News and Events

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

Sunday, June 13, 2021

50k warmup


Fairing mod from front wheel end. I put in a new bit of wood which raised the fairing a cm or so, this stops my right foot rubbing the inside of the fairing which is a major improvement!

Same mod seen from the back wheel end.

Mordialloc kiosk, coincidentally it features in the latest Jack Irish TV show.

The ring of Dan Andrews, ie, my current coronavirus travel limits. Mordialloc kiosk is just outside my travel limits, and I didn't turn into a pumpkin or get arrested!


In a few days some of Melbourne's coronavirus restrictions should be lifted and soon after that (with luck), I should be able to travel to  Temora in New South Wales for an Audax 600k ride and Great Southern Randonee qualifier. So 600's a long way and I've been training quite hard on some local hills and also attempted a 300k ride in the Otways. So today (Sunday) was an easy flat ride out to Mordialloc and back, and coincidentally almost completely within our current coronavirus travel regs.  

Nice day for riding, cool and with a slight breeze. I was quite happy with 30kph speeds along Beach Road.

Regards Steve Nurse

Update June 15, 2021: Another ride of about 50k yesterday. I set the Garmin gps going for 3 laps of the Kew Boulevarde . The route needs a tiny bit of tweaking to be accurate to what I ride. Either I eliminate the small loop at the bottom from the Ridewithgps route, or just ride the extra loop. For Audax rides, I would like to keep the same average speed for longer distances, ie 100 kilometres or more. I'm thinking 20kph hills = 30 kph flat.

Regards  Steve Nurse

Friday, June 11, 2021

Body Inertia Brakes for bikes, the road test

Finished for now.

First trip actually had a purpose, to take plastic bags to a local recycling centre

Repurposed folding handlebars. The bars now double as handbrake levers.

Brake cables are in free air in the stem but change to go through outers near the brakes.


 The brakes I was making in my last post are finished now, at least enough for a few short rides from which I emerged unscathed! The pictures and this video tell the story. The trick is to always pull on the handlebars unless you want to stop. That includes when indicating and riding with only one hand on the bars.

There is a bit of tweaking to do, for example there are 2 collars on the stem which means the bar is looser than it could be, and the feel on the bars is different right and left which could be improved a bit. Anyway I will do a bit more local riding and see how it goes.


Steve Nurse 

Update June 15, 2021: The stem has been taken apart for brazing, bog filling and painting. Previously the stem had 2 collars to keep it together, and the brazing will eliminate the lower collar. The bog filling and painting will make the whole thing look better, various unused holes and cracks will disappear.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Body Inertia brakes for bikes

Current bike showing palm forces on brakes during decelleration with red arrows
Mule train bike with a set of folding handlebars.....

which I have now stolen for this project.

Bike with original steerer and all cables removed at the same time. I can just put it all back on when this experiment is done.

New steerer uses a 32mm tube ...
brazed across a scooter fork. It has hand-made washers inside for extra strength.

Here's the original plan, you can see the handlebar with built in brake levers resembles the folding handlebars.

Here is the result at the end of the day.


For a long time I've been riding bikes which have the brakes reversed - this is possible because the handlebars don't bear any of my body weight. When I slow down I can allow the natural decelleration body motion to press in the brakes, but I still have the normal hand-squeeze braking method.  For a long time I've been thinking about using the decelleration only, like trailer brakes, but have only started building something in the last few days, after gathering a dead kid's scooter and stealing or swapping out bits from other bikes.  

I was inspired by seeing a few bikes with Shimano DI2 electronic shifters on them at a recent bike show. Surely there are ways of streamlining a bike's controls that don't involve wifi, batteries and software! A recent Age article echoes these thoughts, "It was common for cars, fridges, and even coffee machines to have embedded software".

 Its all going well and I will report further.

Regards Steve Nurse

June 7, 2021, bit of progress today. I made some handlebar halves from a straight aluminium bar and gathered a few other bits, gearchanger, bar extenders and a bell. If the brakes don't work I will at least be able to warn people to PANIC and get out of the way.

Sketch for making combined handlebar and brake levers and

Most of it already made. Top is the folding bar that is being replaced.

June 8, 2021, Good progress above as shown. I made the handlebars with some holes drilled so they can double as brake levers. Still a couple of days work before I can test the idea. The story continues in this post.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Fixing 50 bikes, bike 15, Repco Superlite


Tyre wrangling, I tried several 25c and 32c tyres but they either looked very weak or rubbed on the frame. This 28C tyre proved to be the perfect fit and looks quite durable too.

Scrabbling through parts boxes like this led to finding....

a full set of gearchanger parts from another repco superlite.

Needed to clean out my shed a bit to .....

Mount the seatpost in a vice with the frame attached and waggle and pull it till the post came out.

As found condition: grass growing out of the saddle.

Brakes on the tops, I used tee nuts as sleeves (shown below) to make fittings for the cable entry,

...... which turned out very well.

End result.

Hi, this has been Victoria lockdown bike project #1 for me. My friend Stu who lives 2 doors down gave me the frame which came from hard rubbish.

The list of fixes is quite long, 

Replace bottom bracket with sealed unit. This came from Bike 8 .

Remove toe straps and pedals, refit pedals. Pedals were quite stuck. 

Loosen seatpost. This took a bit of work, I lubed it from above and from below by putting oil down the seat tube through the water bottle bosses. The frame was upside down for this! Only then did I start using the shed in the vice, I needed to clean the shed a bit to get the space for the frame waggling.

Set up brakes on the tops.

Add new wheels, I had one at home and one came from Wecycle. Tyres and tubes were from Wecycle except for one tube.

Replace gear levers with ones scavenged from a hard rubbish wreck.

So it took a while, but hopefully the Repco Superlite will find a good home.

Delivering the Repco to Wecycle, I put up this QR code so people can check in for Covid tracing. Unfortunately its a foreign language to me, I don't have a smartphone.

Delivery by recumbent, I steer, brake and change gears on the recumbent with the right hand and steer the upright with the left.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Timber Leaning Trike on Thingiverse



Today I loaded a basic set of files to thingiverse. Here is the link . The files make a timber leaning trike and refer back to some earlier blog posts like this one. and shown in a video here. Have fun!


Steve Nurse

Wednesday, May 26, 2021



Southern Cross Station, bike split ready for goods van.

Some of the wonderful goods on offer at the ....
Koroit Op shop. Sadly I couldn't buy anything as I was scared of carrying any extra weight over the Otway hills.

What it says on the tin. This building looked abandoned and neglected, but the rest of the town was pretty go ahead with new buildings under construction.

Display after my own heart outside Koroit.

Martin on the Port Fairy to Port Campbell leg...

which I completed quite well: Start time was 5am.

Bike parking outside Yatzies Laver's Hill
Not many better ways to wait it out than with a glass of wine next to a fire. Sarah, Leigh, Charlie, James, Otway Junction restaurant and pub

Using the camera's self timer at Yahtzies,

where we all gathered waiting to be picked up after the ride was called off due to bad weather. Thanks for the fire and warm food, a lifesaver Yatzies!

Loading bikes onto cars outside Yatzies

My trike broken up to load in a car.

Anglesea Wednesday morning
Wednesday midday: part of the long way home: waiting to board a train (which wasn't the right train anyway) at ....

Wyndham Vale station

After fixing my bike from the trial run GSR 300 on the weekend, I headed back to Port Fairy on Monday, once again by train.  I was a bit more relaxed about the trip this time, and visited the pretty town of Koroit and its nearby rail trail. As well I had dinner with Rosalie and Keith who live in Port Fairy. I was able to check in with the Audax riders and organisers in the afternoon. There was talk of some "weather coming through" so a 5am start time was agreed on.

I stayed at the youth hostel again, it was quite quiet this time and a good place to stay. Early in the morning we were off, and it was a windy ride to Port Campbell for lunch, and I managed to keep up with most of the riders. It was windy, and speeds were 20 - 30kph depending on the wind. Pumped up the tyres about halfway along, I think that helped things a bit. After Princetown the hills and rain started.

Initially the wind just blew us up some of the hills but later it lashed us with rain. I had shorts on but stayed warm enough under the fairing. The rain persisted and by 1:30, James had rung to say the ride was being called off. He had been on the ride route between Laver's Hill and Ferguson and found it particularly treacherous, and he and organizer Peter agreed that going on would just be inviting accidents and hypothermia.  

So I limped on into Laver's hill, and dried off and refueled in front of a fire at Yatzies cafe. Peter took a couple of others back to Anglesea with him by car, and they returned with their cars to get us out of the Otways. Meanwhile the pub and restaurant over the road had opened and we were able to warm up over there before loading up cars for the trip back to cabins awaiting us at Anglesea.

Stayed there nice and snug through a stormy night - thanks to Bruce and James for sharing their cabin. In the morning I rode from Anglesea to Waurn Ponds station for what should have been a routine trip back - but buses were replacing trains at the station due to some track faults - and the bus I got on went quite circuitously to Wyndham Vate station. There we had to get on and off a train before finally catching one back to Melbourne. I managed to leave my camera on a train, but I reported it to Southern Cross Lost Property and ended up being able to retrieve it in the afternoon. Woohoo!

It was a fun but challenging few days, and between repairing my bike after the test ride, and being rained on and finding out more about good cycling clothing in the actual ride I learnt a lot.

Thanks to Bruce, Peter, James and all the other Audax riders for their help and support.

Within a day or so of arriving in Melbourne, we were in coronavirus lockdown again, and I was glad to have gotten some exercise and travel under my belt before it started.


Steve Nurse

Camera with the label that helped return it to me. Thanks Vline!