The Hugger gets Made

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by Frank Steele on Sep 13, 2006 at 7:42 PM

MAKE: Blog: DIY Sport-utility bike

Phillip Torrone links to the Bettie write-up over at the O’Reilly MAKE: magazine’s blog. It’s great to see so much interest in practical cycling, and I know Byron’s really happy with how the Betty turned out. In fact, his enthusiasm has talked me into giving the Xtracycle a try.

I’m not going to build mine up as a component showcase, though. I’m going to do it a little more like most of the Xtracycles I’ve seen in the wild: on the cheap.

Bettie’s components are pretty nice, so the whole project ran something above $3k. That’s pretty reasonable when you look at it as a car replacement, and around half of it goes into the Stokemonkey.

I think I can get by without the Stokemonkey for my purposes: around town riding, maybe carrying my kindergarten student to school. I’m also saving the frame price: I’m going to put it on a stock Klein Pulse Pro gathering dust in the basement, and leave the stock wheels alone. I’ll probably have to swap the mud tires out, but I’m going to build only that far and see what I think.

Code name: Gary.

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Texas Jack Howell

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by Byron on Sep 13, 2006 at 8:30 AM

Texas JackMike Robinson sent an email memorial about Texas Jack Howell who passed on this day in 1997. The email brought back memories of my days riding in the Tri Cities, the missing man ride we did for Jack, and all those guys that talked about the history of our sport, tradition, and paceline tactics.

I remember Jack’s Eddy Merckx MX Leader frame that he got from Markee and how we’d pace each other (also attack each other), at the back, up the hills, and eventually join the group.

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This just in: wigs make cyclists safer

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by Frank Steele on Sep 11, 2006 at 1:20 PM

BBC NEWS | Wearing helmets ‘more dangerous’

That’s one valid takeaway from a very simplistic study one rider in England undertook. Dr. Ian Walker of Bath University used an ultrasonic sensor to track how closely 2,500 overtaking drivers passed him while riding his bike.

He found that, when he wore a helmet, drivers cut things more closely, more than 3 inches closer on average. When, on the other hand, he wore a wig, drivers gave him an extra 6 inches or so.

Walker says the study provides some ammunition for the argument that helmets might actually detract from safety in some situations:

“By leaving the cyclist less room, drivers reduce the safety margin that cyclists need to deal with obstacles in the road, such as drain covers and potholes, as well as the margin for error in their own judgements. “We know helmets are useful in low-speed falls, and so definitely good for children, but whether they offer any real protection to somebody struck by a car is very controversial. “Either way, this study suggests wearing a helmet might make a collision more likely in the first place,” he added.

It’s not clear if the study is extensive enough to draw such sweeping conclusions, or if it would apply here in the United States. But we’re already decided: We’re starting a campaign to push for mandatory wig laws for cyclists.

(Via Del.icio.us Tag: cycling.)

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Bike Hugger meets the Ditty Bops

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by Byron on Sep 11, 2006 at 6:02 AM

Hugger Lover That’s me, Abby, Amanda, and Mark posing together at Seward Park after riding together with a group of cyclists from the Space Needle. We joined the Ditty Bops for part of their ride to Portland on Sunday and saw their packed Saturday night show at Chop Suey.

The Ditty Bops have been touring the country by bike, playing shows, and promoting cycling. Their record company arranged an interview with us the night of the show, but they were tired after driving back from NYC, and invited us to the ride the next day, which was even better. I showed up for the ride on Bettie, gave Greg their piano player and his wife Boo hugga tees, and it was a sunny, beautiful day.

We rode, chatted, and just hung out like any group of cyclists would do. I did ask both of them one, sort-of interview-like question, which was, “would you ride across the country again?” Amanda and Abby both said “yes, but not like that.” They enjoyed touring, but I think the rigors of the tour itself was wearing them out. John, teammate of mine, is riding with the ladies all the way to Portland where they’ll play the Aladdin Theatre in Portland, Oregon tomorrow night.

Later, when asked what the Ditty Bops were like I said, “creative, artistic, cyclists, and just nice girls.”

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Pedal Mowers

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by Byron on Sep 09, 2006 at 8:03 AM

In the first few Bettie rides, I joked with Eamon and Pam that you could hook up a push mower to the back of it and ride around mowing your lawn. Well, waddya know, Peter from the Chinook Cycling Club, took this photo of a lawn-mower bike in Walla Walla and there’s a website, a patent, and another photo.

See now, where those are all flawed, is the grass clippings are going to go right into your face. In my Xtracycle version, you’ve got the mower behind you.

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Ditty Bops play Seattle

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by Byron on Sep 08, 2006 at 6:05 PM

Ditty Bops The Ditty Bops are in town and playing Chop Suey tomorrow night at 6:00 PM. It’s an all ages show and costs $11.00 in advance and $13.00 day of. If you haven’t heard of the Ditty Bops, they’re an eclectic-pop duo that are riding their bikes across the county to promote cycling, clean air, and their new Moon Over the Freeway album.

We’ve posted on the Ditty Bops before and will be at the show. We’ve also got an interview planned and will blog about that when it’s confirmed.

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Surly sidehacking

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by Frank Steele on Sep 08, 2006 at 6:45 AM

Dave over at Surly Bikes can’t ride a bike right now because of a recent ankle injury. His doctor doesn’t want him putting a foot down and risking a re-injury.

So Dave did what any self-respecting hacker would do: He welded up a sidecar rig to his Xtracycle and Stokemonkey-equipped Instigator:

Sidehackin'

Right turns took a little practice, as did getting used to a 4-foot wide profile in traffic, but he’s taking to it, and the StokeMonkey means he can usually ease up on the injured leg.

Plus, the Xtracycle is great for carrying crutches.

He’s posted over on the surlyblog, which doesn’t have permalinks, so scroll down to “Wednesday, September 06.”

Says Dave:

My rig has some inherent handling flaws. It will never be perfect. But it still beats the hell out of taking the bus or riding in a car. I’ve regained some of my freedom, and that is priceless.

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Bike Hugger Estonia bureau checks in

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by Frank Steele on Sep 08, 2006 at 6:04 AM

Jason Swihart in Talinn, Estonia

Bike Hugging in Tallinn, by mobil’homme.

Bike Hugger Jason Swihart waves the Bike Hugger flag from Tallinn, Estonia, where he posed in front of a pedicab in his Hugga T.

Thanks, Jason!

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Crossover scooter review

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by Frank Steele on Sep 08, 2006 at 5:41 AM

Treehugger | Great style and fewer emissions than your Vespa

Treehugger this morning has a review of the eGo Cycle 2, an electric scooter that borrows wheels, suspension, rack, and controls from the bicycle world. Payload is 250 lbs, top speed 23 miles per hour, and range of less than 25 miles.

Its foot deck hides about 50 pounds of batteries, which provide all the power – there’s no pedaling at all.

It’s sort of like an electrified Honda Cub.

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