News and Events

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

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Phone Age Go Home

Inspiration for this blog post title.

John's Phone with 3d printed Sim Card Tray

Nokia 108: "Connect Share and Play in a Lame-Ass Way"

Christine's rug for Ellen

For several years my wife Christine and I have been miles behind in the Greyhound Race offered up to us in the form of Wonderful Mobile Phones.  For a long time we never had mobile phones because I was mostly at work (where Christine could just ring me on a non-mobile-type phone) .  Then my work changed a bit and I moved around a lot more than previously and so it sort of got inevitable that we should get a mobile phones.  But I got  a John's phone for me, and one for Christine.  This phone is just a phone without calculator, text messaging or camera or any other stuff.

Then Christine thought she might move into the 21st century with a more sophisticated phone with txt msgng and stuff.  We bought a couple of phones including a Nokia 108 Dual Sim.  Somewhere along the way,  I lost the sim card tray for one of the John's Phones, and I ended up using the Nokia.  It does quite a lot of stuff, there's a non scientific calculator, it does txt msgng, it takes movies and photos, its a flashlight and stores lots of phone numbers and maybe 5 years ago would have been the cat's pyjamas, the duck's nuts and the bees knees all rolled into one.  But, y'know, things move rather fast in the phone world these days, just as bikes changed quickly in the 1890's.  And so now, the poor Nokia 180 is a bit lame, usurped all over the place by the smart phone, which is nothing less than a small, location and acceleration aware phone, camera and computer which blows everything else out of the water.   

To cut a long story short, I tried the Nokia 180 for a few days, didn't like it much, drew and 3d printed a replacement sim card for the John's and started using that again yesterday.  In bicycle terms, my phone is like a recently made Fixie (simple but a bit limited) when everyone has a Carbon Fibre Electric assisted bike with heaps of load carrying capacity.  (Like a smart phone it does a lot but is high maintenance). But I like the John's phone. 

Christine has been making a rug for our neice Ellen and has just about finished it.  Well done Chris!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Monostay Bike is on the Road

This bike is.....

just finished!

During the day I got all sophisticated and cultural,

visiting the 20th Century modern furniture exhibition,

which took place near Federation Square in Melbourne.  Went in there on a wooden bike of course!

Spending a fairly quiet weekend at home.  A few weeks ago I got all ambitious and made a tentative booking to go in the Audax "Midwinter Madness Warnambool to Melbourne Ride", with the idea of riding 2500 Audax k's in the year.  A meer 400k in the cold and rain, mostly in the dark as well.  But 2 weekends in a row of almost continuous bike activity (with some projects almost finished at home) was seeming like a bit much, so before I went to Corryong I bailed out of Midwinter Madness.

So today I did a few other things instead amidst occasional sunshine, some wild winds and rain (good luck to all the Warrnambool riders).

In the morning I rode to my Mum and Dad's after half finishing a new bike (adding chain and cranks, bottom bracket bearing and pedals.  In the afternoon, I 3/4 finished the new bike (adding seat and stopping the brakes bumping into the chain.  On the first ride the bike went quite well and I am pleased.  But I'd forgotten to tighten the headstem bolt and about 100m from the house I went splat on the ground, as you do with non-functional steering.  Ok, picked myself up and only minor cuts and stuff, and I fixed it on the spot.  Then a fairly pleasant interlude of 3k or so of riding when about 100m away from the house, BANG, a tyre blowout.  Oh well.  Pretty happy and the bike is finally on the road about 3 months after it was started.  There is plenty to of work left in painting and finishing it off and making a new tailbox.  The tailbox I used for the blocky was borrowed from the bike I took to Corryong.

Later in the afternoon I rode to the  Mid Century Modern Exhibition, took a few photos.  I was the flourescent yellow bike riding gear guy, almost everyone else wearing black.

The good riding on the monostay bike was fairly shortlived: on Sunday morning I rode off to visit friends on a VicHpv ride but only got as far as Burke road in Deepdene, where, crossing the road, the rear chainstay split in two, depositing the back wheel and a bit of wood (half a chainstay) on Burke road.  Had to walk home which took about 2 hours, using the remains of the bike as a weird steerable wheelbarrow.  In terms of bike disasters this was about a 3 out of 10 - no severe injuries and some minor inconvenience.  I have some plans for remaking / redesigning the monostay and will probably order some routed timber and laser cut steel within a few weeks.

The chainstays for the bike have been in development since I started building the wooden bikes again as detailed here, in Jan 2013, while other parts have stayed relatively static.  This is just another step in the process, I am gaining experience all the time.


Steve Nurse

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagggggghhhhhhh!  Broken Chainstay.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Wooden Bike to Walwa

Outside a Benella Junk Shop

Corryong Hotel-Motel View

First View of the Upper Murray


Towong Racecourse

Me & the only other Tintaldra resident up on a cold Sunday morning.


Lloyd thaws out in the Walwa shop and cafe.  Note comfortable chairs which can be compared to my bike seat

Road to Cudgewa

A steep hill in Briggs Gap Road
From Briggs Gap Road

Colac Colac Bike Path

Corriong Airport

Leaving Corriong Airport

Bacosh's Emporium, Corryong, a shop changed not that much since the 60's

Last night I got back from a few days in Corryong in Northeast Victoria.  I went up there with Lloyd Charter from Albury and together we checked out a few things as a lead up to an OzHpv race series in the area.  It is in the middle of winter school holidays and a bit cold!  Lloyd and I went for a great 100k ride through Towong to Tintaldra and on to Walwa and saw no other cyclists on the road.  There are plenty of good paved roads and an informative ride guide .  Hills can be avoided or sought out as required but towns with Bakeries and Milk Bars are a bit further apart.  Well worth a week of exploring.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Recumbent Bans

When writing my last blog entry, I looked up the Melburn Roobaix website to find a link.  There I stumbled across the following (here) "Absolutely any bicycle (except recumbents) is acceptable".  Why should this Roubaix ban recumbents?  There is absolutely no technical reason.  The prizes are in a rag-tag of novelty categories, and there are no prizes for speed, so recumbents could not have any technical advantages.  Recumbents are not demonstrably less safe than other bikes, and they can certainly brake better than some other types.

So what are we left with?  To me it seems like just an arbitrary door-bitch style decision based on the likes and dislikes of the organisers.  I'd welcome their feedback. Well what else could this be compared to?

* Organisers of the Melbourne Cup ban pink hats because someone doesn't like them.
* Its ok to use phones in the Caf, but iPhones are banned

Way back in the 1890's, new types of bikes were being introduced.  Fortunately for everyone, there was little resistance to their introduction and most bikes today have designs based on those invented about 120 years ago.  Thank the liberal minded and unfussy folk from back then that Penny Farthings do not dominate now, and have a think before dismissing the recumbents of today.

There are a few other institutions banning recumbents for not very good reasons and with a bit of push, I'm sure they could be persuaded to rescind the bans. Here are a couple of them..

Everesting , or climbing about 8500m on a bike in a single ride. Quite bizarrely amongst a host of rules, tandems are banned as well as recumbents.  Couldn't imagine anything harder than doing all that uphill riding on a tandem!  (Recumbents can climb well as per this post .) Here is the specific rule: "We don’t want you to take this challenge lying down, and mechanical doping is a no-no (obviously). Acceptable bikes: Road, MTB, CX, Track, BMX. Not acceptable: Electric, tandem, recumbent."
Interestingly, while "mechanical doping" is specifically banned, there is no mention of the banning of doping or the use of performance enhancing drugs in order to "Everest", not even to say you are a doofus if you take drugs in order to ride a bike better.
Recently, I participated in a very flat Audax 1200k ride on my recumbent and got on very well with my standard bicycle riding companions.  Anyway, the ride took us up the worlds smallest mountain, Mount Wycheproof, in Warracknabeal in Western Victoria.  With this post, I formally introduce the concept of "Wycheproofing" which can be described as "ascending Mount Wycheproof or part thereof, by any Human Powered Method, this includes but is not limited to walking, running, scooter, cycling, recumbent riding. Send me a photo (steve "the at symbol" and a story or just comment on this page with a link.  Here is an early entrant, the wonderful Marion Halliday has a story here.  At the time of discovering "Everesting" I drafted and investigated various things about the contrast between Everesting and Wycheproofing.  This includes the name of the activity.

Wycheproof :  originates from an aboriginal word meaning 'grass on a hill'.  Simple, descriptive, the aboriginal name for the mountain matches the english name.

Everest : Confusingly named after an English Surveyor General of India by Andrew Waugh who also held that post.  It was or is known by various other names including Peak XV, Kangchenjunga, Dhaulagiri, Deodungha,  Chomolungma, most of which should properly be capped by an even more confusing array of umlaut and cedilla accenty type things.

Amy's Gran Fondo , it seems strange for a charity which promotes cycle safety not to allow recumbents and other decades old innovations (like tandems, disc wheels, tri bars) in their ride.  There are prizes for various ride participants, but wouldn't it be easier to exclude the bikes which have (or are) innovations from the prizes and not from the ride itself?   For goodness sake, everyone who enters raises money for the charity anyway.  A very small innovation could make the whole ride more inclusive, how about a prize for the first tandem or recumbent? 

So, err to end on a more positive note, some rides and organisations encourage or don't discourage recumbents and they are to applauded: (will write more about these in a later installment)



Round the Bay in a Day (bike Vic)

Lake Wendouree Relay Ride