but if you were thinking about getting a cargo bike, the coming-soon Xtracycle EdgeRunner is a pretty nice-looking piece of work. Here’s the promo for Interbike, here’s the technical guy from Xtracycle explaining features.
I’m not sure what I could say to add to their own advertising, except to confirm that this stuff is real, meaning you really can do what you see in the video, and these guys really do know their stuff. Xtracycle’s first product (the FreeRadical) was a wonder; three attachmnt points and it’s securely on, the only mods to the bike itself are longer shift and brake cables, plus an extension to the chain. Miraculously, the derailer chain would just fit in the available space between all the structural parts. The snap deck was light, strong, and good looking, and even then the design was “open” enough that people made their own replacement decks (for example, a snapdeck skateboard).
A choice of a cargo bike involves tradeoffs, but this design made some nice ones. More torque, longer wheelbase, lower load, stiffer, and nice new accessories for carrying kids or really heavy stuff with ease. The big advantage of longtails (over the other large-bike choice, front-loading Long-Johns and bakfiets) is that they maneuver “just like a bike”; unloaded, you can walk or ride them through narrow places with relative ease (front loaders are more convenient to load, but ride less like a “normal” bike, and tend to have mandatory width, though it varies).
There’s a serious electric assist option — 910 watts; that’s almost 3 of me, meaning that I could haul a 110-pound load up a 10% grade at 12-15 mph, depending on how hard I wanted to work. That drives up the price, however.
For bonus fun, it’s a relatively open platform; the electric assist is designed to use standard connectors, not proprietary ones, and the specs for the cargo area of the frame itself are “open“.
For double bonus fun, the frame’s designed by the fastest (self-propelled) man on earth.
September 28, 2012
Blows up before it even runs, looks like the Mercurial plugin having a bad day.
No point bothering to report the bug, it’s a pain in the ass and they never seem to fix them. Just for example, notice how the text in the picture naming the file above looks like it’s selected, so I could copy and paste it when opening an editor to look at the contents of the file? That’s a lie, like a “pull” handle on a “push” door, and it’s long-ago-reported bug, never fixed.
I’ve been looking for an excuse to go try IntelliJ IDEA, and this just might be it. Read the rest of this entry »
September 3, 2012
You may have noticed the news that there’s less ice in the arctic this summer than at any time in recorded history.
What’s interesting is that back in 2007, a researcher at the Naval Postgraduate School came pretty close to predicting this — he suggested an ice-free summer as early as 2013. And then, conventional wisdom was ice-free somewhere between 2040 and 2100.
But look at what simple extrapolations of ice cap volume get us now, five years later:
And see how the extrapolations have changed over time:
That is, a simple fit back in 2007 would have predicted ice-free in 2019, and since then the predicted ice-free year has moved 2 years earlier.
What does this mean? One somewhat-modeled prediction is slower Rossby waves, which means that what ever weather we get (hot, cold, dry, wet), we’ll get it in longer-lasting doses. But the big official predictions (e.g., the IPCC reports) don’t incorporate any of this news; they’re still based on the assumption that there is some amount of Arctic ice cap for decades.
My personal prediction is that this next winter, or the next, when some large hunk of the US gets stuck under a long-lasting blob of cold Arctic air, that some head-in-the-sand moron will say “this proves that there is no global warming”.
Arctic Sea Ice blog (Good source of data, discussion, links)
And again, none of the “official” conservative models include this effect, because they assume the arctic ice cap persists for another 40 years, and not fewer than 4. This is a big warming change.
September 2, 2012
So. Almost exactly 24 hours before the bidding closes, a high bid is placed, but for the “wrong amount” — $325 was a typo, apparently.
And 2 minutes and 10 seconds before the policy change time, and almost twelve hours after accidentally entering the wrong amount, the bid is retracted.
Haven’t won the item yet, I fully expect to get sniped, but I am doing the rational-actor 2nd-price-auction bid — I will not change my price, because I already bid what I was willing to pay.
But is it really a second-price auction if the bid-retraction policy is so lenient?
August 26, 2012
Not of general interest, but I am proud of my handiwork. This is for a Rohloff hub and tensioner. The problem with the tensioner, at least on my bicycle (Big Dummy), is that there is a stop-peg for setting how far forward the cage can go, that also limits how far back the cage can go, and this gets in the way of removing the wheel. For something as expensive as a Rohloff (and the Big Dummy’s not exactly cheap, either), everything should just work, and it didn’t, so this was a problem. Looking at it, I realized that I could build my own stop from any sort of flat stuff (I also have some Corian countertop scraps that would have served), and then remove the peg. I did this, and after one false start (hand to do a second pass with a Dremel) it worked.
I suppose I should do the work to render this into a 3-d model, so that I can have them fabbed by Ponoko or Shapeways or something, but I’ve got mine, and the market for Big Dummy’s equipped with Rohloff hubs AND chain tensioners is probably not that large.
July 22, 2012
I had tried to find this information myself in the past, but was unable to track it down. I had feared that something like this might be the case, but the actual numbers are far worse than I expected.
For the median USAmerican, we’re not #1, we’re #17.
Mike the Mad Biologist lead me to this information.
If pitchforks seem too radical, try always voting for the viable candidate whose views are closest to Bernie Sanders. This usually means voting for a member of the Democratic Party, unless you are lucky enough to be able to vote for Senator Sanders himself.
July 2, 2012
Lacking those newfangled power-metering hubs, I am reduced to boring calculation. 400lbs gross vehicle weight, up at hill that peaks at a 10% grade (maybe more hard to tell), minimum speed 4mph, faster in the not-so-steep parts. That’s 320 watts, my huffing-puffing not-much-fun power output over a period of several minutes. 400 = 220 (me) + 110 (passenger) + 65 (bike, tools) + 5 (backpacks). Plus a few watts for the always-on lights, plus a few watts for rolling resistance.
The waste heat output (we’re not that efficient) is almost a kilowatt. Yes, I was quite warm.