Saturday, June 27, 2015

Does Ford See The End Approaching?

Ford designers have had a go at electric bikes. The annual Further With Ford trends conference in Palo Alto saw the release of a video touting the new Ford MoDe e-bike:

The bike has a couple of interesting features, such as replaceable front and rear ends, allowing it to be modified for different environments.
But anyone who has been paying attention is used to re-thinks of basic cycle design: from frame and gear versions (like touring frames or fixed gearing) to collapsible bikes and extended frame transport cycles, and the wide variety of three- and four-wheel designs. This is one of the joys of bikes--they can be altered, mashed, modified, run through a bike kitchen or an art collective and still function.
But two things stand out about the Ford announcement; one, that they see a chance to make a buck, meaning the car alternative movement has become large enough for a massive multinational to pay attention. And two, that an iconic "American" company's imprimatur might bring the movement to middle-America's attention. Neither of these are a bad thing.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Crappy Bike Paths

The above sign is found in Hampton, Illinois, and is addressing what we can only hope is a Hampton, Illinois-only problem. Someone is pooping on the bike path.
No, not a dog. Yes, pooping. According to the CBC:
The culprit has enough forethought to bring a roll of toilet paper out on the path, and yet can't make it to the nearby commode. Finally, the fed up village is demanding that for whoever is behind this public nuisance, the next time nature calls, don't answer.
Yes, someone is grabbing up some toilet paper, heading down the bike path to a place near a public restroom, and dumping on the bike path.  Clearly not someone adhering to consensus reality....

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cycle Babble website!

I've just found a charming website about local history and bicycles. Check out Cycle Babble and the link to archival materials on Victoria history and bicycles from the 1890s!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

The Invisible Bike Helmet

Okay, so I wouldn't say invisible. Still pretty cool, though. Here's a bit of the story from the inventors/designers.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Ultimate One-Off

Mike Swartz blogs about his experience in taking 9 months to build a bike. I mean seriously build: he started with the designing the bike he wanted and then building it from tubes.

Melting metal

This was by far the most fun, scary and rewarding part of the build. I decided to fillet-braze the bike, which means mastering the handling of the oxy-acetylene torch. If you’ve never seen one, it’s a pretty hardcore setup. One tank of oxygen, one tank of acetylene, a ridiculously flammable gas. This potent mixture can produce a flame that burns at around 6000 degrees Fahrenheit. It can also explode and kill you. So being careful is pretty key.
It's a really interesting journey. Just as biking will occasionally put you in a space you weren't expecting, so does building.There is something primal about the maker urge.
It took about three weeks to build the whole thing with the setbacks, parts that didn’t fit, and the wheel building. There were a few nights out in the garage where I was tempted to just rip through and finish the build if I had to stay up all night. But I decided to wait, and give myself some time to think about the problem or order the right part instead of scrounging/modifying what I had. I heard a great piece of advice from another guy at the workshop:
Whenever I think I’m 30 minutes away from finishing a project, I stop and come back to it the next day. This way I don’t rush, and force myself to be smart and do it right.
I think about this a lot and how useful it is when applied to basically everything. Don’t rush, do it right. You don’t want to ruin 9 months of work because the hardware store was closed.
Mike's posts are a short and interesting read.

Excellent (And Pricey) Bike LItes!

via Grist:
It’s a fairly simple product, actually. You get a unit that fits onto your wheel. The unit has four bars of LED lights. Then you upload graphics or animations. And then you just pedal — pretty fast — and the lights turn on and the motion of the bike wheel turns them into animations and you’ve got the coolest thing going on the road. Cars will definitely, definitely see you.
But it’s, uh, pricey, at $660 for one unit (i.e., if you want both your wheels tricked out like this, you’re out more than $1,300). Still, you could have bike wheels with an animation of you riding a bike on them. Think about it.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Rural Ambulance

via NPR
NPR is reporting:
When Chris Ategeka was 9, his younger brother died while Ategeka was helping to carry him to the nearest hospital — 10 miles from their village in Fort Portal, Uganda.
There was no quicker way to get his sick brother, who was coughing and had a bloody stool, to medical care. "I did not understand the concept of lack of mobility being the biggest factor until it got later in life. I realized how that could have helped so much," he tells Shots.
Ategeka and his five siblings became orphans after their mother and father died of AIDS. But Ategeka, now 28, considers himself lucky.
A U.S. aid organization helped AIDS orphans like him attend school. Ategeka did well. He impressed the California family that sponsored him so much that they invited him to come live with them in 2006.
Since then, he has earned engineering degrees at University of California, Berkeley, where he'll begin a doctorate in mechanical engineering this fall. And he's been using what he learned already to solve the problem that contributed to the death of his brother nearly 20 years ago.
Ategeka founded , a nonprofit that teaches villagers how to build bike ambulances and wheelchairs from scrap metal. "I teach you how to make it, and I teach you how to fix it," he says. "If it breaks, you know what to do, and if you want to build something you think outside the box and you do it."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Local Bike Blog

Local mountainbiker Rivers Mitchell has a nice bike blog. You might want to check it out....
He's also spearheading the formation of a multi-author blog going called The Mountain Bike Life that should be going live in the new year.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The $20 Bike

Israeli inventor Izhar Gafni has designed the $20--retail!--bicycle. Why so cheap? He's built the weatherproof, durable, light bike out of cardboard.
From Reuters:

Izhar Gafni, 50, is an expert in designing automated mass-production lines. He is an amateur cycling enthusiast who for years toyed with an idea of making a bicycle from cardboard.
He told Reuters during a recent demonstration that after much trial and error, his latest prototype has now proven itself and mass production will begin in a few months.
"I was always fascinated by applying unconventional technologies to materials and I did this on several occasions. But this was the culmination of a few things that came together. I worked for four years to cancel out the corrugated cardboard's weak structural points," Gafni said.
"Making a cardboard box is easy and it can be very strong and durable, but to make a bicycle was extremely difficult and I had to find the right way to fold the cardboard in several different directions. It took a year and a half, with lots of testing and failure until I got it right," he said.

Izhar has released a video of his bike in construction and in action:
More from the Reuters article:
The bicycles are not only very cheap to make, they are very light and do not need to be adjusted or repaired, the solid tires that are made of reconstituted rubber from old car tires will never get a puncture, Elmish said. "These bikes need no maintenance and no adjustment, a car timing belt is used instead of a chain, and the tires do not need inflating and can last for 10 years," he said. A full-size cardboard bicycle will weigh around 9 kg (about 20 lbs) compared to an average metal bicycle, which weight around 14 kg. The urban bicycle, similar to London's "Boris bikes" and others worldwide, will have a mounting for a personal electric motor. Commuters would buy one and use it for their journey and then take it home or to work where it could be recharged. He said that as bicycles would be so cheap, it hardly mattered how long they lasted. "So you buy one, use it for a year and then you can buy another one, and if it breaks, you can take it back to the factory and recycle it," he said.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

And Why Not?

From the hotbed of cycling activism, the invisible helmet.

And that's a new idea.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Before Voting Tomorrow

Just found this link to the BC Cycling Coalition's website. They've got a link to the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition's site, with a list of the candidates in the municipal election. Read here for some questions and answers before you go vote tomorrow!
And yes, it matters if you vote. If you ride a bike, you already care about your body and your environment. Voting is one way to show that you're taking an interest in your community's bike legislation.
For me in Saanich, I'm making note of which candidates commute on their bikes. It's one more factor helping me feel like I'm selecting my votes carefully.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More Work on the E&N Rail Trail!

Great news from the Capital Regional District of Greater Victoria. Parts of the E&N Rail Trail are now open! This path is being created to follow the route of the E&N Rail line from downtown Victoria through Esquimalt, all the way to Langford.
Check out this link to see some photos of the Trail being constructed beside the railway line in Esquimalt. I was down there yesterday and saw people walking on the nice smooth blacktop trail!
The route is already taking some of the traffic from the Galloping Goose trail, which sees a lot of commuters on bike and foot during the summer months. Even in winter, both trails are expected to see a lot of use. Recreational users as well as commuters are looking forward to the expected completion of the new trail.
Here's the latest press release from The CRD on the new trail:

CRD Media Release

For Immediate Release
November 14, 2011

E&N Rail Trail-Humpback Connector Closed from Esquimalt Rd. to Admirals/Colville Rd.

Victoria, BC – Construction of a section of the E&N Rail Trail-Humpback Connector from the
intersection of Admirals and Colville Roads in Esquimalt to Esquimalt Road in Victoria is
underway. Due to requirements by rail operator for public safety, this section of trail must be
closed until the intersection upgrades are complete. These upgrades are on hold until the future
of the railway is determined by the rail operator and other parties.

The first portion of work including construction of 2.3 kilometre of trail surface is nearing
completion. However, the second portion involving improvements to five road intersections,
including upgrades to rail signals and pedestrian crossing infrastructure is delayed due to
circumstances beyond the CRD’s control.

“While there is currently no passenger service running on the line, it is still considered an active
railway and therefore subject to all safety requirements to which the CRD must adhere,” says
Lloyd Rushton, General Manager of CRD Parks and Community Services. “We ask for the
public’s patience and cooperation as we work to construct our next regional trail.”

The E&N Rail Trail-Humpback Connector is a commuter cycling and recreation trail that is being
built largely within the rail corridor in Victoria, Esquimalt, View Royal and Langford. The trail is
being built in phases. Phase one is underway. It will provide a 14.3 kilometre contiguous route
from Esquimalt Road in Victoria to Jacklin Road in Langford. Eventually this multi-use path will
stretch from the Johnson Street Bridge in Victoria to Humpback Road in Langford. It will be an
important multi-use transportation link between Victoria and the Westshore. It will also form a
key part of the trail network managed by the Capital Regional District, which includes the
popular Galloping Goose and Lochside regional trails.

You can find additional information at (including a map of the Galloping Goose and E&N Rail Trails).
Attachment: Rail Trail Bulletin

For further information, please contact:
Laurie Sthamann, Communications Coordinator
CRD Regional Parks
Tel: 250.360.3332 | cell: 250.889.8030 |

Friday, September 23, 2011

Some New Designs

Gorgeous, right? It's an ebike designed by Ford and unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Li-Ion powered to a motor in the front wheel, it also features a Carbon Belt Drive System for getting your human power to the rear wheel. It's adaptively powered:
In the Ford E-Bike, the first application of this technology in the bicycle industry, the sensors read the revolutions in the inner bearing and relay this information to the control unit within a hundredth of a second. The control unit then instantly activates or deactivates the electric motor, providing a seamless integration of the power of the legs with the power of the motor.
It utilizes a trapezoidal frame profile made from aluminum and carbon, looks crazy cool, and will not be available for purchase. Ever. It's a "concept bike", much like the "concept car".

But, on the other side of the coin,
the very popular Brompton Folding Bike (available at both North Park and Fairfield bike shops here in Victoria),announced today (21 September 2011) that it will be offering an electric version of its folder; the eBrompton. Rollout is scheduled to be first in the UK and German markets during 2012 with a worldwide launch in 2013.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


OMG, guess what the public library in Victoria is doing now? They've got a Bikemobile touring the streets and attending local events.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Places You Can't Ride Bikes

Check out the blog at! Someone's posted a list of five places where you can't ride a bicycle.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

New Linear Trail!

Just got a press release from the Capital Regional District (CRD) here in greater Victoria. Looks like the CRD is trying to pick a new name for the new linear park. It's a trail that mostly follows the route of the E & N railway from downtown Victoria through to the western communities. The trail will be used by bicycles and pedestrians, much like the existing bike trails in the Victoria area.
The need for this trail has been obvious to anyone riding on the Galloping Goose trail in summer. The Goose has become a crowded commuter route! With any luck, the new trail will take some of the bike traffic along a convenient route. Here's the press release:

Media Release
For Immediate Release June 2, 20112
Be A Part of History: Name the CRD’s Next Regional Trail!
Victoria, BC – The Capital Regional District, in partnership with CFAX 1070, is launching a community contest to name its next regional trail. You can be a part of history by giving it a name!
This new commuter cycling and recreation trail will be built largely within the E & N rail corridor in Victoria, Esquimalt, View Royal and Langford.
“This next regional trail will be an important multi-use transportation link between Victoria and the Westshore,” said CRD Regional Parks Committee Christopher Causton. “With construction of the trail underway, it is an opportune time to create awwareness, enthusiasm and support for it through a naming coontest. The working name E & N Rail Trail is also a candidate.”
The contest is open to everyone. Make it memorable. Make it relevant. Make it fun. But enter a name before the contest closes on July 14th.
A jury will help to select a name. Final decision will rest with the CRD Regional Parks Committe and CRD Board.
For contest details and entry form visit
- 30 -
For further information please contact:
Laurie Sthamann, Communications Coordinator, Regional Parks
Capital Regional District
Tel: 250.360.3332 Cell: 2500.889.8030