.I.T. and author of Bicycling Science, was recently featured in the Boston Globe.

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