News and Events

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

Monday, August 8, 2022

Winter Surf 2022 done and dusted

Batesford roadhouse

Batesford roadhouse

Golden hour, Batesford

Old and new at Anglesea


Near Batesford

Near Batesford

About 20k out from Anglesea. Some dogs on the farm opposite were barking madly when I made this wee stop. A lady came out eventually and asked if I was ok. (Yep, no problems)

About 10 k out of Anglesea

10k out of Anglesea



At the start

Phil and Ian at the start.

Spinup R03W Dyno


The Winter Surf ride is done and dusted now, and I finished it within the time limit of 13 hours 20 min - with about 20 min to spare. Anyway, that was fine, Audax doesn't say faster times are any better than slow ones.  There ended up being only 7 on the 200k ride, and one extra doing a 100k "pootle".

Had a great start, and was keeping up with everyone till about 10k into the ride when I was fiddling with a map and lost the pelleton. Later, there were a few issues along the way - there was a bike-track only section around some Corio ferry terminal roadworks, and it took quite a bit of farting around to get past a Horseshoe Bend Road  detour in Geelong. As well, a wrong turn near the You yangs on the way back had me do about 2 bonus kilometres before logic forced me to realise I'd made a mistake, reread the cue sheet and turn round. There was possibly about an hour lost in all this stuffing around.

My biggest mistake though was to leave a bag with keys and my wallet at Batesford Roadhouse! I only realised this had happened about 20k from the end of the ride.  Luckily and thankfully ride organiser Phil Giddings helped me out at the end. He offered to give me a lift home, and my bike could be taken apart easily to fit in the back of his SUV.

By the next morning I had a wallet and keys recovery plan. I rang the roadhouse (stuff was there, yay!), then printed a Werribee time train timetable and bought a new Myki train ticket before riding to my paid job at Back2bikes. After checking with my boss, I left work early, rode to Flinders Street station, trained it to Werribbee, then picked up the car in Werribee using a spare key from home.  From there it was about 50 familiar km to Batesford.  I was able to pick up the keys and return home after a snack and drink at the roady.

Quite a nice place, the Batesford Roadhouse. It looks like it hasn't been renovated in years, and all the wiring just runs higglety-piggelty on the walls. Its decorated with pictures of bacon sandwiches and egg rolls and the like, but the food is good, there are toilets there and its pretty relaxed. Phil has been on or ran several rides through Batesford, and as he said,

"It is very basic as a checkpoint however in winter they have hot food and drink and are open until after the check point cut off time.  Over the years a few riders have been very grateful to be able to warm up there.   That's the joys of winter cycling."

As far as the lights went, once adjusted properly, the dyno combination discussed here  (Spinup R03W dyno, 20" Wheel, and Hi-Power Light) worked well and was enough to illuminate the road but was not spectacularly bright. I might be able to improve things though, at the moment the dyno cable and light wires are only twisted together, but tomorrow, I will solder them together, then cover the join in heat shrink. That should mean more current is delivered to the light, so its brighter and works at lower speeds. Will report more on this later.

In terms of training, I did about as much as I could within the constraints of injury and time, and it was about right for being able to finish this ride in the time limit. (I only had to walk up one hill which was great!) . Simon Watt was my unofficial coach and mentor for some previous big rides and the following routines seem to work for me and my recumbent 

* For several days before the event, ride at least 70k per day. 

* For long 1 day rides,  ride at least the ride distance in the week before the event.

* On hills, don't let your speed go below 10 kph. No other speeds count and its fine just to roll down hill.

* At rest stops, eat what your first instinct tells you to eat. This will probably have what you need in terms of salts, protein and carbohydrates.

Thanks again to Phil for his excellent ride organiser support.


Steve Nurse


Thursday, August 4, 2022

Winter Surf Prelude 4


Bike with fairing on the road

This works out at about 16 kph, or just above par for an Audax ride

Bit of a rest break every couple of laps of the Boulevarde

Testing the pump I will bring on the ride on the new back wheel.

Finalising front light connection using cable end caps.

Hi, a few photos from todays bike fettling and riding. The bike is finished off and I only have a bit of tuning of the light position to go. Quite happy with today's ride, a decent distance, almost entirely on hills, and completed at about 16kph which is above the required Audax average of 15kph.

Regards Steve Nurse

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Winter Surf Prelude 3


End of day, fairing in place

End of day

Training on the boulevarde. This is a new installation of a seat, bike tools, bike stands and sensible ramps for riding between the footpath and road.

At home yesterday, a half bucket in place as the base of a new fairing.

This is the same top prop used for the last fairing, with an

extra prop which hitches onto some extended steering clamps.


Its getting quite close to my Saturday ride so really I have to train, and it doesn't matter whether the bike I'm riding is ready or not. So today I did about 40 hilly k's on the nearby Kew Boulevarde. I tried pumping up my tyres on the new toolset there, but only managed to tear the valve on one of my tyres, resulting in a puncture. Anyway, I found out the pump I carry is crap and doesn't work, I had the wrong size 16" tube but managed to fit it anyway, and the new installation is quite popular.

Back home and I worked during the afternoon putting on a new fairing (I had stacked on the last one, and the mountings were very dodgy). By the end of the day its done, and I only have to connect the lights to be on the road with the bike, and hopefully get a 50 - 60k ride on it tommorrow.

Tonight I found my Garmin and managed to load up Saturday's course, also print the whole route in cue sheet form from a spreadsheet file.

Oh yes, the back wheel on the bike is new, I swapped out one with a dyno for one without, but only after completely replacing the axle and building corflute spoke covers.

Regards  Steve Nurse

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Winter Surf Prelude 2

Tailbox split can be seen above the white water bottle holder

Inside the box. Outside panels held on by fold back clips.

Break detail with outside panel below - the panel boss won't get in the way of the repair which was -

Started by clamping some splints behind the broken part and drilling through.

Then the splints were screwed and glued in place. Screws were driven in from inside the tailbox, that meant........

The final deburring of the screw tips could be done easily, and there'd be no pointy screws sticking inside.

Leaning trike is back together again.

2nd repair / imporovement, I lengthened the tailbox hinges so they could be extended if required.  Occasionally I carry bike wheels, and the hinged lid can now have 5 different positions and be up to 100mm from the base. Some new slots mean the excess leather can be tucked away neatly, .... 

as shown here.


After the wet ride to Kennet River (see my last post), I decided to pull down the tailbox and clean it, and I was glad I did. There was silt and water in lots of spots, so I took it apart, hosed it down and cleaned all the bits. As well, there was a break in one of the sidepanel supports, and I set about fixing that as shown above.  

At first I was a bit concerned that I was only fixing one side, and that other similar places would break too. Then I thought of a new tactic, and that is just to screw the  sidepanels onto their supports instead of clipping them on. Then the sidepanels could do their bit and be structural, and stay removable as well. I haven't done this change yet but plan to soon.

A second change to the tailbox was to make extendable hinges for the lid at the front. This should let me carry more things like bike wheels.

Overall I'm very happy with this sort of work on this tailbox. It is the heavy / load carrying / dignified and well presented tailbox, one of two styles that I make.  The second 'box is shown in this post and is a full 2kg lighter, and I believe more aerodynamic than the one I've shown today. (See ) for plans of the trike described in this post)

Should have the bike back on the road in a day or 2, meanwhile I have been doing 20 - 30 k a day on the slower trike to keep fit enough for the 200k ride next week.

Back is still a bit sore when I lean back while riding but in general, I'm healing well from the slip I had a few days ago.

Regards Steve Nurse

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Winter Surf Prelude 2



Kennet River, a highlight.

The Rosellas at Kennet were very friendly and I was able to feed them by hand. A welcome stop for recovery.

On the way back, there's a rainbow here if you look hard.

Stopped for a break and drink here, near Cathedral rock. Nice light.


Today I did some prep for a 200k Audax bike ride I plan to do in just under 2 weeks, and I repeated the longest training ride I did before my last 200k ride (a few photos at the end of a post here). This time I took my recumbent leaning trike which I think is a bit slower and heavier than the quite similar bike I also ride.

It was raining today, but everything went fine up to Wye River where unfortunately I fell on some steps while walking to the toilets.  I walked down the steps blissfully unaware and not holding onto the railings. The steps were as slippery as soap, and I fell on my back and elbow.  

My back swelled up with a bruise which hurt a bit when I sat back in the seat. On my forearm, I reopened a wound I got falling off a bike a week or so ago. Also ouch!  Anyway, I kept going, found some shelter and respite at Kennet, then headed back. I got back to Airies Inlet ok, if a bit slowly.  

Hopefully no more accidents on the ride or any rides leading up to it. Enough drama for now!

Monday, July 25, 2022

Spinup Dyno Tests / Winter Surf prelude 1


Setup in computer room includes bike on trainer with front wheel drive and dyno, and


D light square light image

D Light, about $36.00, lights up at about 15kph

Flat Hi Power light image

Hi - Power Light, about $65, includes standlight, and daylight sensor,  and lights up at about 7kph

Busch and Muller rear light......

is about $65 and has reflector and standlight. It lights up at about 7kph.


As described in my last post, I have fitted a spinup R03W dyno to my recumbent bike, and hope to test it in an Audax ride in a few weeks time.  A few nights ago I set up my bike on a training stand in the computer room, and went through a few lights I'd bought to see how they went with the dyno. 

As well as the bike, stand and lights, I had a new Giant Axact 6 wired speedo connected up to the bike. I could turn the pedal by hand, see the lights light up by dyno energy, and find out what speed they lit up, as well as check any standlight (light remains on without any new energy from dyno) function. Lights all came from Bicycle Parts Warehouse. They are a good local supplier, but you may be able to find cheaper prices elsewhere. 

Results are above. I am happy to use the Hi-Power light, and eventually the Busch and Muller rear light as well. Will report later as I start to use the lights on the road.  Its important to note the bike I tested parts on uses a 500mm (20") diameter wheel whereas most bikes use a 700mm diameter wheel, so light up speeds will be higher for these bikes.


Steve Nurse

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Spinup R03W Dyno on Fred bikes



A version of this article first appeared in June 2022 Huff, the journal of OzHPV .

For a while I  have been looking out for a dynamo for the recumbent bikes and trikes that I make, and it seems that I’ve finally found one. The HPV’s are front wheel drive with a 20" front wheel, and also split in the frame just behind the headstem. This means the front wheel has a spline and cluster on it and is usually seen as a back wheel on bicycles. The back wheel setup has no drive cogs, so the wheels I use are more often seen as front wheels.                

So most hub dynamos (which operate on bicycle front wheels) cause a complication on my HPV’s, that is that the wires for the front light need to travel over or through the frame split. When I saw some dynamos from Spinup that work on the rear wheel I thought they would be worth a shot.

Spinup are the bike generator subsidiary of Sunup in Taiwan who make small general purpose generators and ebike motors. They make one “front” and two “rear” dynos. I chose the less powerful and less expensive rear dyno, the R03W, mainly because its more powerful brother, the R12W has a 700C-wheel-speed limit of 60kph. But on a 20” / 500mm wheel like I’ve got the speed limit which depends on the rpm reduces to 43kph, but I often go over that, mainly downhill!

 I dealt directly with Sunup to get my dyno and their responses have always been quick and courteous. Cost was about AUD $230 which I consider fair when compared to some other bike parts and accessories.                                

Installation was fairly intuitive and simple and at the moment I have the dyno charging a USB battery pack which can in turn charge cameras, lights and phones. It does its job without fuss and there’s no noticeable friction.

A cable was missing from the original kit, and when this arrives, I plan to connect it directly to a dyno headlight, trial it on a 200k Audax ride and report for Huff. The only drawback on the dyno seems to be its weight which is about 600g, 400g heavier than a bottle dynamo I have.

Update, July 21, 2022

The cable arrived about a week ago, and I am now about halfway through converting my "fast bike" to use the R03W dyno to power headlights. Work done sofar has been to do a front wheel swap between my bike and leaning trike. So the dyno is on my fast / light bike now, and I have connected it to a reflector / headlight from Abbotsford Cycles.  Still to come is replacing the dynohub rear wheel with a standard wheel, and I have a few different headlights and aim to compare them.

Also, I have signed up for the Audax 200k Winter Surf ride, so should be able to report how the lights go in practice soon.

New rear wheel (right) and old (left). The old wheel has corflute spoke covers for speed and a shutter precision hub dyno which has served me well for years. Here is the post when I installed it back in 2014.

Big mess in back yard during front wheel switcheroo