Awesome Stuff: Pedal Power

from the keep-rolling dept

If, like me, you live in one of the many places enduring the brunt of this “polar vortex” winter, then you’ve probably been teased with a taste of spring-to-come over the past couple of weeks. And for some people, the first thought of spring is a thought about bicycles. So for this week’s Awesome Stuff, we’re looking at three projects that should catch the eyes of some cyclists out there.

Half A Bike Is Better Than One

There are lots of variations on the basic bicycle principle and design out there, but this one looks new to me. Since one of the bigger issues with bicycles in an urban setting is their size and unwieldiness, we’ve seen simplified bikes before — but at first glance, the Halfbike appears to be more practical and enjoyable. Of course, like any such vehicle, there’s really no way to be sure until you get a chance to try one out for yourself.

The Squeaky Chain Gets The Hot Tub

A jammed chain is every cyclist’s nightmare (well, one of them). Not just because it can lead to a nasty accident if it happens at the wrong time, but because there’s no way to fix it without ending up covered in black grease for the rest of the day. The Runaway Bike Hot Tub makes hot paraffin treatments available for cyclists to do easily at home, for a chain lubricant that is more effective and cleaner than grease.

The Go-Anywhere Electric

Electric bikes have been getting more and more popular every year, but they seem to remain primarily a leisure and basic transportation device — the Horizon is something different. The electric all-terrain sit-down bike looks like it could tear its way through some pretty forbidding terrain, not to mention serving as an excellent mobility device for people who need one.

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Comments on “Awesome Stuff: Pedal Power”

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"Half bike" less compact than actual commuter bike

The “half bike” (actually a trike) is kind of a wasted opportunity. Having smaller wheels and frame than a real bike it should offer the possibility of a commuter friendly design that can be carried easily on buses and trains, but, instead, the design appears to be more awkward to carry than a commuter bike. It also looks like it is just made for setting you up to take headers over the front wheel :-0

How About a Combination Device?

From my practical experience with the Polar Vortex, what I think I would like to see is something which combines the functionality of at least two of the three of: skis, snowshoes, and crampons. You have a situation where you have alternating ice ridges, snow fields, and bare pavement, all within the space of a couple of hundred feet, and then the same thing over again, according to how efficient different business owners are about clearing snow. However one comes equipped, it is axiomatically wrong.

Re: Re: How About a Combination Device?

Well, when you have, in the first instance, two or three feet of snow, and when people set about clearing this snow with plows mounted on trucks, and in some cases with Caterpillar “Bobcats,” or mini-dozers, the debris pile is necessarily going to be anything up to six or ten feet high. Furthermore, a truck-mounted plow is not capable of making fine distinctions about sidewalks. It operates in ten-foot swaths. Clearing the sidewalk is likely to be hand labor, or at least to require a second tier of specialized tools, eg. a golf cart with a powered roto-broom attached to it, similar to the roto-broom in a carpet sweeper, only six feet long. The roto-broom is a third-tier tool, after the snowplow and the Bobcat have been through. The local university’s physical plant has such tools, but no one else does. They also have janitors and gardeners who are unionized and who are paid civil-service wages, with full health benefits and all that. You get these middle-aged guys who like to do a perfect job of whatever they do, and who don’t have anyone measuring their productivity. They see something nifty in a tool catalog, and they buy it, just for the hell of it. They are “high-steppers,” worker-aristocrats, in short.


Re: Re: Re: How About a Combination Device?

A 4-wheeler, equipped with tracks, will climb all over that man made snow pile, so says Bombardier Tracking Russell of Canada.

Even after this mild weather and rain, we still have two feet of snow here.

Thanks for reminding me! I have to submit some photos of a saw-whet owl into a few contests.

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