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Monday, June 29, 2009

She Wears Pink, And She's Dirty

First of all, get your mind out of the gutter. I'm talking about my winter bike, affectionately named "Winter". Normally I wouldn't be the type to assign a gender to my bike. Bikes, after all, are bikes. When I was building this bike, however, I was anxious to get it finished because it was starting to snow now and then. I used some good but very pink brake cable I had lying around...

The PINK



Now, the Dirty




I'm a little ashamed to show this bike in such dirty and rusty condition; I just dumped her for my new fixed commuter build when spring came. I will get her all cleaned up and remove all the rust I can before winter comes and I wreck it all over again. While we're on the topic, why would fenders come with anything other than stainless hardware? I can understand other bicycle bits, but fenders? Water and rain are what they are for. I know, of course, that it keeps costs for the manufacturer down, and these didn't cost an arm and a leg, but once again: they are fenders, for Pete's sake! Thanks for letting me get that out.

This monstrosity was made from a partially destroyed Gary Fisher Bitter that I found in local classifieds.

I feel a little bit bad for doing this to what used to be a pretty respectable dirt jumper. I added the rigid fork, wheels, fenders, a big old plastic tub and studded tires among other things. The odd fender placement and other strange things about this bike are mostly by design, and specifically aimed at winter riding in heavy snow and slush. Even that high-riding ugly plastic tub; panniers would just become heavily crusted with icy buildup, and my storage needs to be utterly waterproof. London Ontario's winter is quite mild in comparison to other Canadian cities, and very similar to most northern US cities. It is often as wet as it is cold. We do get a lot of snow, which is most often heavy and wet too.

Without fail, the thing people remark upon first when they see this bike are the pink brake cables, instead of the fact that it is a complete and utter mutant. That is not why I started to see this bike as a she, though.

This is:


This child is Winter's human doppelganger. When I saw this picture, I laughed a bit, and then an image of Winter immediately sprang to mind. Dirty, with pink accessories. This kid also has a look in her eye that corresponds perfectly with how I feel sometimes while riding in the snow, and how Winter would feel if she weren't just an abused and ill-fated machine, destined to forever live a life of cold and slush, ice and salt. I don't know who this kid is, but I'll bet she's having a great summer. Maybe I should take Winter for a summer trail ride, just to keep her happy too...


If you are all set to leave a comment about my mental state, please don't bother. Believe me, I already know.

R A N T W I C K

Friday, June 26, 2009

Got Crack? Fanny Pack!

I've written in the past that I couldn't care less what people wear when they ride, so long as it is safe. That certainly remains true, so I would ask that others don't judge me for what I choose. One item that I use is currently viewed with disdain by many. It is a fanny pack. If you are thinking "huh? I thought fanny packs were alright", you are out of the loop, my friend, and I have the cultural evidence to prove it.

For starters, when self-styled youtube rap stars begin to mock something, you know it's all over:










Now, one might argue that the young and freaky surfing the gnarly waves of youtube culture are not necessarily representative of the greater society, and that might be correct if this evidence of fanny pack dislike was standing alone. However, there is more evidence to consider in this case.

From Gotta Ditch the Fanny Pack, Dude , a 2006 article on wired.com, discussing ways to carry your stuff:



Fanny pack

This is great if you're trying to create a singularity of pure geekness that will open up a portal to an alternate universe where they're still making episodes of Reboot. But if there are even two working neurons in the style portion of your brain, the same neurons that explained that Mr. T's haircut won't look as good on you, then you're going to want to pass on this one. On the other hand, if you've burned those neurons out through years of cosplay, more power to you. Just don't stand near me.

Worst part: Do you really want to appear to have two rear ends?



When you find a self-professed gadget freak bashing fanny packs as being geeky while using some sort of sci-fi trek-speak in order to refer to some nerd show (which rocks, by the way; Can-Con forever, baby!) on the oh-so-hip site wired.com three years ago, you just know something terrible has happened to the fanny pack industry by now.



When something becomes not only unfashionable but also the trademark of a loser, the thing's name itself begins to carry some stigma. When that same thing remains pretty useful to some people (like me) who will continue to buy some of these stigmatized things, merchandisers find it necessary to change the thing's name! Voila! Problem solved! The evidence:

MEC - A Canadian REI-type online store - Waist packs only. Not a fanny in sight (sigh).

MSN Shopping - Despite the browser page title, there's only one "Fanny pack" in the first thirty items. Now, some of those bags are special purpose ones that are not of the classic fanny pack variety, but many of them are fanny packs of the most ordinary kind. Lumbar packs? Waist Bags? C'mon! Are you kidding me?



While I have never claimed or cared to be particularly fashionable, why would I sport an old-fashioned variety of such a reviled item? Because in my case it serves a secret, second purpose. You know there's probably only a few things less fashionable than a fanny pack, and one of them is bicycling butt crack:









Author's note: if you are into making yourself gag, want to have some nightmares later and/or shudder intermittently for several hours, just do a google image search for butt cracks. The pictures above are a walk in the park in comparison.

I live in mortal fear of showing even a hint of butt crack while I'm riding. As a result I have spent much energy pulling the back of my shorts up and the tail of my shirt down over the last several years. The degree to which I have had to do this depends largely on the age of my shorts and the length of my shirt.

I typically wear cycling shorts (yes, the spandex with chamois deal) and some sort of cheap polyester/wicking material sport shirt when I ride. Even though I'm usually not going too far, I prefer to sweat in clothes that I won't be wearing all day at work.

I haven't ever purchased a true cycling jersey, since I figure that their main feature, the wicking away of moisture, can be accomplished well enough by the aforementioned cheap stuff. One thing that most jerseys have that cheap shirts lack is a pocket (or pockets) in the back to carry a few things in. If you are a jersey wearer, please let me know if I'm missing something important or extra good about them.



W A R N I N G


The following content contains images of Rantwick's fat ass. You have hereby been notified of the impending danger, and by scrolling downward or proceeding to read this material you are waiving any right to pursue damages against Rantwick for psychological, retinal, gastrointestinal or any other injury or trauma.

I found an old fanny pack around the house and started using it a couple of weeks ago. Beyond being a handy place for wallet, phone, etc., it holds the back of my shirt down perfectly, so it never creeps up while I ride, and no one, including me, has any worries about any posterior peek-a-boo action. The proof:





All hail the Anti-crack Fanny Pack! Now that has a ring to it, unlike "Anti-crack waist bag"... that just sounds like some sort of messed up social worker. I should go into marketing.


If you haven't been too traumatized, come visit me again some time.


R A N T W I C K




PS - I would certainly be remiss if I didn't thank my wife for helping me with this post. I got home first. Having just picked up the kids and while getting out of the car, the first thing she heard from me was "I need you to take pictures of my ass, on my bike, from behind, before I get changed". Without batting an eyelid, she took the camera from me and said "OK, what do you need?" I told her what to shoot and why we were doing it, and she did it without any fuss at all. Now that's love, friend of mine, uh huh.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My First "BIG" Ride. New Respect, New Addiction?

Up until now I have been an urban rider, mostly commuting. When I have time I stretch my commute to about 16km (10 miles) each way, but I am often late and my shortest route to work is only about 4.5 miles. Sometimes I'll take a "long" ride on the bike paths on the weekend, maxing out around 30km (almost 19 miles). On those rides I get home feeling great and only somewhat tired, so I began thinking about hitting the highway. Last Saturday I grabbed a cycling route (one of the shortest they had) from a local cycling club's web site and set out. I posted recently about wanting to build a geared tourer, but since that bike is still only represented by a tiny jingle in my piggy bank, I took my fixed gear commuter. Despite being a commuter, it has many highway-worthy qualities.

I was pretty excited and a little nervous since I had never done such a thing before. The route summary said it was 55km long, and I was riding to and from the start/end point, so I figured I was in for about 60km (37 miles). I was careful to put water and food in my panniers for a mid-way break, made sure all my tools and tire/tube repair stuff was present and accounted for, and checked that my cell phone was fully charged.

About one third of the way into the ride I looked down the highway ahead of me thought, "wow, this is far". Everything was going really well, and I was thoroughly enjoying the solitude and overall lack of cars and noise. My bike was running beautifully and as near to silent as it gets.

Long story short, I got a little lost twice, which added some distance, and was slowed by a not-too-bad-but-nagging headwind on the second half of the trip. There weren't any hills big enough to make me walk as I had feared, so that was good. I was left sore (not too too bad; I rode with very little pain Monday morning) and happy and kind of disappointed that it took me three and a half hours to go, in the end, 71km (44 miles). It felt like I was riding faster... I don't use a cycling computer and had to use an online route mapping tool when I got home to see how far I had actually travelled.

I always thought highway touring cyclists were pretty cool. Now I am in awe, especially of those fully-loaded people you see in some wild and remote areas. I can only aspire to that kind of hardcore-ness. That distance was about as far as I think I care to go on a fixed gear. Until I can get this other bike together, I will probably do more trips just like this one, because it pushed me pretty hard, but didn't kill me. I do know that I'm already scheming about how to do it again this Saturday... I knew I wasn't obsessing about enough things lately.

Keep your eyes on the scenery, unless there's somebody coming; in that case maybe keep 'em on the road.

R A N T W I C K

Monday, June 22, 2009

You Be the Judge: Queens Ave. Bike Lane, London, Ontario


I posted something recently about being undecided regarding bike lanes. Keri, a vehicular cycling aficionado and funky Floridian, requested some measurements, so I went and got 'em, and I have put together a video that contains some of my own observations as well.



I liked having my own space to ride in, but the paint conflicted with my instincts sometimes. I'm still undecided. You be the judge, while my own internal jury takes a nice nap. All comments welcome, as always.



Insane in the membrane; Insane in the Lane!


R A N T W I C K

Friday, June 19, 2009

All Itch, No Scratch - Bike Building Purgatory

The itch is back. The bike-building itch. It has been four or five months since I finished with the last one. I currently own two bikes I built up myself (excluding the frames and wheels), my winter MTB commuter and my summer fixed gear commuter, which is partially composed of parts from my first (now de-commissioned) experiment in bike building. Having been a mostly urban rider all my life, I am finally hearing the call of the highways and the countryside. While I can go a very long way on my fixed bike, I want to try some distances and hills that would likely kill me on a fixed gear. So it's time to build a geared touring bike. I'm thinking something suitable for reasonably fast light loaded touring would suit me best at this time. Now that I've been bitten by the bike-building bug, I won't even consider just buying a complete bike... Eewww.



I didn't know I had such an expressive visage! No wonder people seem to know what I'm thinking all the time. Darn it! I knew I should have been an actor! Curse you, influencers of my youth, curse you! Ah well, back on topic...



I am not a wealthy person. I can't build or buy the bikes I want at will. I need to save up, obtain bargain parts as they present themselves, and be patient. I wouldn't change that if I could, though. The satisfaction of getting something just right over a long time is what I love about doing it myself. Something I've learned from my previous builds is not to buy ebay or other parts that should or could work... I collected more than I needed, wasting money and time along the way. I will have to overcome laziness and something of a pack-rat mentality and re-sell that stuff some time.




This time around, I will determine precisely what I want and know which parts will be compatible before spending a penny. I find that I am not content to cobble together a decent bike from truly inexpensive bits and pieces. None of my bikes would ever be considered high-end, but the more I do this the pickier I become. My last build, the fixed commuter, was the first that left me truly happy and without a single regret. I wouldn't change a thing on that bike.

The trouble is that while I save money and do my research, I see stuff that would be great, but I can't pull the trigger and start. Instead I view and re-view stuff, starting with frames. Once I have a frame (or old bike to strip down) that meets my requirements, whether found online or around town, everything will be easier. I can't just pick and buy one right now though; and what if the perfect thing is waiting at a yard sale this weekend? How will I feel about a snap purchase then? Of course, much of my component shopping will be driven by frame choice. So, here I am, looking at anything and everything, pondering all kinds of decisions, many of which have ramifications for the others. I'm left in bike building purgatory, obsessing and thinking in circles about how to proceed.





This is how it will be until I feel truly ready to go, and who knows how long that will be? I can now look forward to weeks or even months of indecision and anguish. The single worst symptom of this illness is that I will love every minute of it.



Don't ever build a bike unless you are prepared to build many more.




R A N T W I C K
PS - Click Here to jump forward in time to see the frame I eventually found!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

RANTWICK: THE LOST PICTURES vol. 1



As you may well know, when I write blog posts I often go looking for or create pictures to go with. Sometimes, the pictures don't fit in or work out or I just find ones I like better. Since I couldn't come up with commentary on them before, I see no reason to try now; I present for your enjoyment or revulsion the following unused images which will speak for themselves, I think. I added the "vol. 1" to the title because unused pics are bound to accumulate again and again, so why waste 'em?








Hoping to have a good idea sometime soon,
Yer Pal,
R A N T W I C K

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Encounters with Rantwick, episode four: Oblivious Road Hogs

Some road users are just beyond description, but I will attempt to try. Have you ever crossed paths with someone who does notice you, but proceeds just as though they hadn't? In this case I even got to overhear the twisted reasoning behind their actions as they waved their hand and explained some ridiculously false rules of the road to their passenger. My camera didn't pick it up thanks to vibration and rattle noise, but I definitely did, so I have captioned the following video.









I like and miss the oblivious alternate reality occupied by little kids... those two were great.

Don't Ever Change, Cutie-Pies!

R A N T W I C K

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Review: Ortlieb Front Roller Classics


I have stated in a previous post that I wasn't ever going to review stuff on this blog, but I find that I can't help myself. What I can do is limit the number of words I use.


I got a pair of Ortlieb front roller classics (that I use on the rear rack, because I didn't want or need great big panniers) a few months ago.

These bags are not only worth their high price tag, but are even worth braving the perils of cycling forum research and international shopping. I have ridden in some very heavy rain on several occasions with these, and they remained bone-dry inside. They are waterproof. They are one of the best cycling related investments I have ever made. End of review. Should my opinion change over time, I'll let you know.

Update - October 2010 - These panniers are holding up really well... used every day for my work commute. They didn't see too much rain over the summer, but when used in the wet this Fall they've continued to remain totally dry inside. I'm not too crazy about the "pull down" strap... I don't like adjusting it and have almost lost those straps a couple of times now. I'm thinking about a hack for those that should work nicely... anyway, I still love these panniers over a year later.


Remember, if Brevity is Golden, then Silence is Wit...



R A N T W I C K

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Jury Is Still Out: Bike Lanes

Being a frequent reader of vehicular cyclist writings and rantings, I am pre-disposed to disliking bike lanes. If you ride like you're a car whenever it makes sense, they are completely unnecessary.

There is a relatively new bike lane here in London on Queens Ave that I rode recently. I went there on purpose, in order to take video that I strongly suspected would show that it forced cyclists to ride in the "door zone". As it turned out, there was room, even with big parked vehicles, to ride outside of the door zone, although much of your time would be spent in what I have seen termed the "startle zone". Just the same I have to confess it felt kind of nice to have some space designated for my particular kind of use. I have other criticisms of this and other painted bike lanes (though they are still few here in London), but I'll save them for when I have time to get the video ready.

I'm feeling pretty conflicted about bike lanes. On the one hand they are the current darlings of planners, some drivers and some cyclists in the same way that helmets were five or ten years ago... and I think "helmet tunnel vision" has caused all kinds of other important safety information to fall by the wayside. On the other hand, they are a clear and public call for cyclists to ride in the street rather than on the sidewalk. I know that many will say, "yeah, but they also enforce riding separate from cars when that's not the best/safest way!" Herein lies my conflict. Getting cyclists off the sidewalk is a huge thing. Making them the poor cousins on the roadway is also a huge thing.

If I had my guess, it would be that the commuter cyclists that currently read this blog (they are few but mighty) , will try to help me see one viewpoint or another on this stuff, but in the end, I want to form my own opinion. Does that mean I want more bike lanes? Not necessarily... but I do want some time to try out what is here now, and I'm sure the current political/popular appetite for them will bring more my way. If I ever feel more sure of myself on this matter, I'll let you know!

Yours in Waffling,


R A N T W I C K

Friday, June 12, 2009

%^&*$! Powerlink!


My "new" commuter was built using a SRAM chain, which includes a Powerlink, a special link in the chain that is designed to come apart when you push the bushings together from both sides of the link, making removing the chain for cleaning "easy". I chose that chain largely because I am a lazy person when it comes to caring for my chain. I never squeak, because I lube the chain quite often, but I clean it way too infrequently, and I thought it might help me mend my evil ways. I did get around to removing the chain for a proper cleaning sooner than usual. I struggled with that powerlink for something like twenty minutes. I fashioned a link squeezer tool from a spoke... no dice. Eventually I caved in and did the equivalent to asking directions when you're lost; I checked online to see if others had been having the same problem or if I was just stupid.




Yes, I do work on my bike while wearing business attire. Business attire is the only clothing I have, because living my life is my business, and I figure I had better dress accordingly and toe the line. I don't want to get fired from living my life! The only alternative would have been to work on my bike naked, which is not recommended while working on a fixed gear.

So, anyway, I wanted to know if I was just stupid or whether anybody else had been in the same position. It turned out that as with so many things, it was a little of both. Other people had also struggled. I needed to squeeze the side plates together while doing what I had already been doing, which I should have figured out. I got that sucker apart eventually, but even with that extra information, it wasn't easy, and my homemade tool came in handy. I don't remember any instructions coming with the chain. I remember experimenting with the link, and of course it worked fine when perfectly new and clean.

SRAM is a very popular brand of chain. Up until this one, I had been using Shimano. Just the same, I feel a little sheepish that as a "mature" cyclist and newly-minted builder of bikes I couldn't figure this out on my own. When I'm feeling insecure, nothing helps like asking a bunch of strangers on the Internet to opine on whether I'm a loser. So, if you have any experience with Powerlinks, please respond to the following poll!

Rantwick is...






If you answered "a", you're just a big mean jerk face, and I don't like you.

July 6, 2009 Follow-Up: I took the chain off for cleaning again yesterday. I had that thing apart in less than 10 seconds. After all that initial frustration, I now officially like Powerlinks.
Ride all over this weekend,

R A N T W I C K

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Encounters with Rantwick, episode three: Super Heroes

In my regular travels to and fro, I encounter all of the regular people you might expect. This episode of Encounters with Rantwick deals with other, less common people; Super Heroes! Known only by their super hero names, these two are rarely seen this clearly because of their super speed. Check this out:




And I didn't even get to thank them!


Remember, E-speed kills! Until next time,

R A N T W I C K

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Steel is Real! Plus, it Rhymes Good.

You know, steel is great stuff. Many excellent bicycles are made of steel. People can do wonderful things with steel, including build sweet lugged frames that I have a soft spot for. Many sing the praises of steel frames as being superior in that they flex just enough to offer a smoother ride. The single biggest plus for steel, however, is that it's easy to rhyme. "Steel is Real". Oh yeah.

Both of my current bikes (which I have named "Winter" and "Summer") have frames made of aluminum. While aluminum frames are usually marginally lighter than steel, that is not why I chose it, because 1) I'm no racer and 2) I have many pounds to shed before the weight of my bike will matter. I have always rather liked the ride qualities of my aluminum bikes; maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, I don't know. My last commuter was a nice old lugged steel sport-touring frame from the 80s... it rode nicely, but to be honest, I didn't notice enough difference to think "wow, does steel ever rock!" I chose aluminum because my bikes get ridden in the rain and snow and salt. I am not particularly careful with my bikes, and they get scratches and dings, and I don't want to care what happens when the paint or clearcoat or both get damaged.

I find the "Steel is Real" thing a little curious. I mean, are other metals or fibres less real? What is "real", anyway? I'm thinking a little philosophy is in order. Just as people have favourite frame materials, people have favourite philosophers; I think any serious analysis of this topic demands that at least some of their voices be heard, or at least printed in a callout.
















Well, the last couple of thinkers may have missed the point a little, but I think it is abundantly clear that "real" is a rather abstract concept and a poor adjective for trying to describe a bicycle frame material. People just like "real" because it rhymes.

I want to hear any and all rhyme solutions you've got for Titanium, Carbon or Aluminum! Bring 'em on, oh creative reader.

I will attempt to get the ball rolling:



Now, who's going to debate the meaning of "zoominum"? Nobody, that's who.

R A N T W I C K

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Portland, Oregon: Beyond My Comprehension

I travel very little, and haven't been to many American cities for any length of time, let alone ridden a bike around one. I have always been pretty envious of the good people of Portland, and the legendary support that cyclists find there. If any of you live in Portland or have good knowledge of how it really is, I would love to get some comments. Is it the Cycling Nirvana I have built it up to be in my mind?

This post was prompted by something I read on sweetbike.org recently that only added to my impression that Portland is a zone of alternate reality, a parallel universe of some kind where people aren't even a little uptight.

Apparently, in this land apart, when a group of off-the-wall people leave a big trashy pile of bikes somewhere for use in an off-the-wall cycling activity and some of those bikes get stolen, the powers that be gives said people 10K to build a monument to which said trashy bicycles can be attached.

I'm not a big fan of re-posting the content from other blogs on this one, so check out what I've been describing by clicking here. Can such a place really exist? Portland, as I imagine it anyway, is almost beyond my comprehension. Like I said earlier, if anyone reading this is into dispelling or affirming Portland's mythical status as a cycling town, please go for it in the comments.


Signing off from the very Real and "Normal" London, Ontario,

R A N T W I C K

Monday, June 8, 2009

When Busier is Better

When you ride your bicycle on the road and act just as a car or motorcycle would act, you are engaging in "Vehicular Cycling". As a year-round bike commuter, I use a mix of riding styles depending on the context. When there is room for me to ride on the right and allow vehicles to pass without having to come too close even when there is opposing traffic, I do so, noting that I never ride as far right as the gutter. I strongly suspect that my version of "too close" is a little closer and scarier than many cyclists would advise, and I am probably assuming more risk than I should, but I'm OK with it for now. I spend 99% of my time on the street, but I have been known to ride on short stretches of sidewalk when it makes sense to me. I never ride a sidewalk with pedestrians on it... that's one of the times it stops making any sense. I treat most Stop signs as Yield signs, and obey all traffic lights with extremely rare exceptions. When it comes to intersections, I go into full VC (Vehicular Cyclist) mode, merge with traffic and use the left or right turn lanes as any car would. I queue jump on the right when it seems safe enough and doable, and on the odd occasion squeeze through gaps between cars and curb that I probably shouldn't.

As you may have guessed, it would be wrong to characterize myself as a true blue Vehicular Cyclist, but I have been hanging out on blogs and web sites that are committed to VC lately. Some of that content has begun to rub off on me, and I am finding myself practicing VC in more situations than I used to. This blog entry is about a section of my "late for work" shortest commuting route that has been made ten times easier by being a Vehicular Cyclist, taking the whole lane and riding on a very busy street rather than on some quiet ones.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and so a video must be worth several million! Please watch the videos that follow for a summary of what I've been writing about. Since I have stopped doing this part of my route the old way, I rode the streets I used to after work in order to get the comparison video; thus the difference in sunlight angle/time of day.


Video 1: My Old, Quiet Street Way





Video 2: My New, Busy Street Way




Ironically, if I were driving my car, I may well follow the "quiet" route in Video 1 in an effort to skip the slow-down associated with the light. On a bicycle, however, I don't have the power or size to just shoot out into traffic the way I could in my car, and using the flow-control features of the big intersection saves me valuable "late for work" seconds or even minutes and lowers my risk and stress. Sometimes, busier is better.

Thanks to stuff like this, I can actually enjoy riding in traffic.


R A N T W I C K

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sick 'Em!

UPDATE: June 09 - The link below to a blog post railing against cyclists with which I had serious issues doesn't work any more, because the post has been taken down!

I think Theresa of Utterance was either made to see the error of her ways, or was simply annoyed to the point that she no longer wanted to deal with the cyclists who were attacking her in the comments. Either way, some ugly anti-cyclist material has vanished from the Internet. Thanks to all who showed up, and thank you Theresa for taking that content down.

- Rantwick

I didn't bother posting a comment on this ridiculous blog post because I am tired and cynical and lazy, but I thought that some of you might be interested in reading this extra stereotypical rant about cyclists, and perhaps might enjoy letting 'em have it. I am also really saddened by the use of the very same photo I used recently in such an ugly, angry context.

I also want to point out that while it is nice to have something on which to focus our outrage, it would be unfair to get all crazy and say "see? This is how drivers think of us!" This is just what one individual idiot thinks of cyclists. There are cyclists who behave in ways that are idiotic too, so while I think this person could use some education, let's not tar with too big a brush, OK?

Have a Great Weekend,


R A N T W I C K

PS - I ended up posting a comment after all, but it wasn't exactly productive.

Concept Bikes: Notes From The FUTURE!

I'm sure many of you have seen some really cool designer concept bikes before. In this post, I've gathered some that point to the future, revealing a great many things I hadn't ever imagined! I have included some of the features and descriptions of these mind-blowing machines, and will conclude with some observations about what these bikes have to tell us about the future.

The Nulla


Nulla bike is a minimalist bike concept. Nulla is one way of saying “nothing” in Italian. Bradford Waugh named it that way for lack of central hubs or chain-drive, giving it a very minimal visual weight... This futuristic bicycle provides deep coverage, good appearance and comfort perfect for riding and skating. However, it is not sure whether you will have a safe riding with this kind of seat on a bicycle.

It's just a guess, but I think that maybe something was literally lost in translation on this one.

'One' Folding Bicycle




When open, ‘One’ is a comfortable stylish bicycle that not only offers all the benefits of cycling (like cheap travel and exercise) but with its revolutionary power assist system the user can cruise around with ease. When folded, ‘One’ turns into a smooth, light and compact case free of all dirty and protruding parts. ‘One’ can be easily carried, stowed and stored.
Perhaps in the future more highly evolved humans will be as advanced as this folding bike, and finally be free of all dirty and protruding parts... who knows? I always thought folding bikes were kind of weird. This, however, has opened my eyes as wide as this bike's frame-holes! Wow!

Check out this bike design for Polygon which is a combination of standard bike and music player. Today, everyone prefers music while driving, at the gym, at work, on the street or even in library. Music has become the lifestyle of today’s generation and therefore, this bike is designed with the rhythm of today’s lifestyle. There is a music player attached with the adjustable steering and it can turn the energy of the bike into power and automatically store it in the battery which can be later used for light at night and brake light. Style and amazing look is something that this bike surely offers.
This is the most elaborate ipod carrying case I've ever seen! Listening to music while cycling in traffic won't be a bad idea in the future, since the "cars" will all be airborne anyway, and the safety force fields will take over if you don't hear something approaching. The future is gonna rock!

Organik Motion


Organik Motion Is based on a Z-frame concept. It features a fully integrated braking system, integrated front and rear suspension systems, an integrated shaft drive and a height adjustable saddle and handlebars. This comes along with a joystick-mounted gear and break lever system, which is integrated in the ergonomic handlebars. Additionally, the bicycle features a static inner wheel system with safety features such as integrated reflectors on the rotating outer wheels and a taillight, which is mounted in the bike’s frame.



The future is SO INTEGRATED! I can't wait.



What can we learn from these stunning visions of the future? More than you might guess. For starters, the human body is going to change, such that normal people will easily assume aero riding positions that only serious racers can manage for long in these crude times, apparently by developing much longer torsos:










The people of the future, like the people of the present, will have a retro streak, and wear ski helmets in homage to the "snow age", since they can afford a little drag given their low position and streamlined machines:



The future of hubs, spokes and chains doesn't look too good; in fact my best guess is that they get banned for some reason. Although it may seem odd to my feeble brain, I have to trust that a more advanced human race will have good reason to stamp them out in favour of integrated direct drive systems and empty circles.




To my present-day mind it seems that wheels would bend and drivetrains would be impossible to work on, which would be necessary to make them work at all; of course I'm stuck in my stupid reality that doesn't have much in the way of nano-bike-component-robot-drones. The future's hatred of visible moving parts kind of freaks me out - but I know that these machines will be so reliable that understanding how they work will be completely unnecessary, kind of like the political systems in use in most democratic countries today, or you know, laws and all that stuff.

Please don't copy me, but I think I know where to invest my money, thanks to this vision of how bikes will be. Backpacks. I am going to research the hell out of backpack companies, because racks, panniers or baskets will be GONE in the future. Well OK, you can use this info too... but if you blab this all over and drive backpack company stock prices up, I swear, I won't be your friend any more.
I learned not only about the future in my research, but also about the present, by looking at the comments on these designs. I had no idea that so many Engineers browse these designs, or how negative they are. Their "status quo" thinking prompts them to point out all the ways in which the designs couldn't work. These bikes are from the FUTURE! Show some vision, you Internet Engineers. I don't like that lack of vision, but I truly pity the commenters (and there is always at least one) who asks, "Are these available now?" Once again, these are the bikes of the FUTURE!

Keep Looking Forward,

R A N T W I C K

PS - I'm not perfect. If any of you "Are These Available Now" people can find any of these bikes being produced and sold, please accept my apologies. Email me with the information, and I will GIVE you, with no strings attached, every last one of my backpack company shares as a gesture of good will.