Archive | June, 2009

Military Bicycle – US Army Paratroopers and Marines

Montague Bicycle Company has been making folding bicycles for the US military since 1997. These bicycles are foldable and can be parachuted in with soldiers and marines. They are currently being tested for use by US Army Special Forces.

Check out their website for videos and photos.
Montague Military Bicycles Promo Video Page

Posted in bicycles, Load Carrying, Videos, Work CyclingComments (156)

Air Pollution in China

air pollution china

air pollution china

I generally try to keep this blog upbeat and focused on bicycles. But, the other day I found a picture I took a couple of years ago during a business trip to China. The photo speaks for itself… The air pollution in China is awful…

This picture was taken in Ningbo City, about three hours drive from Shanghai. In the early 1990s, most people in China were still using bicycles or mass transit. Cars were a luxury for the rich. Back then the air was clean given the size of the population. But now in many of the factory towns across China, your eyes water as soon as you step out the front door.

The sad thing is we keep blaming China for all of this, but most of those poluting factories are making products that are bound for US and European markets. Basically we’ve just exported our pollution creating factories and jobs to China. Anyway, everytime I go to Costco, I always get a sense that I’m just adding to this cycle…

Posted in City Cycling, Places & EventsComments (3)

Paris: Cargo Bicycle Delivery Network

La Petite Reine (little queen) is a French nickname for bicycle. It’s also the name of the small company that operates a fleet of over 60 cargocycles for various client companies such as express delivery service DHL.  Everyday these cargo bicycles and tricycles make their way through congested parts of Paris to deliver parcels with an efficiency that Fedex would be proud of.

Besides the suped up messenger services. La Petite Reine also sells and rents these cargo tricycles to the public.

Posted in City Cycling, Load Carrying, special purpose, tricyclesComments (10)

Dual Pull Brake Lever

Dual_pull_brakes
I thought I’d re-post about these really cool dual pull brake levers I installed on my front load cargo tricycle (2 wheels up front 1 wheel in back). I’ve had them on the trike for about 6 months and they work great! Basically, you can run two brake cables from two different brake sets into one lever and the lever balances the pull going to both sets of brakes.

Inside the lever there is a little mechanism that balances the pull between the two brake lines. That way you have equal pressure going to both front brakes on the trike when you pull the lever. What this means for cargo tricycles is that you can have one lever that actuates both front wheels equally without any brake steering effect. Brake steering is when one wheel brakes harder than the other, which pulls the tricycle violently to the left or right when braking.

In practice, you still need to make sure that your brakes are tuned similarly. Meaning that you can’t have one brake cable totally loose with the other one completely tight and still hope that the dual pull brake lever will work it’s magic. However, if you spend the time to at least adjust your brake cables reasonably, these things work great!

If you do a Google search for “dual pull brake lever” there are a lot of companies selling these. I think I got mine for about $12 USD.

Posted in accessories, DIY, Load Carrying, Tech TalkComments (9)