Training in Hohokus!!
Most of us don’t put much thought into the components that make a bicycle move. Things like chains and chainrings are pretty much out of sight and out of mind as we peddle along. With Donhou Bicycles‘ 100-mph bike, you can’t ignore the chainring. It’s so big, you could serve a large pizza on it.
The Donhou bike has a purpose in mind. It’s made to go fast. The strange-looking handlebars keep the rider hunched forward in an aerodynamic position. That humungous serving plate-size chainring then goes to work to propel you forward at speeds your Huffy would never even dare to dream of.
That monster of a chainring sports 105 teeth and is 17 inches in diameter. That means every go-round of the pedal sends the bike forward way farther than your standard road or mountain bike.
According to NPR, the bike has already reached speeds of 60 mph on the open road, but creator Tom Donhou would like to get it up to 100 mph. Getting there under pure leg power alone is a little out of reach, which is why many speedster bicyclists use a lead vehicle that provides a good draft to follow in. That’s how Donhou plans to get up to speed with this unusual bike.
The Donhou 100-mph bike won’t be breaking any speed records, but it does manage to look much more like a regular bike than most of the specially designed creations that have set records. That chainring is certainly an attention-getter.
The bike was unveiled at the Bespoked Bristol 2013 show, but so far it looks like it will remain an specialty item and not go into wider production.
This bad boy isn’t for dawdling around town on.
Letter to the Editor as published in the Baltimore Sun
By: Steven Pinson
Your editorial about your relationship with Dr. Houck was very touching. Now would be the perfect time for an article about motor vehicles and safety for cyclists and runners who also use the roads . Here is my submission for that purpose.
The recent accident involving Dr. Houck brings to the forefront safety while running and cycling.
I am 61 years old and this is my third season riding a bike. It can be very scary at times. I have come to the conclusion that some drivers, and it only takes one, are unaware of how to drive when they see a cyclist or runner.
This article is to inform those drivers so that we hopefully don’t read about another accident this season. For the sake of space, when I write cyclist, read cyclist or runner.
Let’s start with the law. The law recently passed in Maryland is to give 3 feet between your car and the cyclist. Remember your side view mirror that sticks out 6 to 12 inches. I have been witness to a rider being nicked by a mirror and he went down. It doesn’t take much from a moving vehicle. If you are unable to give the cyclist 3′, you are required to slow down and follow until you are able.
Cyclists have the same right to the road as a motorist! Let me repeat that. Cyclists have the same right to the road as a motorist. Cyclists, it means you too, have to follow the traffic laws. Some cyclists ride their bikes like the law doesn’t apply to them. Stop signs and stop lights are only suggestions to them. Not so. There are too many close calls because cyclists can’t wait. If you are on your bike, by definition you aren’t in a hurry. So, cyclists, follow the law. Just because we cyclists have the same right, or even the right of way, it is just plain stupid to challenge a car. You will lose every time.
Now for the common sense part. I don’t care how much of a hurry you are in, it will ruin your day and possibly much of your life, if you hit a cyclist or runner. I would think that crippling or killing a person because you were late to work would be life changing. Bottom line—it is not worth taking the chance. You can’t imagine how much we appreciate drivers who move over, or wait for us. It means that they understand we are just out for some fun and exercise and want to return home in one piece. They also don’t want to take the chance of getting into an accident. If the driver is a minute late, so what? It is not worth the possible consequences of hitting someone. Not surprising, every car with a bike rack usually passes us on the other side of the street. Now for some unwritten rules.
- You are at a stop sign or light. You see a cyclist with the right of way coming at you. Don’t try to dart out and “make it.” Please wait.
- You are following a cyclist who is riding on the right side of the road and you have to turn right. You could make it if you hurried. Please wait.
- You are coming up on a cyclist and there is a hill or curve up ahead. Don’t floor it so you can pass before the crest of the hill or the curve. This is both dangerous for you, the cyclist, and the person coming over that hill or around that curve. Please wait. Since we are ahead of you, we can see further. Most of us will signal you if it is safe to pass. Remember, we also drive cars.
- Before you get out of your parallel parked car, look in the rear view mirror. Many accidents happen because drivers just open their doors without looking. It is obvious what happens to the cyclist, but the cyclist could also be a truck or car. Please wait and take a 2 second look.
- It should go without saying, but pay attention to driving. Forget your cell phone. Please wait until you are at your destination or until you pull over to see what emergency needs your attention.
- We know you are there (most of the time). Don’t honk. Don’t scream. It scares the hell out of us.
- If a cyclist is in the middle of the lane, it is probably for a reason. There is a lot of trash on the side of the road. It is especially bad after a storm with branches, slippery leaves, and glass. Sometimes the side has multiple pot holes (and our pothole with 1′ tires is very different than your pothole). Or we could just be preparing to make a left turn at the next intersection. Again, don’t honk, we know you are there. Please wait, we will move over when we can, or stop to let you pass.
So let’s all enjoy our spring and summer. Take our time around cyclists and runners. Pass with safety first in mind. Let’s not read about another tragedy like Dr. Houck or JHU student Nathan Krasnopoler. Again, those few seconds to a minute that it make take to pass safely are not worth killing or maiming someone. Please wait. And a speedy and complete recovery to Dr. Houck.
Proof that it is never too late to start exercising.
Will you be in Israel this Passover? Do you know someone who will?
We hope you will take advantage of an amazing new opportunity to raise funds for Chai Lifeline – while touring Israel and having the time of your life with your friends and family.
Our partner Cycle for Unity (www.cycleforunity.org) has organized two amazing Chol HaMoed cycling adventures:
What makes this family activity different from all other family activities? Riders can raise funds for Chai Lifeline with every kilometer they ride!
Space is limited and reservations must be made in advance, so be sure to register today: http://cycleforunity.org/apply/
Why You Should Switch to Clipless Pedals
Hey there, biker dude/dudette. You’re biking pretty well there, carving up the street real nice. Nice control, decent stamina. But if you want to take your cycling to the next level, it’s time to enter the world of clipless pedals.
What Are Clipless Pedals?
Clipless pedals are a two-part system for your bike. Part one is a small pedal with a locking mechanism, and part two is a cleat that attaches to your bike shoe. The shoes clip into the pedals, giving you a very solid connection to your bike. Yes, clip in. So, why are they called clipless?
Well, because before these existed, there were pedals with toe clips. Toe clips are the cages that go on a regular platform pedal that help keep your foot in place. They don’t clip onto your pedals and they don’t clip onto your foot, so it’s really a dumb name for them, but because they already existed, these newer pedals which actually do clip in had to pick another name. For some reason, they chose “clipless.”
But while the name is dumb, the advantages are anything but. Here are just a few of them.
Better Power Transfer
One of the best things about going clipless is that you have an extremely solid connection to your bike’s power train. With normal pedals, there is only one thing keeping your foot on the pedal when you’re on your upstroke: pressure. You have to maintain constant contact with the pedal throughout every rotation, and to do that, you have to apply a little bit of downward pressure. You aren’t just stomping down to move you forward, but you’re adding to the force needed so you can lift your back leg. In other words, your legs are working against each other.
With clipless pedals, there’s none of that. Because your foot can’t go flying off, you can fully unweight on every recovery stroke so all of your energy is dedicated to propelling you and your bike forward. Plus, there’s no energy wasted in trying to compensate for lateral squirrelliness, which can be especially prominent as your legs get tired. In other words, you can focus on the task at hand.
Vastly Increased Efficiency
When you’re using traditional platform pedals, there’s only one section of the rotation where you can apply pressure to them: the down stroke. While that is generally the most powerful part of your stroke, clipless pedals make it way better. Not only can you stomp down, but because your feet are solidly anchored to the pedals, you can sweep back and pull up. The sweep is an important extension of your downward stroke because it lets you engage your hamstrings, which have a lot of power. While you’re pulling back you’re also pushing your other foot forward, over the top of the rotation to get it ready for the next downstroke.
Similarly, while you’re stomping down with one foot, you can pull up with your other foot, engaging your core and hip flexors. While these aren’t your most powerful muscle groups, using them a little bit means you can go just as fast while taking some of the pressure off of the muscles you use in your downstroke. So, not only do you get more power, but you don’t wear out nearly as quickly.
It takes some getting used to, as you’re asking your legs to do more things at once than they have been. Once you adjust to the timing, though, you’ll find yourself going a lot faster and with much less effort.
With clipless, because you’re locked into your bike, you have better control. You can really push and pull your frame laterally if you need to in order to avoid a hazard, like, say, a rapidly opening car door. Also, because you can pull up on the pedals, that means you can bunny-hop over a small obstacle should you need to.
Another common problem is when you hit an unexpected bump with your rear tire (a pothole, or a rock). That can launch you upward and off of your seat. If you’re on platform pedals, the chances are good that your feet are going to come flying off as well, and when you land you’re going to be in a world of hurt (frame, meet crotch). Clipless pedals will keep your feet firmly attached to the bike, even if your derriere comes off the seat, giving you a much improved chance of landing safely.
Clipless pedals aren’t perfect. It’s possible for your foot to become accidentally disengaged, and if that small, sharp pedal whips around and hits you in the shin, well, it’s a special kind of pain. There’s also the off-chance that you want to bail and get off your bike in a major hurry. There’s an extra step to getting your feet off the pedals now, and unless you’ve trained your instincts to disengage lighting quick, you could find yourself attached when you don’t want to be.
Clipless can also be problematic for city riders who encounter a lot of traffic. Every time you stop you have to clip out, and when you start up you have to clip in again. This takes a fair amount of practice before it becomes second-nature, and cars honking at you while you’re trying not to fall over will really stress you out.
Speaking of which, everybody tips over and falls when learning to use clipless pedals, at least once. For that reason, practice in an area without hazards as much as possible. For God’s sake, do not use them in a race until you’re really confident with them, because you could literally kill somebody. They’re also a serious commitment; you have to wear bike shoes with cleats on them, which means you’ll probably need to haul your regular shoes in a backpack.
The switch to clipless pedals isn’t one you should make until you’re already extremely comfortable and confident on your bike. But if you’re ready for it, the difference it makes in your riding will be gigantic.