Monday, 28 February 2011

A Human Powered Vision of the Future

Regulars here at the Bicycle Safari will notice the two new ad banners on the pages for Vision of the Future. But rather than this being some smart company buying in on the ground floor, it's my new project! I had the idea for making a shirt celebrating the choice of being human powered, whilst maybe staying a bit more stylish for the bicycle lane fashion parade, knocking around for a while, and it felt like the time to give it a try and see how it goes!

They're printed on sweat-shop labour free ringspun cotton t-shirts, and are screen printed by hand in the UK using only waterbased inks to avoid the toxic by products of chemical printing inks.

It's called Vision of the Future, and have a click over the new site, to see what you think!

Friday, 25 February 2011

How to find a puncture using a mudguard

Here's a little change of pace from the usual old bike logos that make up the bread and butter of The Bicycle Safari. It's a little trick I stumbled into when my Hateful Raleigh Beater bike took a puncture yesterday morning. Strangely I haven't heard of it as a tip before, and google isn't showing much, so maybe this will be new to you too!

Rear tire was completely flat when I went to take the bike out, so tried my usual tactic of re- inflating the tube and seeing if I could hear the air coming out from anywhere. Unfortunately, no luck, and I didn't fancy taking the wheel and tyre off to do a more thorough job of finding the hole. But then I had a little brain wave.

Being my everyday commuter, it's got proper mudguards (fenders, if you like) and the rear one is a decent tyre enclosing full length affair. So I fetched a glass of water, and with the bike upside down, filled the fender!

My fender runneth over!

With a quick spin of the wheel, a tell-tale stream of little bubbles appeared from a near imperceivable hole in the tyre, now submerged in my flooded fender!

So then I was able to lever off that one section, pull the tube out for a quick patching, then back together for a speedy repair! Pulling this trick off with the much shorter front mudguard would be a bit more challenging, but maybe one day this little hack will help you out!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

When your bike meets a snow plow!

A while back I shared a picture of a bike absolutely buried in a snow drift in snowy Sweden. At the time I joked this might be a good alternative to a lock, because no one's going to bother digging your bike out. Well here's the retort to that idea...

As spring starts to melt the giant snow drifts left by the snow plows in Sweden, this mangled wreck appears out of the ice.

I guess this is why... shouldn't trust your bike to be safe in the snow!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Is it an old bike, or is this just retro?

Pashley are a strange bicycle make, as they remain as basically the only large scale domestic bike manufacturer in the UK, but their dominant product are bikes modelled on old bikes.

Which makes it strange when you see a Pashley, because you don't know if it's an old Pashley bike form back in the day, or a modern version which is built almost exactly the same.

The rod brakes on this one makes me think it is at least a few decades old, but who knows.

The Concorde Lepper saddle from Holland does answer anyone's questions.

Friday, 18 February 2011

When Car Companies Build Bikes

A great number of car companies have dabbled in bicycle production. In fact it's where a few car companies started out from! These companies might be better thought of transport companies, and some have held a very good reputation in the push bike world for their products. You only need to look at The Bicycle Safari's long archive of classic Peugeot bikes to see what I mean.

But there are also some surprises in car-to-bike production, such as the not very convincing looking Bugatti bicycle I saw back in Lund, Sweden. But here are two more that I've spotted around Nottingham, England.

Kia might not be the first people you think of when looking for a bike, and I guess this was a promotional tie-in, or give away bike. The slogan 'Think before you drive' though.... well, maybe that wasn't the best slogan for a car company to use!

Kia bicycle, wants you to reconsider driving your Kia car.

Quality wise... not so great either.

Daewoo on the other hand were a sprawling company to begin with, covering car to firearm production. So the appearance of a Daewoo bike probably shouldn't be too suprising.

It's another uninspiring mountain bike, so beloved by anyone looking for a bicycle in Britain in the 1990's. It does claim however to be a genius.

Maybe the secret plan was for people to find cycling these so dull that they would get back in their cars!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Carbolite Peugeot Classic Racer

Peugeot Carbolite frames have been shown here before on The Bicycle Safari, such as this awesome yellow one littering the streets of Nottingham. Old Peugeot bikes just seem to have a great big dollop of style and class about them, so their pretty reliable Safari bike hunting targets.

Again today we find some Carbolite.

With the addition of this quite cool dealer sticker from 'Priory'? shop in Birmingham.

Peugeot vintage bicycle logos and graphics at their best.

Good old Peugeot bikes being all awesome and stuff.

Friday, 11 February 2011

$6 image making POV spoke lights

If you're into bikes, and sometimes read about them on the internet, which you're doing now, you've probably seen spoke lights before. They're the small strips of leds that attach to a spoke on your wheel and when rotated flash at the appropriate speed to make an image or pattern appear on your bicycle wheel using the persistence of vision tricks (POV). You see some pretty impressive examples around, boasting full RGB spectrum, sound reaction even USB compatability! But at the other end of the scale are the cheap POV lights you might spot on online auctions or import sites.

These clearly aren't in the same league as the full blown Monkeylectric or Ladyada versions, but they only cost around the £4 mark including delivery from Hong Kong to the UK, so what could I do but order one, strap it to my hateful Raleigh beater bike, and see how it goes!

First impressions are maybe how big the light itself is. This thing takes three AAA batteries side by side, accessed through a waterproof door on the back, so it's not the deftest of things. This initially made me think that it would create a wobble in the wheel by throwing the weight off centre, but in real life it wasn't perceptible over the usual road surface wobbles.

But practicalities aside, what it does as a POV toy is much more fun. They're capable of 14 patterns, which are pretty eye catching. All quite bold and simplistic in nature they work well on a speedy bicycle.

You'll notice I also run a set of battery powered Christmas lights on my bike as an additional light thrower, but maybe that's a story for another day.

One neat trick that these cheap lights do is project words and numbers. Here it's counting the number of wheel rotations since last power up. Other tricks are telling the time, saying 'hello' and the amusing 'I (HEART) You', but with no option to choose which pattern is shown other than the automatic order it does, you do occasionally find yourself professing your love to a random standing at the bus stop!

For a little toy off Ebay, I've been pretty impressed with this little light. It's been on my bike for about 4 months now and it's still holding up well. The leds aren't ultrabrights by any stretch of the imagination, but they throw out enough light to be very noticeable at night. Day time though... well if you look back at the first image, you'll see it's actually on in that picture too... after you've been told.

But for dropping a small bit of cash and crossing your fingers for a parcel dropping onto your doormat from Hong Kong, these cheap POV wheel spoke lights are a fun addition maybe to your commuter or beater, especially if you're on a budget and just want a cheaper version of the impressive POV light systems available.

Monday, 7 February 2011

The P.T. Helleberg Trygg from Lillehammer

Here's a bit of a mouthful for the non Nordic readers of The Bicycle Safari. The Trygg bicycle by P.T. Helleberg from Lillehammer!

One reader in Sweden sent this classic Norwegian steel bike in to The Safari.

Founded in 1897 P.T. Helleberg made these kind of bikes and bike accessories up in Lillehammer in Norway.

Lots of nice details, like the great badge on the font, and this nice little 'flying' emblem on the front fender! If you see a nice classic bike you like, why not send it into the Bicycle Safari?

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Puch Mini shopper bike bags up best spot

This is a little Puch 20 inch wheeled shopper bike. Quite a nice set up overall, it's got that feel of a bike that was kitted out back-in-the-day with some lights, a front rack, white wall tyres, the works. But one that has since slipped into disrepair and the gradual return to iron oxide.

But I don't think that's any bad thing really. Perfectly preserved bikes are the bikes that don't get ridden. This is obviously serving a very utilitarian purpose, and so someone's getting a lot more life out of it!

The usual rad vintage bike logos adorn this one.

This one also carries a 'made in Austria' badge, for Puch's old manufacturing base.

But talking of this being a shopper bike, let's share that sweet advantage at the shops that a bike has over a car. You can park it a fair bit closer to the door! haha