Friday, May 24, 2019

Friday News And Views

Swollen Head Tube syndrome: (Image Courtesy Of Bike Europe)
Making The Most Elegant, Simple Machine More Complex- Part 179:

Bicycles are wonderfully efficient, simple machines. That is, until you unleash some budding engineers and people who think they can make perfect better on the subject. Take belt drive for instance. I've covered that to death here.

Now with these hybrid powered cycles (HPC's or also known as "e-bikes"), which are supposedly making bicycles "better", we are finding out, almost daily, that the lowly simple machine just isn't good enough. It hasn't got "easy" ingrained into its DNA to the point we humans think we need, so all kinds of goofy things are being developed to take care of issues being raised by the addition of a high torque motor to a bicycle.

The latest in the long line of "upgrades" which are being proposed is this new steering assist design developed by Technical University in Delft, the Netherlands and the bike brand Gazelle. The idea stems from what has been noted in the Netherlands in regard to an uptick of crashes, typically involving e-bikes. Here is a quote from the story.

"These accidents causing serious injuries often occur as cyclists lose control of the bicycle. In many cases it involves elderly on e-bikes."

The system is still under development, so no timeline is given for its possible future implementation. But again- HPC vehicles are just taking us down a lane where, eventually, they will become vehicles that require no human input. Electric motorcycles may happen, but I think the goal is something even more detrimental to the human species. Time will tell. 

The Hirobel Clamp, here shown in my workstand at work
 Tool Geekery:

I like my tools and using good tools is fun for me. So when I heard about a new kind of clamp that would work with tri-bikes and weird aero seat tubes in my work stand, I checked into it. The Hirobel Clamp, which at the time was a product of an independent, small company, was not available and was expensive. I slotted that into the back of my mind for the future. 

See, there is nothing worse than working on a bike that is flopping around because you cannot safely clamp it into a work stand. Frustration? You bet! That Hirobel clamp though- yeah......that would reduce my stress a lot! 

So, a chance came up to review one for Riding Gravel and I jumped on it. The clamp is awesome, works as advertised, and makes me way more efficient as a mechanic. No more fighting with a bike that doesn't conform to a stand designed for bikes 50 years ago. I look forward to working on those dreaded tri-bikes now because the Hirobel Clamp has them covered. 

 Headed To Kansas......Again:

You know I've been down to Kansas the last what....four years now? Anyway, I've raced, ridden my own gig, and just hung out as a support person. This year I am just going for the "All Things Gravel Expo". That takes place Thursday and Friday. I'll be leaving town either late Friday or very early Saturday morning, so no racing/riding down there this time. 

This trip will be all about Riding Gravel stuff and that's actually going to be a somewhat busy deal, by the sounds of it. This big swing toward gravel/all-road stuff by the cycling industry has this expo looking like a mini-Sea Otter of drop bar, dust infested madness. Of course, it wasn't always this way. 

Back when I first started this string of Emporia, Kansas appearances in 2015, there was an expo of sorts. It was about two blocks in size and featured about......mmmmm......maybe 20 vendors? That's being generous. Now this deal is bringing debuts of cycling gear and bicycles, Pro racer appearances, and demos of equipment and bikes. Like I say- sort of like a Sea Otter in that respect. 

I am expecting some big news and many interesting things. So, come Wednesday I'll be down there with batteries charged and my pen and paper at the ready. I'm not sure what I will be able to accomplish for content on the blog here, so just a forewarning. You may not get a whole lot while I am there. The travelling computer will be with my wife and all I'll have is a smart phone. 

That's it for this week. have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

1 comment:

youcancallmeAl said...

Belt drives?? Lol! The engineers left me with the introduction of click shifting!