Legislation re electric-aided bikes

An interesting post from Pascal. From the doc to which he links I learn

European legislation stipulates that only pedelecs “which are equipped with an auxiliary electric motor having a maximum continuous rated power of 0,25 kW, of which the output is progressively reduced and finally cut off as the vehicle reaches a speed of 25 km/h, or sooner, if the cyclist stops pedalling” are classified as bicycles. For these vehicle types, the European standard EN 15194 (EPAC – Electrically Power Assisted Cycles) has been implemented.

E-bikes and pedelecs of which the motor output exceeds 0.25 KW and/or the motor assists beyond 25 km/h are classified as mopeds. They have to comply with the type-approval legislation as laid down in Directive 2002/24/EC and all accompanying Directive. Full details on all legislation governing pedelecs and E-bikes are in the fact sheet “Legal Framework”.

Is that what Cycles Maximus are talking about when they say that the Lynch PowerDrive is “Street legal 12-Volt” they don’t make the corresponding claim re the 24-volt Heinzmann Powerhub?

Links: Presto, European Twowheel Retailers’ Association

Skinning an organ as a triptych

Mockups from Ancient to Modern

For a travelling show it makes reasonable sense to use a largish case to (a) contain the organ works & (b) serve as a stage/backdrop. Assuming side > rear, the side might seem the preferred option, but then you’ve got the visual distraction of the rest of the bike. One way of increasing the rear width is to use hinged doors on the back to get a triptych. Here are a couple of mockups of the triptych-ised rear elevations using a Cycles Maximus soft-top cargo bike with the top structure modified to give an extra 45cm or so vertical reach. I like the Mortier one:

At least the look, and possibly the functionality, of the side doors would obviously need to be reasonably flexible.

Here for additional amusement & extra refs is the OED entry for triptych:

    1. a. Antiq. A set of three writing-tablets hinged or tied together.    b. A card made to fold in three divisions. Also attrib.

1731 GALE in Phil. Trans. XXXVII. 161 The Diptychs and Triptychs that were covered with Wax, served only for common Occurrences. 1885 E. M. THOMPSON in Encycl. Brit. XVIII. 154/1 These triptychs then were libelli of three tablets of wood, cleft from one piece and fastened together, like the leaves of a book, by strings passed through two holes pierced near the edge. Mod. Advt., Confirmation Triptych. A small-folding Triptych Certificate Card.

    2. A picture or carving (or set of three such) in three compartments side by side, the lateral ones being usually subordinate, and hinged so as to fold over the central one; chiefly used as an altar-piece.

[1848 A. JAMESON Sacr. & Leg. Art (1850) 227 In a tabernacle or triptica by Niccolo Frumenti, the central compartment represents the raising of Lazarus.] 1849 CURZON Visits Monast. 366 The most valuable reliquary of St. Laura is a kind of triptic. 1852 A. JAMESON Leg. Madonna Introd. (1857) 53 A Triptych is an altar-piece in three parts. 1896 Church Times 14 Aug. 154 There is no east window, but above the altar is an exquisite triptych.

    3. transf.    a. A set of three operas or pieces of music intended to be performed together.

1925 R. A. STREATFEILD Opera (ed. 5) xiii. 304 Puccini’s last work is a so-called ‘triptych’, consisting of three one-act operas. 1928 Grove’s Dict. Mus. (ed. 3) IV. 283/2 In this triptych the composer’s technique is more elaborate than in ‘Butterfly’. 1959 Listener 31 Dec. 1176/3 Any music that makes a strong visual suggestion like the Debussy orchestral triptychs. 1976 New Yorker 1 Mar. 90/1 This season, the triptych has been reassembled: a new ‘Tabarro’ and ‘Suor Angelica’ join the 1974 staging of ‘Gianni Schicchi’. 1976 Gramophone Sept. 424/2 Ormandy’s version (which offers 24 minutes’ extra music in the form of Feste romane, the still more luridly coloured third leaf of the triptych) will do very nicely.

    b. Cinemat. A sequence of film designed to be shown on a triple screen, using linked projectors.

1976 Oxf. Compan. Film 494/2 After the first presentation it [sc. Napoléon] was released in a truncated version from which the triptych sequences had been removed: Gance, disappointed by the poor reception, destroyed much of the original footage, including some of the triptych. 1980 Times 5 Dec. 11/5 The great triptych – Gance called it Polyvision – in no respect falls short… From the breath-catching moment when the screen is suddenly multiplied to reveal a great panorama of the Grand Army on the Alps, Gance’s use of the triptych is light years in advance of anything three-projector Cinerama ever achieved. Ibid., Sometimes the triptych image is a continuous panorama; sometimes it is split into different images. There are superimpositions and mirror images, the whole orchestrated with passion.

    So in Fr. form {trli}triptyque (triptik), applied to a threefold card used as an international passport by associations of motorists.

1908 Westm. Gaz. 21 Jan. 4/2 The triptyque, or special card which opens the doors to half-a-dozen countries, and relieves its holder of much bewildering formula when touring abroad. 1909 Daily Chron. 9 July 8/3 The adoption of the triptyque, or international passport, for balloons and aeroplanes such as is now in use for motor-cars.

Barcelona’s Mr Camper Bike is coming for lunch

Here’s another one, Kevin Cyr. The thought of cycling that in even the mildest of winds is quite terrifying. European transport bikes are horrendously expensive and have lots of useless pijo features. How would I go about importing and converting a Chinese transport bike?

Armin Raso-Katz takes his organ on a tour of Northern Ireland

Nice little video here from this sparsely documented international artist:

I don’t know what its specification is, and I don’t know the Kassel maker, but this is probably the kind of thing I’m interested in. The mini-pram-type carriage is interesting, but a trike will give me speed and flexibility.

Magnificent French orgue de barbarie entertainer

He’s got a false arm, he’s a spoons virtuoso, he’s got a good hat, his monkey plays the violin. In short, a genius:


  1. He’s got a pole support and the organ strapped round his neck, like all the guys in Mexico DF. That’s fine, although I imagine it must cause back trouble, but I like to be able to jump and run about in order to inspire a slightly higher degree of fear in the public.
  2. I’m slightly puzzled by the machinery. If he’s got his books spilling all over the place his replacement bill must be rather high. And I can’t figure out what’s going on inside when the front case opens. Are those more puppets inside? The monkey-violin effect must be digital, so is there actually any conventional machinery at all? Whatever, I need to look at more organ innards.
  3. We tend to associate the French with accordeons, but in fact their (related) barrel organ tradition (ah! French engineering!) is far more glorious, and to my mind superior to what those cunning Dutch and Germans get up to.
  4. Who is this man? What’s the rest of his show like?

“Orgue de Barbarie”

What with QEI having sent an organ to the Turk, it’s only right that the French have their organs come from Barbary. Wikipédia says:

L’explication la plus répandue de son nom viendrait d’une déformation d’« orgue de Barberi », d’après le fabricant italien de Modène, Giovanni Barbieri (début du XVIIIe siècle), mais selon d’autres opinions il vient plutôt du fait que les joueurs du XVIIe siècle et XVIIIe siècle « baragouinaient un français approximatif et qu’ils venaient “d’ailleurs” ».

Une autre hypothèse est une provenance du Maghreb. En effet à cet époque-là, le Maghreb était appelé la « Barbarie » par les Européens. Pour les « vrais » musiciens, les « amateurs » qui se contentaient de tourner une manivelle venaient voler comme des barbares leur musique et leur gagne-pain. Toutefois, l’usage veut que l’on écrive Barbarie avec une majuscule.

Le nom orgue est masculin au singulier, et au pluriel, lorsqu’il désigne plusieurs instruments distincts. Il peut être utilisé au féminin pluriel lorsqu’il s’agit d’un seul instrument. Exemple : les grands orgues de France (plusieurs instruments), le grand orgue de Notre-Dame, ou les grandes orgues de Notre-Dame (un seul instrument). Cette particularité ne s’applique pas aux orgues de Barbarie, pour lesquels on conserve le masculin.

To close the circle, here’s Mozart’s Turkish March (slightly tweaked) played on a Odin Barbary organ:

Early tricycle-barrel organ conversion

From The Parish Clerk (1907) by Peter Hampson Ditchfield:

Robert Dicker, quondam cabinet-maker in the town of Crediton, Devon, reigned for many years as parish clerk to the, at one time, collegiate church of the same town. He appears to have fulfilled his office satisfactorily up to about 1870, when his mind became somewhat feeble. Nevertheless, no desire was apparent to shorten the days of his office, as he was regular in his attendance and musically inclined; but when he began to play pranks upon the vicar it became necessary to consider the advisability of finding a substitute who should do the work and receive half the pay. One of his escapades was to stand up in the middle of service and call the vicar a liar; at another time he announced that a wedding was to take place on a certain day. The vicar, therefore, attended and waited for an hour, when the clerk affirmed that he must have dreamed it! Dicker was given to the study of astronomy, and it is related that he once gave a lecture on this subject in the Public Rooms. There is close to the town a small park in memory of one of the Duller family. A man one night was much alarmed when walking therein to discover a bright light in one of the trees, and, later, to hear the voice of the worthy clerk, who addressed him in these words: “Fear not, my friend, and do not be affrighted. I am Robert Dicker, clerk of the parish. I am examining the stars.” Another account alleges that he affirmed himself to be “counting the stars.” Whichever account is the true one, it will be gathered that he was already “far gone.”

Another of his achievements was the conversion of a barrel organ,purchased from a neighbouring church, into a manual, obtaining the wind therefor by a pedal arrangement which worked a large wheel attached to a crank working the bellows. On all great festivals and especially on Christmas Day he was wont to rouse the neighbourhood as early as three and four o’clock, remarking of the ungrateful, complaining neighbours that they had no heart for music or religion.
The wheel mentioned above was part of one of his tricycle schemes. His first attempt in cycle-making resulted in the construction of a bicycle the wheels of which resembled the top of a round deal table; this soon came to grief. His second endeavour was more successful and became a tricycle, the wheels of which were made of wrought iron and the base of a triangular shape. Upon the large end he placed an arm-chair, averring that it would be useful to rest in whenever he should grow weary! Then, making another attempt, he succeeded in turning out (being aided by another person) a very respectable and useful tricycle upon which he made many journeys to Barnstaple and elsewhere.

However, just as an end comes to everything that is mortal, so did an end come to our friend the clerk; for, as so many stories finish, he died in a good old age, and his substitute reigned in his stead.

I’ve never seriously ridden a tricycle, but it’s the logical solution.


QE1 once sent an organ avec grinder but sans monkey to Sultan Mehmet, but I don’t think anything good came of it–at any rate, there’s not much Orlando Gibbons being played in Istanbul these days.

Biciclown, the excellent Álvaro Neil, is in Istanbul at the moment. Here’s one of his promotional videos:

And here’s de heer Jerónimo at BikeTech in Gracia, Barcelona putting together his latest bike:

This raises a number of existential questions:

  1. Do you want to make children happy and the world a better place?
    Alarm and disgust are my contribution to society.
  2. Will your organ fit in a tent?
    The jury’s well out on that one. Maybe, maybe not, so room for manoeuvre required.
  3. Can you live on €3 a day?
    Dammit man, that’s only two beers.
  4. What are the implications for your revenue model?
    No free gigs, except in places like markets and bars where food and drink and plump ladies are available in abundance. In fact, I’d rather like to be barrel organist to the Sultan of Somewhere, playing Orlando Gibbons of course.
  5. Anything else?
    Er, no, that’s all for the moment.

[Did you know that Nero distressed the bombers by playing the hydraulis, a water-regulated organ, rather than the fiddle as Rome burned? Roman firemen were string enthusiasts–Mantovani, that kind of stuff. What the whole world wants to know: did Byrne make it back OK?]

Pantomime-horse-drawn fake barrel organ

I thoroughly approve of Reactor‘s carriage propulsion concept:

But will I be able to find such people to draw me across Europe? On balance, bicycle may still be best.