I’ve been out riding and talking to lots of people recently about Bettie and thought it’d help those looking for a sport-utility bike to collect links to our posts, videos, and resources, into one place.
See the updated review on Bettie 2.0. and note that Bettie 1.0 has been retired.
Bike Hugger Bettie
Bettie is based on Cleverchimp’s Super Monkey. We completed the project in late 2006, as a design study, and will iterate another version called Bettie 2.0 in Fall of 2007.
All posts about Bettie are tagged as such and you can find more by Googling. Besides all our posting, Treehugger, Make Magazine, and other blogs have posted about Bettie. We’ve also uploaded videos of our adventures with Bettie to Google.
A sport-utility bike (SUB) is a variety of load-carrying bicycle pioneered by Xtracycle who invented the FreeRadical, a hitchless bike trailer (it attaches directly to the frame instead of with hinges). Wikipedia thoroughly explains the Xtracycle in an entry, including their history, and even links to Bettie.
Longtail Bikes are another rev of SUBs that extend the frame, instead of a Free Radical, to hold luggage, cargo, a family, and even help farmers and merchants in Africa. Longtails are like a tandem with cargo in place of a stoker.
Stokemonkey is an electric motor assist kit for SUBs that adds amazing cargo capacity. Bettie is built with a Stokemoney so we can carry hundreds of pounds of cargo in hilly Seattle. For people that have seen Bettie, it’s the spinning red thing you’re all wondering about.
Surly’s Big Dummy
At Interbike 06, Surly announced the Big Dummy, the first production bike designed to carry passengers and loads without sacrificing speed and maneuverability. Bike Hugger broke that story and will build up Bettie 2.0, as soon as we can get our bike hugging hands on a Big Dummy.
Where to buy?
You can buy directly from Xtracycle and their dealers and direct from Cleverchimp (maker of Stokemonkey). With Surly’s Big Dummy announcement, it was also announced that QBP would stock and ship Xtracycle’s products and accessories and that’s going to increase availability. Check with your local bike shop. One of the biggest dealers of SUBs is Aaron’s Bicycle Shop in West Seattle.
As of May 25th, 2007, Stokemonkey sales & marketing are on hold.
SUB owners are very proud of their bikes and happy to talk about them at length. If you see Bettie, a Supermonkey, or eventually the Big Dummy, stop and say hello.
On Flickr and from The Juice Peddler is a photo set featuring Tonya Kay; a raw-food-athlete, superhero, dominatrix dance performer, trained aerial stuntwoman, who can use her bike to blend you up one kick-ass smoothie. Check Rock The Bike for more on blender bikes, sport-utility bikes, and the spirit of the bike.
A chain broke on Bettie earlier this week while taking my daughter to school. Luckily my cat-like reflexes prevented a crash and we coasted back home. I got the chain fixed with a SRAM power link. That’s a simple invention that works amazingly well – no chain tool required.
Breaking the chain reminded me of the one other time I broke a chain. It was during the 1995 Mt. Spokane NORBA. I was nearly dying, suffering like a dog, flying down a fire road, into a hairpin, up a goat trail, shifted hard, and the chain snapped. The 4 dudes that were behind me quickly passed me and my day was done. In a panicked state, I fumbled with the chain tool for 10 minutes or so, put it on backwards once (wrong way through the pulleys), and then for what seemed like an hour later it was back on the bike.
I chased like a MOFO, with the hope that someone flatted ahead, or one of their Tioga Disc Drive wheels (scroll down to see it) exploded, and keep up a frantic pace until the woman’s field arrived. After the initial humiliation, it was very pleasant to ride briefly with Juli Furtado. She was the smoothest rider I’d ever seen. Like a machine, she rolled up with a few girls, chatted briefly (they probably thought I was near a heart attack or something), and just motored on by.
Later, at the finish, that disaster of a race was forgotten and I was determined to not take 15 minutes to fix a chain again. Sidenote: That was the race that Jerry Markee won the sport/expert field and got a seatpost as a prize. When the official handed him the post, he looked inside of the tube and said, “is there cash in there.” For years, that was the seat post joke.
I also remember a ride where we caveman’d a guys chain with a rock to get it back together. Then one time Randy Coleman’s chain broke during a ride, fell off the chain ring, through the pulleys, and flipped up into his Vento wheels, wrapped around a spoke, and he came to a near immediate stop.
What chain stories do you have? Or the worst ever mechanical?