Be careful out there cyclists! A study done by a couple of Carnegie Mellon professors (Paul Fischbeck and David Gerard) indicates pedestrians are 3 times more likely struck and killed after the switch to Standard Time. I can’t find the actual study to review the data, only a couple of news reports. I’d be surprised if cyclists weren’t either included in the pedestrian data set or had similar risks.
Riding in San Antonio is pretty much like Austin and I don’t know if it’s the Lance halo effect or what, but the people we met were very nice to cyclists, even giving us a ton of room on the road. When the Modal was built, we also converted Pam’s Davidson to S&S, and this was our first trip with them. We wanted to spend time with the bikes, assembling, learning how to do it, but two late meetings later and a couple business crises, we were slamming them together to get out and ride. And it went pretty well.
Pam’s bike took about 1/2 hour and the Modal was about ten minutes less because of the single speed configuration. We both struggled with the chain master links. Probably some secret bike shop knowledge we haven’t been blessed with yet, but after several tries and techniques, we got chains on both bikes. As I noted in my comments on another Modal post, riding a single speed is liberating. Where we had to stop several times to adjust Pam’s derailleur and fiddle with the master link, I was set.
The Modal at the Alamo.
The Modal Ride
Note: The modal is a travel bike concept that folds and toggles between single, fixed, and geared modes.
The Modal is my third Davidson and besides the modes, Mark V designed it as a straight-up road bike. It’s the stiffest Davidson I’ve ridden and that translates into “a quickness” and reassuring agility. I expect when I ride the bike in geared mode, I can make it go real fast. I don’t know specifically if the S&S couplings make the bike stiffer, but there was not a noticeable difference from a bike without couplings.
Of all the bikes I ridden, I’ve always thought a titanium frame with a carbon fork is the best combination for ride quality. I like the feel of the road under me, the springiness of ti (not flexy) and the all-day comfort. I’ve toured and trained long hours on my ti rain bike.
Mark can add more about the subtleties of the Modal, geometry and other choices he and Bill Davidson made, but whatever they did, it resulted in a performance bike for travel. It’s exactly what we wanted the Modal to do.
We rode the Missions ride noted here, which is a combination of wide roads with bike lanes, a National Park for the 3 Missions, and a bike path. It’s not well marked, but with the help of the locals, we found our way and rode all the way to Lake Braunig and back.
Pam is shown here on the river bike path. This path follows a centuries old aqueduct system that’s still in use today.
The nice fall weather here in Seattle is bound to give way to rain soon enough, and you’re going to need to keep your legs dry. Full on rain pants are an option, but if you’re riding hard your pants or shorts may get as wet from the inside out as they do from the rain. Rain knickers help balance out the moisture inequity by being ‘open air’ where your legs are largely sheltered from the rain, and waterproof where you get the brunt of the precipitation. Khyungyokpo’s got your DIY solution photo documented up on flickr. DYI still to expensive? There are other options as well. If you’re looking for a high-quality pre made set take a look at some RainLegs.
Khyungyokpo got a couple bits of advice for rainlegs ghetto style – these work best with shorts, and swears by shorts + the DYI knickers as the perfect rain gear. The DYI version has a built in safety feature as well – the unsecured bottoms tend to flap, attracting incredulous attention from motorists and cyclists. No word on the garbage bag version yet.
One of Davidson’s specialities is S&S Coupling travel bikes and Mark has traveled with them more than 30 times, all over the world, in various configurations. From Mark’s experience, Davidson’s direction, and creative input from me, we began working the Modal Concept in May of this year. The Modal is a travel bike that folds and toggles between single, fixed, and geared modes.
The concept isn’t presenting anything particularly new, but gathers various parts and ideas into a unique bike that I can travel with and ride in a city or a long tour. The bike switches modes with Paragon dropouts, a second set of bars, and cable split-stops.
Hinge v. Couplings
As our readers know, we’re into folding bikes and Dahons. The Modal is a different bike for a different purpose. I’m using it for longer rides and trips when I want a full road bike. For business trips and urban mobility, the Dahons are outstanding.
There are tradeoffs. Where the Dahon is heavier than the Modal, the Modal case is heavier and travel weight is about the same at around 45 pounds. I’ve also traveled with Sci-Con cases and the drawback to those is TSA and airline reliability. It’s very liberating (both in time and money) to check a bike as luggage and not have to wait for oversize to come out, hope that it wasn’t crushed, and that TSA didn’t unpack and repack it for you.
Single Mode Details
For the Modal to work, it’s built as a road bike with two sets of bars: one has shifters and other just brakes. I’m simply removing the derailleur, releasing the chain master link, swapping out the Paragon, changing the bar, and connecting the cable stops. After a few adjustments, the bike is ready to ride. The beauty of a single speed when traveling is fast rear wheel in and out. There’s also very little to break in transit.
- 39 x 16 gearing with a chain-ring protector replacing the 53 chain ring
- Ksyrium wheels with adaptor spacers
- One position derailleur hanger
- Carbon fork starnut adaptor thingy – don’t know the actual name, but this part replaces the expanding bolt method on some carbon forks with a star-nut style. If I need to drop the fork and for swapping bars, it’s way easier.