News and Events

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

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Vicycle Part 1

The Frame

Frame detail: For bottom bracket, a laser cut lug: other side is brazed on with clearance holes for m6.  This side is loose with tapped holes for m6.  M6 bolts thru.   For steerer, a steerer from a small folding bike press fitted into the wood and glued.  Big washer brazed on underneath to take most of the forces.
Stuart delivers the video
Almost finished!  This is the trike without the seat attached. In this position, the back wheels pendulum because one wheel is heavier than the other.
Christine and Stuart.  Hmmm.   Hmmm!  Hmmm?
Ready to roll out the front door.  The older wooden donor bike is in the background. The new bike got the seat, front wheel, tailbox, handlebars, steerer, front forks, chain, pedals, brakes and schlumpf drive from the old bike.  Part of the reason why it took only 2 weeks to build.
Sawed off part of the frame to make clearance for the front brake.  Try this on your BMC or Bianci.

Between last night and today I got my newest wooden Human Powered Vehicle going, which I've named the "Vicycle" after Vi Vuong's delta trike rear wheel setup shown here.  Could write a lot about it but will leave the pictures to do the talking.  Soon after I had done my first blocky on the machine my friend Stu from down the road agreed to take a video.  Here it is, showing most of an extended blocky.


Steve Nurse

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Starting some new Bikes

Some of the parts I've gathered for an upcoming project: Front wheel drive disk forks from Raptobike, cluster through Pushy's, disc bake mech and calliper brakes from my shed, 140mm disc from the internet. Not shown is an aheadset (Pushy's) and an adjustable stem  (Raptobike)

A couple of 20" wheels I put together by replacing the axles with pedal axles.  This is for a delta trike with a set of Vi Vuong back wheels.

All sorts of stuff at the tip shop: this is a folding toilet.

Chook at the tip shop: "I like your other bike better than this one!"

Seat from the previous wooden bike on the frame for the delta trike.  The seat suits a 35mm wide frame, and my friend Ray routed the centre section of the 45 x 90 timber to suit.  Fee was "a nice bottle of red".

Here a few photos of some of my recent bike building activities.  Wooden bike mk2 is being disassembled now.  It has been a good learning project.  After building and riding it on the road for several hundred kilometres (Mk1 did only about 100k on the road) I've found out lots about wooden bikes, some of their weak points, and how they should be built.

As well as being a source of knowledge for future bikes, I will be using most of the parts from the mk2 with one frame already started in the shed and another (hopefully) underway at a timber routing contractors.

New bikes:

"Vicycle", Virtual Bicycle using some of Vi's ideas.
A tilting delta trike including the very clever rear wheelset design of Vi Vuong.  Vi has applied this design to a wide variety of Python (centre steering enabled by rider weight forces) human powered vehicles. My new machine will have a simpler, higher front end than Vi's creations and should ride and handle just like a recumbent bike. Locking the pivot of the rear wheelset should mean the machine becomes stable, giving it trike properties at low speed or when parked. The frame for the bike is exceptionally simple: others have made bikes where the frame is made from a piece of "2 x 4" but on this bike the frame is a piece of 2 x 4.  All experimental, I will see where it takes me.

Wooden bike mk3
A refinement of mk2 making extensive use of nc routing for and frame construction.  The routing will make most of the frame features (holes etc for forks, pedals, pivots etc.) as well as hollowing out the frame for light weight. I have pushed the boat out and bought lots of new parts for this bike.

All for now, here is a photo of Vicycle progress to date.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Winter Surf Ride

On the way out from Bell's Beach
At Airey's Inlet with Rory in the Background

Last weekend I participated in a new Victorian Audax 200k Ride, the Winter surf ride from Werribee to Aireys Inlet organised by Phil Giddings (thanks Phil!) .  This was to be my first 200k on a wooden recumbent, but at the time of the ride the wooden bike I made was in less than super condition and I opted to ride anyway on my aluminium framed recumbent.  And this turned out to be all for the best, although not long by Audax standards it was tough.  Even with the frame in good nick, my "woody" was not quite up to the standard of my slightly older bike and it ended up I needed every bit of performance and reliability from the bike.

For training I was slightly underdone - ideally I would have had 2 solid weeks of 2x70k round trip commutes and 120k or so weekend rides but this was slightly interupted between one thing and another and I only managed one 120k ride before the event.

Emails went back and forth about the ride and a few days before I had committed myself to it.  The night before the ride I swapped the really cheap speedo on the aluminium bike for a new one which (Hallelujah!) resets the tripmeter after a short button press.  As well I cut up and scribbled over an old Melways so had maps of most of the terrain we were covering. A few weeks before, Christine and I had traversed the route by car.

So, 8am start from Werribee on a dog's leg of a route North of the Prince's Highway.  The only person I knew on the ride was Rick Harker, I've been with him on several Audaxs including this year's Victorian Oppy.  He's faster and fitter than me but both of us were doing quite well on the stretch to Geelong, passing all but 2 of the 10 or so upright cyclists on the ride.  Coming into Geelong Rick pulled out in front and Rory caught up.  Rory and I navigated through Geelong together, I knew the first bit well and Rory was able to ride along no hands reading the route notes no (like a professional) and get us through town and onto the back road to Torquay (Horseshoe Bend Road).  Rory ploughed on when I stopped to have a pee and I didn't see any other Audax riders till near Airey's Inlet.  There were some short sharp hills I had to walk up near Bell's Beach and outside of Anglesea and marvellous views of rolling surf from Anglesea to Airey's Inlet. 

So halfway by about 12:30, time to have lunch and talk to a few locals I knew, Airey's Inlet being my main stomping ground, holiday & surfing spot for a long time.  Then on to Anglesea and up the hill to Forest Road and through beautiful bushland.  Tried taking a movie but didn't work the camera properly but the time spent taking the film became etched in my brain instead.  Yellow and pink flowers in the green bush and views of distant hills through the trees.

Towards Moriac the weather started to cut up rough with rain and a howling westerly wind.  After a stop to put a rain jacket on, I kept going although progress was difficult in the crosswind.  The official route would have taken me further north but I was fairly beaten by the rain and turned right on to the Princes Highway and was picked up by the strong wind and blown towards Waurn Ponds.  After a bit of mucking round on bike paths I reached a restaurant of the Golden Arches thoroughly soaked.  After 1/2 hour or so of civilised warmth and a cup of tea and some toast, the rain had stopped and I continued on, my soaking clothes gradually drying themselves in the breeze.  It was about 40k to Werribbee along the Princes and I got back there about 7pm, happy to have done the job in difficult circumstances. There were a few others at the end, just arriving or drying off in their cars.  I think all the people who'd faired best had (like me), sheltered and fed themselves during the storm.

Ok, all for now, writing this on the Wednesday after the ride, thoroughly dried out by now!


Steve Nurse

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Chook finds a Seagull and other stories

One of the Artworks on Sale (Kicking Yips - After Pollock) by Jim Pavlidis

Auction Action

Ann Nelson and Christine Nurse at the art auction: "It reminds me of Cezanne......

in his Cubist period ..... before he took to the grog.".   "Yes"

My bike for sale: "Fully Working Recumbent Bicycle and Book", "Mixed Media"

Its been a slightly dissapointing week in my bike world.
*  I put one of my older bikes up for auction for the Green's political party but it did not meet the reserve so I came back home with it.  See above for photos from this event.
*  My wooden bike cracked at the front so it is "out" for next weeks 200k ride.  My current build supports the back wheel bolt with metal angle brackets.  Unfortunately, the brackets I used at the other end don't do as good a job on supporting the fork tube.  When you put on the brakes (both on the front) there is a lot of stress on the frame as the front wheel slows and "wants to" move under the frame.  The few screws I had in place to resist this force weren't up to the task.  This page shows an approach to constrution which might work better.

On the other side, my wooden bike attract interest just about wherever I go with it.  A recent trip to a local tip shop in Reservoir was a case in point.  These trips are useful exercise and let me buy unwanted junk like videos and books at good prices.

So on the way to the shop, I stopped at a traffic light and there were some guys and a girl involved in roadworks, standing round and generally waiting for another guy in a cherry picker crane to finish fixing wires high above the road. Dialogue and action goes something like.
(On observing me & my vehicle) Earthbound worker says: "Eh, there's a bloke on a wooden bike there."
And repeats (louder, to his cherry-picker occupying coworker): "Eh, there's a bloke on a wooden bike there."
Me (on observing this conversation): Looks up at bloke in cherry picker.  Waves.
Bloke in Cherry picker: Waves back.
Traffic lights change, I move off.

And at the tip shop, I was quietly minding my own business and standing on a kaputt and over-engineered four wheeled scooter type thing and making brmming noises and contemplating the other wheeled vehicle carcasses around me when a chap wandered up and asked me if that was my bike out the front, and I said Yeah?

Well the gentleman introduced himself as "Chook" and said he'd worked with bikes for a long time.  I mentioned the bloke I knew who works in bikes and has the most experience of anyone I know who works with bikes locally, Peter from Bikes De Ver.
"Taught him everything he knows", said chook.  "Sold him an old bike the other day, it was a Seagull, one of the first ones we built in Fairfield".
And indeed, I had seen that bike in Bikes de Ver and it was a really nice track bike with a flip-flop hub.
So Chook and I yammered on for a while and by this time I had paid my $1.50 for 4 videos and we were looking at my bike and getting confused about the word disc (type of brake involving a circular ring attached to the hub or bike wheel with spokes covered or replaced by a smooth surface to aid aerodynamics) as applied to bicycle parts. In the end I found out Chook works for Ray's bike shop and could help me with bike parts and we agreed to stay in touch.  Disc brake wheels and 48 spoke 20" alloy wheels are mine for the asking and at a knock-down price.

All for now, more to report soon


Steve Nurse