News and Events

Keep up to date with the latest news and events of Modular Bikes.

Friday, February 3, 2017

40 is the new 34

Bike with Cassette fitted

Front wheel setup

On the largest cassette cog

Sunrace 11-40 cassette

I've always been a fan of fairly simple things and my latest purchase makes a bicycle simple.  For a while now, mountain bikes have been available with wide range gear systems which rely on a single cassette for their gear range and the current king of the heap is the Sram Eagle 10-50T cassette and gear system, and this is reviewed here .  Its good to have simple controls on mountain bikes too!  The primary focus in mountain biking is not smashing into a tree, and thinking about what front cog you want to select can be a bit difficult at times!

The Eagle is an expensive 12 speed system, it needs lots of fancy pants parts and a narrow chain.  But there has been a trickle down effect, and now wide range cassettes are available as standard parts.  The one I bought is an 8 speed 11-40t cassette from Sunrace, and this comes from the range of Sunrace cassettes listed on their website.  (If you go up to 11 speed, you can get a 46t largest chainring in the same product range, and the largest 10 speed is 42T) A google search on the Sunrace CSM680 part number came up with a few suppliers, and Alibaba looked the best one for me .  Cost was $US 15 plus postage of US 20 or so - quite cheap I thought.  There are now ebay suppliers as well.

Anyway, I fitted the cassette without the 13T, 2nd smallest cog because there was not enough space for it on the spline. A few teething problems involving the chain derailing from the chainring were fixed by replacing the chainring for a sturdier model with aluminium trouser guards / chainplates.  It now runs well on my FWD recumbent leaning trike.  This trike has a custom, large derailleur hanger, which might be part of the reason it actually works. This page details a derailleur extender which might make the equivalent on other bikes.  I am keen to take the trike with the new setup on a few long distance Audax rides involving moderate hills.

The previous "solution" I had for low gears on this trike was a Schlumpf mountain drive.  This is expensive, but on this particular trike (for demo see here) it didn't work that well. It allowed for very low gears, but those gears were too low and produced too high a cadence on steep hills.  And slightly higher gears produced ok cadences but also a stressful pedal steer affect which made it hard to balance.


Steve Nurse

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Buckley's Ride 2017

Graham S. at the start

My trike at the start.

On the ferry

The 215k Audax Buckley's ride was a few days ago now and I am just about back to normal with sleep and sore muscles.

Last Sunday started off quite warm and even though I got up for the "Round the Bay in a Day" ride quite early it was hot enough to be riding in a short sleeved shirt.  I arrived in plenty of time at the Albert Park start point, and Graham Signiorini came up from Williamstown to see me off.  We had a chat, he will soon be heading down to Tasmania for the wooden boat show in the boat which he crews.  Nice work if you can get it!

There was a bit of a diversion off the standard route due to bridge works but otherwise riding was pretty good until near a right hand turn a few k out of Williamstown when a few of the tightly packed riders came down.  There were no serious injuries but the group split up a bit.  A few ks further on, there was another accident, this time Heather came down and broke a collar bone on a new section of bike track.  Everything was sorted out quite quickly, an ambulance was called and it was organised through Stephen Rowland's Little River checkpoint for Heather's bike to be picked up.  Most of the rest of the way to Geelong I stayed in touch with Helen Lew-Ton and Stephanie. 

In Geelong I stopped and took on drinks (petrol stations here have Obesity Specials on multiple bottles of sugary soft drinks.  In this case it was 2 1.25 litre bottles of lemonade for $4.00) and kept going.  In Leopold, an Ozhpv acquaintance, Simon Watt flagged me down and we had a chat.  Soon after I had one of the worst incidents of the ride, a combination of sunshine, sweat and sunscreen got in my eyes and I had to squint to see and rub my eyes a bit, take my sunglasses off and wait for it all to go away, which it did eventually. 

 A bit further on I spoke to Dieter who was in the ride and he mentioned the 1pm ferry.  That was about 15k from the Queenscliffe ferry terminal and I used my $2.80 cheapo watch and the road signs giving the distance to Queenscliffe to realise I could make the ferry if I fanged it.  So fang it I did, even on the slightly torturous uphills.  In the end catching the ferry was really up to luck, I arrived at the boat at about 1:05 and was the last one on the boat and Dieter who was about a k behind didn't make it.

There were a few other Audaxers on the ferry, and I was able to relax a bit and consume some of the food and drink I had in the trike during the ferry trip.  On the Sorrento side I did a few bike adjustments, changing the handlebar position and moving the seat up toward the cranks a bit.  That sorted It was off to Melbourne, a lazy 95k or so away.

Progress was pretty good with a tailwind most of the way, and often I was faster than the clogged-up coastal holiday traffic.  I had rests at Dromana, Mornington (refuelled there with Turkish Delights and 2 for $6.00 obesity special 1.25 litre cokes)  and then Mordialloc.

Eventually I got in close to 7pm, not too bad all things considered.  Dieter came in 15 minutes later, "very knackered" or words to that effect. The last time I did the ride I got in at 6pm but there were slightly fewer delays that time.   Once again next year?  Not sure!

A few lessons learnt.

Training helps.
Sunburn can be a problem, its worth having cream and arm and leg covers available to use.  With a combination of these, I avoided sunburn this time.
Fizzy, sweet, salty drinks seem to agree with my digestion and they don't force me to pee too often.  This all helps when long distance cycling.

All for now, regards

Steve Nurse

Monday, January 9, 2017

Buckley's Prelude 2017

During training on ....

the great ocean road.

Hydration system raw materials.

Almost Finished

Actually Finished

A few weeks ago I bumped into Helen Lew-Ton who said she was doing Buckley's ride (Around the Bay in A Day) and I decided to do it again this year.

 I have been on holiday near Airey's Inlet on Victoria's Great Ocean Road and did some training for the ride, mostly to Lorne and back, about 40k with some hills, taking about 2 hours.  The day before Buckley's was hot and I spent it putting a water tank into my bike, riding around a bit, checking spare tubes and getting a pre-ride puncture.  Then it was early to bed for me, the alarm set for 5:10.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Stationery Cycle

New Year's Day: I had spent part of New Year's eve making the side panels, by fixing some cloth to some plywood cutouts with Nalclips from Officeworks and other assorted stationery items.

Port Melbourne stop, L to R are Gary, Robert, Graeme, Neil

Back home, I tried the bike out attached to this excercise machine.  Stationary Trike.


My first post for the year!  Today I finished attaching some panels to my trike and took it off for a test ride to St Kilda and back, where Robert Waryszak's Be-Spon ride was starting.  I pulled up next to Alan Ball on the way there, and we could see the ride participants ahead of us, we were slightly late and they had just left St. Kilda pier.

Anyway we caught up with them, and regrouped at Port Melbourne.  I spent the next leg of the trip chatting to Gary who is a retired librarian.  He had worked at Swinburne Uni and he knew one or two people I know there.  Spoke to Grahan Signiorini at the next stop, and found out he is doing Buckley's ride (Around the Bay in a Day) with me next week. Soon after that, I pootled home.


Steve Nurse

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A clunker part 3: A clunker for christmas.


With the clunker finished, I could easily have plonked in the garage with the 6 or so other bikes, however, my son hadn't seen it and I don't think he reads my blog often, so I decided to wrap it and give it to him and his wife phoebe for Christmas.  This involved logistics and planning.  How do you wrap a bike?  There is only one local paper which still comes in broadsheet format, and that is "The Australian", so for a few days before Christmas I conscientiously bought this paper for wrapping purposes.  

Anyway, the bike present went down quite well, it is now plonked in the garage with the 6 or so other bikes, but it had a role as a Christmas present before the plonking.  My brother Richard rang from England and I was able to "show" him the pics of the clunker in the previous post.

Happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

New Trike Part 7: All done for now.

Photo 1: 2mm plywood sidepanels, the small tabs on top are "bridge" structures which make a gap underneath as per photo 5

Photo 2: Making the tailbox, the top cable ties have stayed there, and the lower ones have been replaced by epoxy glue.

Photo 3:Almost there!  This is the trike with one side panel off.

Photo 4: There.  For the time being at least.

Photo 5: Inside the tailbox.  One of the bridges for the sidepanel can be seen lower right.  It is used to accommodate a bulldog clip.
Photo 6: This compares the 2 curvy seats I have made.  Finishing it off with glue makes a mess, the cable ties are much neater.

Photo 7: For future development.  The design works with 4mm hoop pine ply because 6 layers fit securely into the frame for the front and back frame plugs.  But this is what was sent me!  Hopefully, I will get some credit from the suppliers for this mistake.
Hi, for now, I have finished this trike and this post shows some of the final steps in its construction, making the tailbox and the sidepanels which go on it.  These panels are timber but could be corflute or cloth covered frames.

There is a bit of more work I could do on this machine, like trying to make the tailbox in 3.2mm ply instead of 4mm, and  using the hoop pine material for the frame plugs.

Weight is about 19.5kg at the moment, and the luggage capacity which is built-in is about 50 litres.  Things like shopping bags, shoes and helmets can be hurled in the back and I can't help contrasting this storage with the storage on Brian Ball's bike which is based on panniers mounted on racks.


Steve Nurse

Dec 25

Here are some photos of the bike in the wild, I have ridden it from Airey's Inlet to Spout Creek and back a few times.

Sometimes the camera self-timer works....

and sometimes it doesn't.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Not the Audax Vic Christmas Breakup

At Monash Uni, Photo Janice Wasylenko, Bike Decoration Gene Bawden

Helen Lew Ton

Rowing Santas on the Yarra

Me and Helen

Things can get a bit fuzzy this time of year.  There are all sorts of invitations swooshing around, some of them by email and you can forget who invited you where and when.  Such was the case last Saturday.  I had had an email invite to the Audax Vic breakup party which should have been easy peasy to get to and participate in, e x c e p t,   I went on the wrong day.  Anyway, I was in good company, as Helen Lew Ton, who I am now promoting to Audax Legend was there as well.  We both arrived at about the correct time, but a day early.  Nobody's perfect.  We had quite a long chat.  Helen is in her mid sixties and still completes a monthly 200k Audax ride.  These are often permanents like Round the Bay in a Day.

Helen said' "Yes, I got the invite, but no, I didn't bother replying to it, I just showed up" and I did exactly the same thing but added, "had we bothered to reply properly, we might have bothered to note which day its on".

So there you go.  I was quite hungry by the time I'd ridden home.


Steve Nurse