Posts Tagged ‘Bike’

As you have probably gathered I love riding bikes and I am all about cool bike technologies. You’ve already seen some photos of me with my Montague X50 but you may not have realized that it was actually a folding bike. Most people look at it and ask if it is an electric bike, to which I reply not yet. Even though it isn’t electric assisted my Montague is still pretty nifty. Having full-sized 26 inch wheels I can pull a consistent 20mph out of it on city streets sustained for over 5 miles. Also, since it is full-sized, it is much more stable for a taller rider like myself (I am told that smaller wheels make it harder to balance).

The best part about folding bikes for me in San Francisco is that the folding means I can bring it onto lightrail trains like the N Judah that normally do not allow bikes on-board. Many local transit agencies have rules like the SFMTA, but not all. The VTA down in Santa Clara is perhaps the least bike friendly transit agency I have had experience with. Though many drivers and ticket agents in SF are not used to seeing folding bikes on trains and I tend to get hassled on a weekly basis at least SFMTA has a standing policy protecting my right to bring my folding bike on trains.

While I love my Montague X50 and the Paratrooper that gave birth to it, they don’t fold up that small and they weigh a ton. In case you were wondering the Paratrooper got its name because it was designed to be dropped out of planes into remote locations with paratroopers. They are both rugged, tough build bikes that weigh as much as a Hummer, by bike standards. The X50 weighs in at a staggering 32lbs with the Paratrooper Pro being a “sleek” 27lbs. My bike with lights, a back rack, fenders, and other add-ons is probably closer to 40lbs.

If you want the power of a full sized bike but want something that folds smaller like a Brompton, check out the new FUBi Bike. The main draw of the FUBi is that it folds up small enough to fit into a tennis racket case, save for the wheels. Not even Bromptons fold up that small and they aren’t full sized bikes. The FUBi is in a class of its own, but does not look remotely as user friendly as either a Brompton or a Montague. I’m eagerly awaiting more polished designs based off this prototype.

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Hey everybody, hope you’ve been enjoying the blog so far. This post begins a new section of the blog where I will provide handy DIY lifehacks to make your life easier. I am an avid cyclist, riding upwards of 50 miles a week most weeks of the year, even in rainy weather. I also happen to wear glasses, which normally isn’t relevant as a biker, except when it is raining and your glasses fog over with rain drops, reducing visibility to near nothing in minutes. There are few good options available for a cyclist with glasses to spare them this pesky and potentially dangerous fate. You can pay hundreds of dollars for one of these German helmets or for one of these French ones. Some cyclists have even gone to the lengths of making their own, and I am one of them. In this blog I will give you my very simple schematic to make an empty two liter soda bottle into a bike visor in under five minutes, just in time for rainy weather.

While I like Jeff-O’s design I feel like it would let rain slip in from above and would still fall victim to fogging up. I have not used it personally and as such I can only speculate. The reason I opted for the design I did, which keeps the visor far away from the face and glasses is to prevent fogging up from body heat. I also feel like my design has better top coverage. His visor is much less bulky than my first version, but after seeing his build I re-designed mine to be sleeker and more svelte (see photos below).

You Will Need: An empty soda bottle, Velcro strips, scissors, and a bike helmet.

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Step 1: Empty Your Soda Bottle

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I tried to be a Mentos magician but clearly need to level up more.

This is pretty simple, and can be as fun as you are creative. You can just pour the soda out, but that is about as boring as it gets. You could drink it, which while being more exciting is still pretty mundane and full of obesity. You can shake it up and spray it in a stranger’s face then run away before they hit you. Or, best method, you can add Mentos to Diet Coke to create a carbonated geyser of liquid diabetes. The options truly are endless. I personally prefer using a bottle that is clear as my base, but you can play around with seven up bottle for a green tint. I picked a Pepsi bottle over coke because coke bottles have ridges and you really want a smooth plastic surface for best visibility with the least distortion.

Step 2: Cut the Soda Bottle Into Shape

Remove the label from your soda bottle and wash it out. You will notice that around the bottom, where the bottle bulges out at the base, there is a seem running horizontal around the entire circumference. Cut along that seem to remove the bottom. Cut a straight line to the top of the bottle, all the way to the cap if you can. Remove the cap. You should be left with a piece of plastic that is a semi dome that comes to a point where the cap was. Try to cut it so that any printed writing on the plastic wont obstruct your vision.

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Step 3: Attach Velcro To Helmet

I use three places to mount my Velcro, one on each side and one in the middle on top of the helmet, you may want to use more if you are worried about high wind situations, but I found mine to withstand winds up to 30 mph. By using Velcro like this you can remove the visor when not needed instantly and it folds up to fit neatly into a backpack.

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Now you are ready to handle winter’s rainy weather like a champ and look like Robocop while you are doing it.

Robocop Helmet

Build #1: Note how much larger it was, this caused it to catch more wind.

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Build #2: A hybrid of my initial design with Jeff-O’s build.

As useful as this helmet visor is, it pales in comparison to this invisible helmet which I am eagerly waiting for. Freedom from helmet hair, better peripheral vision, better neck protection, and it looks like a very stylish scarf. It’s really more of an airbag for your head than an invisible helmet though, but it looks much more solid than an air bag.

[EDIT]: Not all Velcro’s are created equal! I’ve used two different brands now and I can safely say that 3M off-brand Velcro is totally superior to Velcro Extreme in terms of holding capacity.

I was just linked to an amazing new invention and it’s corresponding kickstarter campaign. The Fly Kly Smart Wheel turns any back wheel into an electric motor that can crank you up 20 extra mph. I have long wanted to take my awesome folding Montague X50 and make it into a space-age folding bicycle that I can take inside buses and trains. People already ask me if it is electric, I really wish it was. I love the work out of cycling, I rely on it in my weekly routine, but since I usually ride in suits some assistance would be nice on my way to work to not mess my suit up. My worry is that it looks like it may be for single speed bikes only. I don’t know if I can fit my gears around the motor, but I want to try!

Unfortunately, the $800 security deposit I was getting refunded, which could have donated to their campaign and got me a Fly Kly Smart Wheel, is instead going to pay for numerous medical bills due to my crash. Awesome. I may still find a way, there are 25 days left in there campaign and I can always buy one later.