Bike Shaped Objects

Funky bikes and riders alike

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Retro retro motortrike

retro retro motortrikeThis motortrike is all kinds of wrong, which is what makes it right.

Actually motortrike isn’t entirely accurate. Those dualies in the back technically make this a motorpentcycle, but that sounds like some kind of suppository.

Where do I begin? The engine, the rear wheels, Indian on the tank and of course those gloriously upside down handle bars. A work of art to be sure.

I love how so many bikes are and were made to look like old motorcycles which in turn were designed to look like even older bicycles. Not all repeating history is doom. It’s not really nostalgia but a timeless aesthetic that needs the occasional reminder.

The problem I have with this bike is, that while I would love to own it I don’t think I could ever ride it. It’s way too self-conscious. This is a bike for someone who needs lots of attention. Like the guys who don’t just buy Ferraris, the buy bright yellow Ferraris.

With three days to go the current bid is $295 which seems rather low to me.

See the full listing: Motorcycles other

Sharing news on sharing bikes

sharing bikesEvery time I write about sharing bikes I fell like I’m on an episode of Sesame Street.

Touchy feelyness aside, sharing bikes is becoming big business and it’s starting to shed some of the doom and gloom stereotypes. Counter to expectations, including my own, studies are showing that bikeshare cyclists are safer than “regular cyclists.” I assumed rental bikes would be treated like rental cars.

I should clarify that when I say that bike sharing is big business I’m referring to scope rather than profit model. Many sharing programs are run by non-profits or local governments. One example where the state blues foundation is helping fund bike sharing at a community college.

Despite growing proof of the success of bike sharing it takes some communities a while to get on board. After six years of planning Baltimore is ready to award a contract. First, it will run a month of tests, even though they will be using technology already installed many other places. I think Baltimore has control and commitment issues.

The biggest news, and biggest market, for sharing is China supporting bike sharing.  It’s ironic that China spent a decade or so trying to get people off bikes in order to project a more developed image, is now doing everything they can to get people back on bikes. Apparently looking developed isn’t as important as the ability to breath.


Bicycle infrastructure on the rise

bicycle infrastructureThere’s more to bicycle infrastructure than lanes.

In many ways bicycle infrastructure is like car infrastructure. When you get where you’re going you need someplace to park.

In Honolulu they are helping cyclists out with a bike shelter at a transit center. It looks like a left-over garden shed and you have to hunt down a security guard to open it for you, but it’s a start.

In addition to parking, and also like cars, bikes sometimes are in need of repair. Bicycles being mechanically simpler many cyclist are able to fix their own bikes. To assist in this some cities have installed fixit stations. The stations have screwdrivers, wrenches, tire levers and even an air pump.

At the extreme end of bicycle-friendliness is bike part maker SRAM’s new offices. Bikes are parked at cubicles, ridden for exercise on indoor tracks, basically bike Nirvana.

Of course the core of all this is the roads and lanes that bikes use to get from one place to another. These are mostly created and assembled in bits and pieces, but Norway is looking to make it all happen at once. They are investing a billion dollars of alleged oil money to build nation-wide bicycle highways.

Fish bike on eBay

fish bikeUnfortunately this fish bike is more fish than bike.

As is it is unrideable, but he seller claims that if you remove the fish parts and add a chain the bike would be a bike again. It is after all a vintage bike that appears fairly well preserved, but then it wouldn’t be a fish bike.

So what to do? Do you leave it as is and use it for decoration? Or do dump the fish parts and make it a bike again? Or maybe you could modify the fish parts to make the bike rideable. Of course with the parts just on one side the bike might be a bit tippy.

You could try to duplicate and mirror the fish parts for the other side for a more balanced ride. Yes, that would make the bike quite heavy but you would be the hit of any parade. Can you say Burning Man? Sure you can.

I myself could never own this bike because I would spend the entire length of ownership worrying about the issues above but never acting upon them, till I finally sold it. Then I would take to my grave the worry about what ever happened to the fish bike.

The best course for me is take that drug that helps you forget your colonoscopy and hope it wipes the bike from my memory.

See the full listing: Schwinn Spitfire

Bicycle Videos of the Week (or so)

This week’s bicycle videos cover the weird, the crazy and the lucky.

First, the weird: The Taipei Bike Show is one of the top bike maker events in the world and GCN was there. Their bicycle videos mostly deal with racing but this one highlights a bunch of wonderful and funky machines.

Next, the crazy: I LOVE urban downhill mountain bike videos. Partly because of the sensory overload but mostly as a yard stick of my sanity. I have never once thought while watching one of these videos, “I should try that.”

Finally, the lucky: It’s amazing how often motorists lose all common sense when they see bicycles in the road. Fortunately in this case the car chose the shoulder rather than the usual choice of plowing into the bikes.