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Thread: Hacking the humble roadster bicycle

  1. #1
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    Default Hacking the humble roadster bicycle



    Think of bicycles, and your first mental image could be something pretty fancy. Depending on which side of the sport you favor, you could end up thinking of a road bike or an MTB, maybe DH, CX, BMX, TT, tandem or recumbent.

    But for people in most parts of the World such as Asia, Africa and South America, the bicycle conjures up a very different image – that of the humble roadster. And this simple, hardy machine has spawned innumerable hacks to extend its usefulness and functionality by enterprising people with limited means. For them, it is not as much a means of transport, as a means for livelihood and survival.

    THE DABBAWALLAHS
    Mumbai’s population is estimated to be about 20 million with a density second only to Dhaka, Bangladesh. For scale, that’s about a third of the whole of UK, and half of all of Canada. Just delivering food to all these people is no mean feat. Enter the Dabbawallah, a uniquely Mumbai profession whose existence helps most Mumbaikars eat on time.

    Late in the mornings, a Dabbawallah goes about house to house collecting the tiffin boxes (“dabbas”, essentially lunch boxes) on his roadster bicycle, and then delivers it at the nearest train station. The dabbas are then sorted, aggregated and taken to their destinations, where another Dabbawallah does a similar job of delivering them to their owners. Repeat in reverse in the late afternoon, and by evening all dabbas are back to their homes. Based on what I see every day when I bike commute to work, these folks carry anywhere between 40 to 50 dabbas on each bicycle. The bike rear rack, called a “carrier”, holds dozens of sturdy hooks, as does the front handlebar, for holding the dabbas. No other vehicle in Mumbai is capable of performing this task as well as the roadster can, and only very recently have some Dabbawallahs been able to “upgrade” to Mopeds. While a little bit quicker, these Mopeds can nowhere carry as many dabbas as the roadsters can.


    THE KNIFE SHARPENER
    I’m not sure if this is a common sight in other places, but out here, we used to have a lot of them cycling around the streets of towns and cities all over. Unfortunately, they are becoming increasingly rare, and I nowadays spot just one or two during a month in Mumbai. To do their job, they need to roam the streets and go house to house asking if people want to sharpen their kitchen knives. The roadster allows them to cover a much larger area compared to walking. But the roadster also doubles up as the sharpening machine. A bike stand over the rear wheel allows the bike to be propped up so it stays upright. The sharpener loops a piece of twine between a large pulley in the rear wheel and a small one fixed on the top tube. The small pulley drives the grinding wheel. The sharpener then sits on the rear rack, and pedals away while sharpening the knives over the grinding wheel.

    READ MORE AT.....
    HACKING THE HUMBLE ROADSTER BICYCLE (LINK)


    #include [ std-disclaimer ]

    Hope the voyage is a long one.
    May there be many a summer morning when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors seen for the first time...

    Ithaka, by Cavafy
    (Keeley - Sherrard translation)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Hacking the humble roadster bicycle

    Is roadster a brand name?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Hacking the humble roadster bicycle

    Gotta say a 45”-46” wheelbase bike with 20” chainstays is the perfect stretch for non-suspension do all “bike”. The double top tube can be eliminated with bigger tubes. Felt has or had a “Cafe 8” model with aluminum frame that fits the bill.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Hacking the humble roadster bicycle

    Quote Originally Posted by John B View Post
    Is roadster a brand name?
    More a general type...
    A roadster bicycle is a type of utility bicycle once common worldwide, and still common in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and some parts of Europe. During the past few decades, traditionally styled roadster bicycles have regained popularity in the Western world, particularly as a lifestyle or fashion statement in an urban environment.
    Source

    Hope the voyage is a long one.
    May there be many a summer morning when,
    with what pleasure, what joy,
    you come into harbors seen for the first time...

    Ithaka, by Cavafy
    (Keeley - Sherrard translation)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Hacking the humble roadster bicycle

    Standard old bike then I gather. Never heard them called a roadster before in this old life.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Hacking the humble roadster bicycle

    just a normal treadlie to me.
    Xanthorrea

  7. #7
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    Norwich,United Kingdom
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    Default Re: Hacking the humble roadster bicycle

    On a failed NAS drive I have a photograph of the bicycle racks outside Amsterdam Centraal station.my guess is that there must be almost ten thousand on any weekday and most are traditional roadster types.

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