Modal Maui

Just in time for the Maui rides, the Bike Hugger decals arrived for the Modal

hugger_decals.jpg

The decals include chainstay, seatstay, and a badge for the fork.



Innovate or Die contest closes, videos online

Specialized’s “Innovate or Die” (previously blogged here) is finished, and the submissions are up on Youtube. Entries range from useful to mundane to culinary

A couple of my favs:

  • The Aquaduct a tricycle for transporting water from a distant (3rd world?) water source and purifying it along the trip. It converts to a stationary mode to continue filtration. This solves a real problem in many parts of the world.
  • the Pedal Powered Mobile Call shop. This great little idea is not only a pedal powered application,it’s a full fledged business model.
  • a Pedal-Powered Fridge
  • . Another real-world application here, this could potentially keep vaccines cool off the grid.

I didn’t get time to review all 101 entries, what’s your fav?



Blenders, Lawnmowers…Supercomputers

<img src=”http://www.gizmag.com/pictures/hero/8503_151207124106.jpg” alt=”MIT Supercomputer” width=”400/>GizMag.com reports that MIT have announced a bicycle powered supercomputer - sort of. Sure they used a machine that only draws 8 Watts, and maybe their cycling team only powered it for 20 minutes, but it’s still sort of cool.



Dekochari: Art bikes of Japan

Check out this awesome nighttime video of Dekochari – Japanese art bikes (Deko = decorated, chari = slang for bicycle). The bikes are ‘dressed up’ to resemble Dekotora, highly stylized trucks popular in Japan in the mid 1970s. Loaded down with flashing lights, boxes, mirrors, cup holders, hi-fi systems, everything – these bikes (and their bigger truckier cousins) are particularly impressive at night. There are several active dekochari fleets in Japan to this day.

This is another great example of bike culture evolving from established trends in the existing culture, promulgated by youth. (Yes, that’s a double word score if you’re keeping track).

As the great wiki explains:

Unable to drive the giant chrome-plated flashing trucks they coveted, children instead built plywood boxes around their bikes and attached chrome plating and lights. Almost all current Dekochari’s have elaborate light displays and many include hi-fi audio systems and cup-holders.

The Dekotora were popularized by the Torrakku Yaro (trucker) movies of Norifumi Suzuki starting in 1975. A great set of galleries from Japan here (most links are below “2006’N – explore a little, it’s worth it.). Night time galleries from Pink Tentacle are here. dekotora3.jpg

The Dekochari are often difficult to recognize (big gallery at that link) as bikes in photos due to the huge amount of decoration. I can only imagine that these beasties are mostly popular in the flatter regions of the island nation.

decochari_08.jpg

decochari_14.jpg

decochari_22.jpg

All this raises difficult moral, ethical and logistical questions: Could I? Would I? Should I? Seeing that I live at the top of a hill, already have more personal bicycles than members of my family, and a job that expects occasional time away from aforementioned bicycles I think the answer is No. I’d love to see some of these art bikes showing up at next year’s Solstice parade , but I don’t think I’ll be doing the making.



My Girlfriend’s Bike…continued

kappa%20tall.jpg So I just finished up with assembling the Kappa frame for my girlfriend. If she likes it, I’m gonna have the braze-ons for the sissy bar added to the stays and then have the frame re-powdercoated. Also, tomorrow the Redline straight seatpost will come in to replace the current layback post. Eventually, I’ll get a different banana seat and new wheels too.

How does it ride? AWESOME!!!!

This frame is a 20” BMX race frame with a 21.5” top tube. That’s about 2” longer than Old School race frames and at least 3” longer than an original Schwinn Stingray. The head tube angle is much steeper than the older bikes, which offsets the increased wheelbase a little. The fork and frame are in another league of stiffness compared to a Stingray. The net effect is that the bike tracks pretty wheel but is still pretty agile.

I’m pretty excited about the bike. I told her if she doesn’t like it, I’ll ride it. Keep in mind that I’m a road and track bike kind of rider, so a bike like this represents pure unadulterated fun.

kappa%2002.jpg



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