Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fully Collapsible Folding Bike

Mexican industrial designer Victor M. Aleman has developed a concept fully collapsible, folding bicycle.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Old bicycles, new journeys: Village children find it fun to ride to school

MUMBAI: In 2007, the Institute of Information Technology's security officer Vijay Kumar came up with the idea of auctioning the bikes to campus residents and putting the proceeds in the staff welfare fund. Around 150 bicycles then went under the hammer, though there were many more that had to go back to the parking lot near the main gate. But now that IIT-B has heard about the Bicycle Project, there's no looking back. "Henceforth, all bicycles will be donated to the project,'' says dean (planning) K V K Rao. Indeed, students will now be actively encouraged to leave behind their set of wheels.

Three weeks ago, after taking charge of the bikes, Hemant Chhabra and his small team of do-it-yourself heroes who run the Bicycle Project, assessed this as the "largest lot ever received''. "Close to 200 bikes had to be scrapped but the rest will be jazzed up once financial resources are raised,'' says Chhabra. "In fact the money from the scrap sale was used to refurbish 118 bikes earlier procured from various donors.'' Chhabra now needs to raise about Rs 2 lakh for the makeover of the IIT bikes.

At the project's cycle workshop at Jhadpoli, 120 km from Mumbai, tubes, tyres and seats are replaced, and bruised and battered frames are worked on till they shine as good as new. Italian artist Diana Linda, who joined the project recently, gives them an aesthetic finishing touch with exuberant colours.

To date, 300 bicycles have been given to children studying in schools in Wada, Alonde and Dahanu under the project that began in 2008. And most students have stopped missing school thanks to their new vehicles. Old boys of IIT-B used to write bicycle diaries on their expeditions around the then undeveloped Powai. Soon the new owners of the same bikes will have their own tales to tell.

What is the Bicycle Project?

This one-year-old venture has sped along changing lives. Second-hand bicycles are collected, sexed-up and given a new lease of life. They are then donated to school-going boys and girls in rural India. Under Phase I, this project is helping children residing in the villages of Thappar Pada, Wada and Vikramgarh. The Hideout, about 120 kilometres from Mumbai, is where all the action takes place-this is where the bikes are refurbished and distribution to the children. The Bicycle Project team has a modest aim of reaching out to students in SSC schools in Alonde, Vikramgarh taluka, Wada, Jowhar, Mokhada and Dahanu. Once all needy students from these regions receive a bicycle each, the project will move on to other villages and so on. Bicycle donors can even visit students who benefit from their old steeds. To donate a bicycle call Hemant Chhabra on: 9820149022

Source: Times of India/ photo from Pratham Books

Bike Touring

I've been asked about what bike is best for touring.

And my answer is always - "Ride whatever bike your are riding now".

Bike touring is not a race where you need the state-of-the-art, aerodynamic, sub 1-kg frame with campy gruppo bike.

What you need is a durable and reliable bike that will take you to places.

An aluminium frame is light but a steel is more comfortable and easier to repair. Make sure it has eyelets for rear rack. You need it if you are not pulling a trailer.

You can carry more load and ride off road with fat tire and 32/36 spokes rims. Customed wheel is not advisable.

In my opinion, fenders are one of the important parts of a touring bike if not the most important! Get a good saddle. Remember that saddle brand doesn't give you saddle sore, but wrong positioning of the saddle does.

There you go. If you are comfortable riding on road bike or a mountain bike, both can be your 'touring bike'.

But the more upright your riding position, the more comfortable it will be when riding for hours. Hence, mtb & folding bike gets my vote.

Forget about branded bikes like SURLY, BROMPTON, KOGA-MIYATA, KTM, SEVEN etc. Yes they are all great bikes, but they cost a bomb.Unless you are touring the world and have tonnes of cash to burn.

Don't worry about the weight of your bike. Bike touring is about carrying load and moving at reasonable speed. Nevertheless, I suggest that you travel light.

Additional accessories e.g, Bike lock & lights are important. Others is optional but good to have e.g. bike mirror, handheld GPS & speedometer.

So you can plan your bike touring now. It's not the distance nor the speed but the journey itself.

Bring a camera to record your trips becuase photos of old bike tour will always be good motivation to plan for next trip.

Enjoy riding!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Stretching For Cyling

Shoulder stretch
Start with your feet slightly apart, your arms extended in front of
you with your fingers interlaced. Roll your palms away from you and lift your arms up and over your head, keeping your chin tucked in. Then stretch the other way. Again with your feet slightly apart, arms behind you and your fingers interlaced. Now gently lift your arms as far as they will go. When you reach the limit of your stretch, hold for the required period. Good posture is important in all exercise and particularly so with this stretch. When stretching, avoid a hollow back.

Lateral stretch.
Stand feet apart, knees slightly apart. This is important to prevent lower back problems. Extend one arm above your head while sliding your other palm down the outside of your leg until you feel the
stretch in your side. Keep your hed up and do not lean forward. Repeat on the other side. Cautionary note: If at any time you feel discomfort in your spine during this exercise, stop immediately.

Calf stretch
Stand about a metre from a wall with both feet pointing forward. Rest your forearms against the wall and keep your body in a straight line with your bottom tucked in and heels on the floor.

Quad stretch
Stand beside a chair or wall. Bend
your outside knee backwards and your foot towards your buttock. Grasp your ankle and pull it gently towards your back. Feel the stretch down the front of your upper leg. Turn around and repeat on the opposite leg.

Hamstring stretch

With your feet more than shoulder width apart, bend both knees and bend forward to clasp the ankle of one leg. Gradually straighten your leg until you feel the stretch at the back of your leg and whilst keeping the other leg bent. This exercise can also be performed seated, see later.

Adductor stretch
Stretch one leg sideways whilst bending your other knee. Lean towards the bent knee to feel the stretch on the inside of your thigh.

Lumbar and hip stretch
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Once relaxed bring one knee towards your chest holdin at the knee. Take it as close to the chest as possible without causing pain. Hold for the required period then return to the start position and repeat with the other leg.

Gluteal stretch

Lie on your back and relax. Place the ankle of one leg onto the knee of your other leg. Reach
forward with both hands to the thigh of your supporting leg. Gently bring your supporting leg towards your chest as far as you can without causing pain. You should now be able to feel the stretch in the buttock of your other leg. Hold for the required period, release the leg and lower to the ground and repeat on the other leg.

Source: cobr

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bunny Hop

My previous post about my accidentally running over a snake brought many comments.

One short and to the point, was:

"Has anyone heard of a Bunny Hop?"

Of course, (Slaps self on forehead with palm of hand.)

Take off vertically, jump over, completely missing said snake; the obvious answer.

Obvious that is to anyone who grew up in the 1970s or later.

I started riding a bicycle over 60 years ago and outside of a circus no one ever became airborne or did any kind of trick on a bicycle. The extent of doing anything mildly cleaver was to occasionally ride “no hands.”

All that changed in the 1970s thanks to Evel Knievel doing dare devil jumps on his motorcycle, over school buses and such, and every male child in America immediately tried to emulate him on a bicycle.

It is a well known fact that a motorcycle, because of its power, weight, and speed, will on reaching the top of a sharp incline; continue in an upward direction, until speed drops and gravity takes over.

Even a car will do the same, as demonstrated in the Steve McQueen movie, Bullitt.

A bicycle however, unless traveling at a high rate of speed downhill, will normally not reach enough inertia to do this.

I give top marks for the ingenuity of children, who discovered that one could simulate a jump by physically jumping upwards with a sharp downward thrust of the legs.

Thanks to Newton’s Third Law of Motion; “For every action there is an equal and opposite action.” The downward thrust of the legs causes the bike (or indeed a skateboard.) to jump with the rider.

Forward to the 1980s and the introduction of the mountain bike. There was a generation of twenty-something’s who had grown up doing stunts on their BMX bikes. Some went riding on the trails, others went to the local park and practiced jumping up and down off picnic tables and such. The bunny hop was born.

The bicycle would never be the same again; no longer just a humble form of transport but something to perform all manner of tricks on.

Later the same would be born out of the Fixie craze; started out by emulating bike messengers who use a bike simply as the quickest way to get from point A to point B. Then developed into both a fashion statement and performing art form.

Anyway, back to the suggestion that I could have avoided running over the snake by executing a timely bunny hop. The reason this amused me was this.

I am at an age where I am fortunate enough to be still riding a bicycle.

Many of my generation are in retirement homes, hobbling around with the aid of a walker.

A little late to start devoting time to practicing bunny hops on the off chance I might encounter the occasional snake on my travels.

Picture this; old guy doing something over 20mph on bike.

Looks up and sees a snake in the road just a few feet away.

This same old guy is supposed to have the reflexes, as well as the strength and agility to execute a timely bunny hop over snake, and both bike rider and reptile then continue on their way.

I’m sorry; I just can’t see that happening.

Source: Dave Moulton's Blog

Natural Traveler

"The purpose of Ken Kifer's Bike Pages is to share what I know about cycling and to encourage others to bicycle as well." This is the first line on Ken's website (, a venerable gold mine of information for the bicycle tourist.

Ken stopped by the Adventure Cycling office in June of 2003. While he has toured for many years, this was his first trip to this part of the country, on his way out to the Pacific Coast from his home in Scottsboro, Alabama. Georgia">Ken's reputation preceded him from the writings on his website. On his site, he relays his philosophy on life when talking about his love of nature.

"I fully believe that man is designed to be a part of Nature and that our turning away from it has created major problems for us." It is through this thinking that he developed a love for the bicycle and, in turn, became one of the biggest proponents of cycling in the nation.

His bike pages include practical cycling information, statistical analysis, personal accounts of long trips and local experiences, photos, and humor. To sum it all up, he said, "I promote using a bicycle instead of a motor vehicle because doing so is kind to the environment, good for the body, and good for the psyche."

Ken's individualism came through in his touring equipment as well. The bike he toured on sported a set of handmade panniers with fringe, tiny key locks for each pannier, a homemade paint job, and an Amish mudflap that he acquired on a tour in Pennsylvania. Perhaps the most unusual item that he carried was a solar panel, which sat on top of his rear panniers. It captured sunlight as he rode during the day so that he could power his laptop in the evenings.

It's through this laptop that Ken captured his thoughts. Everything that he wrote is there for our education and enjoyment. Ken remarked, "I'm sure that no one will agree with everything I say, but I do hope that what I say will encourage both thought and change."

We were privileged to have met him and will long remember him.

Source: Adventure Cycling Association

Folding Bike Helmet

Dahon Pango is a foldable bike helmet that can be folded into half of its original size and meets all the safety standards.

Source: Bike Radar / Eurobike

Established in December 2006