Just when you thought you’ve seen it all someone puts a Supergear crankset by Ziegler-Lam Cycling on the table. At first glance it looks like any number of other small maker cranks from the ’90s mountain bike and CNC’d everthing boom, needless stress risers, chunky corners and all. Grab hold of the bottom bracket and spin it forward and it acts as per usual, pedal backwards and the rings continue rotating forwards at about half speed, doubling the number of available gears. Retrodirect systems pop up through bicycle history now and again, an old design from before effective derailleurs that allows two gears (one gear pedaling forward, a lower gear pedaling backwards). Tinkerers put together modern retrodirect bikes just to prove the concept, and it still works (1, 2). The Supergear is a three ring setup with a planetary gear system that achieves the same effect, and was marketed as the only crankset to integrate a retrodirect system. This is likely from the days of seven speed cassettes, building up as a 42 speed bicycle. Throw some 11 speed rings on there and make a 66 speed bicycle, pair it with an internally geared hub and really go nuts. Interesting, but no surprise that the design isn’t around today. If only I could go back in time and see people mountain biking with a Supergear in the wild, or find someone running one on their bike today. Someone out there has one of these and swears by it.
Most of us living in America are responsible for throwing out a lot of food, enough that there is a whole culture of dumpster diving out there. Rob Greenfield is riding across the country subsisting on nothing but food rescued from the dumpster to shed a small bit of light on the issue of food waste. From TakePart, To Spotlight Food Waste, This Activist Is Biking Across the U.S. and Only Eating out of Dumpsters:
Greenfield is riding his bicycle across America—which to most of us would seem adventurous enough. He started his coast-to-coast ride in San Diego on June 2 and plans to finish in New York City on Sept. 26. Halfway through his journey, Greenfield decided to see if he could eat solely out of Dumpsters located behind grocery stores and convenience stores.
This year Greenfield planned his trip route so that he could take advantage of major media markets. When he arrives in a city he holds what he calls “Food Waste Fiascoes.” He’ll grab a friend with a car, and they’ll hit up some Dumpsters.
The following day, Greenfield spreads out his finds on the grass at a local park. He uses social media to invite television stations, news outlets, and regular people to come check out his formerly trashed food and get educated about the food-waste problem.
Read the entire article at www.takepart.com
The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago recently added images to its online collection available for free viewing, or for purchase for display. The early bicycle and motorcycle collection is pretty amazing, with a number of high quality images of just amazing and perhaps one of a kind bicycle examples from their collection. Hobbyhorse pre-bikes, ordinaries, long forgotten early safety designs, and turn of the 20th century bikes that aren’t far off from what we ride today. Prints start at less than $20, with large canvas wraps up to about $200.
Savannah GA is good for a few alleycats per year, with the Fast and Curious coming up on September 28th.
Bicycles equipped with motors have been a part of the landscape since shortly after bicycles themselves first appeared. It’s a natural leap for many that a bicycle, while fun and wonderful, would just be so much better if you didn’t have to pedal it uphill, or at all. Back in the 1890s we coined a term for overbuilt bicycles with motors — motorcycles. In the time since bicycles and motorcycles have gone in different directions based on the power disparity between the two, with bicycles gaining dedicated on-street lanes, off-street facilities, and rules and regulations that take into account the human powered scale of a bicycle as compared to the speed of mechanically powered vehicles.
Some would have you believe that human powered bicycles are going to be left behind by electric bikes. A significant amount of floor space is certainly devoted to e-bikes at the major bicycle tradeshows, even if the vibe surrounding them is more homeshow booth salesman as compared to the primarily enthusiast-driven bike industry. I’ve heard e-bikes heralded as the solution to the United States transportation problems, the way to get more people on bikes and out of cars, and the future of all things bicycle. Given the choice between seeing cars or e-bikes going past my front door I’ll choose two wheels over four every time, but let’s call a spade a spade and quit pretending that a bicycle with a motor is anything but a class of motorcycle.
Just as bicycles are primarily sold to the general public on weight, e-bikes are sold on power, pick-up and speed over distance they can go. Go into any shop and no matter what the official line is on things, people are picking up bikes to determine which is the lightest and the best choice. With e-bikes it seems to be a common theme that just after stating how it is really a bicycle at heart the pitch quickly gets into speed and power and how long you can ride without having to pedal. Current e-bikes look like an evolutionary link between bicycle and electric city scooter to me, much as early gas powered motorcycles appear to be bicycles with lawnmower engines bolted on. An 80 lb bicycle doesn’t sound like much fun to ride, and neither does a motorcycle with relatively flimsy bicycle components and tires. And from the looks of the above “bikes” that have a crankset as an afterthought or simply not at all, some manufacturer’s too see e-bikes as a stepping stone to fully electric, lightweight motorcycles.
Electric-assist bikes may be the way to get an aging population onto more human-scale vehicles and a way to facilitate moving cargo in urban areas with fewer cars, but I’m certainly not the only one who doesn’t want to see e-bikes in the bike lane or using dedicated off-street bike facilities. The speed disparity of an e-bike zooming silently uphill in the bike lane is simply unsafe to bicycle riders, and while most e-bikes don’t go significantly faster than a skilled and fit bicycle rider can achieve, there is a certain built-in safeguard of fitness and confidence before a bicycle rider can hit 30 mph that is not there when a motor is involved. Imagine novice riders upon e-bikes on sidewalks and rolling downtown redlights at speed and you can begin to see the user conflicts. And don’t even get me started on the craze for e-mountain bikes and the trail conflicts and public access issues that it will surely usher in the first time a politically connected equestrian notices a mountain bike with a motor passing them by.
Legislation needs to be drafted to draw the line between an electric-assist bicycle and a throttle twisting electric motorcycle before cycling access takes a step backwards. We’re on the precipice of big things in human powered transportation and no matter what role electric-assist bikes may play in the future, in my opinion it’s important to not allow electric motorcycles to jeopardize the political gains bicycles have made in the past decade.
Behold a selection of e-bikes below, some with throttles and some with electric assist speed/power regulators, some for the urban landscape and some for skirting dirt bike regulations. Have a different opinion on e-bikes? Leave it in the comments or submit a guest editorial to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cinelli Hobo GEO is the latest in the Hobo line of adventure bikes, taking it further offroad with mountain bike touring sensibilities. Check out the latest video from Lucas Brunelle of navigating the Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia, and some images of the GEO we caught at Interbike.
Bamboobee produces their own complete bamboo and aluminum bicycles, and using what they’ve learned over the past couple of years is ready to introduce a Build It Yourself bamboo bicycle kit. Each kit will ship with a single use jig, a complete set of bamboo tubes, stainless dropouts, an aluminum headtube and bottom bracket shell, and all of the hemp twine and wire you need to complete the project. The amazing part is that the planned crowdfunding price is just $170 for a single kit, making it a tempting purchase no matter how many project bikes are already in the garage. I’d be willing to bet this kit will be very popular, I know I’d love to tinker with one — why not? See more details at Prefundia.
“I play chicken with a Mac Truck.” This guy has the wheelie gene for sure, and potentially a death wish.
The global bike market is expected to grow from $51 billion in 2014 to $65 billion in 2019 – a 5.2 percent annual increase – according to a report by NPD Group.
China, the world’s largest producer of bicycles, stands to benefit from the increased demand. But it won’t be the only one. Although the country produces 67 percent of the world’s bicycles, most of them are low-end units that sell for less than $100 apiece. The real winner is actually Taiwan.
Instead of engaging in a race to the bottom, Taiwan’s largest bicycle makers instead ceded the low end of the market to China and began shifting their focus to mid- and high-end bikes. As a result, the average selling price of Taiwan’s bikes has increased nearly five-fold over the past decade, and the island’s total bike exports nearly tripled, to $1.2 billion in 2009 from $480 million in 2002.
Read the full article at www.thefinancialist.com