Category Archives: Design

Glow in the dark bikes…I likes!

I’ve often wondered why new bikes aren’t designed with reflective paint.  I realize many people like matte black bikes for that stealth factor, but most of us commuters just want to be seen.

There is one company, Mission Bicycle Company in San Francisco, that offers a custom bike with a reflective coating. Check out their Lumen.

For the rest of us with bikes we already own and love,  I learned of Hub Powder Works (another woman-owned company) in Boston via this Grist Magazine article: Night Proof Your Bike by Turning it into a Giant Reflector.8255813207_cd8fcbf6d3_z

You send Hub Powder Works your frame. They powder-coat it with the same reflective coating as Mission Bicycle Company.

As a bike retailer, I’d love to see mass produced commuter bikes; i.e. more affordable bikes, come with such a reflective paint.  Matte black feels so passé. If you’re a bike designer and considering this, it seems Halo Coatings is the supplier of the retro-reflective coating solutions for both Mission & Hub.


From bucket to bike trunk…

We’ve all seen them… buckets from cat litter, bird feed, even feta cheese with a square or rectangular opening.

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If you’re a regular purveyor of these, you’ve already come up with secondary uses for these buckets: storing out of season items, around the garden for schlepping rocks & weeds,  as drums or seats at outdoor parties, etc.

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Over the winter, we re-imagined these as trunks for your bike. A quick Google search (bucket panniers) showed many others had had the same idea, posting their photos and DIY instructions.  But what if you’re not handy? And just need a sturdy, lidded, water-tight, rodent-resistant container to get your gear around? Scouring the neighborhood for these lidded buckets on trash days, many have now been converted to this: 2013-03-22 15.01.19

Easy to attach to your bike’s rear rack, you choose if you need one or two. When mounted, they sit at the same height as the bike rack, so you can load a wide object on the back of the bike. 2013-03-22 15.20.36

Take these on your next jaunt to the grocery store, the farmers market or your next dumpster diving expedition.  I’ve thrown in my bike lock, gloves, bungee cords, laptop, file folders, rag, another set of gloves, bike lights, a sweater, lunch, and still have room.

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At PHEW!, it’s often used to bring home the compost!



How much, you ask? Depends….

Just the plans. Inquire here. $1
DIY kit. Includes hooks, bungee,
wood & aluminum cut & drilled
$15 for one, $25 for two
Bike trunk-to-go. Ready to apply your own
reflective stickers
$35 for one, $60 for two
Learn to make your own. Includes
all materials to make one. Inquire here.
$25 for one
Just a bucket $1
Just a clean unbranded bucket $5

Some testimonials…

  • The low center of gravity made riding with the buckets very easy.  I was able to stand up and lean into turns confidently.  It is much better than trying to steer with a lot of weight on top of the rear rack.
  • The buckets hold so much more than a milk crate, and a milk crate can always be mounted on top of the buckets.  I think I could buy a month’s worth of groceries in one bike trip! They mount onto the bike very quickly.
  • When I got home I was able to quickly lift the buckets off the bike and bring them into the kitchen.  They are definitely more convenient than a milk crate.

Stop on by to try a bike trunk for yourself.

Montague folding bikes, now at PHEW!

We’re finally a dealer for Montague folding bikes. Never heard of them?

Montague is known for full-size folding bikes, making them a good addition to our selection of folding bikes: Dahon, known for their quick fold; Xootr, beautifully designed & manufactured locally; & Origin8, well-priced bikes for around-town.

The Montague bikes are rugged. Good to take anyplace.  And have a feature that’s omitted from all their literature: no rider weight limitations. I suppose this might be implied by the term Military Technology seen on their bikes, but we need to say it again.

There’s no limit on the rider’s weight. On any of their bikes.

So those of you that have gone to bike shops wanting to work off some of that weight and been told there’s no bike for you, there’s the Montague line of Pavement & Mountain bikes.  Again, with no rider weight limit. And easy to fold into the trunk.

A selection of Montague models can be found at PHEW!..stop by for a test ride.  They’ve been hard to keep in stock!

Stromer digital console demystified

In today’s shipment, we received the first of Stromer’s digital console. With no English-language manual, we’ve documented the basics here.

Setting the Time
  • press  button to power on the console
  • press both & buttons together
  • at CODE prompt, set CODE from 0000 to 0001 using button to cycle thru the digits, and buttons to change selected digit
  • press button and hold until CODE is replaced with TIME
  • now use to set to correct time
  • to save settings, press and hold button for 3 seconds
Switching between PAS (Pedal-Assist) and POD (Power-On-Demand)
  • press and hold button
Cycling between levels of assist
  • press button to power on the console
  • MODE will show you assist type last selected
  • press buttons to cycle through various assist types
Night time viewing of console
  • press and hold  button to turn on back-light or off

If you’ve discovered additional features, please add them as a comment to this post!

Gold Folding Bike

The Origin8 folding bike
This bike is amazing. It is lightweight, small, cute and very “light on its wheels”. The gold color is an eye-taker and the way it folds would be awesome in my house. It is great because of its size when it folds. It got my attention as soon as I came in the shop. When I rode it I felt free – not too much pedaling. I just love it! It’s so convenient – I highly recommend it.
Cynthia Hillyard – resident window artist and bicycle tester (student at C.W Henry School)

MIT’s Copenhagen Wheel: A new direction for electric bikes?

Recently MIT announced their new design for an electric assist bicycle wheel that has been getting a lot of press. Unlike most electric bicycles, which utilize a separate motor, battery, and controller, the Copenhagen wheel crams all three components into a sleek-looking housing in the bicycle’s rear wheel. This eliminates the snaking wires and protruding batteries that abound on many electric bikes, and aside from the screaming red color of the prototype, makes for a more incognito electric kit setup.

The motor uses regenerative braking, a system which generates power during braking and coasting, to provide power. Some current electric bike motors like Sanyo and BionX use regenerative braking, but MIT’s design is the first to use it exclusively. They haven’t released any hard numbers on how much power the wheel produces, weight, or battery life, so we’ll have to wait and see how it works in the real world.

Aside from the motor, the Copenhagen wheel is also unique in its many additional features. It has a bluetooth link that syncs with the iPhone and other smart phones, enabling the rider to control the wheel’s power output and display real-time info like speed and distance traveled. Personally, I’d like to see another option for controls that doesn’t involve strapping an expensive mobile phone to my handlebars, but I assume that will be addressed when this design moves closer to production.

All in all, I think it’s a good idea, and if the real-world performance matches the vague claims and fancy pictures on their website, this design and others like it could really forge a new direction for electric bikes.