Wednesday, June 27, 2012

That Bicycle is two Tired :(

I decided to post a little something about the abuse that some bicycles receive especially in developing countries. This is one more time, proof and testimony of the nobelty of this simple invention. 
I do have a question for all of you out there and it is:  How much weight can a bicycle axle really take or rather, how much are the axles and the spokes designed to take. The ones you see here are really amazing, to say the least. 

According to How Stuff Safety is the primary reason for manufacturers to place a limit on how much weight each axle can carry. Overloading a vehicle of any kind -- including a trailer -- is dangerous. Heavy loads are always difficult to control on the road, but if that heavy load is unevenly distributed between the axles or even overloaded on one side of an axle, the problem will only be magnified. Here's just a sample of what can go wrong if, for example, too much weight is placed on the rear axle of a vehicle: The vehicle's overall handling will be greatly affected because the steering will be less responsive.
The vehicle's brake system will not be as effective, as the front brakes typically do the lion's share of the braking. The rear tires may not be able to handle the extra weight, potentially causing a blow out situation. Overloaded and overstressed components within the vehicle's rear suspension system could bend or even break, causing you to lose control on the road. As you can see, an assortment of problems can result from overloading. Again, for safety's sake, the GAW (Gross Axle Weight) should never surpass the GAWR on any vehicle.
Photo - Bogotabiciblog
Photo - Pavel Rahman AP

Cargo bikes, of course are designed for greater cargo capacity such as the one we see carrying loads of potatoes. Not only the axles and wheels in general, but also the frame.  After some research I found that bikes designed for cargo such as the Yuma or the Workmancycle can easily take between 350 and 450 pounds, but regular single use bikes should be comfortable with about 200-250 pounds.  
Photo -

 Take into account that even if your weight is only 150 pounds, the weight compounds with gravitational acceleration as you jump up and down when you encounter sidewalks or potholes, etc.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bike Lanes, Not Mandatory Helmet Laws, Save Lives

How are oversize sodas and bike helmets alike?
According to a New York City official, they’re really not.
New York City Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson — an avid bicyclist — was at a press conference Thursday for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on super-sized, sugary sodas. He was asked why the mayor didn’t support mandatory bike helmet legislation for all riders (like the bill just introduced into New York’s City Council by council member David Greenfield.)
You can listen to Wolfson’s explanation below, or read his response.
“First of all, there’s no other major city in the country that has a mandatory bike helmet law, and there’s a reason why. The thing that actually saves the lives of cyclists is protecting them from drivers, which we have done more in this city than any other city in America. It’s why our fatalities are down in this city, accident fatalities are down to an all-time low. So we are making enormous progress in keeping cyclists alive. I understand there is a council person who has promulgated this. He is not a friend of bicyclists. He is against bike lanes. So I’m not going to take — and this administration is not going to take advice on protecting cyclists from somebody who has consistently been against the things that saves the lives of cyclists. As somebody who bikes to work nearly every day, I can tell you what saves the lives of cyclists. It’s separating cyclists from cars. And we’ve done more of that in this city than any other city in America. We’re going to keep doing that, we’re going to keep driving down fatalities, we’ve been successful at it. We’re not going to take advice from people who aren’t actually on the side of cyclist safety.”