Dan Hanebrink (file under: weird bikes)

Today I was reading Gizmag and saw a familiar name. The story was about a Hanebrink electric bike set up to pull a golf bag. Weird. Ugly. The current Hanebrink bike has been around in a non-electric version for quite sometime. They pop up in cycling related media every now and then, and each time they do, I can’t believe anyone would buy one. They appear terribly impractical and ugly, although after riding a Surly Pugsley I have to say that big tires don’t slow you down like you’d expect they might.

Hanebrink II Electric all terrain bike

Hanebrink II Electric all terrain bike

What this article really inspired me to write about isn’t the current Hanebrink bike, but a really old one. As many of my generation who grew up in the suburbs riding bikes likely remember, Dan Hanebrink designed a bike for Hutch that was an early iteration of the HPV genre (thats Human Powered Vehicle.. not Human Papillomavirus!) seen here on the cover of BMX PLUS magazine.

BMX PLUS cover January 1988

BMX PLUS cover January 1988

I remember thinking that this bike was so cool. In reality, I have no idea what I would have done with it. Even now, I’d probably only ride it down Kerber hill a few times and then go park it in the garage. At the time, I had no idea that gravity sports existed. In fact, I think my first awareness of such things were from the slew of “extreme” MTV programming in the early 00’s which sometimes featured stuff like street luge. In the past few years I’ve become aware of collegiate HPV competitions and Mountain bike downhill as well. It strikes me as interesting that this guy was working on this kind of stuff in the 80’s, and skirting the mainstream with it. He also competed in fuel efficiency competitions in the 80’s. Some of the designs surely must have been heavily borrowed for modern vehicles of this type. It really doesn’t seem dated at all.

Hanebrink in a fuel economy competition

Hanebrink in a fuel economy competition

Track attack

In the past weeks I’ve been working on track racing. I’d never done any of it before, but I decided to give it a go both because our team will be doing track events this year, and also because the cadence style is more like BMX, which I enjoy. For those not in the know, the difference between track riding and road riding is fairly substantial. The bikes are similar to road bikes in shape, with slightly different geometry and one, fixed gear ratio.


Our home track is Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis, as seen above. As a rule, beginning riders have to go through three hours of track training that the velodrome is offering as “Track 101” classes. I did the classes in two Thursday night sessions. The first was mostly terminology and technology, with a little riding to get used to the track and the bikes. The second was all riding, practicing pacelines and moving around on the track.

After my classes, I am now legal to ride some of the track events. I decided to do a time trial saturday, figuring it would be good for experience, and a good baseline for training. I went with Mendoza and rode a bike he loaned me. It’s a custom made Landshark. It’s not carbon, aluminum or anything fancy, but it’s super light and fits me well. It’s also got a pretty sweet paint job – red with green metallic scaled dragons. His coach and team were there so we hung out with them. I think the first real life lesson I learned about track racing is that there is no shade at the velodrome, although I didn’t realize it until later. The Pista Elite/Glacial Energy team had a pop-up tent, but it really wasn’t big enough. I am quite red today.

For races, I tried to select a variety, since I didn’t know what I would like or be competent at. I went with the 200m, 1k, and 3k. At the end we decided to try a team sprint. My times all sucked, which is to be expected since this was my first real track outing, however, I am feeling better about the shorter events. At the same time, I prefer the held start of the longer events.. Go figure. I think it’s all mental. I feel a lot stronger taking off from a stop than I do trying to gauge my speed in a flying start. Trying to find a consistent steady state is going to be vital. In the Kilo, I felt like I had a good start, and a good first lap but after the first lap, I was dead tired. I never really thought about how hard it is to push a big gear for any distance. The 3k was much the same, except I paced myself a little better, going easier on the start. I think I liked the team sprint the best of all. I started, so I just had to go one lap with a held start. I screwed up a little because I wasn’t sure what to expect, but overall, I think I did ok, and liked the length.

Here are some video examples of what a 200m and Kilo time trials look like. Probably incredibly boring looking to most.

I’ll probably be back at the track on the 28th for training night, which will be my first time racing against other people. Should be interesting. In the mean time, I suppose it makes sense to start building. I’d been putting it off to try and get a good base, but since I more or less have to start weight training to get my speed up for the track, I’m going to try and add in intervals and other higher intensity stuff to my other rides.. which also means I need to ditch the diet and start eating a little more.

Weird bicycle brakes.

While googling for dimensions of cantilever brake bosses, I encountered this oddball, found on this page of strange brakes. It’s ABS for bikes! When engaged the wheels contact the rim and the rotation turns a cam which moves the brake pads in and out, “pulsing” them as in the automotive equivalent.

I can’t say that I see much need for this, however, the engage-able rollers could be a novel way of transferring energy to dynamos and the like.


I have a real weakness in my creative endeavors.. It’s originality. It’s not that I’m unoriginal, it’s that I feel like I have to be entirely original. My mind tells me that an idea that’s been done isn’t worth touching. Realistically, I know this isn’t true; almost anything can be improved upon. Regardless, I struggle with this.

Along these lines, I’m currently trying to decide what to do about my IBDC project. I spent a few weeks developing an idea, and have been slowly modeling it and working out details only to find that someone has already done something very similar.
So I’ve been working on a design for the International Bicycle Design Competition for the past few weeks. My idea targets 3rd world and developing countries by 1. allowing individuals/communities the ability to use this bike to pump/transport water and 2. charge cell phones, as they are becoming more important in lesser developed countries where many people don’t have electricity in their homes.

So I work up this idea. It’s a regular bike, with a rack on the back to hold a water tank. the rack can rotate down to form a stand (like a bike trainer) so the bike can be pedaled while stationary. The drive system for the pump and generator run off of a hub mounted disk, not dissimilar to a disk brake.

A couple of days ago, I’m googling around for info on pumps and bike parts, and I encounter this project:http://thecoolprojectsite.org/?p=845 (or here for more details on the build: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A … df&h=fc315 ) Basically, it’s the same rotating stand idea. instead of the pump/generator on a ring/pinion drive system, they are run as a traction system from the tire.

My working model:
My preliminary IBDC bike.. not done..
So now I’m left wondering if it’s above board for me to continue with my project as planned, or scrap it and start over with 6 days before the submission deadline. I really don’t yet understand the social / ethical landscape of design enough to know for sure. I’ve posted the question over at core77, so hopefully I’ll hear back. In the mean time, I’m trying to come up with a new idea that I could knock out quickly.
All that said, definitely check out the link to http://www.mayapedal.org. Some really cool and useful projects made from junk. If I wasn’t stuck here, I think it would be a ton of fun to work on this type of stuff for people who could really use it.

Designing bicycles..

So I intend to work up a submission for the International Bicycle Design Competition over the summer. You would think that this might be an easy task given the amount of time I spend on a bike as well as the amount of time I spend keeping up on products and emerging technologies in cycling. Sadly, it is not. I’ve a bit of “designers-block”. You see, it’s not enough to simply make a cool looking, functional bicycle; you need to have a gimmick. My experience in Industrial Design remains somewhat limited, but in the year I’ve been involved in it, it seems like the gimmicks are the fuel that makes things happen in most cases. So-called “green-ness” is a hot topic, as is helping 3rd worlders. (regardless of their thoughts on the matter!)

So I need a gimmick. I initially was on the “3rd worlders” band wagon until I did some research on what they actually need. Turns out it’s additional inner tubes and trustworthy mechanics. This is not to say that I haven’t considered turning my design eye towards those matters, but I rather feel like I’m reinventing the wheel.. er solid innertube, as it were.
I’ve got some business/empowerment ideas kicking around, and they might even impress the contest judges, but I really doubt it’d do much for the end users.

Ridelog – flats

Man, flat tires are frustrating. I got a new set of tires and have enjoyed about 1400 miles with no flats. I thought I’d found the wonderdrug. Unfortunately, the tires weren’t the cure-all I was looking for. Yesterday, about 15 miles into a group ride we hit a stretch of gravel. Not my usual terrain, but I’ve ridden on it before. I don’t know why, but this gravel was harder to navigate than usual. Anyway, 3 of us flatted, and I double flatted. I put in my new tube, and patched the other, but the patch didn’t hold. My second patch attempt looked to work after filling it up with CO2, but then the tube exploded before I even got on the bike. I guess I pinched it. meh.

Fortunately, Pamela came to the rescue and gave me a ride back home. I think I’m going to start carrying 3 new tubes at all times.. my saddle bag is big enough.

Lessons of the day:
1. buy some gatorskins at earliest financial convenience.
Tips from Naveen:
2. frame pumps rule.
3. carrying 4 water bottles isn’t lame.

In other riding news, I’ve increased my long rides to 60-ish miles. I’ve also been doing most of my riding in zone 1 in attempts to drop some weight. I’ve not done any racing since the last post, but I think I’m going to do the Firecracker 50 this weekend, and hopefully a few more in coming months if my entry fee money holds out.

I managed to break my front dérailleur somehow. I’ve been using it broken for the past two weeks, and it gets by, but every so often it dumps the chain. I ordered a replacement Rival piece from ebay for $5. Hopefully it will get here today and go on tomorrow.
I’ve also got my mountain bike assembled. It’s basically all the parts from a ’99 GT XCR4000 I got at goodwill for $25 migrated to a 1993 GT RTS frame and Rockshox Tora 318 fork. With all the wet weather lately, I’ve not had a chance to go trail riding, but I am pretty stoked about the bike in general despite the fact that it’s pretty ancient.

Mountain bike

ridelog – the past few months

I’ve been somewhat lax on the ridelog updates lately. I figure now is a good time to catch up, since the collegiate season has just finished up, and the semester is over. While I can’t participate in collegiate races, they seem to be the bread and butter of my riding peer group and training kind of revolves around that.

Picking up where I left off, the Brown County race wiped me out for a while. While it was something of an accomplishment to finish it, and also to have ridden my first race, I think the severity of the climbs and my lack of climbing ability kind of messed me up physically.

I finally got recovered from that and started making some forward progress. This hinged on some psychological and bio-mechanical observations. Namely, I realized that I wasn’t “pushing it”, literally or figuratively. For example, when I started riding, I was going all out just to keep up. As my health improved, I didn’t have to try as hard for the same (or more) output. So basically I had arrived at a situation of easy pedaling everything except climbs. With the use of the pedal technique I wrote about in the last post, I started physically pushing more and trying to vary my force depending on the situation. On the mental side, I started trying to maintain the high force levels. The result was higher average speed.

Another big thing for my riding was practice criteriums with the cycling club. 3 or 4 times we rode out to a middle school with a circular drive around it and did short circuit races. I was generally off the back pretty quickly, but it was a lot of fun and was excellent practice for race skills like cornering and drafting that I otherwise really wouldn’t have the opportunity to work on outside of real races. I hope we do more of this next year.

With a little practice under my belt, I entered the Cat 4/5 crit at the Marian College race. As usual, I was worried about falling off the back, and burnt up too much energy in the first lap. In the second lap, I figured out (similarly to the brown county race) I could get aero on the small decent, stay with the group I was in, and save my legs for the climb. The third lap I continued with this pattern, got comfortable, and found a nice spot in the group I was with, drafting off of a very tall guy. Unfortunately, I flatted out shortly thereafter. My relatively poor performance in this race as well as the practice crits kind of put me off of racing this season. I still plan on doing a few more for practice, but hope of a reasonable finish are kind of out the window. At this point, my barely educated opinion is that I didn’t get enough base miles, and I didn’t do enough long rides early on.

So, speaking of training education, I got the Joe Friel book and have been going through it. I’m going to start a training plan for next year. Right now I’m kind of stuck on getting realistic diagnostic numbers. (lactate threshold, etc) There seems to be too much variance in the testing procedures for my brain to accept the numbers as real. I’m currently waiting to hear back from the lady here at Purdue who does performance testing. Hoping I can get in on that and get VO2 max, lung capacity and all that other stuff.. we’ll see. Regardless, I think my big goal for next season is to do well enough to upgade to Cat 4, and I want to work towards that by 1. not being last in a race 2. finishing in the front half of a race and 3. finishing in the top 10 of a race. I’m still not sure if all of that is realistic or not.. we’ll see.

On the gear front, the Dura Ace is on the bike and works pretty good. the big difference is the ease of front deraileur shifting. The down side is that I get more cross chaining than I’d hoped. Also, after flatting out at the Marian crit, I decided I needed to have a second set of wheels for flat tire replacement. I grabbed a set of the Forte Titan wheels from performance. They are certainly nothing fancy, but at $160 for the pair, they were really about the best thing in the price range. They are a low spoke count, (16 front, 24 rear), mildly aero rim weighing in at about 1700g, at least a 400g savings over my stock wheels. I was a little concerned with the low spoke count, but they seem to be holding up well. The reviews were mostly good, except for rear hub flange damage that occurred in a previous version. Also notably, these are apparently rebranded neuvation wheels. The price difference between the two isn’t huge, but I thought it would be good to have Performance’s 100% satisfaction guarantee. Additionally, I suffered a string of flats and decided it might be time for new tires. John at Old Skool Cycles just started carrying Serfas stuff, so after checking some (all good) reviews, I ordered a set of SECA RS tires. I’ve only been out on them once, but they seem pretty good so far. I also got a pair of Serfas RX gloves since it’s getting too hot to ride with my full finger gloves. The main reason I wanted these is because they have pull loops on the fingers making it really easy to get them off. (usually a problem for me with fingerless gloves) they are also supposedly designed by doctors to reduce pressure on nerves or something. I’ll put up a review once I spend some more time with them.

Finally, I wanted to post something about getting out of shape. With summer in full force, I’ve been trying to get a lot of household/hobby projects done, and not riding as much. Last week I got 1 ride in on tuesday, and didn’t ride again until yesterday. (wensday) It was seriously rough. My quads were hurting 3 miles in, and my saddle was feeling pretty painful. My average speed was also way down. I didn’t realize that my condition could decline so much so fast. I’ve got to try and keep my weekly ride time up. I think it doesn’t help that I’ve been slightly discouraged from my weak race performance, which may be getting me kind of burnt out.. we’ll see.