News and Events

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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Look Mum, I'm in Bris-bane


I am in Sydney at the moment.  The blog title was meant to be ironic because I have some photos of me with the harbor bridge and opera house in the background, but I couldn't upload them.  Whadya want from the free wifi in a youth hostel, Huh?

Anyway, I arrived here by train and am attending a very-belated first academic conference and will be presenting a paper on Friday.  My companion is not a very helpful one, a rickety folding Bickerton which was stuffed in my duffel bag for the trip up.  Unfortunately I  forgot to bring a helmet, so am a bit reluctant to ride on the roads, and am pootling on the footpaths, struggling to carry all the other stuff on my bike.  Gradually getting used to the quirky geography of the Rocks area, which has lanes and stairs, backpackers and shops selling ugh boots. Everywhere.. 

I will report on the conference and upload the photos soon.  (Photos uploaded now.  The photo uploading software and mac-working-as-pc running Explorer don't seem to cooperate.


Steve Nurse

Friday, September 25, 2015

Personality of Things

Two recent book finds.  I think these might have more personality than an ebook file.  In the board game I designed which is sort-of-things-that-happen-to-me-on-bikes, one of the cards reads "Your Graham Greene Book has been signed by the author, move ahead 2 squares" almost the same as "Found Graham Greene First Edition on dumpster" which is what has happened here!

Back of recent book finds
From the German book documenting 10 years of their HPV organisation:  "You see so many of them these days, I have to make mine look a bit out of the ordinary!"......

and a 2015 equivalent: Spokey Dokes on my leaning trike. 

I have been reflecting on how Stuff seems to be disappearing: we don't need newspapers, books, DVD's or CD's any more because random knowledge, ebooks, movies and video can be delivered to our houses via the internet, and its possible to share a car instead of owning one, and phones have taken on multiple roles including camera, map, fitness tracker, text messager and brag book. 

After pondering this for a while, somebody mentioned this at Uni, and there's an actual name for it, "dematerialization".   More pondering, and I wondered, with all this dematerialization going on, what does it mean for the stuff we still own?  The answer is possibly "more personality please".  If we only have a few items, then those we might want those that we do have to exude personality.  Records, which just say bugger off to any notion of musical compactness, and have room enough to display real artwork seem to defy the dematerialization trend and have started to sell in increasing numbers.

When it comes to bikes, fixie-style bikes seem to offer the most scope for buy-in options with an abundance of colours available.  Or, you can go way over the top with one of those recumbent things.  Add spokey dokes if you find some on the dumpster.


Steve Nurse

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Load Carrying Bike

Load Carrying Bike at our local mulch depot.

Industrial chain (bike chain) is used to support the tray at one end....

and a drilled aluminium plate is at the other.  The fork is a 26" MTB fork set up with brakes on the back for a 20" wheel.  This arrangement works to make the fork and wheel the right size for a 24" bike.

For a while, I have had a 24" Victoria separating bike with a 2-speed Sturmey Archer Hub and have also had plans for making it into a load carrying bike.  Also, there are way too many bikes hanging round the house to have one of them not doing anything.  Anyway, needing mulch for our front garden got me motivated to finish the job I'd started.  It didn't take too long but I had a bit done already.

*  Custom fork: this is a 26" fork with brake bosses moved to the back and repositioned to take a 20" wheel.  This ends up being the same size as a 24" fork and wheel, and the new fork makes a good start on a "low gravity" bike.

*  For the tray support, I've used a chain and strip of aluminium plate.  Its very minimalist and I like it.  The support can be categorised as pie tray or cigarette girl tray support, that is, tension cables to the front.  

So the first test went ok, but the front wheel rubs on the bit of wood, and the front brake isn't hooked up yet.  The tray is quite flat, and I'll spend a bit of time making the tray removable so the whole bike can still fit in a suitcase.  Will post more on that as it happens.


Steve Nurse

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Way Back Engine


Several years ago, Jim Wilson from BikeRodnKustom interviewed me by email.  We'd been in touch over several years about bikes I'd built and I sent him my book when it was published.  Anyway, he ended up interviewing me by email, and I looked for the interview online yesterday.  Not there, and I was saddened to read that he had passed away.  I'd never met him but he was always polite and the interview came out well.

Tried getting the interview through an internet archive site but it didn't work, then I realised I had my own archive in the form of a printout.  So here's the link to a scanned pdf, hope you find it interesting.

And more than 10 years ago, my family and I went to Europe to compete in the Spezi folding bike competition.  Here are the reports I came across online, in German with photos and in English.


Steve Nurse

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Two Tilters in St. Kilda

Robert W. and a tilting fixed bottom bracket trike he made from a few months ago, and

 me riding it.
Robert C. riding the new moving bottom bracket version, Alan B. and Glen look on, Voung trike in background.
Easy Peasy for Robert, he rides a moving bottom bracket bike all the time.

Graham S. on a Rans X-stream.  His helmet has front and rear multiple LED lights built in and looks pretty good for use on recumbents.  Graham is a bit of a crowdsourcing fan, and this helmet came through Torch .
Contrasting Vuong and Parellelogram Leaning mechanisms.


Here are a few photos from today's Be-Spon ride.  Glen was riding a new tilting trike which Robert W. had made for him and this made it 2 (!) from different makers in the same spot at the same time.  It has the party trick of being able to stand up by itself at traffic lights by applying the twin back brakes. The ride was very pleasant as always, good to catch up with old friends again. 

Thanks to Robert W. for organising the ride.


Steve Nurse