Me and my bikes, part 1 – Molly.
I have been spending some of my spare time this last year building and mucking around with some different bicycles.
In many ways, it has been a sort of therapy for me. A way to relax after work and make sure that I think about something else. Working with my hands is a good complement to working with digital files on the computer and trying to make schedules sync.
It has also been a bit of a considered statement. I want to promote human-powered travel, in all its forms, and bikes are an easy way to enter that world. Being a minimalist, I don’t intend to keep more than one (ok maybe 2 or 3) of the projects, intending instead to make them interesting and functional and hopefully inspire others to become human-powered (and buy the bikes of me!)
Steve, the Bullitt cargo bike is one project that most of you have seen and one that I intend to write a lot more about in the future. But there are a couple of others that are starting to take shape and one that is almost completely finished is “Molly”.
I like different ideas and Molly (named after the film Molly about Molly Meldrum) is certainly different. It is a Moulton SR2, very different in its own right, that has been refined even further.
The Moulton bicycles were designed by Alex Moulton and are based on the premise that small wheels are lighter, quicker and stronger than larger ones. A fact proved again and again by Moulton riders in races before they were eventually excluded from competition. The one thing that larger wheels do better, is roll over obstacles and thereby offer greater comfort. Alex Moulton overcame that by offering suspension, both front and rear!
The other pet peeve of Mr. Moulton was the lateral flexibility of a “normal” diamond bicycle frame. So he designed a space frame that can even be taken apart!
The starting point of this build was a Moulton SR2 and the major reason was that right from the beginning, I wanted to make it a belt drive bicycle. I have been loving the Gates belt drive on the Bullitt and felt that it would be perfect for a “city” bike. I also wanted to go minimalist. Clean, nothing unnecessary, no cables or anything else cluttering up the lines of the space frame. So it had to be a fixie!
What I finally ended up with has surpassed my expectations. I love it! Clean, modern, stylish and classic all at once.
Ok, I suppose I have to admit to a little bit of bias, but just a little bit…
There are a few small things left to do. End plugs for the handlebars and a Surly tug-nut to make belt adjustment a bit easier (and also because a Surly tug-nut incorporates a built in bottle-opener).
Test riding it this last week has been interesting. I’m not used to a fixie and there have been some moments! After a week of riding, I have decided that I am going to put the front brake back on. It will spoil the clean lines somewhat, but I am a strong believer that function must always triumph over form and I don’t like riding without a brake. My skill level is just not enough to manage the city traffic with only the fixed gear as a stopping option.
I built this very much as a personal project, something that I wanted to build for me, in a way that inspired and spoke to me. And I love the result.
That said, I want to continue with some other builds and projects and I also want to try to remain as much a minimalist as possible, so Molly is for sale.
Being a very personal build, based on what is far from a cheap bike to begin with, if you have to ask the price you probably can not afford it!
A bit of a clarification might be in order. I don’t intend to make any money on my builds, only get back my costs. It is therapy for me and I want to promote cycling. I am not trying to make money, only inspire others to take up human powered travel!