News and Events

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

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Aki's Barbecue 2018

Hi, A few weeks ago, my wife Christine and I went over to the park near Aki's place for a barbecue.  I had been there same place, same time, different year, last year when he had students from the hostel where he works over.  This year it was a bit quieter, and Aki didn't bring out quite so many of his bikes, but he did drag out some of his skatebikes recently purchased for $10.00 each. Anyway, George and Graham came along, and we all brought our own bikes to try, and Aki had his "previously unrideable" Flevobike which he is now coming to terms with.  Anyway, things went well but at one stage I fell off the Flevo in a fairly undignified way, bending my leg backwards and banging my head.

After lunch (sausages on sticks, barbecued sliced pumpkin, cheese and biscuits) we all went to the nearby basketball courts, had a few races on the skatebikes and tried out George's vintage Linear and Graham's Xtreme, as well as demonstrating the nifty 2 speed automatic gearbox on my Peugeot.  Aki tried on my helmet and was impressed by the mirror function. 

I still had one of the original mirror helmets I'd made at home, I am the world's worst salesman for my own inventions, but the helmet mirror has now reached some sort of tipping point as I donated the original helmet and a few spare mirrors to Aki and there are now 2 users on the planet. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Just didn't see you, mate!

Abbotsford Cycles logo from t-shirt on panelling

Both panels

Setting up to cut by draping the cloth over the corflute base.

Finished bike, leftt hand side with Abbotsford Cycle graphic. The panels are quite a good colour match for the 3d printed light mount and plug which are at each end of the frame. 

Right Hand Side.

Reflective armband which used to be part of the t-shirt sleeve was slipped over the corflute panel.  Here is the part which is inside the tailbox. 

Last step, sewing on the armbands


In the last week, I have been finishing off my repaired tailbox by making a set of sidepanels for it.  For several months I had some t-shirts earmarked for use as highly visible panels as I had never used either of them.  Both of them are bright orange and one of them is at least 20 years old (it has an old 7 digit # and all Melbourne #'s have been 8 digit since 1996) and from the old location of Abbotsford Cycles. (299 Johnson St is  only a k or so away from our house).  This was a high vis shirt with reflective tape on the arms from a bike market like this one.  Basically in making the panels I'm repeating this process but there were a few changes for these particular t-shirts. One corner of the panel had to be patched as the initial cut of the cloth didn't cover it, and I installed the reflective strips as rings at the front.  Later I sewed these rings.  All pretty good. Although my 2nd sewing attempt was better than my first, I can redo the corner patch a bit later as I have plenty of left over material. 

This bike aims to tackle drivers who yell at me "can't see you mate, get a flag" when its obvious that they have seen me in order to get upset and yell at me. It is (possibly) visible from outer space.


Steve Nurse

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Frame Spacers

Plan of bike showing spacers

Old spacers were falling apart a bit.

Didn't fully understand this printing software screen before, but I now understand it a bit better.  Bottom right of the 8 print settings is 99% fill which is the one I wanted. 

Pair of prints from the machine.
Full Printer Setup.

Spacers fitted to back of bike.


After a few months, the trike frame spacers I printed and glued together at home have been falling apart, and while I really don't mind that, its not something I would want to inflict on anyone else in terms of calling it a finished design.  For almost a year, I didn't think my Cetus printer could print solid parts, ie I thought there would always be some sort of hollowing out to save material and printing material.  It was bugging me a bit and when I got around to it, I asked the Cetus 3d printer Facebook Group what may have been a dumb question.

And I got some good answers quite quickly, yes, you can print solids, and I was just being a bit of a dumb-ass and not understaning the user interface.  So the new parts with the new higher density and from new material came off the printer very quickly.   I fitted them, and they were a bit oversize and the 2 trike halves were hard to fit together, but after attacking them with a file, the fit became much better. Adn hopefully they will last.


Steve Nurse

Seat Repair

Time to fix the seat I think, so.....

from this pile of proto-seats and almost good enoughs, 

I grabbed some timber, cut it up and 

started on the seat repair surgery.

Here the dark brown replacement timber presses up against the broken seat and acts as a splint......

and this is the repair of the seat section, glued and screwed and drying while its held in place.

Hi, As I mentioned last time, one of my seat / tailbox combinations broke, possibly while carrying a bike frame in the back of it.  So last week I had a bit of time and put some effort into repairing the bike seat properly.  As the photos above show, I put some care and attention into it, selecting and cutting some strong plywood as a replacement strut and patching the split seat area from behind.  Went out for a ride on it today, its all good.

There is a vast difference between the seat on one of my Freds and the seat of a standard bike. Repairing the wooden seat of the bikes is enjoyable and a way of coming to "own" and become involved in the trike whereas damage to a standard bike seat as shown below is not repairable.  In most Western countries, the bike seat shown below would be discarded without recycling.

Standard Bike Seat


Steve Nurse

Friday, March 9, 2018

Green Wedge Hills Audax

Garmin Edge 520 on my bike
Dummy route to test GPS, here is the link to the "blocky" ride with gps map 

The GPS wakes up and glows when it nears corners and then ....

reverts to an unlighted screen a bit later.

Some damage to the tailbox revealed ..........

after my training rides and before a planned new makeover.

Riding the Green Wedge Hills with the 

GPS succumbing to a bout of confusion.  After a long stretch of reading this crap you start imagining the thing is being very smug and saying "Of Course"..

I've been getting my trike out on the road a bit and purchased a GPS so I could have a crack at a few more Audax rides including navigation.  For me, buying a GPS is not like buying a book as using one started as a complete mystery.  It doesn't come with an instruction manual and you need to get one from the internet here or read it off the internet here.

To demystify the  GPS, I made a blocky GPS route using ride with GPS on my computer. Then I loaded the route into the GPS (only the Garmin-supplied cable seemed to work transferring data), took it outside and had a crack. And everything worked fine, it told me how many k or metres to the next turn, and I did the route a couple of times.

After that, I booked into the 100k Audax Green Wedge Hills ride and 2 days before the ride did about 70k of riding of hills on the Kew Boulevard without stopping. This was just what I needed, as the ride itself was quite hard. When I got back from the training, I'd intended to do another bike makeover and put some lurid orange cut up t-shirts on the side, but this plan was cut short as I discovered some breaks in the wood of the tailbox.  I'm not sure how this happened (as I was explaining to my wife's podiatrist today) however it might have been when I banged into a tree while carrying a bike frame, or while carrying beer or something else. Anyway, after thinking about it, I didn't immediately fix the tailbox but instead just swapped it over for the other one I have, adding Ventisit seat padding to the swapped over tailbox. Bit of a test ride to my Mum and Dad's place, and the front bottom bracket was coming loose.  Out come the BB tool, the big shifter and a length of pipe to tighten the BB.  By this time I am a bit cautious and end up taking the 1 kg shifter and the BB tool with me on the ride.

The night before the ride I tried downloading the latest ride map as recommended by Audax email but really didn't check enough that the new route was in the gps.

Up early the next day and I got to the Eltham ride start in time but the new ride route wouldn't load, so I ended up loading the old route.  Things went well (except for the enormous number of hills which I couldn't ride up because the front wheel drive was slipping and losing my Brevet card) until a long way into the ride when the GPS chucked a wobbly.  I couldn't navigate after that and went about 10 k too far on the road before stopping and asking a farmer for the way back to the nearest big town, Hurstbridge.  After asking a bike rider for directions a bit later, I headed off on the right road for "Hurstie" and got back on track.  Slightly slow going from Hurstbridge, (there were still some hills) and I didn't have much oompf left having hardly stopped for the whole 100 or so k but got in to Eltham near the cutoff time of 2pm.

I emailed the ride organiser when I got home and registered a Thank You and Did Not Finish due to the lost Brevet Card.

So a few lessons.

* Get familiar with what happens to your GPS when you wander off track.

* Delete redundant routes before attempting to load up new ones and check that new ones are properly loaded before leaving your mapping computer session.

* Carrying maps as backup is a good idea.  I didn't find any maps of suitable scale in my Melways or Vicroads books, so maybe screen dumps and a full set of ride directions from ridewithgps would help. 

* Training is good and 3 or 4 or 5 laps of the hilly Boulevarde track are all doable and worth it.

All for now, Regards

Steve Nurse