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Friday, August 28, 2015

The Bicycle Morgan Hybrid


What you are looking at above is a recumbent tricycle - merged with a Morgan car. It is not exceptionally complicated, but it does cost about  $3,300 USD + shipping costs.

Although to be fair, recumbent bicycles in general tend to be in the $3,000 to $9,000 range, so paying at least $3,000 is pretty normal for a recumbent bicycle.


The Quest for the Flying Bicycle

Ever since bicycles have been around inventors have been trying to create a flying bicycle... with a lot of failures along the way.

The early attempts at making flying bicycles seem so amateurish compared to what we now know about aviation. As if they were conceived by a 12-year-old with an active imagination but very little knowledge of what is actually needed to fly.

Like the one shown on the right here, which was doomed to fail just by the looks of it.

Or the one below, also doomed to failure.



In 2013 the British company Paravelo (based in London, UK) finally managed to make a bicycle fly - sort of. It is actually more of a parasail-bicycle hybrid. See the video and photos below:







Fixed Gear Bicycles Vs Google's Self Driving Car

Earlier this month in Austin, Texas, a cyclist and a Google self-driving car met at a four-way stop. This likely wasn’t the first time a Google self-driving vehicle has encountered a cyclist at a four-way stop. The company’s multitude of automated vehicles have driven more than 1.1 million miles in autonomous mode.
But the encounter featured a twist - the cyclist was on a fixed gear bicycle and doing a track stand. In a track stand, a rider on a fixed-gear bike may shift ever so slightly forward and back in an effort to maintain balance, like in the video below:


The fixed gear enthusiast recounted the encounter with the Google Self Driving Car on an online forum for cyclists:

"The car got to the stop line a fraction of a second before I did, so it had the [right of way]. I did a track-stand and waited for it to continue on through."

Google's self-driving cars are notoriously careful, and tend to brake when anyone else is moving forward into the vehicle’s path. In a track stand, a rider on a fixed-gear bike may shift ever so slightly forward and back in an effort to maintain balance and thus looks like they are in motion. Also, a rider doing a track stand maintains the body position typical of a cyclist in motion, not one that is stopping. For riders of fixed-gear bikes, it can be a fun game to never have to put one’s foot down on the pavement, but instead balance at stop signs and red lights.

While a human driver can easily see a rider doing a track stand isn’t going anywhere, Google’s self-driving car seems to be still be figuring that out.

As the cyclist recalled:

"It apparently detected my presence … and stayed stationary for several seconds. it finally began to proceed, but as it did, I rolled forward an inch while still standing. The car immediately stopped…

I continued to stand, it continued to stay stopped. Then as it began to move again, I had to rock the bike to maintain balance. It stopped abruptly.

We repeated this little dance for about two full minutes and the car never made it past the middle of the intersection. The two guys inside were laughing and punching stuff into a laptop."

Despite the awkward encounter, the cyclist didn’t leave with a negative impression of self-driving cars.

"The odd thing is, I felt safer dealing with a self-driving car than a human-operated one."

Self-driving cars could actually be a boon for cycling. If self-driving vehicles almost never crash, roads will become immensely more safe and inviting to cyclists. But for now, mastering how to interact with cyclists is a challenge for self-driving vehicles. The fact that the cars err on the side of caution is a very good thing.

A patent Google received this spring detailed how its self-driving cars could identify cyclists and interpret their hand signals. It also mentioned the ability to identify a cyclist by measuring the distance between the pavement and the top of a stopped cyclist’s head.

Of course, until this summer Google’s testing was centered near its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters. In July, Google began testing in Austin, home to a lot more hipsters and fixed-gear bikes.

The broader the experiences of self-driving vehicles, the better prepared they will be for real-world driving. The run-in also highlights the long list of rare situations the cars will have to master before they can replace human drivers. After all, what happens when a self-driving car approaches a downtown intersection with multiple cyclists on fixed-gear bikes, and a herd of pedestrians? How will it react? Hopefully with the same level of caution.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Bicycle Buying 101

Bicycle Buying 101

Are you in the market for a new bike? There are lots of options on the market, so before heading down to your local bicycle shop, read up on models, features, prices, and the pros and cons of each type. Prices range from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, so investigate all the possibilities. Not every two-wheeler will fit every cyclist, because there are multiple bike-rider personalities. Which type are you?

If you are a commuter who wants to "go green" while pedaling to work, consider a hybrid bike with comfy handlebars and seat. A hybrid is sturdier than your basic road bike, but not quite as rugged as a mountain bike. If you are an adventurer who likes to rip up the gravel while zipping up and down off-road trails, select a mountain bike with full-suspension, wide tires, low gears, and disc brakes. If you are an athlete who wants to log miles and burn calories at the same time, you might want to consider a racing road bike. Road bikes are designed for speed and fitness, but you'll need to learn to change tires, because the skinny tires go flat more often than other bike tires.

To learn more about bike types and the features of each model, take a look at this detail-filled infographic. After reading it, you'll be ready to hit the road for some test drives.

Bicycle Types: Finding the Right Bike | Bicycle Adventures Infographic
Presented By Bicycle Adventures Bike Tours and Vacations

1865 - First Bicycles Brought to Toronto

A display of Toronto's history of sports is at the Toronto Reference Library's art gallery. The two images below talk about how "Boneshakers" was the first type of bicycle imported to Toronto in 1865, and "Cycles Brownie" was one of the first bicycles manufactured in Toronto.


Custom Bianci / Corno Marrone Bicycle

The custom bicycle above is owned by "Jade" of Toronto, who purchased the bicycle in Italy.
Very shiny and chic!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Stephen Harper Blocks Bicycle Lane


Stephen Harper was in Toronto for the Maclean's leaders' debate at the City studio in Yonge and Dundas Square, but his campaign bus was photographed blocking a bike lane in front of the Delta Hotel on Lower Simcoe St. near the CN Tower in Toronto.

The driver of the bus refused to move it when asked and blocked photographs of himself by lifting a newspaper to cover his face.

The fine for parking in a bike lane in Toronto is $150. The fine is there because in order for cyclists to get around parked vehicles they have to merge with faster moving traffic, putting themselves in danger of a collision or being killed.

Toronto Police Service says no special parking arrangements made for the Harper bus, and therefore it was parked illegally.

A representative of the Conservative Party did not return a request for comment.

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