News and Events

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

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Some Photos from a Sunday Ride

One of Robert W's regular Sunday rides was held today and I went along to the start of it and rode several kilometres with friends who ride recumbents. It was a very nice day, ranging from fresh and crisp in the morning to mild in the early afternoon. Mainly pictures taken from a moving bike today.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Rickshaw Trike: Part 3

Today was Saturday and I had a chance to work on the Cyclo cycle-rickshaw. The aim was to get the trike going with a retro-direct 2 -speed drive. (see I'd already mounted an extra clutch on the rear sprocket and the cycle already had a place to mount the pulley and I had a ball bearing mounted pulley in the shed. So it didn't take all that long to put it together.
Christine was ready for a ride in the trike by the time I'd fitted up the chain and pulley, so the first ride wasn't a blockey but a "real ride" up to a cafe / nursery and bike shop. The gears worked quite well and it was relatively easy to get used to pedalling backwards to go forwards. The trike has an inbuilt park-brake: just park it pointed up a hill and it won't go anywhere as it can't roll backwards.
I made a short, fairly crap video of the mechanism. The sound effects include the guy next door putting out the rubbish bins and I am decapitated for much of the video. See . That's Showbiz or at least my version of it!
Before I put this drive on our rickshaw I searched the internet for "retro-direct rickshaw" and came up with this site which links to a video of a delta trike rickshaw in Bangladesh with retro-direct drive . I had a brief internet conversation with the site's author.
Well I'll go on improving this trike. The bracket holding the pulley needs to be a bit more secure and be constrained from moving sideways but major improvements will only come when I increase the number of teeth on the chainwheel and clutches (reducing the forces in the chain) and get the driving ratios a bit better. For this I need to remove the several screw on clutches from bike wheels which is "difficult", so I'll see how it goes.
Steve Nurse

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Rickshaw Trike: Part 2


You might like to read part 1 of this story before reading this post

Tony finished the trike and delivered it down to us on the back of a very large trailer. He is a pathological bike collector and had several old bikes he had gathered in Melbourne to bring back home to Castlemaine. He was interested in my Moulton 2-speed and we rode around the block a few times (me on the rickshaw, Tony on the Moulton) a few times before going in for dinner.

Several more modifications were done before Christine was happy with the trike.

* We put an extra cushion under the original rickshaw cushion and this helped greatly. Before we "got it right" we'd had a wooden bolster which got the seat to the right height but was too harsh on Christine.

* The footrest was cut down: originally it had slats between the 2 prongs but these were removed which allows Chris to come right up next to the chair before sitting down.

* Armrests were added.

(Thanks to David Downing who donated the sculptred armrests, they do the job very well. Dave was dropping off the armrests which the op shop gave him when a friend of mine, Don who is blind came around to the front fence. Don was having trouble with the exercise bike I had fixed for him. Without having met Don before, Dave went around to help Don with the bike. A few days later Dave had delivered a 2nd hand exercise bike to our house for Don)

Christine and I have now been on several successful excursions on the trike. Our "easy range" is about 2 or 3k on flat ground but we are usually able to find a few pubs, Garage Sales and Cafes within that distance.

There is still much work to be done on the trike. At the very least we can add decorations, artwork and some storage areas. Maybe I will make myself a fake rickshaw licence!

I think that "reverse pedalling" gears would work well on the trike and I've done some work on this already. (Of course derailleur gearing would be possible as well. But boring) A few years ago I saw Ross Harrup's bike which has this gearing. More reports later.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Around Oz


Well another couple of bike books arrived in our house last week and one of them (bought through ebay from a seller in Tasmania) is "Two Wheels to Adventure" by Shirley Duncan. Although it was published in 1957, the book describes a 3-year long bike journey that took place immediately after World War 2. The book is interesting and simply written and makes me ache for the simplicity of life on the open road. Shirley travelled with her friend, Wendy and they acquired a dog en route. They were not averse to the occasional lift in a truck and also walked up hills and travelled by boat, plane, train, jallopy (old car) and camel during their trip. They worked as housemaids, fruit packers, sandwich makers, mannequins and stayed in CWA, school and church halls and in tents. Their trip left a few ripples and a bit of searching on the internet will find further information about the trip. It's amazing how rich the internet material Various sites related to the trip include:
Wendy's book about the trip is called "With Bags and Swags"
It can be obtained through
A 2008 reunion of Wendy and Shirley
A contemporary Article from the Canberra times
The legendary u-tube video
A 1980 Article
Anyway, it happens that as I write, Mister Peter Heal from Canberra is taking off on an entirely different trip round Australia. He is riding alone and unsupported and hopes to break the record (about 50 days) for the fastest unsupported Round Australia trip. There are vast differences between Wendy and Shirley's ride and Pete's. There have been tremendous advances in bikes, roads and communications in 60 years. Some of Pete's equipment would be unimaginable to the average cyclist of 1946.
But both rides share a great spirit of freedom and endeavour and I urge anyone who can to go bike touring for as long as you can. Any way you like, it's all good.
You can follow Pete's progress at the yahoo group
There are links from that site to the technical wizardry and statisticians dream of I'm not sure if Pete will stop long enough (4 hours) to acquire the little tent symbols but we shall find out.
Bon Voyage Pete! And thanks for the memories Wendy and Shirley!
Steve Nurse
Stop Press (30/5/10): Have just received Wendy Suart's book about the trip and will write more on this later. SN
Pete Heal is rapidly approaching Perth and from there its only 10 days or so home! Go Pete.