Elsewhere

  • Great interview with Sacha White (via BikePortland.org)
  • ritchey longtailThink running errands on a bike is a mark of hardy frugality, a certain virtuous austerity? Think a 20-lb bike is reasonable and a 35-lber some kind of low-tech punishment? Get real with Tom Ritchey. (Has Lycra and a helmet ever looked more ludicrous?) Notice that the appropriate technology solution Ritchey’s advancing with Project Rwanda is a longtail, sort of like Xtracycle’s sister organization, XAccess (now Worldbike), has been supporting in Africa for years.
  • The Wall Street Journal says: “A radical idea is sweeping the world of American bicycle manufacturing: building bikes that people will use for actual transportation.”

One thought on “Elsewhere”

  • Earnan Maguire

    Tom Ritchey's sensible proposal, based on experience and reality, is a welcome antidote to the "bamboo bicycle" nonsense being pushed by various refugees from the liberal arts programs at expensive East Coast colleges... Africans and other residents of the Third World need functional, durable, maintainable bikes. Not Green fantasies of zero-impact "Eco-bikes" fabricated from bamboo, hemp, Moonbeams and happy thoughts. That means bikes that can withstand hard use and little---if any---maintenance in harsh environments. Steel frames, end of discussion.

    What is worth considering is how to build steel frames with unskilled labor and a severely limited industrial base. The answer is straight gauge tubing in common sizes---cheap, heavy, but strong---joined by lugged fittings (headtube, bottom bracket shell, seatpost/seatstay/headtube, fork union) cast using the lost wax process. Cheap, strong, well within the abilities of minimally skilled manufacturers. Fittings and tubes joined by welding, or even just soldering: cheap, simple, minimal skills needed, and using materials and tools available in even remote bush communities.

    Reply
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