News and Events

Keep up to date with the latest news and events of Modular Bikes.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Green Wedge Hills Audax

Garmin Edge 520 on my bike
Dummy route to test GPS, here is the link to the "blocky" ride with gps map 

The GPS wakes up and glows when it nears corners and then ....

reverts to an unlighted screen a bit later.

Some damage to the tailbox revealed ..........

after my training rides and before a planned new makeover.

Riding the Green Wedge Hills with the 

GPS succumbing to a bout of confusion.  After a long stretch of reading this crap you start imagining the thing is being very smug and saying "Of Course"..

I've been getting my trike out on the road a bit and purchased a GPS so I could have a crack at a few more Audax rides including navigation.  For me, buying a GPS is not like buying a book as using one started as a complete mystery.  It doesn't come with an instruction manual and you need to get one from the internet here or read it off the internet here.

To demystify the  GPS, I made a blocky GPS route using ride with GPS on my computer. Then I loaded the route into the GPS (only the Garmin-supplied cable seemed to work transferring data), took it outside and had a crack. And everything worked fine, it told me how many k or metres to the next turn, and I did the route a couple of times.

After that, I booked into the 100k Audax Green Wedge Hills ride and 2 days before the ride did about 70k of riding of hills on the Kew Boulevard without stopping. This was just what I needed, as the ride itself was quite hard. When I got back from the training, I'd intended to do another bike makeover and put some lurid orange cut up t-shirts on the side, but this plan was cut short as I discovered some breaks in the wood of the tailbox.  I'm not sure how this happened (as I was explaining to my wife's podiatrist today) however it might have been when I banged into a tree while carrying a bike frame, or while carrying beer or something else. Anyway, after thinking about it, I didn't immediately fix the tailbox but instead just swapped it over for the other one I have, adding Ventisit seat padding to the swapped over tailbox. Bit of a test ride to my Mum and Dad's place, and the front bottom bracket was coming loose.  Out come the BB tool, the big shifter and a length of pipe to tighten the BB.  By this time I am a bit cautious and end up taking the 1 kg shifter and the BB tool with me on the ride.

The night before the ride I tried downloading the latest ride map as recommended by Audax email but really didn't check enough that the new route was in the gps.

Up early the next day and I got to the Eltham ride start in time but the new ride route wouldn't load, so I ended up loading the old route.  Things went well (except for the enormous number of hills which I couldn't ride up because the front wheel drive was slipping and losing my Brevet card) until a long way into the ride when the GPS chucked a wobbly.  I couldn't navigate after that and went about 10 k too far on the road before stopping and asking a farmer for the way back to the nearest big town, Hurstbridge.  After asking a bike rider for directions a bit later, I headed off on the right road for "Hurstie" and got back on track.  Slightly slow going from Hurstbridge, (there were still some hills) and I didn't have much oompf left having hardly stopped for the whole 100 or so k but got in to Eltham near the cutoff time of 2pm.

I emailed the ride organiser when I got home and registered a Thank You and Did Not Finish due to the lost Brevet Card.

So a few lessons.

* Get familiar with what happens to your GPS when you wander off track.

* Delete redundant routes before attempting to load up new ones and check that new ones are properly loaded before leaving your mapping computer session.

* Carrying maps as backup is a good idea.  I didn't find any maps of suitable scale in my Melways or Vicroads books, so maybe screen dumps and a full set of ride directions from ridewithgps would help. 

* Training is good and 3 or 4 or 5 laps of the hilly Boulevarde track are all doable and worth it.

All for now, Regards

Steve Nurse

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Beer Bike on the Road

The trike in bits, it was made as a research trike for my master's degree which is documented here . There are details on page 64 and 94.  The frame (bottom of pic) is plain, straight, undrilled aluminium section originally designed for a bus.
Brackets for the tray and the raw material.

Brackets in Place
Load tray.  Its held onto the bike by the brackets on the front, a triathlon handlebar extension bracket in the middle and....
a wooden prop at the back.
Trike with tray.
Trike with tray and esky
Out for its first test ride.  

As I mentioned last time I have been working on a trike which has been around the side of the house, not being used and covered with dust from a building project next door.  As well as the trike I had an old esky and it seemed reasonable to revive both and marry the two up. This really just meant designing the flat load carrying area to carry the esky.  Of course the esky can be removed and the trike can just carry anything else that will fit.  A dog?  A weeks shopping?

And the esky can be used to carry something else than beer and ice, like maybe icecream or food. Nah, only kidding about that last one.

Anyway, all jokes aside, the trike is lots of fun to ride and cruising around on a non motorised potentially beer carrying machine is a hoot.  Believe it a or not there are motorised versions out there.  To each their own!


Steve Nurse

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Beer Bike Prelude

Classy Beer Can Holder Mk I for our bunk bed conversion chair. The holes in the top of the posts (originally in a bunk bed, the posts held pins which let one bedpost be stacked on another one safely to make the 2 storey bed.) are co-opted to hold the can holder.
Gathering tools and materials....

for Classy Beer Can Holder Mk II.

Classy Beer Can Holder MKII
Classy Beer Can Holder MKII in place
Convened the expert marketing committee panel
But it may be too late, your can already buy these spiked can holders from
or these twirly things which do the same job at
Old Esky rescued from a dumpster....
and NLT 3 leaning trike gathering dust around the side of out house. 

In the last few weeks I've had time for some extra projects and decided to compliment the chair I'd made for out the front with a beer can holder. There are some holes in the posts just right for this sort of thing so I knocked a couple of them up as prototypes (MK I, top photo).  I wasn't satisfied though and started gathering bits for the  MK II version.  This included finding a large sized holesaw, working out that I could cut up an old belt for the rim and sawing up an old bike seat bolt for the bolt.

When I'd finished the holders, I realised that there might be a market for this sort of thing (as stubby or glass holders at festivals or picnics, so I Convened the Expert Marketing Committee Panel which translates as took a sample with me when I went to dinner at my Mum and Dad's, and asked my son Ewan, his wife Phoebe and my niece Cicely about them. "Generally favourable reception!"

That done, I could return to some bike work.  I aim to sell bikes I am not actually using, so have dug out from around the side my aluminium frame trike and an Esky to mount on the back of it.  The Beer Bike is coming!  More in the next post.


Steve Nurse

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

2017 Highlights


During last year (2017) I wasn't in full-time employment, and wasn't even a full-time student, so had time for a few bike-and-other projects.  And for a year like last year, it's useful for me to write down and share what those projects are if only to document that I've still been productive and haven't wasted my time.  Hear we go!

Buckley's Ride

This is the trip round port Phillip Bay near Melbourne.  Finished in 13 hours on one of my "Fred" bikes.  With a few improvements to the bike (like wheel covers) body (like training) and weather (a bit cooler) I managed the same ride 2 hours faster this year. Woohoo!

Up till September

I was still working on my Industrial Design Master's Degree thesis which was originally submitted in December 2016.  This involved exhibitions of my leaning trikes at Monash Caulfield  in January and April, rewriting the exegesis up to June, passing in September and finally graduation in December 2017.  Because the original submission date was in 2016, I didn't include any 2017 design innovations in my exegesis. The Exegesis tries to answer the research question "How can DIY leaning trikes contribute to Sustainable Transport?"

A Short Tour

In early Feb I rode from Geelong to Airey's Inlet and then on to Ballarat where I took part in a charity ride for the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute.  Quite good fun, and a good break from my studies. I was quite pleased with my time for the 150k or so from Airey's Inlet to Ballarat.  Last year there were ripe Blackberries for picking on the route, and it's blackberry season again now, but I don't plan on riding this time unless I am invited onto a team for the fecri ride at the last minute.

A trip to Aki's Place

In mid March I visited my friend Aki's place.  Up till then I had no idea of the great variety if bikes, penny farthings, unicycles recumbents and tandems he had crammed into his small flat and garage.  For this picnic he brought out a selection for students staying at the hostel where he works to have a go of.  I had his flevobike for a few months now and have now handed it back to him.

Wooden Trike

In April I received some NC routed parts to make a wooden framed leaning trike.  My master's was already under assessment at the time, so this trike wasn't part of my study.  But I felt I had some unfinished business with this style of trike.  The wooden trike for the masters didn't have a tailbox made with the latest features.  As well, a timber design competition came up and I decided to enter that with a trike.  Later in the year the trike was in the Fringe Furniture Exhibition.  I managed to ride it to the exhibition with a Bickerton Folding bike in the back.  I'm very proud of the wooden trike.  Its creaky, completely unignorable and lots of fun to ride.  Once the trike was finished, I had 2 wooden trikes and donated the old one to Monash HPV Team.  Hopefully they are putting it to good use. In a way, this trike was returning home, the parts for the frame had been routed at the Monash Mechanical Engineering workshop.

Cetus 3d Printer

At the end of April I purchased a 3d printer from Cetus and it has been in frequent use.  With the Cetus, I've been developing parts and systems that I hope will soon get me in to Phd studies . Here is an example of some of the work I've been doing. I am nothing short of ambitious for the parts made with this printer and hope to use them as part of a successful phd application. I put a clock design up on Thingiverse, here is the link.

Trips to Bendigo for the OzHPV Challenge.

Throughout 2017 I was organising the OzHPV challenge which was held in December, but in October I travelled up to Bendigo to drum up some support. The challenge went well with most races running as planned, everyone enjoyed themselves but really there needs to be more people turning up if it is to continue.


My brother Richard and his partner Sarah came out from England twice and it was good to see them. My mum and Dad are still living at home but Mum is driving a bit less these days.  Our son Ewan and his wife Phoebe are doing very well.  Ewan finished his Phd in Biomedical engineering and now has a job at Seer Medical, as a medical data scientist no less.  My wife Christine had a shoulder operation and she is slowly recovering from that.  For the moment I'm staying at home helping her, and writing articles, applying for courses, making models and trikes in my spare time.

New Year's Resolution

No big ones for me!  Sofar, my only resolution is not to drink soda water to cut down on the amount of plastic and transporting of stuff that gets carted around from place to place, and I've stuck with it sofar.  At the moment I only drink bottled water in exceptional circumstances, and not drinking soda water is an extension of that avoidance.  As far as steps to save the environment go, this is bugger all and miniscule but it is at least something.

Plans for 2018

I plan to sell the bikes and trikes I don't need and have started this with one trike listed on ebay already. I plan to make at least one more as well, and that will be a fastish trike for Audax.  This will have a lighter seat and steerer than my current trikes and possibly include a front fairing.  I have had holes for a fairing in the custom front dropouts I made for my trikes for months now, and have never used them. The aerodynamics of the front part of my trikes look fairly crap to me and I hope to remedy that with a lightweight fairing.

The next Audax I plan to enter is Green Wedge Hills on Sunday March 4 which starts quite locally and comes in 100 and 200k flavours.  By the time this ride comes along I plan to redecorate my trike appropriately and have some sort of gps doover to guide me.  The trikes I ride these days both have "for sale on ebay" signs on them, so doing Audax rides on my trikes is cheap marketing besides being enjoyable and good exercise. By the end of the year I hope to post some DIY trike plans on the internet.

As for a day job, I hope to get accepted into a Uni for PHd study, and have been applying to various unis and departments for several months now.  If I get accepted it should keep me mostly out of trouble for 3 years or so. Hallelujah when I get accepted!


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Fixing a Flevo Part 2

How it started, from this post
Finished Bike with 24" wheels replacing 700 c size, front derailleur cable and shifter removed and 11-34 drive cog. The remaining shifter was upgraded to a non-indexing model. The heavy rack at the back is gone and replaced with an occy strap which keeps the back wheel from falling down when you carry it. The bike is meant to work with only one of the chainrings, the middle chainring with about 38 teeth.

Test ridden or maybe test wobbled by Aki.....

..... and by me.

Aki and my wife Christine

Part of the payment plan.

New brake brackets can be seen here.  Aluminium plates on either side of the frame, front and back hold the brakes and make the brake mounts independent of holes drilled in the frame.  The front brake was moved from near the derailleur to this new position so it couldn't interfere with the chain.

My friend Aki came over on Sunday and he picked up his flevobike, passing on a small amount of cash and some delicious home cooked Prawn Crackers as payment.  There have been other posts including this bike including this one from a year ago and this one last August.

Of course we had to have a test wobble!  Most of the fixing of the bike (removing the rack, smaller wheels, moving bottom bracket etc.) helped make the bike suit Aki's smaller leg size and he can now ride the bike ok with only a few goes up and down our street.  He had owned the bike for 15 years without being able to ride it!

I rode the bike along our street but was not so crash hot on the turns.  It was fun.  The cranks were quite a long way back for me but that didn't seem to matter.

Anyway, this post is mainly pictorial, the photos came out quite well with some long shadows and nice reflections in view.

All for now, if you have any questions please ask!

Friday, February 9, 2018

T-Shirt Bike

Selfie next to a gardeners shed in a park near my home.
Raw material, a couple of old t-shirts.  Decided not to use the yellow "Howard Hughes" shirt but instead went with 2 black "PBSFM" shirts.  One had holes in it, the other I retrieved from the pile ready to go to the op shop.

Halfway through cutting, the tshirt is behind the panel it will eventually cover.  The tshirt logo needs to sit in the right spot and the cloth needs to cover the panel.

Probably the best clips to use, but I......
Ran out and used some pink ones of these for one side.
Left hand Side.


In a few posts, I have shown my leaning trike with cloth panels on it but my choice of cloth has been a bit arbitrary.  For a long time now I have thought about putting something that reflects my character on them and over the last few days I actually did something about it.  I have 3 PBSFM t-shirts and that is a few too many, and the oldest one was full of holes anyway.  So I had decided one was for the rag bag and another for the op shop pile.  But then I got off my hind quarters and made my long-thought about t-shirt bike.  It just needed the old t-shirts fairly roughly cut and held to existing corflute side panels with stationary clips. So I still have a few bike t-shirts of which a great many exist in the world and now also a t-shirt leaning trike of which completely bugger all exist in the world.

It might make the bike look better but it does nothing else for it but make it a bit heavier. But that's what being fashionable is like, you have to suffer for your art...

And by the way I can still wear my other, other, mostly black PBSFM t-shirt while riding this latest creation.  Woohoo!

See you out there

Steve Nurse

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Rear View Glasses for Bike Riding

Aki with the glasses in his hand

Mirror panel at outside edge of glasses: "Warning, toy glasses, does not provide protection"

My friends Aki and George came over last night for dinner.  The excuse was to pass Aki's Flevo bike back to him after fixing.  We didn't get that done as he came by bike, and instead had a barbecue in the backyard and sat around drinking beers in the balmy weather.

But Aki had a trick up his sleeve and when he arrived showed me his rear view mirror sunglasses which he uses for bike riding. They are labelled as a toy (and Aki got them for $3.00 from an Op Shop).  I managed to track them down on ebay here .  They seem like a reasonable option for getting a rear view while riding a recumbent or any bike. But for me they would have to be worn over my vision-correcting eyeglasses which is what Aki does.  Anyway, at about $9.00 including postage they might be worth a try. 

Aki at least had a sit on the Flevo and thought it was ok (It was too big for him before).  Here is the photo of the bike in its new state, it can be compared to those shown here

And while we are on show and tell and to partially explain my nerdish concern about rear vision technologies for bicycles here are a few photos of my current helmet setup.  It has moved on a bit since I started here.  The latest changes are removing some of the corflute and visor right next to the helmet.  This should let air escape easily and help stop the helmet flipping up when travelling at speed, which is inconvenient and definitely embarrassing!


Steve Nurse