Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Rise of the Simple Bike

The blog post I've been unsuccessfully trying to write for the last month is about distillation, the idea of getting one's life down to a maintainable level of simplicity in order to focus on what matters most. I see it in the minimalism movement. I see it in a lot of the millennial generation's more endearing traits. And, not surprisingly, I am seeing it in bicycles. (I know, I see lots of things in bicycles.)

I've written a great deal about Detroit Bikes. Their first model, the A-Type is my favorite bike they offer. This manufactured-and-assembled-in-Detroit bicycle is all about distillation if you want a regular bike to get around on. Just look at it:

It has a simple and low maintenance three-speed hub, fenders, a rear rack, a coaster rear brake and a caliper front brake. In the last year, I have come to love a three-speed hub. Here in Lubbock you just don't need 21 or 24 or 27 different gears. Three speeds keep it really simple and they are super-low maintenance. If I were to buy this bike, the only addition I would need is front and rear lights; otherwise, this thing is absolutely ready for a daily commute. Would it fit your needs? ($699 plus $50 shipping) (Check out the B-Type if you'd rather have a step-through.)

Or would you like one even simpler? Well, check out the Republic Studio. This thing is very simple cool:

Ah, the simple life!

So, what makes it so simple? First and foremost, it can't get a flat. It runs airless tires!
And it has no greasy chain - it has belt drive. And it has some really killer Shimano Roller brakes that are inside the hub. And it has the same Shimano Nexus 3-speed hub as the A-Type above. And it only weighs 26 pounds. This is a get-on-it-and-go bike. It's even shipped ready-to-ride. (This one is $799 and shipping is $99. It also comes as a step-through.)

Since this is Mesquite Hugger, you may be asking yourself Where are the simple electric bikes?

Well, I've covered a few in recent months - bikes like the Vilano Core, the Sondors Thin, Populo, the Propella, and the Karmic Koben, but today I present to you the most simple and beautiful e-bike I've seen - the Budnitz Model E. (One small warning - this one falls well outside the budget of us poor boys and girls, but snagit, it's cool!)


Still gorgeous!

The Zehus all-in-one-hub motor and belt drive

The Budnitz Model E in these pics is the Titanium version. Before shipping, this one runs just shy of $9,000, but those of you with thriftier budgets can get the painted steel model for $4,000. Cool in this case is not cheap, but it's sure easy to admire the simple elegance of this machine. Budnitz claims that this is the lightest e-bike on the market and that it can achieve 100 miles per charge if you pedal hard enough.

Well, I guess it's time for me to hop on the old Huffy and head home.

May you achieve your own distillation and find that simplicity can be wonderful.  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Fossil Free Friday - Cargo Bikes in the Media (WooHoo!)

[This one is for those of you who've been going through Mesquite-Hugger-Cargo-Bike-Post withdrawals]
What you'll find in this thrilling episode:
  • a new Yuba (that's not a longtail)
  • a review of an old friend - the Radwagon
  • and a bit of Xtra teasing
The New Yuba
Yep, Yuba did a big ol' reversal by offering a new bakfeits-style cargo bike - The Supermarch√©. This is the first Yuba I've seen where the load goes in front of the rider. You can learn more and see it in action on Wired or you can check it out on the Yuba site. (Me, I still want the Yuba Boda Boda V3 stepover or a plain old $999 Yuba Mundo.)
Even if you're not really interested in that particular cargo bike, the Wired video still does a nice job of going over what a cargo bike can do and how effective it can be in helping us drive less, pollute less, and spend less. Good stuff!
The Radwagon
And then there's the $1599 Radwagon (now with free shipping!) If you've spent much time around here, you know I have a big ol' crush on the tangerine banana bike from Seattle. Check out the recent article in Men's Journal:

Since I am married to a lovely woman who really, really
wants a Ducati Monster, I had to include this quote.
PS. Rad Bargain alert: Radpower has the
The Xtra bit of news... that I received an email from Xtracycle this week, and it contained some very Xciting words: New Bikes Coming Soon. I am staying tuned and will let you know!
Your Xtracycle random montage
May ditching your car become more and more common and may we all breathe easier and curse a lot less.

The Dream Shows up Again - Solar VW MicroBus!

The most persistent Mesquite Hugger DIY dream is to take an old van, convert it to electric power, and add solar power to the roof - a self-powered clean machine with the ability to haul a little stuff. The star of my dream is usually an old Econoline van or an old Greenbriar van. But's also been a Grumman postal truck, a Vespa Ape, a Cushman Truckster, a Subaru 360 van, a Crosley wagon and pretty much every other box-like vehicle out there. VW Microbuses have made the list on many occasions.

An email from Gear Junkie popped up this week and [BOOM] there it was - a solar-powered Microbus. Yep, they emailed me the dream.

The bus was built by Brett Belan from Oregon. And it's pretty standard for a converted EV, at least as long as you don't look up. When you do look up, you see a pretty hefty solar setup, over 1200 watts on a platform that tilts up to more efficiently catch some rays.

And when the panels are tilted up, it creates a great sleeping area, so Belan crafted a tent that attaches to the panels.

You can take it with you.

How's that for a room with a view?

You can learn more about the Belans' Bus here.

May you come into your own by following the sun!

Bonus electric bus (without the solar)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Minipost - Sharing one of my favorite local animals - the JackRabbit

I originally envisioned Mesquite Hugger to be a local wildlife blog, but I never seem to get out to see wildlife anymore, and the wheels got to turning...

But I am a big fan of prairie dogs, road runners, coyotes, foxes, possums, burrowing owls, bobcats, ground squirrels, terrapins, hognose snakes, and, of course, jackrabbits. So seeing this Melissa Breyer article (Thanks, Melissa!) on Treehugger this morning made me very happy, and I wanted to share that happiness with each of you!

May the riches of the natural world inspire and uplift you!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Where are they now: the MotoChimp Electric Scooter

Yep, I hear you, there's not a lot of joyfulnicity in eco news lately. The mirth has been a little elusive.

But it still rears its lovely and funky head here and there.

A new Fully Charged video came out this week reviewing a little scooter we talked about last year - the MotoChimp. Last year it was a fun little sidebar, but this year there's lot more to the story. Check out the video.

Here in Lubbock it's been amusing (and a little terrifying) to see all the young college guys embracing two oddball scooters - the Honda Ruckus and the Honda Grom. And if they'll ride those...

Why not?

Really, why not? If you're looking for cheap, local, eco-friendly transportation, why not ride something that makes you (and everyone around you) smile in a really big way. It has a 40 mile range, charges in one hour, will fit in your sock drawer, and it let's the world know that you take your planet-saving very, very seriously (but not your tough guy/gal image.)

Nope, it's not available here yet, but that just gives you a little more time to get used to the idea before you place your order.

Learn more about the MotoChimp at

Knippa, you could wear your gorilla suit!

May you have some eco-friendly fun today.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Droolworthy Vintage Electric: The Ian Motion Mini

Old cars. Every few months they get to me. It’s the old-car jones that creeps into my bones Yes, new cars are nice too, but there’s a far-from-logical appeal to a car that has stood the test of time and still gets the job done. Lately, it’s been a little Ford Fairlane sedan I pedal past on most weekdays. In my head, I’ve already pulled the gas burner out and replaced it with an electric motor. The gas tank is gone and replaced with salvage cells from a Nissan Leaf. (I love the old cars but not enough to keep trashing our planet!)

Yep, I'd drive it!

But, as a guy who owns a few half-finished, homegrown conversions, I understand that those projects are best left with those who have a surplus of time and/or money.

So, I sigh when I ride past the old Ford on a vehicle I have successfully converted to electric – a 250-watt bicycle. But there is hope out there for guys and gals like me. One example hit the social media circus just this past week -  The Ian Motion Mini.

The website

One look and I was hooked. Ian is a French company that restores and converts old Austin Minis into slick little modern electrics. The specs look to be fairly similar to those of a new Nissan Leaf. The creature comforts are minimal, but holy moly that thing looks good and would have to be fun to drive. And the Ian is not somebody’s rough-draft experiment. This is a company that focuses on converting one car so they can work through the evolution process before they send out a car. It’s a beautiful new old car that quietly screams how good life can be when we get rid of the gas pump.

From their website:

Enjoy the promo video

May we all not-so-quietly scream how good life can be until we get rid of the gas pump and go renewable. And may you truly enjoy the journey!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Is it really bike to work day in Lubbock?

I rode the bike to work today, but I didn't know. Yep, the Mesquite Hugger calendar update system is needing some help. It was when I arrived at the java distributor and paused the Strava app that I saw a pop-up informing me that it is ride to work day. Man, am I glad that I rode!
Of course, I am always glad on days that I ride. But how did this sneak up on me? (Actually, it's pretty easy to sneak up on me these days.)
So, I Oogled it:
I learned that today is  Global Bike to Work Day and it's Bike to Work Day in the Bay Area. And it's Bike to Work day a week from tomorrow here in the States. Yep, I am still confused, so I have a new goal - I want to try to ride on every Bike to Work Day and on lots of days that are just plain old Snagit, I Still Have to Go Work Day days.
Why? I am going to defer to the NBL on this one:
Check it out at the National Bike League site
So, how about you? Do any of those reasons appeal to you? Then try it, snagit!
  • Pick a day (like maybe May 19th -  US Bike to Work Day.)
  • Air up your tires (or borrow a bike - call me!)
  • Plan your route
  • Do it! (You might actually enjoy it, or save money, or get healthy, or become a Mesquite Hugger hero by fighting pollution!)
May you get out and pedal yourself to a better life for you and all of us!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Fossil Free Friday - A Sondors Bike that Folds (and a RadMini) [Updated with video]

Happy Friday, y'all!
Sondors appears to be rocking and rolling again. They've completely sold out of the last round of bikes and now they are rolling out (taking pre-orders) a new product - the Sondors Fold. (It folds.)
[And I have to admit, it's pretty cool, but a big part of that is the big battery (on the Fold X) combined with the low cost.]
If you want one at the introductory price, you will have to act soon (like within-this-month soon).

Base Model
The Sondors Fold base model is very similar in running gear specs to the previous Sondors bikes: 350 watt geared hub motor, 36 volt/8.8 Amp-hour battery, and single-speed running gear. The upgrades available are a bigger battery (36 volt/17.5 amp-hour) and a Shimano 7-speed gear addition. Each upgrade will cost you $100, so you can get the base model for $899 fully loaded. But that is...
...the same price as the Fold X. If you're gonna spend $899, you should get the Fold X. Seriously.
Why should you get the Fold X? Because it's more powerful and comes with a big battery as standard. Yep, the X is a 500 watt 48 volt/14 amp-hour setup. (For $100 more it also comes with a 7-speed Shimano setup.) For $999 you can get the whole shebang with more speed and more range and all kinds of fun.
Did I mention that it folds? (Video Here)
So, Mesquite Hugger, what's the catch?
The catch(es) are nothing out of the ordinary. They won't ship until late summer/fall, and Sondors usually charges a standard $175 shipping fee. Also, the price will go up 30% if you don't order soon.
What's that? You don't want to wait? You want it to enjoy this summer? You still want it to fold and have big honking 20" off-road tires? Well, here's my suggestion for you - the Rad Power Bikes Radmini.

This thing has a couple of virtues that might entice you: cargo racks and even more power than the Fold X. The Rad has a 750 watt motor and FREE shipping! Woohoo!!!! And it's in stock and ready for shipping now! At $1499, you could have some instant gratification and ride it all over the place while your smart-aleck brother-in-law is still waiting around for his Fold to arrive.
May your eco-friendly ride fold up into tiny places (and keep you from burning more of that nasty fossil fuel crap).
In case you want more Fold specs, here you go:

The Fold

The Fold X