All the photos of my Bullitt Cargobike in one place.
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An update following: Out of my technical depth: chain ring.
First the existing stuff.
Turns out that after about 1200 to 1400 miles the supplied Alfine chain ring was quite worn. Sadly the way it is made stops it being reversed.
The same is true of the 20 tooth sprocket. Worn and can’t be reversed.
Neither is very impressive in terms of wear, sadly it does not seem possible to fit a better quality sprocket from anyone else due to the rubber sides, one of which is fitted to the sprocket. These really catch lots of crud (I suppose on the bright side they have kept it away from the hub gear itself, but they are keeping the chain dirty.
Second, fitting the Hebie chain glider.
Sadly this has not yet gone well. I fitted the nice, tough feeling Surly 38 tooth chain ring. However, it is very close to the crank arms (which are a 130 BCD). It turns out the crank arms don’t fit within the chainglider.
So a big re-think.
In the end I have found a replacement chainset, it is also Hollotech II like the Alfine so the chainline should be correct. However, it uses a 104 BCD and can support chain rings down to 34 teeth. Hopefully this will provide a lot more clearance and allow the Hebie Chain glider to fit.
Meanwhile, I am currently running the Surly 38 tooth chain ring, almost no riding today and hopefully tomorrow I’ll fit a new sprocket to go with the new chain ring and chain. Then when the new cranks arrive I can get the Hebie fitted. All the gunk in the drivetrain does act as confirmation that this is a good thing to do.
I have now fitted the pitlock security to the front wheel and seat post. Pitlock don’t offer secure 15mm nuts for the rear wheel (although my frame lock helps there) nor do they provide replacement allen bolts to hold the seat on. Looking for other solutions for them.
Hopefully in a few days I’ll be able to provide an exact solution to fiting a Hebie chain glider to a Bullitt clockwork. Til then don’t hold your breath 🙂
Just back from Asda. This trolley load:
Just fitted in my Bullitt. Here we see it loaded at Asda (and nice not to have to push the trolley across miles of car park). At this point I was beginning to wonder if I need a cargo net to put over the top.
But as you can see from this picture of the Bullitt ready to unload at home everything stayed in place with no problems. Yes, the handling was absolutely fine. Before long I am going to need a front light in front of the cargo as it is starting to block the front lights from lighting up the road just in front of the bike 🙂
One of the nice things about riding in this weather is that the frozen stuff stays frozen on the way home 🙂
I confess that before going into Asda I did nip into Starbucks for a coffee. It is nice to be able to park pretty close – especially as there was not huge demand for the outside tables 🙂
I am just back from the morning service at Harrison Road. As you can see from the two pictures below there is still plenty of snow and ice about.
So what was it like riding a loaded cargo bike a total of 7.6 miles in the snow and cold (according to the car -9C when I left home)?
You can see that by noon the main roads are clear but nothing has been done to the pavements or cycle paths.
Here is the bottom layer of stuff. Three bags of books plus change of clothes (my suit is too thin for these temperatures and my best shoes too slippery). Total weight of cargo (according to our bathroom scales) 39.5kg
The important thing to note is that the trip was totally without drama. I went pretty slowly, although on the way due to my forgetting that the service was at 10:15am not 10:30am I had to put my foot down a bit. The Bullitt was sure footed and gave me no scares.
I do get a lot of comments from people about how hard it must be to ride with a load like this. I have to say that exactly the opposite is true. The riding it is easy. The Bullitt gets steadier as you load it and the gears are plenty low enough for the hills around here. I think I got down to 3rd gear when I had to stop at the mini roundabout just before climbing over the Railway Bridge at Syston. But that made it very light and easy pedalling. I am pretty confident that just about anyone that can ride a bike can ride a cargobike with a load like this.
Obviously I am not going to break any speed records on the road. But then neither were the 54 cars queueing to get out of Syston onto the roundabout by Thurmaston Shopping Centre as I came home. Nor will the drivers who spent ages defrosting their cars so they could see.
When I collected the books from Syston I pushed the bike inside and loaded it in the warm without having to carry the books far. At Harrison Road I also went straight inside to unload. There are double yellow lines outside Syston Methodist Church and the Car Park at Harrison Road was already full. So I would have had to carry these heavy bags of books quite a distance too and from a car.
So this way was much more convenient (again) and probably quicker (count the time for defrosting the car in -9C, parking, carrying 2 loads of books, queuing). Plus I arrived unstressed and awake. Also a bit warm, still over estimating how much clothing I need 🙂 Remind me again why anyone would want to drive on a beautiful day like this!
For years I have carried stuff around by bike in panniers. Now using my Bullitt cargobike I don’t have to. What a huge difference this makes!!
I was using Ortleib back rollers and they are about as good as you can get. They fit well, are waterproof and last forever.
But the problem with all panniers is when you get off the bike at your destination, from then on all panniers are a right pain.
The shape is awkward to carry, slow to load and has sticky out bits to catch you and others. Plus of course it draws unnecessary attention to the fact you have cycled.
One of the joys of a cargobike is that you use your ordinary bags for your laptop and other stuff. So much quicker to load and faster + more convenient to carry around. Plus of course you don’t have to worry about adding extra stuff in any kind of bag or none while you are out.
Today I spent some of the money that I have “earned” through my cycling expenses over the last couple of months 🙂
First, grips. I have found that the standard grips were giving me white finger after about an hour of riding. So have fitted Ergon Grips model GR2-L I have used Ergon grips on a couple of bikes in the past and have always found them extremely comfortable so I have high hopes that these will solve the white finger problem. With the medium size bar ends they also give me more choice of hand positions. Plus these are not bare metal bar ends but rubberised so they should have better grip and be warmer than the ones on my mountain bike.
Second, I have changed the pedals for larger platforms that should not feel like they are cutting through my feet when wearing trainers. I chose Sanderson Promag Sl‘s in black (not red as pictured because that would have looked horrible on an orange Bullitt Clockwork). There was not a huge choice but these are pretty much what I wanted anyway.
It was a bit surreal to be in Freewheel, when I was a teenager in the days long before the internet, I used to drool over their catalogue which was full of exciting bikes and bits. I even bought some foam handlebar grips from them for my Raleigh 10speed 🙂
Anyway all fitted and the Brooks Flyer Special waxed again with extra wax melted into the metal/leather interface to stop the squeaks coming back. I’ll go for a short test ride in a while.
Tomorrow I get to try the Bike Park at the Town Hall in Leicester as I am going for some training (for people authorised to do marriages). Sadly it does mean an early start 🙁
September has been a significant month for me and cycling.
- I cycled all but one day in September.
- I have now cycled 25 days in a row.
- I have cycled over 260 miles for work. That is over £50 in expenses but by not driving those miles I have also saved the Leicester North Methodist Circuit £50
- I have cycled something over 350 miles in total in September
- I got my new bike, a Bullitt Clockwork from LarryVsHarry. I love it and have not ridden another bike since.
- I have explored quite a lot of Leicester by bike, plus some of the countryside to the east.
- I accompanied my friend and boss when she did a 50mile round trip to Synod, an amazing increase over a previous maximum distance of 12 miles
- This new blog has started to get going and now has over 20 cycling related posts and several readers
- I have not once needed to go somewhere for work and not wanted to cycle
- I have only used the car 4 times for work in the month (3 visits to Northampton, one trip to Loughborough Crematorium via Birstall).
- I have been out cycling with Jane several times for shopping, parties or visiting Mum.
- I have carried home the contents of a very fully shopping trolley from Asda in my Bullitt.
Most of all I have really enjoyed cycling this September 🙂
Jane was on our Trice XXL. One of the lowest recumbent trikes available. Wickedly fast and comfy. Plus excellent treatment for varicose veins 🙂 Picture later as on a different computer.
The XXL is least ideal for the city but is most comfy and Jane finds she is faster on that than anything else. Although as she is never out of breath at the top of a hill we suspect she enjoys the way a trike allows you to climb very slowly without balance issues.
The fixie is a great city bike, however, quite incompatible with the XXL as it is fast uphill but the speed is limited on the downhill by the speed you can spin your legs.
The Bullitt is comfy and with me riding is quite compatible with Jane on the XXL (neither of us will break records going uphill but we love going down). It has great road presence which coupled with the upright position gives great confidence in traffic.
My guess is that there are not that many groups of 3 riding through Leicester on quite such a variety of bikes 🙂