Spring is here and that means ones thing: time to take your bicycle out of storage and start riding again. Bicycles, like cars, can serve as an extension of who we are, so it's only fitting that we accessorize our bikes appropriately. This post highlights 5 designy bike accessories to give your ride a little extra flair and style.
Even though the winter weather might make two-wheels the last place you want to be, bicycles are, without a doubt, a win-win-win-win-win situation. They're healthier for the rider, healthier for the environment, cost less to own and operate than cars, and most importantly, they're fun to ride.
Fast Co. has created an excellent infographic exploring how riding bicycles can address some of the biggest problems in the US - economic struggles, health care, obesity,
British graphic designer Katy Beveridge has created something, if I may, f$%*ing genius.
She inserts cut paper designs into bicycle wheels, creating a zoetrope, the "spinning device that typically produce the illusion of a moving animation from a series of static picture."
The results are really amazing. Click play below to see it in action:
I know this sounds like a cheesy setup for a blog post, and it's way too coincidental, but I assure you, it's true: last night, I popped a tube on my bike, cutting my intended 65 mile ride into a short 7.5. I have a spare tube, tire wrenches, and pump with me at all times, which I thought I knew how to use. Turns out, I do not. It was a long walk to the bike shop. (Thankfully, I learned they have classes on how to fix a flat every Thursday at 7p. Guess where I'll be this week.)
When I prep for a bike ride, I always do the same song-and-dance: change clothes, put moleskin on foot, change shoes, fill water bottles, sync podcasts, find headphones, get bike, attach computer, stretch, struggle to fit both wallet and keys in my little seat bag, put on gloves, put on glasses, put on helmet, reset computer, go.
And I thought that was an extensive process. Then, there are these troopers.
The simple, giant Tic-Tac with arms shape of everyone's favorite astromech droid, R2D2, is ripe for translating the bleepblooper's visage onto all sorts of similarly shaped objects, such as desk lamps, pumpkins, and mailboxes.
But, my favorite, by far, is this clever (and safe!) R2D2 treatment of a scooter helmet. Like the best craft projects, it looks way more complicated than it is: some clever taping and spraypaint, and just a single addition of PVC pipe. Genius, right?
Pop quiz: Name a song about bikes. Go ahead...I'll wait.
Okay, ready? Whatcha come up with? That old one about Daisy and the bicycle built for two? Or either of those two Queen songs?
Is that it? Well, no, probably not. But they sure are the ones that spring to mind for most of us. Until now.
Sound designer and composer Roger Lima created this infectious tune using sounds and samples from an actual bicycle.
Watch this video to hear it in action:
So, this Friday is my birthday. So, for this week's Blow My Mindsday post, I thought I might share my wishlist of stuff I might actually open as a gift. Not all of it, of course, but maybe one or two?
Me, on my first birthday. I still make that face. Often.
Pulled: A Catalog of Screen Printing by Mike Perry. A collection of contemporary printmaking artists, including Aesthetic Apparatus, Deanne Cheuk, Steven Harrington, Maya Hayuk, Cody Hudson, Jeremyville, Andy Mueller, Rinzen, and Andy Smith, and others and an illustrated how-to section? My birthday heart won't stop beating.
Suzuki Omnichord. I've been looking for an original
In this era of fully-functioning computers built into our telephone, high-tech touchscreen surfaces, and 3D televisions at home, it's nice to appreciate the simple machines in our lives. Those made from simple wheels, cogs, chains. I mean, I love my iPhone as much as the next guy, but I'm way more in awe of my bandsaw, the box fan that's keeping my office bearable, and my two favorite machines: my bike and my sewing machine.
With spring in full swing, its time to get out the bikes, dust 'em off, spiff 'em up, and hit the road. Which we would, of course, if it'd stop raining all the time. (Does Mother Nature respond to fist shakes?)
Then, once your bike is all tuned up and you're back in the habit, try of these bike-related craft and DIY projects to really show your cycle you care. Or, you know, make your ride more comfortable and safer. That too.
Outside, the ground has been covered in snow since our first fall back in December, and its still falling. Which means my bicycle's been in the garage for six weeks, and I'm getting a little antsy. And the recumbent exercise bike just isn't cutting it.
I'm quite enjoying this clever work of art by Aaron Kuehn for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. The book in which it appears comes as a free PDF download, which means you can grab the image and blow it up to print at whatever size you want. And, the rest of the book is pretty sweet as well.
You gotta click through to see all its clever details:
Remember that part in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, where the candy master hops on that bike, which stirs the "gives it a little kick" solution in the inventing room?
He sings: In springtime, the only pretty ring time; Birds sing, hey ding, a-ding, a-ding; Sweet lovers love the spring
That was always my favorite part.
Anyway, bikes that do other stuff are cool. Especially this drawing machine bicycle by Joseph Griffiths.
And, as some industrious design students figured out, you can create a bike frame at home by learning to laminate and mold your own plywood elements. Brilliant! Even if you're not digging on building a bike frame, this is a great tutorial for learning how to mold and bend plywood.
Brilliant! A handmade rearview mirror for bicycling. For whenever you need to see what's happening behind you, or just need a constant reminder of what brand of sunglasses you're wearing.
While Bikes and the City doesn't give complete step-by-step instructions, a quick look at the photos intimates the process:
Any urban cyclist can tell you - even the smallest, two-door coupes can seem monstrous while they're three inches from your handlebars and whizzing past you at forty-five mph.
So, the possibility of this 600-pound, four-person-powered bicycle (quadcycle?) that can roll over a car is certainly...interesting.
The Big Dog is "a wonderfully impractical assemblage of bicycle, go-cart, and golf-cart pieces and parts, drainage pipe, steel tubing, and patio chairs. This four-wheel vehicle allows four passengers to travel in minor discomfort at speeds approaching a brisk walk, for relatively short distances, on completely flat terrain."
How To: USB Bike Generator that Charges Your Gadgets with Infinitely Renewable Energy...The Human Body
Modern technology has made cycling a fantastic experience - you can plan and check routes with your smartphone, and bring along tiny digital still and video cameras to catalog your experience. I use the great EveryTrail app on my iPhone to calculate routes and speed, but keeping it connected to GPS is a huge battery drain. Wouldn't it be great if you could not have to worry about killing the batteries of these guys whilst on your ride?
Turns out - you can, and power lies in your own two feet. With a little DIY muscle flexing, you can build a USB generator that's 70% efficient in converting your pedals into the energy needed for powering and charging your devices.