BikeCommuters.com

Tag Archive: Bike

Carry Your Bike On A Bike

The BikeCommuters.com Secret Lab, West Coast Division were at it again in building a new project that is not only practical, but pretty cool.

I’ve seen photos of people carrying their bikes on their Xtracycles. In fact you can even by a kit from them called the Tray Bien for about $99. But I wanted to make my own for super cheap.

Since I had and old Thule fork mounted tray that I wasn’t using, I decided to put it into service by recruiting it for this project.

First step was to get some pipes. I had some extra 20mm copper and steel pipes laying around in the lab. I inserted those pipes into the holes where I could usually fit my footsies in the front and the other hole in the back.

I then secured those pipes with some screws to prevent them from sliding out or rotating.

Once all that stuff is done, I just tighten the tray mounts and placed my Redline 925 and used the straps from the Freeloaders to secure it.

You’re probably wondering why anyone would carry their bike on a bike. Basically its an alternative way to transport your bike from one place to another. It’s better to do it this way than it is to drive your car around with your bike on the rack.

A little girl on a bike is faster than a car

You guys may have seen my daughter’s bike before, its an early 80’s Freespirit Brittany. Nothing special about the bike other than it being pretty cute.

This morning I had some freelance work I had to do at one of my client’s offices. This meant I needed to drive there in order to get to the location on time. I had to drop off my younger daughter at school so Priscilla could pick her up later with the Xtracycle.

Breanna got on her bike at the same time as I got in my car with my other daughter.
Anyhow, as we’re driving to school, I say to Aleah, “I wonder if we’ll beat Breanna to school?” But as we kept driving, I didn’t see Breanna anywhere. I actually started to get worried until I spotted her already walking her bike on school grounds!

I was blown away on how fast she got there. We left the house at the same time, but by the time we got in the car, buckled up, drove out of our alley, waited for traffic to pass so I can get on the street…she had already pedaled herself through our neighborhood, on the bike lane and to school.

It did encourage me to see that even a little girl on a bike is more practical than a car when going to school.

Though I normally take my kids to school on the Xtracycle, I’m STILL the only parent that accompanies their children to school via bicycle. I was hoping it would catch on, but all the parents ever do is comment how cool my bike is or stare as they are driving away in their big SUVs…I just wished there were more parents that could see the benefit of taking their child to school on a bike, or at least letting them ride their bikes to school on their own.

NuVinci Hub Review

We were pretty stoked to receive a NuVinci hub from our friends from Seattle Bicycle Supply to test. We met the guys from NuVinci at Sea Otter and we were very impressed with the hub.

Product Description:

The NuVinci continuously variable planetary (CVP) is the first viable CVT drivetrain for bicycles and a revolutionary, new alternative to conventional derailleur and fixed-gear internal hubs delivering a totally unique riding experience. The ride is incredibly smooth, allowing the rider to shift “gears� while pedaling, coasting, or at a standstill. Its elegant, simple design delivers all the advantages of planetary gear sets without the limitation of fixed speed ratios, without wide gaps between gears, and without jolts or jerks to the rider’s legs and lower back.

How does it work?
Check out the Video:

Installation:
We received a wheel with the hub already installed, cables, controller and other needed hardware. I decided to install the Hub on an Ibex B27-R, the Ibex B27-r is Mountain Bike frame with 135mm rear spacing and 26″ wheels with a derailleur hanger.

The instructions of the installation manual are well written and the illustrations helped a lot with the installation. Although my level of mechanical expertise is not vast, I was able to install the NuVinci Hub on my own.

Installation was basically seamless, except for the chain length, I had to use a ‘half-link’ so the chain could be properly tensioned.

Hits:The strongest point of this hub is how easy it is to use. The controller doesn’t not feature ‘number of gears’ but an intuitive display of a road incline. A flat line means you are riding a flat road and you can really ride fast, a ‘hill’ means that you are ready to climb. As you turn the controller to adjust the gear ratio, you will notice a smooth change on pedal tension, there is no clunk or that annoying sensation of a tug on your legs.

Flat line = Go Fast !

Hill = Get ready to climb!

Since my commute is mostly flat, I did experiment riding uphills with the Hub. Here’s were the hub excelled. When you climb on a geared bike, you can be stuck on a higher gear that makes it difficult to climb because you are ‘mashing’ on the pedals or a lower gear that makes you spin too fast. The NuVinci Hub allows you to find that ’sweet spot’ where you feel comfortable not mashing the pedals or spinning too fast.

Another huge plus is the reliability of the hub. Weather in So Cal is not as extreme as in other parts of the country, but the people at Fallbrook (designers of the hub) have tested it extensively at -20 C, or -4 F, with no problems. Since the hub is fully enclosed, rain nor mud are an issue.

Drawbacks:The biggest drawback of this hub is it’s weight. At a reported weight of 11 lbs for the entire system, weight weenies need not apply. The cost of the hub is also another drawback, expect to pay over $400 bucks for the hub.

Where can you buy it?

Your Local Bike Shop (LBS) should be able to order either the hub or a prebuilt wheel from Seattle Bike Supply or you can buy a bike like the Batavus Adagio-Nuvinci or the Ellsworth The Ride that have come with the NuVinci system installed.

Recommendation: The BIG question is: Does the reliability and easiness of use counter the weight and price of hub? From a Bike commuter point of view, the answer would be yes. As far as weight go, most bike commuters are not really concerned with a commuter bike’s weight (see our poll), reliability is top priority. Price? The hub is currently installed on a $99 Ibex B27-R frame, so even with a price of $400, the bike is about $550. Again, most of you would pay more than $500 bucks for a reliable commuter bike. For those ‘extreme’ commuters out there that ride snow/rain/mud or shine, the hub is worth the investment. For those of us that don’t ride extreme climates but want a wide range of gear ratios, value the reliability of a bike and have a little extra on our wallets, the NuVinci hub is worth considering.

We would like to thank Seattle Bike Suppy for giving us the chance to test the hub, and to Val Kleitz for answering questions about the hub. You can also read Val’s review of the hub by clicking here.

Just Ask Jack — Spandex on a Commuter?

An anonymous reader sent the following question:

“Is it OK to wear spandex to work? I usually ride a road bike, but occasionally ride my MTB to work.�

My feeling is to wear whatever you like that makes you comfortable — whether it is spandex jerseys and shorts or tight leather pants and a puffy pirate shirt . Spandex cycling wear wicks moisture and feels pretty comfortable…which is why so many “serious� cyclists and racers swear by it.

However, there are certain conditions where spandex cycling gear does not fit the bill. First, wearing a full team kit is pretentious, loud and annoying. You should only wear team gear such as Liquigas, CSC or Discovery Channel IF YOU ARE ON THE TEAM! Similarly, wearing a Cervelo jersey while riding a Trek is a big no-no. If we see you, we’ll report you to The Bike Snob. Stick to the brand of bike you own if you absolutely must wear a team jersey and shorts. For everyone else, cycling-specific clothing comes in bright solid colors, too.

Another exception is wearing spandex clothing on a one-speed beach cruiser, Kmart special or any bike that even vaguely resembles the bike ridden by the “40 Year Old Virgin“. You’re not fooling anyone into believing that you are some badass fitness freak or serious racer…mostly, you just look overprepared (and a bit silly) to go fast on a bike that is physically incapable of going fast.

Finally, leave the spandex alone if, after putting it on, you look ANYTHING like this guy:

(Picture “borrowed� from How To Avoid the Bummer Life)

Seriously, no one should have to look at that!

Have a cycling-related question? Just Ask Jack! Click on the link in the right-hand column to send me your questions.