News and Events

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

Monday, December 29, 2014

Resolutions 2015


Last year (somewhere) I posted a list of what I wanted to achieve in 2014 and this has been a very worthwhile thing. 

If nothing else, I stayed on track with applying for tertiary study in 2014, and that has proved to be my "job parachute" for 2015, with a masters degree scholarship relating to Human Powered Vehicles set to be my main employment next year.  I did all the other stuff as well, although the Velocino is still a hotch-potch.

So here are the aspirations for 2015.
  • Hollow out a book about Lance Armstrong, put a plastic bag containing an innocuous white powder inside, and sell the resulting artwork on ebay.  Ideally the book should cost less than $2.00 from an op shop and be called "Lance Armstrong, Secrets of  My Success".  But my standards are not very high, I will settle for compromises!
  • Set up Audax Permanent Rides, Albury to Corryong and Aireys Inlet to Ballarat.  These routes traverse some great roads and lead to great locations. If the Permanents  existed, they would help lead riders to events which run in the towns, ie The Lake Wendouree Challenge, and last years OzHpv Challenge in Corryong.  
  • Do ok at my Uni Course
  • Start a crowd sourcing initiative.  It could be for anything!  But if I eventually manufacture and sell some some bikes, then crowd sourcing would be an option for the selling and manufacture, and I would like to get some crowd sourcing done for something small first as a way of limbering up.
Ok, that's it.  There is a mix of easy, and hard ones there, see how it goes this time next year.


Steve Nurse

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A few friends and neighbours came around

A few friends and neighbours came around, Christine with Erica, Tony, Christine, George and Bev.

Ellen with Nolan

Off to deliver Ellen's bike, recently found on a junk heap.  Ellen lives about 2k away, and there is a folded Bickerton bike in the front, ready to take me home on the return journey.

Technical mod. to Ellen's bike was swapping the old black cluster for the silvery coloured one with more teeth on the biggest cog, giving a lower bottom gear.

Fixing Ellen's bike in the middle of the standar bike junk pandemonium.

More friends and neighbours came round, Christine with Betty, Ray, Anne, Geoff

Self timer Photo, me and the Bickerton
Hi, here are a few photos taken in the lead up to Christmas.  I've been slowly recovering from Dental Surgery, learning to use a barbecue (put the sausages on before the steak, you shouldn't prick the sausages) and we caught up with quite a few friends and neighbours.  And bike repairs come like breathing to me, I fixed up a found-on-a-junk-heap bike for out niece Ellen.

Happy and safe Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Cruzbike

Fitting a Cruzbike Kit....

to a Ladies "Ricardo" Bike

and learning to ride it in the street.
The bike conversion needed a custom headset like this one if the bike doesn't have a standard 1 1/8" threadless headset.  I managed to make the half painted blue one from bits in the shed.


In the last month or so I've been putting together a Cruzbike kit which I swapped with an acquaintance for some bike parts.  It started with buying a $30.00 ebay bike from a neighbouring suburb and then slowly reconfiguring it using the kit bits.

The kit has 3 parts to let you modify a standard bike.  In order of increasing complexity,
  •  a long axle with spacers lets you fit a front wheel where the back wheel was.
  • the standard bike seat is replaced by a larger 2 part recumbent seat.
  • The steerer assembly and front wheel mount get adapters to mount a higher steerer, a pedal assembly, a derailleur and the back wheel.
  All these parts act and can be installed indepedently, and you can come up with your own versions of the modifications.

Naturally what bike you start with determines what it ends up like.  Generally the lower and further back the seat is mounted relative to the front wheel, the faster the bike will go.  Leaning the seat back helps the bike go faster as well.  You can look at the cruzbike web page   (click on bikes) and the bikes run down the page from fastest to slowest. There is a plethora of Cruzbike conversion pictures on the internet here, and its interesting to see what people have done with the kit. As well,  I made another bike of this type 2 years ago. 

Even though its not really finished, the Cruzbike has been fun to ride around the block.  When you ride, you have to use your arms to push back on the steering a bit to counter the leg force.  Its sorta good to learn this technique, which exercises the arms as well as the legs and is said to improve hill climbing.  The bikes are moving bottom bracket front wheel drive machines.  Its a fairly unique bike style and Cruzbike seem to be the only mob promoting it commercially.  (There are prototype commercial  and guided self-build versions.)

 I'll keep tinkering with the Cruzbike kit (which may still be available but are no longer in production) and hope to come up with a faster version.  Its already been great fun building up the bike I've made!

For a really broad view of what moving bottom bracket bikes can look like, have a look at this link.  For sheer differentness though, you can't go past some of the creations of Sergei Zemin: scroll down this page a bit to have a look.

Leaving Work

Part of my Going Away Present - a lump of wood cleverly disguised as "Precision Recumbent Framing Material".....

and the other part - a posterboard....

which all came home with me on my bike.  The "framing material" started out way too long (3m) for me to carry and was thoughtfully cut in half.

A few days ago, I had my last day at work after stints of 7 and 11 years working at an electric motor company.  I was made redundant and didn't choose to leave but it has ended up not too bad.  Since the beginning of the year I've been applying for a part time Master's degree in design at Monash University and on hearing I had been given the woolly chook, switched my application to full time study.  So, err, end of the year, I am finishing up work but have the small complication of having booked in for Wisdom teeth removal, oh joyous fun...  It turns out the surgery comes at the last week of my work, so I finished a bit early.

Kept myself quite busy in the weeks leading up to my last day, there were study applications, Christmas Parties, friends to catch up with, ordering a new computer and I rode to work on the last day.  Its always quite satisfying riding to work and it gives some meditative time to think things out.  The traffic can be as foul and snarlly as it likes but it always takes (ok, took) 1.5 to 2 hours each way.

There was a presentation from my colleagues, sad to go but I am looking forward to new things!  The photos show some of the going away presents.  I have also gathered a few parts that I've worked on in my career and will put them together as some form of sculpture later.  At one stage I received a 10 year service recognition certificate and pocket knife - the pocket knife is ok but the certificate is fairly boring and I will award myself something better.  A friend Byron was given a complete "Christmas Tree" assemblage of parts associated with his work at the company, and it sits proudly in his lounge room.  His kids whizz it around, sometimes at manic speed and he tells them to slow it down a bit!  I will post a picture of the sculpture I make when its done.

All for now, quoting Jack Gringlas quoting Douglas Adams, "So long and Thanks for all the Fish".

Sunday, November 30, 2014

OzHpv Gathering 2014

Bit of a funny way to get customers!  Vline sign at Southern Cross Station.

Anthony was trialling his off-road touring rig and we road together from Albury to Hume Dam, having struck up a conversation on the train up from Albury.

Graham Signiorini and Lloyd Charter in Albury

Michael from Denmark in Albury

Albury, Pete Heal, Alex Mcnee, Chris Curtis.

Assisted by Albury's finest.

Pete & Duncan

Abandoned House, Albury

These bikes had been freighted up from Melbourne for the Great Victorian Bike Ride

Pete and Lloyd conscripted a photographer....

near the Bike Vic encampment.

Its not all beauty here at the modularbikes photo editing studios.  This is the sort of masterpiece I usually delete.

Some of Grahams homemade boat propellors

A bit Rugged!  Climbing on a dirt road near Tallangatta.

Pete and Andrew

Jewel in the Crown of the Towong shire railtrail, the Sandy Creek Bridge, with Alex, Simon, Richard

Simon, Richard, Chris.....

and the way it looked in 1955 from the snappily titled  "The Branch Line, a History of the Wodonga-Tallangatta-Cudgewa Railway" by Lloyd Hughes

Magical Tree at Huon

and another one with Simon, Andrew, Chris, Pete.
Graham, his bike, his Propellors, Willem

For a few days I have been back from Albury and Lake Hume, after a weekend spent up there riding my bike with fellow recumbenteers and attending the Ozhpv Annual General Meeting.  I hadn't been going to go, but there was a prospiracy which made me!  A few weeks before the event, I was retrenched from work, which brings with it "slightly more flexible attendance requirements", so I took the Friday off before the event, which coincided with the start of the Great Victorian Bike Ride in Albury.  Of course, the GVBR completely dwarfs the OzHpv gathering, so I took an early train, hoping to avoid bike traffic on the train.  As it happened, I did avoid the bike traffic, and saw and spoke to only a few early arrivers, taking their bikes up on the train.

One of these was Anthony, who I'd chatted to on the way up.  He is a teacher from Bendigo, had a big touring rig, and was setting out from Albury for a few days independant riding.  His plan was to catch up with some of his pupils who were doing 1/2 of the GVBR, starting in Mansfield.  With a bit of time to kill, I decided to ride out to Lake Hume and my camping ground with him. We parted ways at the Bellbridge turnoff but not before taking a few happy snaps.

After setting up camp just next to Graham Signiorini, Graham and I rode back in to Albury for the start of a ride organised by Lloyd Charter. A few of the Canberra mob had arrived and passed us by car on the way in, Duncan and Andrew stopping for a chat.

There was quite a big recumbent roll-up in Albury for the Friday ride, Lloyd and 3 of his triking mates, 4 from Canberra, 2 from Melbourne and 1 from Denmark!  Michael was in Australia as part of a 2 year world tour, was staying with Pete Heal and had ridden most of the way from his home country....  We went most of the way round Albury on the bike tour, which was buzzing with cyclists in preparation for the Great Vic bike ride due to start in the town on Sunday.  There was a 1k long encampment on the Murray full of bike riders, and we even saw the occasional recumbent.

Graham and I rode back to Hume village, I was slowing down by this stage but Graham pushed ahead quite quickly, waiting for me every now and then.  I arrived at camp and waited for Graham to follow - and waited - and waited.  Eventually he wheeled his bike in, and had come across some bindy-eye or other pestilent puncture promoting flora, and had 4 punctures and had fixed - 3 of them.  He worked on the extra puncture a bit later, eventually fixing it just before we were to head off the next morning.

After breakfast the next morning,  I lathered on sunscreen, having copped a bit of sun the day before, and Graham and I headed out with Pete Heal and caught the rest of a recumbent mob  across the river in Victoria.  It was really nice riding on good undulating roads and we passed several groups of Albury upright cyclists off for their 60k or so constitutional Saturday rides.  My bike is quite good at bombing down hills, and on a ride like this you get to compare its characteristics with other recumbents. Its nice to think its fast because its aerodynamic, but it could be that me and my bike are both heavy as well!

After a while we hit an unmade section of the road which had all the evils on it, bumps, drifts of sand, corrugations and hills.  Yes, I walked up some of it, this sort of road and my front wheel drive wooden bike being somewhat incompatible, the front wheel slipping and being slightly bothersome.  Anyway, that road changed to bitumen again and the riding got smoother with great views over Lake Hume and its abundant birdlife towards Tallangatta.

Lunch in Tallangatta, and the Op-Shop was busy and the bakery crowded with motorbiking, recumbent biking, and road biking - daytrip mobs.  Standing room only outside the bakery and I bought a plate for Christine at the Op - Shop and "The Branch Line, a History of the Wodonga-Tallangatta-Cudgewa Railway" by Lloyd Hughes at another shop.

We went on the rail trail a lot of the way back and that was a bit hot and bumpy, Chris Curtis being jolted off and copping a gashed elbow at one point.  We regrouped and refuelled in Ebden and from there it was a short ride across the Hume Dam back to the Caravan Park.  The day's ride was only about 80k but a bit hot and demanding.  A few of us had a swim, almost everyone had a sleep, and the OzHpv AGM was at 6pm.  Up early the next morning to pack the tent and get on the 6:30 am train back to Melbourne.  It was warm already at 5am when I started riding, and had plenty of time for the train. 

Getting back to Melbourne before lunch was good, my son and his girlfriend came over for lunch, I caught up on some sleep and stayed out of the hot sun for the most part.

Ps,There are  Many Blog posts about the Great Victorian Bike Ride available, I have chosen to highlight this one showing a recumbenteer crossing the Hume Dam, the day after Pete Matthews and I had ridden the same route together in the opposite direction.

Tragically, a rider, Trevor Pearce was killed in an accident on the Great Victorian Bike Ride, his wheel clipped that of another cyclist and he fell under an overtaking truck.  Rest in Peace Trevor and be careful out there everyone. 


Monday, November 17, 2014

A few pairs of photos

My Brother Richard's "new" 1939 Raleigh roadster - Look at those.....

fantastic original stainless steel Westwood rims!
L to R: Mum, Dad, Mum's sister Lorna and me....

In Kew, Melbourne.

These are my socks, drying on the line at home.  There are so many socks of the same type  because this is the only type of sock I own (avoids the "finding matching pairs after the wash" dilemma/syndrome/issue/problem) and because Ermi who helps us with our washing likes to wash sock with sock and jock with jock (but I don't know why).  This photo was taken before the "Big Melbourne November Rain" of 42mm overnight)
Unwisely, I photographed the socks instead of bringing them in.  This photo of wet socks is taken after the "Big Melbourne November rain of 42mm overnight".  (Worse things have happened!)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Brad's 40th in Trida

View from Grand Ridge Road

Brad and Sharon's Round Straw Bale House

"Chookshaw" pen, the chooks are preparing the ground for the next crop of vegies.

My bike at Warragul station.  The seat is pushed right forward so when the back wheel folds underneath, it fits in the train's bike storage locker.

Daisy's taxi.  This is how Brad and Sharon's youngest gets around on the farm.

Brad's trike in the new house

My bike in the new house

Brad, Sharon and the kids

Tony & Brad, '65 Ford

Cutting the Cake

About 12k from Warrigal: another chook caravan
Brad and Tony

Today I got from a day and night away from the city and up to Brad and Sharon Jarvis's small farm in Trida.  I got there by train to Warrigal and bike up the hill from there.  It was hot going up to Brad's place, but fortunately my work boss Tony passed me in his car on the way up and carried most of my luggage (beer, sleeping bag, tent, Almond meal cake) by car for me.  A few hours later I got there!  I stayed overnight at The Jarvis's and met quite a few of their friends and family.  Thanks to Brad and Sharon for putting me up and for the berry jam.  The farm is a very special place.  Getting home was thankfully much easier, and I took a video as I was rolling down the hill.

Postscript: Thanks for the nice comment Brad.  Now I just realised, this post has pictures of hpv's with 1, 2, 3 and 4 wheels.  Actually there are 2 with 4 wheels, can you spot them?  Here is a link to an hpv with 5 wheels.  6 anyone?  Regards