Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Building the Long Distance Bicycle

This past March at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show there was an interesting panel discussion on the subject of "Building the Long Distance Bicycle." Even though I was unable to attend the show this year, I know the discussion was interesting thanks to David Rowe. David was not only part of this discussion, he edited a transcript of the discussion into an eBook, which I recently read.

The book is probably the best single, one hour discussion of what goes in to making a good long distance bike. If you are new to randonneuring or riding distances beyond the century mark and want to get up to speed quickly, this is a good way to spend $9.95 and an hour or so of your time. Fit, comfort, bike geometry and frame materials are all discussed as are fenders, lights, wheels and other components. Even though the forum was held in the context of a show highlighting the virtues of various custom builders, the information presented is also very useful to anyone adapting an existing bike for distance riding.

I can't say that I learned a lot of new stuff from this book, but I've been lucky enough to live in an area with an active randonneuring community. This book reminded me of countless discussions I've had with knowledgeable riding buddies over the years. And the book does have some great little nuggets, like Steve Rex pointing out that "the foot-shoe interface is more important than the pedal-shoe interface" or Terry Z explaining why he favors Ultegra components over DuraAce.

The eBook is available for $9.95 here:

By the way, don't let the eBook format put you off. If you really like reading your words off dead trees, you can print the PDF file out, bind it in calf-skin or whatever you like. But once you have a book in digital format, you can keep it on your laptop, send it to your PDA or whatever. And if you don't like reading words off screens, what are you doing reading this review on a blog?

For more thoughts on eBooks, check out Cory Doctorow's essay Ebooks: Neither E, Nor Books.

When Blogs Collide

(photo thanks to Tarik's robotic camera)

Every now and then the universe likes to remind us that we live in a strange and wonderful world.

Last Friday at work my friend and colleague Mark Canizaro was asking me about folding bikes. I told him about the Bike Friday's and the Dahon that I'd owned and then added "the coolest folder I ever had was a BridgestonePicnica." Mark didn't know Bridgestone ever made a folding bike and he wanted to see a picture. His quick (misspelled) Google search came up empty. "My friend Tarik has one," I suggested. "Google 'Tarik Folding Bikes' and you'll find it." So Mark taps a few keys and a couple of seconds later he's browsing through the folding bike posts on Tarik's excellent blog.

After poking around the blog for a bit, Mark comments, "your buddy Tarik sure travels a lot." "Not really," I counter, "it just seems that way but you're looking at years worth of stuff. Mostly he hangs around Albuquerque these days." I go on to explain that Tarik works at Los Alamos now and that he does some kind of materials science work. "He's worked at various places with big particle accelerators." I also add that Tarik was the guy who took time off work to drive down to the Mexican border to and haul me and my stuff to the airport in Albuquerque at the end of my Great Divide Race in 2005.

About an hour after Mark and I have this conversation, Tarik and his Bike Friday fixed gear roll through the door of the Bikestation. I had no idea Tarik was in town but it was great to see him. My pal Brad Hawkins stopped by and we took advantage of a lull in the Bike Station action to retire to "conference room Z" for some refreshment and to solve the problems of the world.

Back at the office I had to admit to Mark that "OK, you were right. Tarik travels a lot!"

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Green Bike Evolves

I've been spending money on my old Gary Fisher HooKooEKoo so I can't keep calling it the twenty dollar bike. I haven't come up with a good replacement moniker, so for now I'm calling it the green bike. I'm pretty sure this bike is going to get some kind of a better name at some point, but I'm not yet sure what that name will be.

After the 400K, I was forced to admit that while the inverted north road bars looked cool, they just don't work for me for long distance riding. My pinkie fingers went completely numb the next day I couldn't uncrook them! Now, a couple of weeks later, my hands are mostly back to normal.

I decided to use one of my blogtaculator powers and my eight good fingers to peck out a note to Jeff Kerkove. Jeff is a fast, tough long distance rider who is one of the masterminds behind the hard as heck Trans Iowa race. He also is sponsored by and is a rep for Ergon.

Jeff took pity on a fellow distance dude and after quizzing me about my hand size and shifter preference, he shot me out a set of very sweet bright green ergonomic grips. I haven't logged any super big distance on these grips yet, but on my commute and a hundred kilometer ride today the grips have proven to be very comfy. The angles of the grips and bar-ends can be independently adjusted. The great thing about these grips is how they spread out the pressure. The bar-ends flow smoothly into the grips and there are several really comfortable places for my hands.

As I've gotten older (an article in B.R.A.I.N. last year described me as "pushing 50") I've grown to favor bars that are roughly the same height as my saddle. This higher position is not as aerodynamic but about the only time I'm really concerned with aerodynamics on the green bike is when I'm pushing against a headwind and I figured out that in that case I can actually rest my forearms on the wide palmrests, flatten my back and look like some weird cross between a triathlon racer and an old cyclotourist.

The big rear basket continues to be a delight and a front basket proved very handy on the 400K. My friend Matt Newlin had an inexpensive Nashbar front rack on his bike at the 400K. It was a nice sturdy rack that mounts to the brake canti studs and fork crown center hole and it's just the perfect size to support a small front basket. After seeing Matt's rack, I ordered one for myself.

The plastic basket is something I picked up at Fred Meyer (one of our local "everything" stores). An office binder clip and a ziplock bag make a good cheap map holder. I put a little bit of foam (excess cut from my Z-rest pad to make it more compact) to keep things from rattling around in the basket but if I'm going to be riding on bumpy surfaces I'll probably keep small, loose objects in a nylon bag inside the basket so they won't bounce out.

I've got a Princeton Tec Eos headlight and a white reflector (actually some white reflective tape on a hunk of coroplast) on the front of the basket and a white LED flasher and my brass bell on the handlebars.

I carry my tools, pump and spare tube wrapped in an plastic bag that used to hold seed corn in the rear basket. I also carry a day pack in the basket. A couple of elastic cords with aluminum carabiners on the ends keep everything secure.

I like the Taoist mural on the back of this bus shelter.

At Turtle Park in Kirkland I had to stop and take a picture.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Grazing Goats

I never know what I'm going to see on my commute. As I rolled by the corner of Dearborn and Hiawatha in Seattle this evening, I stopped for a few minutes to take some pictures and chat with Tammy Dunakin. Tammy runs a business called Rent-A-Ruminant and she brought 60 goats over from Vashon Island to clear the brush from this parcel of land here in the big city. The goats seem to be having a great time and they'll have everything cleared in a couple of days.

If you want to rent a goat (or 60), give Tammy a call. Her contact info is:

Tammy Dunakin, Rent-A-Ruminant, POB 1345 Vashon, WA 98070, 206-251-1051, email -

The local press wrote a story about the goats here:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

327 words on Imperfection

David Shapiro is a philosophy professor who lives and bicycles in the Seattle area. He also writes and posts a 327 word essay each day. Every day he steps up to the plate and sometimes (like today) he belts one out of the park.

For those of you who want to make sure I really stick to my intention to keep this blog bike-related, I'll point out that David has the best bike helmet cover ever. It's a custom wool cover made by Shaun Deller of Portland OR.

Bicycle Pedal History Museum

My pal Mark Canizaro sent me the link to this amazing online museum of pedal history, compiled by the folks who make Speedplay pedals:

Monday, May 21, 2007

Washington State Summer Tour

The Bicycle Alliance has it's headquarters in the Seattle Bike Station, so naturally we do a lot of work in the Puget Sound area. But the Bicycle Alliance is a statewide organization and one of our goals is to serve communities across the state. One day in April, as I was bike commuting in to the office, I was thinking about how I could get more familiar with the bicycling resources, concerns and conditions in other parts of the state. I was also thinking that it would be nice to take a bike tour this summer. By the time I reached the office, I had a plan which I pitched to Barb and she approved.

From July 14th through July 28th, I'll be cycling around Washington. Since I have two ears and only one mouth, I'm planning on doing at least twice as much listening as talking. I will be giving some seminars on commuting and safe riding techniques but much of the trip will be a look and learn trip for me. I'll be connecting up with Bicycle Alliance members in various locations, so I may have some civilized places to stay, but I'm also planning on doing some bicycle camping as well. I'll be blogging from the road and compiling lists of cycling related contacts, shops, and resources for the various places I'll be visiting.

Here's the basic schedule. Washington is a big state, but I've got a good background in long distance riding. I couldn't fit everything in to one loop, but I tried to come close. It looks like I'll have to do another trip at some point to cover the center of the state. On this trip I'll also go into Portland Oregon for a bit to see how they are doing things down there.
  • Sat. 7/14/2007 -- Port Townsend/Port Angeles
  • Sun. 7/15/2007 -- Bellingham
  • Mon. 7/16/2007 -- Hwy 20
  • Tue. 7/17/2007 -- Winthrop
  • Wed. 7/18/2007 -- Spokane
  • Thu. 7/19/2007 -- Spokane / Cheney
  • Fri. 7/20/2007 -- Walla Walla
  • Sat. 7/21/2007 -- Richland/Pasco/Kennewick
  • Sun. 7/22/2007 -- Yakima
  • Mon. 7/23/2007 -- Mt. St. Helens
  • Tue. 7/24/2007 -- Vancouver/Portland
  • Wed. 7/25/2007 -- Vancouver/Portland
  • Thu. 7/26/2007 -- Olympia
  • Fri. 7/27/2007 -- Tacoma
  • Sat. 7/28/2007 -- Seattle/Issaquah
So keep an eye out for me on the roads of Washington this July. I'd love to meet as many Bicycle Alliance members as possible and maybe ride some miles with you. Most importantly, let me know what the Bicycle Alliance can do to improve bicycling in your community.

Kent Peterson

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Frontal Area and Aerodynamics of Bicycles

Lots of folks like to debate endlessly about the speed of bicycles and how much aerodynamics, tires, drive-train losses, etc. effect speed. I've decided that there are things more interesting to me than this particular debate, so I'll leave those discussions for others. However, I did find this picture in this thread over on the Bent Rider Online message board here:

I think this is a very cool picture so I'm posting it here. From left to right you have:
  • A rider on with his hands on the flat section of a bike with a conventional drop handlebar
  • A rider with his hands on the brake hoods
  • A rider with his hands on the drops
  • A rider using aerobars
  • A rider on a recumbent "high racer"
  • A rider on a recumbent "low racer"
I will say that back in the day, I had a very fun, very fast little low racer built by John Williams. I did get tired of being at about the tailpipe height of a Miata in traffic, however. Modern low-racers are even lower.

But it was a damn fast bike. Of course, I did have my most spectacular crash on that bike and it was such a chick magnet (really, women thought it was the cutest damn bike ever!) that Christine was really happy when I got rid of that bike.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

SeaTac Airport access may be eliminated

Bicycle Alliance member Alden "Buff" Chace alerted me to this situation. Here's his note:


SeaTac bicycle and pedestrian access to be eliminated: The Port of Seattle plans to eliminate the pedestrian & bicycle path at South 182nd St and International Boulevard. "Port staffers noted that replacing it would be cost prohibitive", in a report to the SeaTac City Council. SeaTac's Deputy Mayor Ralph Shape obtained an extension of the comment period on this until May 25th. Comments should be sent to:

or mailed to:

David McCraney
Environmental Services
Port of Seattle
P.O. Box 1209
Seattle, WA 98111-1209

You could arrive by air and then ride out the access road on a bike but riding into the airport without this path is a considerably tougher proposition on the road which winds around through heavy merging traffic. This path is also heavily used by both customers and flight crews who stay at the nearby hotels and walk to the airport.

Alden "Buff" Chace


Here's an example of where some letter writing and emails can maybe do some good. According to the Mayor, he'd like to see Seattle be "the best city for bicycling in the United States." Well, one good step would be to maintain bike friendly access to the city's airport. Traffic congestion is a major problem down by the airport and bicycles can be part of the solution to the problem. Many bike tourists fly in and out of SeaTac and the ability to ride into and out of the airport is an important bit of the transportation matrix.

I often get asked "what do you guys do at the Bike Alliance?" Well, often what we do is get the word out to a lot of bikey folks. We're an alliance of a few thousand cyclists in Washington state. We often do dull stuff like write letters and go to meetings. And sometimes we get things done.

I don't know if we'll succeed on this one, but I do know that we have to try. If you can help out by sending an email or writing a letter, please do so.


Kent Peterson
Bicycle Alliance of Washington

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Brake Mystery Solved and Jon's 400K Report

This past weekend Mike Richeson and I worked the Birch Bay checkpoint on the SIR 400 kilometer brevet. Details on the ride can be seen here:

and I took some pictures which can be viewed here:

One of the first guys through the Birch Bay control was Chris Ragsdale. Chris and Urs and Brian were really moving fast. To give you an idea of how fast, the Birch Bay control is at the 274 kilometer (170.3 mile) mark. The ride started at 5:00 AM and these guys came through Birch Bay at 1:25 PM. A bit faster than 20 miles per hour including stops.

During their luxurious ten minute break in Birch Bay, Chris and I futzed with his rear brake. He said it had developed a chattering and squealing problem. We checked the rim for any issues and played a little with the toe-in of the brake pads. I sent him on his way with a comment about how we probably didn't make it any worse and at the rate he was going it didn't seem like he was using his brakes much anyway. But I was wondering, because we really could find any obvious cause.

Sunday night Chris sent me this note, in which he describes the solution to the problem:



Thanks for the amazing support at Birch Bay. The stop was very much needed. And the hospitality was fantastic.

About the brake problem I seemed to be having. After I left the control I was disappointed to find out that our toeing in procedure had done nothing for the chatter and squealing of my rear wheel. And of course I just continued on for at least another hour or two before it hit me. I have had this problem before. But what was it?

Ah ha! I remembered it was the fact I was putting Coca Cola in the bottle on my seat tube and as the carbonation sprays and spills out of the top when it's open. It gets on the rear wheel and brake pads. All I needed to do was spray it with the water bottle and tap the brakes a couple times and wala. Brakes fixed.

Just thought you might like to hear, since it's a kinda a weird bike problem.

Chris Ragsdale


My pal Jon Muellner just posted his ride report here:

After Mike and I closed down the Birch Bay control around 9:30 PM, we drove down the rest of the course to Arlington. The rando lights and reflective gear really work, but the reflective stuff seems to be the most effective part of the package. Some of the most reflective randonneurs look like giant versions of those tropical poison arrow frogs, neon bright and shining.

Ride safe out there folks!


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Stopping To Make Tea

Last year I wrote about the Kelly Kettle. It's a clever device to quickly heat water using a handful of twigs. I've done many trips with no cooking gear and on other trips I've used a small alcohol stove made from a Pepsi can, but I've concluded that while I really don't cook that much, I do like having the ability to have a hot beverage when the mood strikes me. Friends have had good things to say about Zip stoves and the Jetboil, but the classic Kelly Kettle just seemed right to me.

Last week I finally ordered the Mini (20 oz) kettle and today it arrived. The kettle is about five inches in diameter and sitting on the fire base it's about a foot tall, but the whole thing is aluminum and it's mostly a hollow so it's pretty light. It's a classic old design, used by Irish fishermen for at least 100 years and it's the kind of thing you could picture Jack Eason using to brew up a spot of tea to ward off the cold on some steep and damp section of some brevet in the Pennines.
So far I've only run one quick test of the kettle. It's really true -- a handful of twigs, a single match and in under five minutes the water is boiling.

My racing days may be behind me, but I've got a lot of places yet to go and I'll probably be going there at twelve miles per hour. And I'll probably be stopping here and there, in some cozy patch of shade or beside some particularly scenic brook to make myself a spot of tea.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Life at Twelve Miles Per Hour

I have been thinking recently, and by recently I mean the past thirty years or so, about simplicity and bicycles and how it is very easy to get caught up in the minutia of efficiency. In mulling these things over I keep coming back to one basic idea: in terms of speed and distance, a bicycle amplifies a human by a factor of four.

Now we can quibble about exact numbers, but for purposes of this discussion I'm going to keep the numbers round and the math easy. Let's say you can walk comfortably at three miles per hour. Without a lot of training or a very fancy bicycle, you can probably roll at twelve miles per hour with similar effort. And the distance that you'd think of as a reasonable walking distance is probably about one fourth the distance that you could easily cycle. In terms of distance, the factor is probably greater than four since you can sit down on a bicycle and you can also coast. But that simple machine really amplifies your traveling capacity by a factor of four.

Now here's where I think it is easy to go awry. We take that simple amplifier and we say "four is good, but five is better." Or even six. Or maybe more. There is nothing wrong with that, with pushing the limit, but the business of bicycles and the culture of cycling is pretty much entirely built on marketing this or that as being better because it is faster or lighter or more efficient. And while it is not wrong to think about those things, I think it is wrong to only think about those things.

Thoreau wrote, "It would be worth the while to build still more deliberately than I did, considering, for instance, what foundation a door, a window, a cellar, a garret, have in the nature of man..." and Gandhi said, "There is more to life than increasing its speed." Taking advice from these two wise fellows, I built up my latest bike, the bike I got for $20, with an eye not toward speed but toward simplicity -- considering, for instance, what foundation foot retention, a cycle-computer, spandex, carbon fiber, or a heart-rate monitor have in the soul of man.

Gandhi also noted that "actions express priorities" and my priorities do include carrying stuff and riding at night and staying dry in the rain, so my bike has baskets and lights and fenders. And I have fat, tough tires rather than fragile fast tires because I don't enjoy repairing punctures.

And I tend to pedal the bike at about 12 miles per hour.

I'd been commuting on this bike but this past weekend I rode it 100 kilometers up to Arlington Washington. Next weekend is the SIR 400 kilometer brevet, but I volunteered to work one of the check points for that ride. The week before the event, ride organizers do a "pre-ride" to check out the course. This pre-ride lacks the staffed controls of the true brevet but we ride within the time limits and get our control cards checked by locals and the pre-riders are counted in the official brevet finishers.

I rode up to Arlington Friday after work, taking advantage of the chance to check out the Centennial Trail that runs north from Snohomish almost all the way to Arlington. This converted rail-trail is a nice, quiet alternative to riding up Highway 9.

I think all the other brevet volunteers stayed at the motel in Arlington but I enjoy getting in touch with my inner hobo on these trips so I rolled out my 25 year old Goretex bivy and slept in a convenient patch of darkness not far from the motel. Sometime after 4:00 AM we all breakfasted at the Arlington Dennys and at 5:00 AM we all rode off.

There were nine of us on the pre-ride. On brevets I tend to be somewhere in the middle of the finishers, but I wasn't sure how this trip would go. I hadn't really tested this bike on any long rides, and I wasn't sure how things would go. I wondered how it would be navigating without a cycle computer and I wondered if I'd miss having Power Grips holding my feet to the pedals. I also wondered how my moustache-ish handlebars would work for the long haul. I always advise new randonneurs not to make a bunch of changes before an event and my bike was really something of a departure for me. I also advise folks to train, but I hadn't really done that. Sure I'd ridden a bunch of brevets in the past but this year, I've been mostly just commuting and riding around lugging bike maps to commuter fairs and things like that. On my weekends off I've been doing wonderful things like having tea with my wife instead of logging the long kilometers.

What I found out on the pre-ride is that vague math is all I need to navigate and 12 miles per hour really works fine for brevet riding. I took a lot of pictures with my nine dollar camera. I chugged along, following a cue sheet marked in miles. I figured about five minutes per mile, kept my eyes open for the next turn and really enjoyed looking at the scenery instead of staring at the numbers on a cycle-computer.

And my feet felt wonderful.

The four fast guys were off ahead of me all day, but I saw the other four riders at the first couple of checkpoints. At the end of a long day, four folks finished ahead of me, four folks finished behind but brevets are not races. We all were well within the 27 hour time limit (actually we all finished in under 24 hours). There is more to life than increasing its speed.

I did tweak the handlebar setup after the ride. I been running some thin rubber grips on the bars and after a few hundred miles of rough roads, my little fingers were numb on both hands. But Sunday morning, on the ride back home to Issaquah, I found a hunk of pipe insulation on the road just outside Arlington and I fashioned some temporary hand grips pads from that. When I got home I wrapped the bars in some old cork tape that I covered with inner-tube rubber.

It's all a learning process, but I'm liking life at 12 miles per hour.

Some pictures from the 400 kilometer pre-ride are here:

Here is a map of the route (click for big):

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A Life Without Left Turns

I always try to make sure that entries on this blog have something to do about bicycling. The story here:

makes no mention of bicycles but I think it goes to the heart of why some of us ride bicycles. And he's right about the left turn thing. I use that technique sometimes on my bike to avoid some nasty intersections.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Continuous Torque Drive

A few weeks ago I wrote about Earle Jones and his continuous torque crank set. That original post is here:

Earle loaned me one of his bikes and after swapping the bars, stem and saddle to make the bike layout similar to what I'm used to, I rode the bike for a total of 150 kilometers over the course of several days.

I can't claim that this was a particularly scientific test. Ideally, to compare the difference the crank makes, you would take two identical bikes that differ only in the crank mechanism and ride those bikes over the same course, under similar conditions. My commutes are always somewhat different in terms of traffic and what load I'm carrying, weather and other factors. These factors, combined with the fact that I was riding bikes that differed in far more ways than just the cranks, probably account for enough "noise" to make any particular numbers meaningless.

Nonetheless, everybody wants to know, do the cranks make a difference? Did they make me faster or did they make the riding easier? Were my commute times dramatically faster or slower?

The answer is, for me, the numbers came out about the same. On one commute I was a little faster on Earle's bike but the bike had faster coasting tires than my regular commuter. On the other hand, maybe I was better positioned on my regular bike. I really can't say with certainty. Another day I was faster on my "regular" bike.

My impression is this: the cranks make a difference, but I don't think that difference makes much of a difference.

Let me explain.

If you look at the pictures at the top of this post, I think you can get an idea of how the cranks work. In the first photo, the cranks are horizontal. If you think in terms of a clock face, one crank is at 3:00 and the other is at 9:00.

Looking at the second photo, you see that when one crank is at 6:00, the other crank is no longer 180 degrees off from the other one, it is actually 22.5 degrees off from top-dead-center. Instead of being at the 12:00 position, it's more like at 1:00. The cams in the crank force this motion.

In the next two photos, you see the cycle repeated. When the cranks are horizontal, they are 180 degrees offset, but when one crank is vertical, the other is 11 degrees ahead. The net result is that the cranks eliminate the dead spot in the pedal stroke.

When I first rode the cranks, they felt odd. Since the cranks vary their relationship to each other, one foot is effectively pushing the opposite foot around. Initially this felt like a pulsing in the drive train, but I soon got used to this and it felt "normal." One thing I did notice was that I tended to climb in a higher gear. My theory is that difficulty in getting a pedal past the top dead center spot in a normal crank is what cues my brain to down shift. With Earle's cranks, that cue isn't there. But the cranks do smooth out the effort, so I didn't feel I was straining my knees in any way. What feels like surging is actually, the instinctive surge that I'd put into a "normal" crank set. I realized this after I'd gotten used to Earle's cranks, I actually thought at one point that I'd broken the cranks because I wasn't noticing the surge any more. However when I spun the cranks I saw they were still working and when I switched back to riding my bike with the "normal" crank, it felt odd. I felt the dead spots in the stroke and now it felt like my effort was surging.

And I think that revelation is the bottom line about these cranks: they do work, they let me put out continuous torque.

And I don't think that matters.

Physiologically, I'm not torque constrained. If I gear higher, I turn the cranks a little slower. If I gear lower, I spin a little faster. The net result, for me, is that I climb at similar speeds. If I'm not applying constant power throughout the stroke, is that a bad thing? Maybe I'm getting a micro rest every revolution? The human heart beats in pulses. Is it bad to pedal in pulses? I don't know. My lungs breathe in and out in a distinct rhythm. I'm legs and lungs and heart and I eat food and drink water and I ride a machine that lets me go further and faster than I can go by myself. But does this extra clever crank let me go extra fast or extra far? I kind of wish it did. Like Fox Mulder, I want to believe. But I don't think it does. not for me. I think that I can adapt to continuous torque cranks and conventional cranks and at the end of the day the difference is not much.

Earle's cranks are similar to the Rotor Cranks which are reviewed here:

Throughout history, similar ideas keep coming up. Here is Tom Traylor's story of similar cranks:

And here's what Bryan Ball of Bent Rider Online had to say about Rotor Cranks:

All these cranks are clever solutions to the same problem. Perhaps for those racers trying to gain a few seconds in a time trial, a drive with cams is the answer they are looking for. But for me, riding to work or riding around, I just turn the cranks which turn the chain which turns the wheel. I don't think about my pedal stroke, I don't think about the dead spot, I just ride my bicycle. And that, perhaps, is why these clever cranks have not taken the world by storm. If you solve a problem that people don't have, the world won't beat a path to your door.