News and Events

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

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Upside Down Bike as Phone Charger

"Donor Vehicle" for the pike project, a bike which had been damaged from a front-on crash

And the result, a Pike, Upside down bike used for exercise and charging USB devices such as mobile phones.

There have been generators on bikes for decades, but until recently the only purpose of the generators was to light the way at night.  In the last year or so, however, the output from bike dynamos has been used to charge Mobile phones and other gizmos such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS). 

This makes an application for a bike dynamo to be used on a stationary bike.  For me its not a necessary system but I'm sure there would be other "more necessary" applications of the technology, ie at 2-3 day music festivals or in developing countries where  mobile phones are used in areas that don't have reliable electricity. (Refer this article)  A more sophisticated version is the aim of a New York Kickstarter program.

An array of devices is coming on the market which provide a USB socket for charging and I decided to dip my toe in the water.

Initially my plan was to make a generator using a rotor from a permanent - magnet motor, and to make a device to "stage" and test the machine which was not a bike. (Imagine using a voltmeter to assess a generator while you're riding around) 

Somewhere along the way I shortcutted the whole process by buying a cheap and cheerful bike dynamo to USB charger device.  Here is the ebay address for Australia.  A day or so after the part arrived it was installed and working to charge my phone. So the Pike was born.  Here is the video

So why the Pike?  Well, if an ekib is a backwards bike, then a Pike is, obviously, an upside down bike.  (If you spell "upside down bike" in capitals you get the slightly useless name of BIKE.) This could also be a Pik, a slightly abbreviated upside down bike.

Making the Pike

Obtain donor vehicle
Strip all parts from donor vehicle
Clean Donor vehicle frame
Cut the top tube about 20cm from the seatpost tube.
Cut the down tube right near the bottom bracket
Clean, grease and reinstall the bottom bracket.
Fit oversize (28mm) steerer and handlebars to seatpost.
Fit Rubber cap to docked top tube.
Clean and refit transmission.  Mine is a fixed gear Pike.
Fit Generator of choice with usb output.
Charge phone or other gizmo.
Have a beer, you deserve it.

Using it.
Pedal this Pike using your hands or feet.  It might be possible to run a rod down from the cranks and drive the Pike with a treadle motion.  I am still working on this one.


Steve Nurse

Monday, March 18, 2013

President's Peddlers Oppy Team

Simon and his motor-vehicular counterpart in Echuca

Crossing into New South Wales near Echuca

Before the ride at Rochester Motel

Peter, Simon, Rick at the Motel

Crossing into New South Wales near Echuca

President Peter

Near Katemetite

Rick near Katemetite
The "Oppy" is an Audax Australia 24 hour ride named in honour of Hubert Opperman and run in every state and territory where there's an Audax long distance cycling club.  You can click on this link for details.  To complete an Oppy, a group of 3 to 5 riders must ride more than 360k to a particular destination and have their rides recorded on Brevet cards.  I was invited to attend and was really glad of it, the whole 24 hours was quite an experience.  Our team consisted of Simon Watt, Rick Harker, myself and Pete Mathews. Stephen Rowlands was in at the start but had work commitments.  Unfortunately, Pete did his back just before the ride and he couldn't take part actively, but supported us when he could.  My own back was crook a few weeks previously but I came out of the soreness in time.  That was lucky, we were down to the minimum number as it was.

So we all arrived in Rochester Motel ok on the Friday night, had a good sleep and headed out 8am Saturday at a good pace, 28kph or so without much wind through Echuca and then on to Nathalia for an early lunch or morning tea. Cyclists are always hungry, you just eat when you can and don't call it anything other than welcome.  Then on to Katamatite through a little bit of rain.

We were riding in a pace line on the quiet roads.  I don't know if this helps you aerodynamically but morally it certainly does, you can just lead and keep up a certain pace or follow and do the same.  Apart from lights, my sole piece of gizmo was a cheap speedo and the callibration was out on that (28 kph reading as 31 or somesuch),  but at least it helped me stay at steady speed and not hare off in a wild fit of enthusiasm.

We should have gone left to Yarrawonga at Katemetite but in a comedy of errors including missed phone calls (we had a Tracker on Simon's bike which let Pete observe our waywardness from afar) and hilly terrain which left us more than usually separated, we did not turn back for 30k or so!  Not terribly happy but we plugged on back to Katemetite, visited the General store and refuelled and then went on to Yarrawonga reaching a servo and convenience store on the outskirts around dusk.

Some tough riding into the wind back to Katemetite, we were only doing 19kph or so.  At Katemetite we stopped and chatted to a lady supporting another team.  At that stage "only 45k" to Shepparton and "only 62k" on from Shep to Rochester and sleep.

Dinner break at Shepparton McDonald's, they have all the food groups for the travelling cyclist, caffeine, fat, carbohydrate, sugar and a cocktail of salts!  We spoke to a policeman who was a cyclist himself and of course were immediate best mates.  Simon managed to sleep for a few minutes, I managed to shiver for a few minutes and then it was on to Rochester.

Fortunately Rick's GPS was in good order and we managed a direct route back from Shepparton to (at last) Rochester. Riding in the middle of the night was sublime, it wasn't freezing cold, we had good lights and a tailwind and could ride without danger in the middle of the wide roads.  We arrived in Rochester at 4am and were greeted by Peter.  I grabbed a cheese sandwich and some milk and headed to bed for 2 hours shut eye.  At 6 am the alarm went off and I've never been jolted from a deep sleep so violently.  Part of the Oppy rules say you need to do 25k in the last 2 hours and we managed that with a brisk run down to Elmore and back.  At the end of 24 hours we had done a lazy 410k, not bad for a few old hacks on recumbent bikes.

The whole thing was by no means easy, and it was only through careful fettling of bikes (in my case tyres, suspension, rear wheel disk) and body (2 100k rides in the week before the ride) that I could make it.  As well my completely unpadded hard shell seat gets a bit uncomfortable 140k or so into a ride and some padding is really necessary for these distances. Will work on that!

Rick at Echuca (Photo Simon)

Steve at Echuca (Photo Simon Watt)

Its done.  At the Oppy statue in Rochester. (Photo Peter Mathews)

Almost there, finishing the ride in Rochester (Photo Peter Mathews)

Here is my video:
And here is Simon's:
Here is Simon's write up on the Geelong Touring Cyclists page (click on 3):

As mentioned, Simon carried Peter's spotter tracker and recorded our progress in real time on the interweb thingy,  here is the link.  The out and back track at lower right was our detour!

For all the hard work you get (several months later) this rather fancy-pants, French ratified certificate.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Wooden Bike Mk2 Part 5

Progress on the rear triangle, still a bit of work to do.  I want to drill and tap the 2 support posts in the middle to secure it all together.  Not the lightest thing, it is made with solid plywood with fibreglass reinforcement and has handmade steel inserts screwed and glued in for the dropouts and pivot points at the ends.
Frame Almost Done

Suspension blocks in place.  These are parts of old-school pedals.  They were ground back a bit to make slots for the velcro straps.  This making a black rubbery mess!

Almost a bike now.

This is the plan.
Quite a bit of progress on the bike today with most of the frame and rear triangle put together and only some more screwing together and painting needed to finish it. My welding gas (acetylene) ran out just as the brazing of the rear triangle cross piece bits was being finished.  

 While browsing on the internet I came across another wooden bike on the XNTRICK site .  I am aiming for good speed from my wooden bike, and the XNTRICK site describes a good race performance from this very similar bike.  (Incidentally, there are many other good and simple bikes on XNTRICK.  The video on this page shows the world Human Powered Furniture Championship and is hilarious.  I am interested in having a go at a Velocino and already have a good donor bike lined up.)

This week I've been struggling with a painful back bruise (surfing accident).  I have a long Audax ride coming up in a few weeks (all day Opperman Trial) so hopefully will be fit enough to ride in it.  My training needs to be a bit like what I did leading up to the 300 k ride I did last year and the bike will be the same one I used for that ride.