Yuba Mundo, the Bicycle Astronomy Velocipeeeeede…

The Yuba Mundo arrived last Thursday. I got a notice from Fedex around lunch time, got busy in work, and then called my local bike shop (the venerable, awesome Geneva Bicycle Center) to see if I could stop by to see the unboxing of the beast. Lo and behold, they said assembly was almost done, and that I could come pick it up. I raced downtown. The Yuba Mundo’s first impression was…loooonnnngggg! Oddly, seeing it on the rack in the shop, the first thing I thought of was a hearse. Another kickstarter project for green burial processions flittered through my head.

Anyway, I had my first ride around the block, and GBC’s Matt took some photos with my camera (which had no memory card in it! Doh!). My first impression from that, and it has remained since that test ride, is that the bike is really smooth and a pleasure to ride. The turning radius is a bit wider, but I adjusted to that within a day. The other fun aspect of the bike was…gears! I’ve been riding a single speed for the past six years or so; 21 speeds I barely know what to do with. So the Yuba feels far faster than what I’m used to. I think I might be breaking the speed limit a bit going down William Street.

On the way home, I saw my daughter’s bike at the bakery, so I stopped in to interrupt her little internship for a quick ride on the back. She had a blast, but she keeps asking for a brake lever on the stoker bars…even if it doesn’t work. It’s a control thing, I get it.

So here she is. My daughter calls it “the bus”. I haven’t settled on a name yet. I’ve ridden her every day since last Thursday: on my commute to work, downtown for errands, to the grocery store.

Over the last week I’ve been tweaking the bike to my liking. This is my main ride and will replace my car as much as possible; it’s also an ambassador for cargo bikes in this area. I want it to feel and look proper.

So here’s what I’ve done so far: swapped my Brooks B67 leather saddle from the old bike, and added Brooks grips to the handlebars; they feel and look pretty awesome. I wanted a more old-school, swept-back handlebar angle, so I replaced the stock handlebars with Nitto Albatross bars, which are really fun and feel as comfortable as everyone says. I trimmed the stock bars down a few inches and put them into the stoker stem and added some cork grips (I still have to shellac those). I added aluminum fenders from Velo-Orange (it took quite a while to install them, especially bending a front stay around the disc brake caliper in a graceful manner). I wanted more coverage in rain. And I wanted it shinier. Lastly I donated the stock bell (which sounds awesome!) to my daughter’s bike. Her eyeball bell broke a few months ago, but she’s leaving it there, next to the new bell, because people like the eyeball rolling around. I added a crane copper bell, classic! Here’s a close up of the handlebars:

One of my goals with this bicycle is to really learn how to take care of it; I’d like to be prepared for simple repairs on the road and adjustments at home. I also spent a few nights in the garage tweaking the derailleurs, in part to get them the way I wanted, in part to learn how they work and how to adjust them. I got the rear system down, but the front is still giving me a bit of trouble. [Turns out I did get it right. I didn’t realize that the front trigger shifter would have a very different feel than the rear one, and that it was normal to have to push the trigger down farther and hold it a bit longer on that side–thanks again GBC for the guidance.]

I’ve also been putting a tool kit together for under the seat, and have been practicing with the new Park chain tool and a bit of chain GBC-owner Jim Hogan gave me for the purpose.  Next up is learning how to use the tire bars and change a tire.

The Yuba Mundo is almost ready for prime time. The side-loader panels were back-ordered, and I’m trying to locate a go-getter bag in stock. Probably next week, Geneva Bicycle Center is going to rebuild the front wheel around a Shimano Alfine dynohub, and I’ll be adding a Schmidt Edelux headlight and B&M taillight. I hope to do some events outside of Geneva, and I want good lights for those (otherwise gloriously) dark country roads. Lastly, I still need to devise signs for the side of the Mundo to complete its transformation into the Bicycle Astronomy Velocipede.


10 thoughts on “Yuba Mundo, the Bicycle Astronomy Velocipeeeeede…

  1. What kind of telescope are you going to tote around on the Mundo? I’m about to trade my truck in for a Mundo and I’m wondering if I’ll be able to take my 10″ Dob out out on it. I currently lug my double bass around town on my Schwinn Coffee, but my telescope is much more unwieldy.

    • What kind of dob is it? The telescope I’m building will be a travel design that folds up into a box, so it will be much easier to carry around then your double base. I’d love to see a photo of that, by the way! I have a 10″ lightweight dob designed by Dennis at Dobstuff.com, but even that’s a bit too unwieldy…weight isn’t the issue, just the size/shape of the components. In a few days I’m going to post about the Veloscope design. I just got a few images in from the designer who’s laying it out in autocad. Stay tuned!

      • I have a Zhumell z10. I’ll probably get a trailer that can do double duty and carry my amp, too. I have fairly dark skies at home and some great rural spots within biking distance.

        I have a gig in town tomorrow. Photos will be posted soon.

        I can’t wait to hear about the new scope!

      • I think the trailer might make the best sense for you, too. I kind of think that big bulky items may work best in trailers or box bikes. The Yuba and other longcycles distribute their cargo on either side of the rear wheel so that makes it harder for it to carry bulky single items. Have a great gig! Doug

  2. Welcome to the club! I’ve had my Mundo since mid-March and LOVE it!! I’ve almost put 2000 miles on it, probably more than any other bike I’ve ever had. I carry both kiddos on it and use it for about 90% of my transportation needs, including hauling some pretty weird things (sandboxes, Ez-up tents, tables, etc). It’s been a fantastic tool and I look forward to watching you grow with yours. I haven’t made nearly as many tweaks as you have, I love the classy touches that you’ve added. I was in my local shop today in Sacramento and it sounded like they were about to ship some Go-Getters to you (small world). Enjoy!

    Elle (tinyhelmetsbigbikes.com)

    • Elle,
      Thanks for writing. Yeah, Tim at Practical Cycles saved my tuckus by agreeing to send me one of his Go-Getter bag floor models. They’re out of stock everywhere. Tim isn’t set up for mail order yet, so he did me a real good turn. Unless you’re carrying something bulky that you can lash on, the go-getter bag is pretty necessary, or some other kind of container for the sides. I was all prepared to make a floor for the bread basket out of some scrap wood, when I was helping my daughter organize her closet and noticed the cedar racks that line her shelves. It fit! Just needed two narrow slats underneath to keep it steady, and two zip ties. I’ll post images of that soon. The bread basket is great, but as it comes it needs some kind of floor or bag to be usable. Thanks again for writing!

      • Don’t forget to take out the screws on the side arms before you put on the Go-Getters. Tim warned me but I didn’t take him seriously. I ended up with giant holes in the bottom after just a few weeks. Those screws are sharp! I also really like having a milk crate on the bike as a “junk drawer.” Zip ties are fantastic!

  3. Elle,
    Do you have the running boards installed or not? I don’t have them yet, but when I do I’ll have to use the screws. Maybe I can cover them with something soft or reinforce the bag bottom? Thanks for the head’s up.

    • I don’t have the running boards. My little guy’s legs are too short to reach anyway. I really utilize the bike towing ability of the Mundo and that wouldn’t work with the boards. I’m sure you could just tape them over to prevent tearing.

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