ICE trike polar attempt…

ICE Trikes unveil a custom 3×26″ fat trike designed to take on the South Pole itself…

Purpose-built 3×559 “fat trike”

Pretty awesome press release from ICE today revealing a £20k custom trike designed to make an attempt on the South Pole shortly….

icepolar-feat

It’s geared low enough to climb 1:3 grades and looks to be running three 26″ wheels with fat bike tyres.

Really looking forward to hearing how this works out…

See White Ice Cycle for all the details!

Bicycle snow ploughing

Another snow fall in Edinburgh, and this time I felt ready to plough a few miles of pavement between Kings Buildings and the Meadows…

Keeping (some of) Edinburgh moving…

Woke up to a reasonable dump this morning, apparently causing “chaos”. Sure enough, little sign of grit or plough in South Central Edinburgh.

I couldn’t help notice that everyone who cycles into our north Edinburgh financial nerve-centre got in on time…

Anyway, it was a good opportunity to refine my Carry Freedom Y-Frame (cheap on Chain Reaction) based snowplough, and in my own small way, I kept the bus network moving:

plough

I then popped up to King’s Buildings before ploughing the pavement into town as far as the Meadows:

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Not a bad effort for the commute. You can see I’ve got the trailer wheels slung over the bars, so when I hit the top of Middle Meadow Walk (which I ploughed twice, creating an uphill and a downhill track) I just popped the wheels on and rode to Leith in double quick fast time.

I was at my desk over 30 minutes before the working day begins. No problem! 🙂

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Snow plough: flat pack design

A quick look at my flat-pack design for a bicycle snow plough, based on the Carry Freedom Y-Frame. From cupboard to street hero in moments!

Ikea don’t make bicycle snow ploughs, but if they did…

I thought it might be worth a quick post highlighting the flat-pack nature of my bicycle snow plough, and how easy it is to assemble if the ground turns white (tool free, what’s more).

The metal core of the trailer is from my Carry Freedom Y-Frame. I have plenty of articles about this excellent device, or if you just want to know where to get your own, I enjoyed a great discount from Chain Reaction.

Anyway, here are the parts of the trailer laid out against the wall (minus the wooden trailer ‘flatbed’ which comes as stock):

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Below: I’ve permanently screwed a square section of wood onto the leading edge of one plough blade, with a hole through which one arm of the trailer ‘Y’ frame projects.

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Below: front view of the same stage. Note the four large washers and wing nuts on the ’empty’ edge of the wooden edge piece – these will be used for tool-free assembly of the overall blade structure:

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Below: the other blade has a slot cut into it for the opposing side of the ‘Y’ frame and just slots over it, like so:

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Below: poke through the bolts and fit the washers and wing nuts to secure the overall structure. You can see however that the hitch is projecting at a crazy angle and, in practice, the plough would pivot wildly around it if used like this:

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Below: so, next step: insert the stub axles from the trailer wheels through the sides of the blades and into the trailer frame. This provides four points of contact, controlling the angle of the plough (so make sure you drill in the right places!!):

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Below: in this case, you can see I’ve hung a heavy bike chain from the subframe to help stabilise the plough (because I added sharp metal edge reinforcements as an experiment, and they make it very jumpy):

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Below: all said and done though, it does work a charm. (In the picture below, the tyre tracks in the background are from cars. I haven’t been bothering to plough the road, and it would look better than that if I had!)

See also the video of the plough in (limited) action.

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Ever tried anything similar? Got any tips or tricks I should be thinking of? If so, drop me a comment at the bottom of the page 🙂

Bike snow plough video

Video showing mk2 snow plough in action – now sporting dubious metal edging protection. Still, you have to get out when it snows!

Design continues to evolve. Not enough snow though!

We’re almost at the end of winter, and it’s only snowed once since I unveiled the super duper scrap wood bicycle snow plough (mk 1) in January.

I’ve added a metal edging strip to the bottom of the plough to see whether this would improve wear (previously, it just rode on the board itself, which isn’t a very good long-term solution).

I don’t think metal strip is a great improvement, however. While it does reduce wear on the plough itself, it catches on imperfections in the surface and makes the plough jump around.

Since this reduces towing speed (and the whole thing gets pretty noisy) I don’t think I’ll persist with this line of enquiry.

I had to add my (multi-kilo) bike chain to the trailer to help hold it down, and tracking also seemed to be aversely affected, as you can see in the video.

This is probably a worst-case for performance, because the pavement is heavily cambered (you can see the flat section of the plough means it’s only really sweeping a narrow tangent, so there’s a bit of snow left to either side).

It did a pretty good job on the drive, in contrast:

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Is there a future in flat-pack bike plough technology? I like to think so! If you fancy giving this a go yourself, Chain Reaction Cycles are selling both large and small Y-Frame trailers with a decent discount.

Ever tried anything similar? Got any tips or tricks I should be thinking of? If so, drop me a comment at the bottom of the page 🙂

Bicycle snow plough: mk1

Last night’s snowfall provided the perfect opportunity to convert a couple of chunks of scrap wood and the frame of my Carry Freedom Y-Frame trailer into a bike-powered snow plough… excellent!

Bike trailer frame + scrap wood = awesome pavement sweeper

Ever since I read about David Peterson’s bike plough I’ve fancied building one myself – Edinburgh Council being as loath to treat the streets as it often seems to be.

Well, last night’s snowfall provided the perfect opportunity to convert a couple of chunks of scrap wood and the frame of my Carry Freedom Y-Frame trailer into a bike-powered snow plough:

Bicycle powered snow plough

Continue reading “Bicycle snow plough: mk1”

Studded bike tyres: so very now

Wised-up commuters are getting around quite happily – almost as if there’s no snow at all, in fact…

or, “why Schwalbe’s Marathon Winter is for you”

Winter 2012-13 is playing her opening gambit.

As Britons writhe in the grip of this first blast of icy weather, a small band of wised-up commuters are getting around quite happily – almost as if nothing’s going on at all, in fact.

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The secret? Studded tyres – ordinary bike rubber with carbide tipped spikes that provide grip in all conditions – from dry tarmac to frozen lakes. Next time you’re gingerly walking across a frozen patch and another rider flies past, you know what the ‘rice crispies’ sound their bike is making is all about 🙂

Speaking for myself, I’m pretty sure I can finish my 15-20 minute Edinburgh commute before some of the neighbours manage to defrost their cars, completely unhindered by the frozen mess of Edinburgh’s roads and paths.

Obligatory video:

Local bike shop The Bike Chain (Canonmills, just off NEPN) have a couple of the more likely candidates on offer, although I hear stock is flying off the shelves like hot cakes: see the next section for online links.

Continue reading “Studded bike tyres: so very now”

Let it snow, x3

Have to admit, I’m stoked about riding through another winter. There’s nothing like the feeling of being able to ignore the worst the weather can throw at you – no chance of being cut off, stranded, skidding into a crowd of school kids…

Gearing up with Marathon Winter studded tyres

I decided to swap my Schwalbe Kojaks for studded Schwalbe Marathon Winter tyres this weekend following a few days of bitter cold which froze standing water on my commute solid.

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Continue reading “Let it snow, x3”

Schwalbe Marathon Winter review

Schwalbe’s Marathon Winter tyre is a specialist tyre with one purpose – keeping you upright and smiling when snow and ice are spilling other riders to the tarmac.

Remarkable tyre keeps you rolling through the bad times

Limited lifespan may disappoint, especially considering the cost

Schwalbe’s Marathon Winter tyre is a specialist tyre with one purpose – keeping you upright and smiling when snow and ice are spilling other riders to the tarmac.

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Requiring considerable care to use on dry tarmac (heavy braking, trackstanding and any dragging of the bike sideways are likely to pull out studs), this is a tyre that needs nursing until the moment the bad weather hits – then you appreciate its true brilliance.

At the time of writing, Chain Reaction have these on sale in the following sizes: Marathon Winter (20″), Marathon Winter (26″), Marathon Winter (700C).

You can also get them for 25% off via Wiggle, 700c only.

You know something’s working when you can pull a trailer up a slope coated in ice, or plough through snow like you’re on a mountain bike – and despite the studs and weight, roll respectably well on the good days.

Unfortunately, even carbide studs will wear in mixed conditions, meaning this tyre may have a shorter lifetime than you might hope (potentially just one winter), although visual wear on the studs doesn’t necessarily seem to impact their performance.

Continue reading “Schwalbe Marathon Winter review”

Nonspecific cycling winterwear

What do you need to ride year-round through a bitter Scots winter?

My experience is that a normal outdoorsy wardrobe will manage nicely, thank you very much!

There was a bit of a kerfuffle recently over what people need to cycle in winter, and it got me thinking about putting up a wee post about my choices in winterwear.

We’re blessed to have pretty mild winters, in an absolute sense (hysterics of the press and motoring public to the contrary!). It’s rare to get down even to -10C, and this can be catered to easily by a normal outdoorsy wardrobe (although you won’t find the mainstream cycling press admitting it!)

I’ve been a year-round bike commuter for a few years now, including the epic snow/ice of 2009/2010 and 2010/2011, Hurricane Bawbag and the much worse winds that followed. I’ve pretty much used the same stuff for all of it, which is to say, nothing that special:

Continue reading “Nonspecific cycling winterwear”