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Atomic Zombie Bicycle Builder’s Bonanza

Brad Graham and Kathy McGowan have written an amazing book called Atomic Zombie Bicycle Builder’s Bonanza. This book is a “must have” for anyone that loves to tinker and make things. Inside the book are detailed instructions and over 200 photos that teach you how to hack, modify, and build bicycles using minimal tools. 

The book is written in a clear and easy to understand style that walks you through real projects ranging from playful to surreal. Anyone who loves DIY projects will love this book. After reading it, you’ll be ready for any Franken-Bike creation.

I found the book on Amazon for about $17 and they even had an electronic version available for an additional $5.  It won’t compare to the two week frame building course at the United Bicycle Institute. But if you think of the cost of tuition and room & board, this book is a real bargain. Also checkout Brad Graham’s website, which is definitely worth a visit.

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Ed Begley Jr. & Daryl Hannah Ride iZip Electric Bike

Renowned actress Daryl Hannah took time out of her busy schedule to participate in the Los Angeles County River Ride. A long time supporter of green initiatives, Ms. Hannah rode to support the LA County Bicycle Coalition. She road an iZip electric bicycle given to her by actor and longtime green activist, Ed Begley Jr.

Check out the following links to catch up on cycling in LA:

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Types of Steering

A front load (tadpole) cargo trike has two wheels in front and one wheel in the rear. There are three main types of steering for front load cargo trikes:

• Axle-pivot
• Articulating frame
• Ackerman linkage

Axle-pivot steering is the most common kind of steering on a front-load trike as well as the simplest to manufacture & maintain. Axle pivot steering is great at low speeds, because it has a much tighter turning radius than Ackerman steering. Also, for the same size tricycle frame, Axle pivot steering trikes can fit a much larger cargo box.

Posted in Load Carrying, Tech Talk, tricyclesComments (1)

Koga Miyata Chela

Check out Koga-Miyata’s bike trailer, Chela.  It’s like a mini RV for bicycles.

“With built-in features such
as an integrated folding chair and table, a telescopic stand (to be
used for camera, lamp, safety
flag etc.) and a daypack with solar cells
to charge a GPS or mobile phone. Travel kit can be stored in separate
integrated compartments. The alloy chassis has suspension and offers
very smooth riding characteristics. Nevertheless, the empty weight only
brings 12.6 kg on the scales. With only minor adaptations, the Chela
can be converted into an easily maneuverable luggage trolly, for use in
public transport.”

Also check out their line of touring and commuting bikes.



Posted in Touring, trailersComments (2)

China International Bicycle Show 2007

Just posted photos from the 2007 China International Bicycle & Motor Show in Shanghai. It was gigantic. There were 5697 booths in 9 buildings that covered 105000 square meters of convention hall. The manufacturers were definitely not holding back.

Many of the designs were based on European and American designs. However, there were bicycles and other products that were uniquely Chinese. I was pleasantly surprised at the huge variety of electric bicycles, e-scooters, and e-motorcycles that were on display. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.

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Shimano Automatic Transmission

Coastinggroup_550x412 Shimano makes an attempt at attracting technophobic new riders to casual cyling by eliminating the gear shifter.  The system relies on a front hub dynamo that powers both a headlamp and plus the computer chip that makes the gear selection.  The rear hub is a three speed internal with coaster brakes.

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Open Source Design: Jetrike

I ran across this website while doing research on leaning tricycles. The inventor of Jetrike has put all of his notes, working drawings, and research onto his webpage in hopes of fostering innovation in the field. His work is amazingly detailed and useful for anyone trying to develop a leaning trike with popular appeal.

We’d like to applaud his generosity and willingness to share. Keep up the great work!

Posted in DIY, Load Carrying, Tech Talk, tricycles, Useful ReferencesComments (3)

Hybrid Commuting (Shanghai China Maglev Train Video)

VideoplaymaglevI edited some video of the Shanghai Maglev Train from a recent business trip to China. We covered the 40 km distance from downtown Shanghai to the airport in 8 minutes. Top speed 430 kph (267 mph).

It’s not directly related to cargo bicycles, but more so with hybrid commuting (using a bicycle locally and a train between cities). Imagine if a high density region like the US West Coast corridor (Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, LA, and San Diego) were connected with a high speed rail line like this.

It would definitely make hybrid commuting a more viable and enjoyable option. Plus imagine all the fun bicycle tours that become a realistic option. The rail lines wouldn’t have to be magnetic.

But wouldn’t that be cool?

Posted in Commuting, Places & Events, Portable, VideosComments (1)

Family cycling

Here is another great article on Sheldon Brown’s page about family cycling,
covering tandems, trailer cycles, and teaching kids how to ride a bike.

To the right is the popular Adam Trail-A-Bike.

Posted in Family Cycling, Tech Talk, trailersComments (2)

DIY: Homebuilt Sidecar

Popular_mechanics_diy_sidecarPopular Mechanics has a great article submitted by a Caleb Brown who shows you how he built a leaning bicycle sidecar for carrying his son around. The great things about the design are that the full suspension smooths out bumps in the road, the suspension allows for leaning, it allows the driver & child to communicate face to face, and finally it’s pretty low cost. Also, the fact that it uses a commercially available child carrier means many families will be able to make use of carriers they already own.

It looks professional and we’re impressed. GREAT JOB!!!

Posted in DIY, Family Cycling, Load Carrying, trailers, tricyclesComments (4)

Types of Tricycles

When riding around with my son in the front of my cargo tricycle around town, onlookers often ask me “What’s that?” I think the main reason is that most people are used to seeing tricycles with two wheels in the back and one wheel up front, rather than the other way around. Well, for those of you who are new to cargocycling here’s a quick summary of the main types of tricycles.

Tricycles are generally defined by their wheel arrangement. The three most common are:

• Delta Tricycle: 1 wheel in front and 2 wheels in the rear
• Tadpole Tricycle: 2 wheels in front and 1 wheel in the rear
• Sidecar: 2 wheels in line with each other and 1 wheel parallel and offset

Deltatricycle_2Delta Tricycle:
A delta trike has 1 wheel in front & 2 wheels in the back. It is sometimes refered to as a traditional tricycle or rear load tricycle (meaning the cargo is behind the driver). A lot of times you’ll see older people using these bicycles because it is stable at slow speeds and uses standard bicycle steering.

Tadpoletricycle_2Tadpole Tricycle:
A tadpole trike has 2 wheels in front & 1 wheel in the back. It is sometimes refered to as a front load tricycle because the cargo is in front of the driver. These tricycles are useful for drivers that need to keep a close eye on their cargo or need quick access to it without having to get off of their trike. This makes them ideal for use by food vendors or pedi-cab drivers who have frequent interaction with customers.

Sidecar_2Sidecar Tricycle:
In the side car arrangement, two wheels are in line with each other like a bicycle. The third wheel is parallel to the other two wheels but is offset from the center line of the two wheels.

In future posts, I’ll try to include information on other aspects of cargo tricycles for those of you who are interested in picking up a cargo tricycle.

Posted in Family Cycling, Load Carrying, Tech Talk, tricyclesComments (8)

Apax Leaning Tricycle

ApaxA start-up company called Apax Vehicle Dynamics is developing an interesting leaning tricycle. They’ve got some great video footage of their tricycle in action going down stairs, offroad, etc. The design has a lot of potential for other applications.

Hopefully as they develop their design, they’ll be able to improve the aesthetics, reduce weight, and simplify the design.

Keep up the great work!

Posted in Load Carrying, Tech Talk, tricycles, VideosComments (0)

Leaning Tricycle

In many situations tricycles have advantages over traditional bicycles. Tricycles don’t fall over when sitting at a full stop, they are stable at low speed, they can carry tremedous loads, and you can take a rest any time.

However one of the most difficult things for riders to get used to is the fact that most trikes do not allow you to lean into a turn like on a bicycle. There are many people who are developing designs for leaning tricycles and we’ll start to post links to some of those.

One of the cooler designs we’ve seen so far is from Apax Vehicle Developments in Canada. Their website is barebones, but they’ve got some cool videos that shows their trike in action.

Posted in DIY, Load Carrying, Tech Talk, tricyclesComments (2)

Internally Geared Hubs

Internal-gear hubs offer the advantage of less maintenance compare to a standard derailleur based drivetrain, great for wet weather riding.  You can change gear when at a stop, a plus in traffic.  The disadvantage is the extra weight and increase in drivetrain friction.

Shimano Nexus (3/7/8)
SRAM/Sachs (3/9)
Sturmey Archer (3/5/7/8)
Rohloff (14)
Nuvinci (CVT)

Check out Sheldon Brown’s page on internal-gear hubs.

Posted in accessories, Tech TalkComments (1)

Check out, an online retailer specializing in bike cargo trailers., dedicated to bike trailers.

Cello, an unique bike case travel system for BOB trailers.

All three sites were started by Josh Lipton, here is his interesting blog where he talks in depth about running his own small start-up business.

Posted in Family Cycling, Load Carrying, trailers, Useful ReferencesComments (0)

Interested in workbikes, offers tons of info on workbikes.
Featuring a list of manufacturers, pedicab and cargo delivery businesses, online forums, books, history, organizations, etc.

Looks like the site is related to Zero Couriers, they claim to operate the largest fleet of freight cycles in London.  Check out their blog under workbike news.

Posted in shops, Useful References, Work CyclingComments (4)

Leitra and Velomobiles

Recumbent trikes with full fairings came from human powered vehicle (HPV) racing.  One was Mike Burrow’s Windcheetah, originally intended as a stable HPV trainer for HPV racers.  Recumbent enthusiasts soon discover the advantanges of a fully faired trike for commuting compared to a full faired recumbent bike.  There is no need to balance the vehicle at stops, no worries of side wind blowing the vehicle around.

Velomobile became the term used to describe these fully faired recumbent trikes built for commuting in traffic and offering all-weather protection.

One of the most well know is the Leitra, with a flip-forward front section that allows entry and exit of the rider.

Check out for more info on velomobiles.

Posted in Commuting, Load Carrying, tricycles, Useful ReferencesComments (0)

Center for Appropriate Transport and Human Powered Machines

(quoted from their website…)

The Center for Approriate Transport (CAT) is a non-profit organization committed to community involvement in manufacturing, using, and advocating sustainable modes of transportation. The first organization of its kind, the Center was founded in Eugene, Oregon in the fall of 1992. Since that time we have established a number of projects under one roof designed to further this mission.

Human Powered Machines was established in 1991. Our primary interest is in relieving urban congestion by building load-carrying workbikes. We also produce many types of vehicles including recumbents, utility trailers, folding bikes, hand- powered vehicles and farm machines.

The trike pictured to the right was designed by Human Powered Machines.

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Rivendell, is a bike company specializing in quality bikes for cyclists looking for a bike with lightweight, durability and practicality in mind.  Grant Peterson of Bridgestone fame with bikes like RB-1, MB-1, XO-1 started Rivendell and continue the philosophy of simplicity and practicality combine with classic lug contruction.  All bikes comes with fender clearance and rack mountings.  Their bikes strike a nice balance between specialized racing bikes and overweight hybrids.

The bike pictured to the right is their Atlantis model.

Posted in bicycles, Commuting, TouringComments (1)

Bob Ibex trailer


B.O.B. (formerly Beast of Burden) is the maker of the famous single wheel Yak trailer.  By replacing the stock quick release with a special replacement,  you can mount the single wheel trailer to any bike.

BOB Ibex is a variation of the Yak trailer with suspension added.

Curiously instead of building kid trailers, BOB makes a line of jogging strollers.

Posted in Family Cycling, Load Carrying, Touring, trailersComments (0)

John Forester & Effective Cycling

Anyone interested in cycling in traffic should take a look at John Forrester’s website.

He is a Cycling Transportation Engineer who wrote ‘Effective Cycling’ and ‘Bicycle Transportation: A Handbook for Cycling Transportation Engineers’

He promotes the idea that "cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers
of vehicles

He also offers a traffic-cycling course for riders of all ages.  Check out the ‘Effective Cycling’ dvd.

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Folding Bicycle Society

For those interested in folding bikes, check out the Folding Society site. sells various models of folding bikes.

To the right, are folders made by Airnimal.

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Public Restroom on a Trike

Public Restroom
Originally uploaded by jkoshi.

My friend JKoshi captured this photo during a trip to China. If you’re a parent of small kids, you’d appreciate the convenience. hmm… I wonder if you can do this in a car?

Check out the rest of Koshi’s Flickr albums. He’s got lots of other great travel and bike photos.

Posted in Family Cycling, Load Carrying, Places & Events, tricyclesComments (0)

Shanghai Farmer’s Market Live Action Video

OrangefarmerI finally got around to editing my video from the Shanghai farmer’s market. This short video clip captures how the farmer’s use the bicycles as mobile storefronts and how they’ve modified the bikes with local materials for their own needs. I hope you enjoy the video. If you’d like to use it for non-commercial use feel free to send me an email.

Live action video of farmer’s bicycles in Shanghai China

Posted in City Cycling, Load Carrying, Places & Events, Videos, Work CyclingComments (2)

North American Handmade Bicycle Show 2007 (San Jose, CA)

AhearneI just posted my photos from the North American Handmade Bicycle Show at the San Jose Convention Center. There was a huge number of custom bicycle builders from all over the world attending the show. The variety of bikes ranged from all out velomobiles to rat bikes built with found materials. It was great talking with the builders who went out of their way to be friendly and answer any questions.

Some of the themes I noticed throughout the show:

Some fun stuff I saw at the show:

My photos from the show on Flickr

Posted in City Cycling, Commuting, DIY, Family Cycling, Load Carrying, Mobility Impaired, Places & Events, Portable, Touring, Useful References, Work CyclingComments (2)