Dave Moulton

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Bicycle Accident Lawy




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I get tired of this

I get tired of watching videos of cyclists who just stand passively by and allow someone to sucker punch them, and not retaliate. You are allowed to defend yourself.

In this case you have an old guy probably in his sixties with a belly, assaults what appears to be a super fit athlete, probably half his age, who does nothing but take the guy’s number. What a pussy.

If someone approaches you under these circumstances, it is highly probable they will take a swing at you. At least attempt to block it, or stick your head down so he punches your helmet. After all, helmets are for protection.

You notice the old guy gets in one, possibly two punches, and then goes to get back in his truck. The assailant probably realized he had taken on a bigger and younger man. The cyclist should never have allowed the old guy to leave the scene. But hold him there until the cops came.

He could have got in the old guy’s face verbally, and he probably would have backed down. If the truck driver fought back physically, the cyclist appears to be the stronger of the two and could have restrained him and taken his keys.

There are those who will say, the cyclist did everything right in accordance with the law. Possibly, but he could have done more than just stand there and take it, and still stayed within the law.

Grow some balls and stand up for yourself. If it were me I would be ashamed to have this video out there. 


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Ride the Long White Cloud

The indigenous Maori people of New Zealand named their island Aotearoa, which translated means “Long White Cloud.” New Zealand is actually made up of two main islands with a short 15 mile ferry ride between the North and South Islands.

The above video shows how one man, Cameron Nicholls rode the entire length of New Zealand from top to bottom, a distance of 1,451 miles (2,336 km.) Cameron completed the ride in 13 days. People have ridden the distance in much less time, but this was a ride taken at a pace that would be a challenge, but still allow the rider to enjoy the spectacular scenery on the way.

To make the ride even more challenging, it was completed in winter. “Why do that?” was my first thought, but then remembered some of my own winter rides in England, in atrocious weather conditions.  I suffered horribly at the time, but those are the rides I remember more vividly as time passes. Another plus was that the scenery in winter is even more spectacular.

Cameron has a 13 year old cousin undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, so the ride was also to raise money for the sister charities CanTeen New Zealand and CanTeen Australia. Thus raising funds and awareness for these organizations, who deal specifically with supporting young people affected by cancer.

The six and a half minute video is produced and edited extremely well, with a well-chosen musical soundtrack. Before you view, I suggest you click on the 4 arrows, bottom right next to the word “Vimeo.” This will take you to full screen mode, then start the video, and make sure your sound is on.

Enjoy, as I certainly did.


You can read Cameron Nicholls full account of the ride here.

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Riding my bike: Then and now

It’s taken me the best years of my life to reach the best years of my life. That statement is certainly true of cycling.

I find nearly all forms of exercise a chore, with the exception of riding my bike. Although I will agree that even that is not a pleasure when I am below a certain level of fitness. It becomes a pleasure when my level of fitness allows me to ride at a level where I am happy.

I remember in the 1980s living in Southern California, great weather, wonderful terrain, hills etc. However, I didn’t enjoy riding because the pressure of my business, didn’t allow me enough time to ever get fit enough to ride at the level I wanted to ride at that time.

It had not been many years since I had quit racing, and I still expected to ride at that level. Hammer up the hills is what was in my psyche told me, but my mind was making a promise that my body couldn’t keep. The result, I suffered horribly. It became a chore.

I still had that racing mentality, it wasn't about just enjoying a bike ride, it was all about how hard could I push my body. The competitiveness of beating, or even just hanging on to the wheel of someone at a level of fitness way above mine.

When I was racing the bike was simply a tool, a piece of equipment necessary to participate. Even training rides with others were unofficial races, always trying to be first to the top of a hill, or always having my front wheel ahead of the rider next to me. (Known as Half-Wheeling.)

Today, I have reached an age where I have nothing left to prove to myself or anyone else. Just to get out and ride two or three hours is an achievement in itself. I am content to ride without pushing myself to the point of exhaustion.

Speed is less important, just the distance I can cover. More miles equate to more time on the bike, and more cycling pleasure. I now remember what it was like to ride in my early teen years before I started racing.

For me cycling started out as a means of escape from my dysfunctional home life. I would stay out and ride for hours, and on weekends I would even cover close to a hundred miles at the age of thirteen or fourteen. All this on a Hercules Roadster with a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub gear, the bike must have weighed around forty pounds.

Mostly I rode alone because none of my friends were willing to cover the distances I did. I grew used to, and even enjoyed riding alone. This still is the case today. Now, a ride on my bike is almost sacred. I enjoy social situations, and good conversations, but not while I’m riding.

Riding is still often my "alone time," I have few thoughts and it becomes a form of meditation. I am at one with the elements, the temperature, the wind, even the rain on occasions. I am at one with the terrain, up or downhill, the road surface, smooth or rough.

Lastly, I am at one with my bike, it becomes an extension of my body. The closest thing to human flight without actually leaving the ground.

It is still not about the bike, it is about riding the bike and all that goes with it.


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Capillary Action

David R. Ball Photo

Capillary Action is one of those laws of physics that most people know exists but don’t think about too much. It is the reason a paper towel or a sponge will soak up water. It is the reason a wick in an oil lamp draws the oil upwards, defying gravity, to the flame where it burns.

However, it is not just soft fibrous materials that have these properties, a clay flower pot or a clay brick will soak up moisture because it is porous. It occurs in any situation where there are tiny gaps or fissures between otherwise solid materials, any liquid will be naturally drawn through that gap.

When a framebuilder is brazing a lugged joint on a bicycle frame, it is capillary action that draws the liquid molten brass through the gap between the tube and the lug. If the tubes are mitered correctly, in other words the end of one tube is cut to precisely fit the curvature of the tube it butts up against, it too leaves another tiny gap between the two separate pieces of metal.

The molten brass will also be drawn between this gap to actually braze one tube to the other inside the lug. The final result is a strong joint, but one that spreads the stresses over an area.

When joining metal, in this case steel tubing, there is a need for the tubing and the finished joint to be of somewhat equal strength. If the joint is much stronger than the tube, the tube may fail adjacent to the joint. Conversely, if the joint is weaker than the tubes, the joint will fail.

The above picture is me brazing the main triangle of a frame together. In particular, I am brazing the head lugs. I am using an oxy-acetylene torch as my heat source. I used a fairy small but very hot flame, which allowed me to pin-point the heat where it was needed.

Metal when heated becomes red hot. A dark cherry red first. This is the temperature silver solder melts. I used brass for all brazing of the main joints so this melted at an orange red color. Temperature was controlled by constantly moving the torch on and off the part I was working on, and the color of the hot metal was my temperature guide.

In my right hand is the brazing torch, and a small hammer. I am not actually using the hammer, although at first glance it might appear that I am. It is just there in readiness should I need it. In my left hand is the brass filler rod. I am heating the top head lug and the top tube, and when it reaches the desired temperature, I feed in the brass.

As I feed in the brass, I watch for it to flow through the lug to appear on the head tube. You will notice the head tube extends beyond the head lugs by an inch or so. When the lug is full of brass, (I know it is because I saw the brass flow from one side to the other.) I flow out all the lug edges and any surplus brass is flowed out on the head tube where it extends beyond the lug.

This will later be cut off as scrap. Working in this fashion there is very little excess brass to clean up after. There is a similar situation at the seat lug where the seat tube is left sticking through the seat lug, to be cut off later. Again, excess brass is flowed out onto the scrap portion.

Brazing different thicknesses of steel together can create a problem. For example, the front and rear drop outs. These are of course much thicker than the tube it is slotted into, and if you come in with the flame at the point you need to braze, the tube will almost immediately glow red hot, whereas the drop out itself is still relatively cold.

The trick is to heat the dropout away from the tube, wait for it to turn red, then move towards the tube, which will quickly glow red to match the pre-heated drop out. When the first drop of brass melts and forms a bridge across the two separate parts, it magically becomes one piece of metal and all glows evenly at the desired orange-red color.

One cannot see how much brass is flowing inside the tube where the tang of the dropout reaches beyond the slot, unlike the lugged joint where the framebuilder can see the brass flow from one edge of a lug to the other. However, the builder gets a feel for how much filler rod is going into the joint to know whether it is full or not.

Finally, what is that little hammer for? Well, lugs usually come in standard angles of 73 degrees. But not every frame I built was those exact same angles. So when I assembled the frame and pulled the lugs to the desired angle it left a little gap on one side.

As soon as the lug was heated it relieved any stress, but there was still a little gap to contend with. A quick switch of hands, moving the brazing torch to my left hand, keeping the joint heated and a quick tap-tap with the little hammer in my right hand closed the gap in the lug. Then switching back to as I was, I continued brazing. No loss of heat or time while I searched for my little hammer.

A little refined blacksmithing if you like.


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Bayliss-Wiley Unit Hub: Ahead of its time

I got my first serious lightweight bike in 1950. It was a modest Dawes made of Reynolds 531 tubing. It had a cottered steel crank with a single chainring, and a Simplex derailleur with 3 x 1/8 inch sprockets.

The rear hub was a Bayliss-Wiley “Unit” hub as it was known. (Pictured above.) Freewheels had always been a separate item that screwed to the hub, this one had the freewheel built into the hub as a single unit, hence its name.

Today we call this a cassette hub and is the standard equipment on most high end and even moderate lightweight bikes.

The Bayliss-Wiley Unit hub was introduced in 1938, and was produced until 1957. Not particularly lightweight it was never considered to be racing equipment, but was used by club cyclists, tourists, and young kids like me who were just starting out.

Looking back it was really ahead of its time and it would be 30 years later that the Japanese company Suntour introduced another, and failed. It wasn’t until the top two manufacturers, Shimano and Campagnolo introduced their cassette hubs that people took them seriously.

The freewheel was always considered an item that would wear out long before the hub, therefore at the time the logic was to have it be a separate component that could be unscrewed from the hub and replaced. But if one thinks about it, it is the sprockets that wear out, not the free wheel. So a cassette also makes sense.

It wasn’t until freewheels went beyond six sprockets to 7, 8, 9, and 10, that an all in one unit or cassette hub was considered practical.

The Bayliss-Wiley Company was located in Tyseley, Birmingham, England and was founded by Cecil Bayliss and Arthur Wiley in 1919.

The company had what we would call today a niche market. They produced inexpensive but high quality bicycle components. Bayliss-Wiley kept the British working man on the road, back in the day when the bicycle was often the only form of transport for the working class.

They primarily made hubs, single speed freewheels, and bottom brackets, the parts that wore out and needed regular replacement. The company thrived through the 1920s, 30s and 40s, but not surprisingly declined in the late 1950s, when the British working man abandoned the bicycle and started buying cars for the first time. 

Taken over by Reynold Chains Ltd., the Bayliss-Wiley name finally disappeared in 1969. One of the most recognizable brand names when I started cycling in the 1950s, but not too many of today's generation will have heard of Bayliss-Wiley, even in the UK.

You can read more on Ebykr.com


This article was originally posted in April 2011

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