Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Want That Helmet, Not Excuses!

Ever wished you were Darth Vader when struggling with your daily commute? Wouldn't it be great to disable the respiratory system of the idiot behind you, hanging on his horn? Or perhaps use the force to turn the the traffic lights green in your favor?

Ted Selker, research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab has been developing the ultimate commuter bicycle helmet. OK, it lacks the features described above but what do you think of these other cool features?

  1. built in micro computer to realize the stuff below 
  2. built in GPS tracking device
  3. microphone for recording warnings linked to your current GPS position "Pot-hole ahead" etc etc.
  4. built in motion-sensor that can turn of the helmet when you put it on your shelf. Or turn the left blinker on when you lean your head left.
  5. built in mobile phone
  6. ability to connect your favorite mp3 player to the built in headset.
  7. mutes the music or phone when the microphone detects for example the siren of a nearby ambulance.
  8. Detect when you yell and activate a horn to further help you in your effort to get attention.
  9. Darth Vader look.

Ted Selker says that a mass produced version of the current prototype would sell for about 200$ at your LBS.

Future enhancements include connectivity via Bluetooth to be able to share information with fellow commuters.

Read more about Ted Selker other projects here...  

Link to Smart helmet points out the potholes | CNET

« Home | Next »

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Sutra is on it's way

Paid the down payment yesterday. Hopefully it will be on a slow boat to Europe next week and I will lay my hands on it in about four weeks.

Shit, I hate to wait.

« Home | Next »

"Run Bike" or Springcykel in Swedish

 My youngest daughter, Mimmi, is having her third birthday soon and I have up till now been thinking that next summer will be a good time for her to taste the joys of cycling.

Reading Gwadzilla's post about Like-A-Bike, yesterday got me thinking they maybe we could start earlier with a Springcykel.

Springcykeln (Text in Swedish)

At a price of 990 SEK, roughly 90-100$, It seems like a bargain compared to the Like-A-Bike that sells for 279$ according to Gwadzilla. 

We tried training wheels with my youngest daughter, Siri, and my experiences from that is that she only picked up the bad habit of leaning on the training wheels all the time. That made the step to riding without the training wheels only harder.

My thoughts about the Springcykel , above, is that it will teach Mimmi balance, something that you don't learn with training wheels. Ok, you don't learn pedaling and that is vital too. But maybe the "running" will be a good pedaling proxy?  

Ok, even at 100$ it is still a bit pricey. But kids stuff is often easy to sell at the second hand market for a good price when she grows out of it and it's time for a real bike.

Link to Springcykel (Text in Swedish)

Movie (wmv) of the RunBike in action

« Home | Next »

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Syd Barrett's bikes are for sale

 BikeBiz reports that two hand painted bikes, previously owned by the co-founder of Pink Floyd, Syd Barret who died last month, are up for sale along with other personal possessions.

Shine on you crazy diamond...

Link to Bike Biz: Syd Barrett's bikes are for sale

« Home | Next »

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

C.I.C.L.E. :: » Steal This Bike

 When my bike got stolen in broad daylight on a busy street, chained to a shopping cart rack, with a lock that was approved by every insurance company in Sweden I couldn't, at first, figure out how they did it without raising any attention.

Thinking about it later on I guessed that the people that steals bike doesn't care if they get attention at all. Putting myself in the situation that walking down the street I see a guy or girl hacking away on a locked bicycle, I asked myself what should I do? My gut feeling is that I would have asked  the person what he or she was doing. And probably, the thief,  cool as Fonzie, would have replied "my keys fell down the drain, so...". And after that reply what can you do??

The one thing I came up with was to tell the person (thief or not) that I'm going to report it to the police leaving my name and number so that if anyone reports the bicycle stolen they can get back to me for a description of the thief. To spice things up a bit you might also get an opportunity to use that otherwise useless camera in your mobile phone and take a picture of the thief.

If you want to see the normal reaction of people passing by this kind of situations I suggest you read this article over at C.I.C.L.E. and watch the movie.  

What would you have done?

Link to C.I.C.L.E. :: » Steal This Bike

« Home | Next »

Kona Online Tech Support, 10 points

In my current mission to get a new bike, as a replacement for my old Dr. Dew that got stolen a couple of weeks ago, Kona's Online Tech Support has been really helpful.

Not sure how many bike manufacturers there is that run an online tech support forum. But if they don't they should look into it.

Since one of the candidates, the 2007 Sutra, isn't part of any LBS's stock here in Stockholm, I must buy it unseen and untested. Being able to perform a discussion with a dedicated tech support is vital and Kona really shines here.

My two main questions was about frame size and tire clearance.  Getting positive input on both straight from the horse's mouth practically seals the deal.

One positive side effect of this kind of communication is that the questions have been asked and the answers can easily be "googled" up by other clueless Sutra-shoppers.

Check out my thread here

« Home | Next »

Monday, August 21, 2006

A Worthy Successor For the Doctor

A couple of week's ago my workhorse, a 2003 Kona Dr. Dew, got stolen in broad daylight on a busy street outside my workplace in Sundbyberg, a suburb of Stockholm.Gone in 30 Seconds

The shock I went through when I came out the door, ready to ride home, and looked at the broken Abus Granite Futura lock hanging from the shopping cart rack still sends shivers down my spine.

At first I thought it was the supermarket that had finally had it with me locking my bike to their rack everyday, but that turned out to be wishful thinking. The bike was gone. The fact that they had cracked my Abus lock, which I supposed to be a really good lock, indicated a professional thief  with the right tools. I learned from browsing the net that the spare jack of a Volvo 240 is the bicycle thief's best friend and the damage on my lock  supported that theory.

It was the bike that got me hooked to cycling and I had no plans to retire it yet. The Dr. was the perfect commuter in my opinion. Quick, sturdy and good looking. After three years of trusty commuting, winters included, the only thing I had replaced was the chain, cassette and a pair of tires.  The bottom bracket was singing on it's last verse and had plans on replacing it before the winter but the thief was quicker than me.

Two weeks has now passed and this Friday I got about 50% of the bikes value back from the insurance company. My urge for U-lock Justice has cooled of a bit. I still check out the major Swedish online classifieds sites for any traces of my old companion but probably it's on a shitty lorry of to some neighbor country right now.

I have been doing the commute on my road bike for the last two weeks. Taking it with me into the office. Since the weather has been good most of the time it has been no problems. But now it's time to get a new bike and I have been tossing and turning over who the successor will be.

I'm into a touring or a cyclocross bike with drop bars. The only thing I didn't like in the end with the Dr. Dew was the straight handlebars. Riding my road bike got me accustomed to the broadened range of hand positions that the drop bars offered. And every time I mounted my Dew I felt a bit constrained. 

I will probably be another Kona. A picture of the 2007 Sutra touring bike got me hooked. I really like the looks of it. The 2006 is better specced when it comes to shifters and some other stuff, but that can be upgraded later on. The racing green finish on this bike beats the 105 shifters on the 2006, IMO.

Sutra 2007

It has disc brakes which I like. The Dr. Dew had hydraulic ones, they where flawless. The Sutra has mechanical ones, not sure how they compare.

A touring bike would let me do longer trips with more luggage and still be a good commuter. My Dr. Dew had a rear rack and panniers so carrying capacity was no problem. The short wheelbase and the flatbar was the thing that kept me from doing longer trips with it.

The only thing I'm a bit worried about is the Sutras ability for winter riding. It has the same fork as the Dr. Dew, a Kona P2 fork, so fitting winter studs on it doesn't seem to be a problem. Probably the clearance for a rear winter tire is also sufficient.

Touring bikes are really hard to shop here in Stockholm. My lbs only sells Cannondales Tourers, but when I went there to try one out they said that they were sold out in Europe and getting one could take months. The Sutra 2007 could be ordered if I paid a down payment and committed myself to buy it when it arrived.

So buying a tourer here in Sweden means buying it untested. It's a lot of money and it feels a bit risky to do. I have however compared the geometry of the Sutra with the Dr Dew and they are quite similar so the risk of doing a really bad purchase doesn't seem that high.  

My other option is Kona's Cyclocross Jake the Snake.

Jake the Snake 2006

 A handful of dealers here in Stockholm has it in stock so I can take it for a test ride. Haven't done it yet since this option is pretty new and based on the fact that the Sutras are so hard to get. I really need the bike now.  

When it comes to touring this bike don't have lowrider brace-ons and if I wish to have a rack and fenders I have to put em on the same brace-on. It also has less options in gearing since the Sutra is a Triple and Jake is a compact. The geometry is probably less suitable for long rides, but that is a guess. I'm not sure. It's probably a better commuter though.

hmm. what will it be??? If anyone have any opinions please post a comment. I need all help I can get.

« Home | Next »

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Bike Blogging Take Three

Hi blog!

I'm back. Sorry for neglecting you for so long.  Tons of various distractions have kept me from posting. The urge to write is back. Hope it will stay this time!

« Home | Next »

[SSWC06] Pictures

Loads of pictures from the World Championships in Single Speed racing that is taking place here in Stockholm this weekend!

Picture by PerM

Link to happymtb :: sveriges trevligaste mountainbikeforum :: [SSWC06] Pictures

« Home | Next »

A.N.T.: Alternative Needs Transportation


Stumbled on this one-man-company browsing the posts on the Swedish Cycling community

Beautiful bikes!

To bad I live in Sweden

Link to A.N.T.: Alternative Needs Transportation

« Home | Next »