Monthly Archives: January 2014

Time on a bike


Toon Boumans is a Dutch craftsman who collects old bicycles, restores some of them and uses leftover bits and pieces for his whimsical creations – such as a pendulum clock.
I came across this YouTube video, which demonstrates the workings of Boumans’ bike clock, and tried to glean some additional information by trolling the Internet.

It seems that Mr. Boumans is a septugenarian who lives in Cuijk in the southern Netherlands. He has been collecting historical bicycles for about 45 years.
“They must have something special,” he told one Dutch interviewer. “Unfortunately, it is getting harder to find them.”
Among the bicycles in his collection is a “fire bike,” with a coiled hose under the seat and used by firefighters.

Toon Boumans with his bicycle pendulum clock

Toon Boumans with his bicycle pendulum clock

He bought the firebike at a flea market in Lille, France. He says it is more than 100 years old and was used by firefighters at an Italian oil refinery.
Another prized piece is a World War II-vintage folding bike that was carried by paratroopers and then used for transportation once they landed.
He says it took about three months to build his bicycle pendulum clock.
A bell on the rear rack sounds on the half-hour. Two spirit levels ensure that the bike is level. And a small oilcan is on hand to lubricate the clock chains.

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Proposal by bicycling app


It’s one of the most creative uses of a bicycling app that I’ve ever seen – a marriage proposal mapped out on the streets of San Francisco.
Cyclist Murphy Mack, according to Mail Online, the website of London’s Daily Mail, rode 18 miles and burned 749 calories to trace out the words “Marry me Emily” surrounded by a heart.

Proposal by Strava

His ride, which took 80 minutes, was recorded by the free software app Strava, which cyclists and runners use to record their routes, speed, elevation and calories burned.
The girlfriend, Emily McLanahan, said yes.
The Strava app, reported the Mail Online, has spawned a new craze as cyclists and runners create artwork with the red route line recorded by the app using GPS technology.
But not all the artwork has been as romantic as Mack’s. One guy from Brighton, in southern England, Mail Online said, used Strava to draw a man’s private parts.

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Derring-do atop a bridge


I guess it was inevitable.
Fort Worth’s new
West Seventh Street Bridge, with its 12 graceful arches with flat top surfaces and the silhouette of a roller coaster, would be a tempting challenge for a daredevil bicyclist.
The first one to test his skills on the bridge – and probably the last – was Mat Olson, a professional BMX stunt rider.

The flat top surfaces of the 12 massive arches of Fort Worth's new West Seventh Street Bridge. Photo by Jim Peipert

The flat top surfaces of the 12 massive arches of Fort Worth’s new West Seventh Street Bridge. Photo by Jim Peipert

On Saturday, a spring-like January day, Olson showed up at the bridge with a team of helpers and a film crew.
The helpers put plywood spacers between the bases of the six arches on the north side of the bridge so that Olson could transition from one arch to the next. The top surfaces of the arches are no wider than a sidewalk. There are no guardrails, no net.
A small group gathered on the Trinity Trails below the bridge as Olson began his ride on the east side of the span, which connects downtown with the city’s museum district.
One of the onlookers was Travis Baker, who had been riding his bike on the trails along the Trinity River, when he stopped to see what was going on. He shot video of Olson’s feat, which he shared with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“It seemed like I was on top of a mountain,” Olson said in describing his ride over the 24-foot-tall arches to the Star-Telegram.
“It seemed like I was on top of a mountain. It was all windy and crazy when I was up there. It was pretty exhilarating, that’s for sure.”

It was also, apparently, pretty illegal, the newspaper noted.
Fort Worth police officers who happened upon the scene told Olson after his ride that they could cite him for criminal trespassing, improper use of a vehicle and destruction of property.
But they let him off with a warning.
“I think I kind of smoothed them over,” Olson told the Star-Telegram.
“They said: ‘To be honest, we’re glad you’re alive. We don’t want to see that on our watch. Tell your friends we’ll be watching out for this and we won’t be lenient the next time.’ ”
If there is a next time.

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POSTSCRIPT: Here’s an additional video, apparently put together by Olson’s camera crew.

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