News and Events

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

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Port Campbell to Geelong

Well-set up Audax bike at Port Campbell....

and another one....

and another one.... Mick's Barchetta.

Near Port Campbell.....sodden paddocks.

Suicidal worm on the road between Port Campbell and Simpson...

and another one up close.

Near Geelong: this is at the wayside stop on the freeway into Geelong from Colac.  A tour bus had stopped there and I chatted to the drive for a while and got one of the passengers to take this photo.

After a good sleep at Port Campbell I woke up to see the predicted rain pouring down, then showered and had breakfast.  I was scheduled to do the 200k return ride through the Otways but decided against it, I had made it "home" the day before with 20 minutes to spare in fine weather and with a 6am start. Foul weather and an 8am start changed all the equations a bit.  In everyday person terms I was probably being sensible.

The youth hostel was a flurry of activity in the morning.  Sodden 600k riders were coming in from the 50k Timboon leg of their ride and Peter Donnan and his team were serving them up carbo-laden breakfasts of champions of huge plates of toast, eggs, bacon, and baked beans.  200k riders were heading off into the wet weather, and eventually I did too, but let Peter know I'd be heading inland,  avoiding the hills and not doing the official Audax route.  There have been injuries and deaths on Audax rides and "come home safe" should always be the priority.

This proved to be a good decision, I was able to go at my own pace and have a look at the scenery, as well as ride some of the route of another Audax ride I might try a bit later on.  I saw sheep, lambs, cows, worms, a kangaroo, a fox and managed to take a short video. Without maps, GPS or even a speedo but reasonably familiar with the area, I rode through Simpson, Colac and Winchelsea back to Geelong, with most of the ride on the Princes Highway.  I stopped for half an hour or so at the excellent Simson General store and had a pie and a cup of tea there, and later, briefly at Colac to top up the fuel tanks with iced coffee and large pink, nominally strawberry donuts.

The Princes highway was ok for the most part but the rain came back in the form of a savage rain squall came through as I was approaching Winchelsea, and the roadside shoulders were a bit sketchy at times, especially with large trucks swooshing past at high speed.  As well, I had a dicey moment, almost coming off-balance when crossing a wet, angled railway crossing outside of Colac, I should have seen this one coming!

After Winchelsea there is a divided 4 lane highway all the way to Geelong and the road shoulder for bike traffic is very wide.  Unfortunately its also very bumpy and I felt that the road surface was slowing me down but at least its relatively safe.  The freeway has a "bikes must exit" sign near Geelong and the exit it takes you to a monster roundabout which I navigated ok, and it was easy going all the way back to the Kardinia Cafe after that.

Asides from an issue with not having appropriate low speed gearing, the only problem with the trike over 2 days was the derailleur being out of adjustment for the highest gear and that was fixed with a screwdriver without problem.

Thank You Audax, Thank you ride Organisers, see you next time.

Steve Nurse

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Port Campbell Audax

Kardinia Cafe @ start of ride, 6am, Thursday August 18, no flash......

and with flash.

Pit stop in Lorne

Fuel tank with nuts and salted lamington fingers

Descent into Port Campbell before dusk, Apollo Bay chips in fuel tank

and after dusk.

2 days ago I got up very early to be at the start of the Geelong to Port Campbell 200k ride by 6am.  I already had the trike in the car and I got away in time to unpack and reassemble the trike and head off with the others - about 28 bikes, one recumbent bike (Mick Creati).

For about 5k I kept up with everyone but after that most people overtook me and I didn't see any Audax riders again until Port Campbell.  I just kept at my own pace through Torquay, Anglesea, Aireys Inlet and Lorne before stopping at Apollo Bay about midday.  That was about 105k into the ride and before all its serious hills.  I left Apollo Bay at about 12:40 afetr lunch of Coke, chips, a cake and fried dim sims.  There's no running water available from Apollo Bay to Laver's Hill so I topped up on water as well.

The steep hills after Apollo Bay were too much for me to pedal up so I had to walk and push the bike, but I decided if I was to walk, I would walk like Olympic walker Jared Tallent,  that is, quite briskly.

The 2 big hills to climb on this ride are after Apollo Bay and after Casle Cove, climbing from near see level to several hunderd metres above.  There were some surfers at Castle Cove on a fine small right hander.  I had surfed there myself back in the day about 30 years ago and following that I had Liz Stringer's High Open Hills (....and for one more moment, I wish I could stand / on those high open hills of our youth, me an' my travellin' man) song stuck in my head as earworm. The surf at Castle Cove is bloody cold in Winter though!

Anyway, after some brisk walking and some riding (wish I had 170mm cranks instead of 150mm) I got to Laver's Hill and started the ride down to Port Campbell.  I'm watching the clock and the k's to Port Campbell at this stage and its getting dark. I make it in to the checkpoint at the youth hostel about 7:10 for a 7:30 cutoff time.

There is food at the youth hostel and I don't have to leave there once I get in.  Peter Donnan is there along with a few fellow riders and there is a chance to chat and have a cup of tea and shower before bed.

I was on a 200k ride and run concurrent with that was a 600k ride.  Whereas my day's time limit was 208k at 15kph, they had to achieve 600k at the same average speed.  600k riders were all out on a 140k jaunt to Warnambool and back when I got in to Port Campbell and I didn't see any of them till the next morning.  There was a big rain front approaching from the West and all eyes were on that and what it would mean for the weather in the morning.

Port Campbell Prelude

At St Kilda, Selfie Stick Photo

Alan Bishop (Yellow) with Graham Signiorini and Graham's wooden pedal boat

Be Spon ride at Docklands

Cargo Bike at Port Melbourne

A week later, a different Be-Spon mob near Warrandyte.

A few weeks ago, I bit the bullet and entered myself in a couple of 200k Audax rides.  These rides are on the Great Ocean Road between Geelong and Port Campbell and involve the dreaded Otway hills.

Necessary for these rides is training, and even before that, I needed to look like I am training by riding in bike shorts instead of winter long pants.  So at the start or the month I broke out the legs for one of Robert Waryszak's Be-Spon ride.  I only did part of the ride but managed to catch up with Graham Signiorini and his wooden pedal boat.  40 or so flat kilometres on training day 1.  Here is a selfie-stick video I took of the ride.

During the next week I did my standard 30k daily commute, and last Sunday went on a slightly longer training ride, something like 80k with a few hills.  The hilly part of the Kew Boulevarde is only a few k away from where we live and I went up and down the hilliest part of it about 5 times, then rode on to Ivanhoe to meet the B-Spon ride group to head out to Warrandyte.  This was the full extent of my training and probably not enough!

Inside the tailbox of the bike with the drink bottle cage clipped on to plywood with Bulldog clips.

The full drink bottle ensemble.  A cable gland at the top of the drink bottle holds in the tube.

Along with the physical training, I fixed up the bike a bit, adding a drink bottle and fitting a Schlumpf mountain drive as the crankset.  Unfortunately the Schlumpf I fitted had short (150mm) cranks, which made the gearing a bit higher than it would have been compared to 175mm cranks.

All for now, next blog post is on the road, Geelong to Port Campbell.


Steve Nurse

Friday, August 5, 2016

Peugeot DA40

A brochure image of the bike from

On the road: I had replaced the front tube at this stage but done no other work.  Still looks ok!

From the ebay ad: Separation mechanism

The sort of fashion I aspire to: other peugeot bikes, not D40E's but I had to put this in
This Bottom Bracket shot indicates the bike is 1971, refer here

Rim Detail


Since I got back from Adelaide, I have spent some time buying (on ebay) then picking up, then fixing a Peugeot separating bike, which I have worked out is a DA40E from about 1971.  It has a 2 speed kickback gear which is a delight to use and is initialled N for 1970.  I don't think I've seen a bike of this type before, but I've had other separating bikes before and still have this one albeit in slightly changed form.

The bike has uncommon tubes (20" with french valves) and when I got it the front tire was flat and not repairable.   I went to a few shops before finding the right tube.  Last night I fitted it. Today after running errands and visiting op shops, I cleaned the wheels and frame, regreased the front wheel, cleaned the chain, put leather belts on the hubs, and went for a ride.  I bought a lock for it as well.  The gears work well, and its fun riding this bike.

Low gear is 1:1 and good for hills, and high gear is 1:1.36 for flats and downhill.  The gears change every time you apply the rear brakes or even "touch" the rear brakes.  When you approach a stop sign or traffic light, you need to work out if you want to change gears and apply the front or back brake accordingly.  Definitely different.  Compared to my recumbent it is quite high, and its enjoyable riding by the river and getting a better view.

The bike is well designed and thought out.  You can take the wheels out and not disturb the muguards or rack mounts, and the rear rack is integral with the frame anyway.  See you out there on a pootle sometime.


Steve Nurse

Now if I had one of these I would die a happy man! Bolt-on DA22 exercise bike. Thing. Photo courtesy

Update, April 8, 2017

One of these bikes came up on ebay recently - in Spain, so a bit inaccessible to me, anyhow, I grabbed some photos off the ad.  Note the Dali-esque backdrop for the bike, Melbourne Fixie sellers take note!  Anyway the back brake on this one interests me.  To get the brake control across the split, there are levers on each side of the bike.  The 2 speed hub with back pedal brake seems like a much better option to me.

Since buying my DA40, I have installed a holder for a shopping basket.  I will report on this shortly. 

Adelaide Part 2

Tuesday at the Conference: Joey from Adelaide Bike Kitchen

Adelaide Nightlife by flashlight, outside the Belgian Beer Cafe

Adelaide Nightlife by streetlight, outside the Belgian Beer Cafe

Stawell Op Shop

Stawell Pet and Cycle Shop

Hi, I have been back from Adelaide for a week or two now and am just catching up with blogging now.  The rest of the cycle conference went well and on a Wednesday I drove back from Adelaide to Melbourne, just a lazy 800 k or so.  Anyway, on the way back I stopped at Kaniva and Stawell, wandered around, visited op shops and generally delayed my return to Melbourne for an hour or two till Melbourne's peak hour traffic hasd settled down a bit.

All For Now!

Steve Nurse