Tag Archives: cycling

Alex Moulton’s remarkable designs

I’ve always admired Englishman Alex Moulton’s innovative solutions to thorny mechanical problems. His compact, lightweight, and simple elastomeric “donut” suspension design allowed the BMC Mini car of 1959-1970 to provide amazingly spacious interior room compared to its tiny exterior dimensions. Then he re-thought the humble bicycle, which resulted in a compact frame with tiny wheels and . . . elastomeric donut suspension.

Moulton BicycleWikipedia’s biography Like most memorable inventors, when searching for solutions, Alex Moulton returned to first principles. Though Dr. Moulton died in 2012, his Moulton Bicycle Company continues to manufacture his unique bikes.

loudspeaker iconHere’s a well-done audio program about Moulton bicycles, including Dr. Moulton’s commentary:

I’ve cycled through Moulton’s lovely canalside town of Bradford on Avon (and its surrounding hills). It’s beautiful country for bicycle touring. That’s why it’s remarkable that Moulton bikes are so maneuverable on crowded city streets.

Brief BBC video biography (1min 42sec)

Obituary, The Telegraph (UK) 2012

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Record bike ride info

I recently installed MapMyRide on my Android phone. I’m very happy with it. It uses GPS data to record speed, distance, and route of each bike ride. I use all of its default settings except Auto Pause; I turned it on so that it pauses each time that I stop the bike.

MapMyRide scheenshotI like hearing my split stats (time, distance, and speed) read to me at mile increments.

When you return home, tell MapMyRide that you’ve ended your ride. You can view your route on a map as well as your total distance, average speed, Calories burned, and average speed for each 1-mile segment. You may save your workout details for later viewing.

The free Android version does everything that I want. The paid version allows real-time tracking of your ride by a friend or family member and apparently it also integrates with a heart rate, bike speed, and cadence monitor. There are also Apple IOS and Blackberry versions available.

I know that we can mount dedicated bike computers that will provide much of the same ride information, but that requires careful mounting, sensor wire routing, and calibration. With this app, a rider just needs to run the app, press Start Workout, stick the phone in his pocket, and go.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Dodging raindrops

Wunderground LogoI’ve been riding my bike more and now that the rainy season has arrived, staying dry is often a challenge. Wunderground.com is a fantastic resource: you can display moving real-time radar scans of your neighborhood. At least here in south Florida, these give me a good idea of where it’s raining, and the direction in which the rain is moving. Wunderground has a mobile adaptive interface, so it’s just the ticket to use on my smartphone while cycling! (Of course, I come to a safe stop first, well off the roadway.)

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Google Maps for Android bicycle navigation, part 2

Google MapsRecently I wrote an article about using the Google Maps app on my Android phone to guide me on a bicycle ride. On Thursday, I cycled 18 miles to Thanksgiving dinner with friends. I knew the best route to the destination neighborhood, but relied upon my Android phone’s Google Maps app to vector me the last few miles to the exact address.

When I was within a few miles of my destination, I asked the Maps app to speak directions into my earbuds. Although Maps accurately pinpointed the destination, its route included nonsensical detours which would have added miles to my ride. I ignored the nonsense.

I’m impressed with how useful Google Maps for Android is while cycling, but it’s still buggy. Google states clearly that it’s beta. Use it, but, in the words of Richard Nixon, “Trust but verify”.

It receives good reviews.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Cycling with Android GPS navigation


French bicycles allowed sign
My Android phone worked well as a bicycle navigator.

Yesterday I bicycled about ten miles to a new client, using the navigation software and GPS receiver in my Android phone. When I told Google Maps that I planned to ride a bicycle, it found an unusual route along back streets. I stuck in my earbuds, asked Google Maps for Navigation, and shoved off. A good-quality synthesized voice gave spoken instructions at each juncture. On one heavily trafficked road I must have missed an instruction to turn, which resulted in my pedaling an additional three miles or so.

Aside from that miscue, the phone worked well as a navigator. It chewed through the battery’s charge, though. Its distance resolution seems about as good as my TomTom GPS receiver. As usual, I found the user interface, especially the touchscreen keyboard, to be my biggest problem: it wasted many minutes as I tried to copy, paste, and enter destination data.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695