Posts filed under ‘News from the Factory’
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Bike Friday owners Eugenia Hart and her husband Peter rode their Bike Fridays from Minnesota to the East Coast.]
By Eugenia Hart
Having already completed the western half of a transcontinental bike ride from Washington to the Wisconsin border, I wanted to figure some way to finish the quest. With my 70th birthday rapidly approaching, my husband got an announcement of his 50th high school reunion to be held in Connecticut. We decided that riding our bikes out there was the perfect way to accomplish both objectives in one shot and really have something to remember.Â It may not say much for the value of his public education, but it may win him a prize for the most unusual way of getting to the reunion.
We packed up the Bike Fridays and flew from our home in Arizona to Minnesota where our daughter and grandchild live. After a week of enjoying being grandparents, we committed to the trip by taking the suitcases to the Post Office and mailing them to our ultimate destination in Connecticut.
With the cases on their way, we left Minnesota and headed into Wisconsin in what was mostly the most direct route across each state/province to the Atlantic Ocean. We did take the ferry across Lake Michigan which was an enjoyable experience even though it consumed most of the day … only rode 7 miles that day.
Our travels took us across Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario (Canada), New York, and Massachusetts to the Atlantic ocean. Having relatives north of Boston, we figured if time allowed, we would go see them. Well, we discovered that we were well ahead of schedule and easily made it to the east coast. We ultimately reached the ocean at Plum Island, north of Boston where I was able to dip my tire into the Atlantic Ocean, completing my cross country (self contained) bicycle trip with weeks to spare before my birthday.
There was still the matter of the reunion, so we still had to make it to Connecticut. Considering that we had had nothing but clear skies and tailwind since we left Minnesota, the rolling hills of Massachusetts and Connecticut were a bit of a grind. Nothing you couldn’t do with the gearing range we had, but they just keep coming and kind of wear you out. We made it easily in three and a half days, which left us plenty of time to get ready for the reunion.
We utilized a wide range of options for our nightly stays. There was always the credit card for a hotel, but we especially enjoyed the Warmshowers stays. Having hosted bikers for many years before when we were in Fargo (northern tier route) and since we have moved to Arizona, it was kind of interesting to see how kind people can be to what many people see as “strangers.” We may well be strange, but we seem to have a common interest in the bike and sharing our stories of the road.
Other overnights were utilized with another organization we belong to for people over 50 years of age. Much like Warmshowers, people take you into their homes and you have a much better experience than another lonely night in the motel. We did manage to camp one night but not sure it made carrying the necessary gear a wise decision.
We had overpacked our clothing needs because we were in a transitional period of the year. It was warm, but well could have been cold; it was dry, but well could have just poured down on us. One thing is for sure, we were happy after we stopped at the Post Office and mailed some of the things on forward. We figured if things changed, we could always find a thrift or department store to acquire what we might need and discard it afterward.
We have fond memories of our trip and the wonderful experience it was. So many people were just in awe of what we did, but we told them: anyone can do it…. It isn’t a race, you just do what you can. The best part was that we had fun doing it!
6 comments January 2, 2014
As folks all around the world make the commitment to change their lifestyle, we’ve found more and more people turning to Bike Friday to offer solutions.
We’ve had the ability to build Bike Fridays with heavy rider upgrades to 280 pounds, but we still found individuals yearning for change whom we had to turn away. No more.
The Diamond Tourist is an upgraded fully custom version of our long time popular New World Tourist.
It comes with a mountain bike style flat handlebar and 24-speed twist shifter, but can be customized to fit your desires.
In addition to using our original Bike Friday diamond frame design, the fork and rear end are built for heavier loads. We’ve added upgraded rims and tires to complete the package.
There are 20 color choices available, as well as frame sizes from 48 cm to 60 cm.
The Diamond Tourist starts at $1,398.
Add comment December 4, 2013
Dear tikit owners:
A little more than a year has passed since we asked you to stop riding your Bike Friday tikits because of safety issues with our stems. I’m proud to say that we have satisfied the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Commission official recall, and it has been lifted.
By no means does this mean we are walking away from our responsibility to see that each and every Bike Friday tikit on the road has a safe stem.
Searching through our records, we found and replaced 2,147 stems out of a possible 4,000; that is more than 50 percent. The CPSC tells us that a typical recall results in 10-15 percent compliance. We still want to make it 100 percent.
If, by chance, we’ve somehow missed you, which is a possibility given how massive a challenge this has been, please contact us immediately.
We also ask that you check with anyone you know who owns a tikit to confirm they have had their stem replaced. We even suggest you ask anyone you happen to encounter with a tikit, just to make sure.
As you know, each tikit stem we have replaced takes an hour of work in our production line and is performed by one of three individuals with the skills here to do that. Contrary to some rumors, we have done all the replacement work here at our factory in Eugene.
The challenge was to keep our company in business, so we can provide support for our bicycles well into the future. We’ve managed to succeed.
As a small business owner, I know we couldn’t have survived this without the amazing support of our customers. So many of you were gracious enough to allow others to move ahead of you in line since they rely on their tikits for every day use. We thank you again your help, and for sticking with us.
Best in cycling,
Add comment October 21, 2013
[EDITOR'S NOTE: This is part of an on-going series on the individuals who make Bike Friday what it is: A collection of unique cycling enthusiasts spreading the word in interesting manners.]
Everyone has a story, but if you wander around the Bike Friday Factory you might be amazed at some of the tales of life that can be told.
Take one of the guys on the production team, Willie Hatfield.
When Willie starts talking about his life, it moves along as a somewhat typical story.
So, you might ask, how did he come to create something so amazing as the 8-foot- tall human pedal powered Dinosaur in the photo above?
He grew up primarily in the Midwest. Went to study engineering at the University of Michigan.
Then, well, like most people, his story takes on a life of its own.
At Michigan, Willie studied Naval Architecture. That eventually drew him to New Orleans, where he worked for defense contractor working on ship concepts.
That job and life isn’t what Willie had envisioned for himself. So, he hopped on his bicycle, and spent the next three years touring the US, basically circling the country.
One day his travels took him through Arcadia, California, where he saw a post for the Kinetic Grand Championship.
Well, it’s a race of Kinetic Sculptures. Their website says:
“Kinetic Sculptures are all-terrain human-powered art sculptures that are engineered to race over road, water, mud and sand. Kinetic sculptures are amazing works of art; many are animated with moving parts like blinking eyes, opening mouths, heads that move side to side and up and down.
“Kinetic Sculptures are usually made from what some people consider junk. But one manâ€™s junk is another racerâ€™s raw material. Each Kinetic Sculpture is a work of art and each racing team has its own theme.”
It piqued Willie’s curiosity.
“It is a combination of art and engineering, and that sounded neat,” Willie says. “I thought about it, and realized that I would need access to a full-time shop. So I just kept it in the back of my head.”
Fast forward four years later, when Willie focused on Oregon as a place to find a job in the bicycle industry.
He came to Bike Friday, and got hired.
“One day Julia [Findon] was talking about daVinci Days in Corvallis,” Willie says, “and I had an immediate flashback to that day four years earlier.”
You could say Willie dug up a fossil of an idea.
He went to work on his project for daVinci Days almost immediately.
More than 1,000 manhours of labor later, he was the toast of the da Vinci Daysâ€™ Graand Kinetic Challenge.
“No matter what it is that I’m working on, I try to offer a fresh approach to it,” Willie says. “That makes it more challenging and interesting for me.”
Willie entered his creation in the da Vinci Daysâ€™ Graand Kinetic Challenge.
The 8-foot-tall tyrannosaurus rex skeleton is made up of bones from recycled steel bike frames and buoyant foam. The wheels are attached to the legs and tail. It cost about $200 in materials.
While he didn’t win any of the major prizes at the event, he’s proud to say he won almost all the favorite awards.
“I was fans’ favorite, volunteers’ favorite and the racers’ favorite,” Willie says, “I won all the favorites, and that was neat.”
And Greg Alpert, safety judge and emcee of the event, told the Corvallis Gazette-Times newspaper,Â â€œIâ€™ve been watching this race since the mid-1980s and participating, and Iâ€™ve never seen anything like this vehicle. This is really cool, very unique.â€
So if you get a chance to stop by the Factory someday and take a tour, make sure to ask who the Dinosaur guy is.
Add comment September 30, 2013
Hey, did you charge your bike?
If Shimano — and now Campagnolo — have their way, this might become a more common question with the introduction of electronic shifting.
With battery life extending several months, charging will be a very infrequent occurrence.
For folding and travel bikes this actually makes a lot of sense — electric wires don’t care about tricky routing and potentially getting kinked during packing.
We have installed Shimano’s Ultegra Di2 on several Bike Fridays and it works very well. It even plays nice with the Capreo cassette.
We have done builds with a 56T chainring for a tall 56×9 top gear, and also with a compact 34/50 crankset for more mountain friendly gearing.
The frame does require a few special modifications.
First, we add braze-on mounts for the battery on the back of the seat tube. The battery then sits neatly tucked out of the way between the seat tube and rear wheel.
There is a mount for the junction box on the front of the seat tube.
The front derailleur requires additional bracing for the motor to push against, so we add some reinforcement to the hanger.
And finally we can leave off the gear cable loops on the mainframe, as there is only the rear brake cable to run.
Once it is all setup, shifting is perfect; the front derailleur even trims itself as the chain moves up and down the cassette.
Do we NEED electric shifting? Probably not, but it is pretty neat!
13 comments September 23, 2013
By Rich King
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Last fall when Bike Friday faced the challenge of our tikit stem recall, Richard King appeared out of nowhere to lend his assistance. An independent engineer with experience in failure analysis and stress analysis, King came up to Eugene at his own expense, and visited Bike Friday.
He reviewed our testing procedures as well as our solution, and gave us valuable independent confirmation that our solution was sound. Shortly after that, Richard became a Bike Friday owner. He recently sent us this note:]
Instead of “what did you do on a Bike Friday,” this post is in its own category: “what did you do to your Friday?
I had a very nice Bike Friday Pocket Companion, minding its own business, serving me well as a travel and utility bike. I used to have a Rans Rocket recumbent, a double 20-inch short wheel base, which was fun to ride. They don’t make it anymore.
I now have a Bacchetta Strada, with bigger wheels and an aerodynamic laid back position. It was fast but not as manueverable as the Rocket had been.
Also ‘bents are not the best to travel with, of course (except for those fortunate enough to own a SatRDay).
I don’t remember when the seed got planted, but it occurred to me that if you removed the seat post on my Companion and put on a recumbent seat, then clamped a boom on the front for the cranks, the Friday’s geometry would be similar to the Rans Rocket’s. By angling the boom a little higher and reclining the seat more, youâ€™d get a more aero position similar to the Bacchetta’s.
I’m not a machinist. I am a mechanical engineer, but a theory guy.
I can analyze things on a computer just fine, but actually working with metal in practice is more of a challenge (to put it kindly). Also the tools at my disposal are the typical suburban garage stuff.
So out came the hacksaw and I cut the boom off the Strada, after she served me faithfully for about 8 years. Sorry! I was able to recycle the steel from her frame and sell some of the components, and reuse the recumbent seat for my project.
I squished the end of the boom in a vice to mimic Friday’s ovalized main tube. I took an aluminum tube and also squished it, cut in half, and used it to splice the boom to the Companion with tube clamps from McMaster-Carr (a good source for general-purpose mechanical stuff).
Some “mending plates” from the hardware store served to improvise a clamp for the bottom of the Strada’s seat. The back support tubes (known in the ‘bent world as “sprint braces” — a bit of exaggeration if I’m the rider) fit nicely into the threaded eyelets Green Gear provides for a rear rack.
To finish it off, I used the Strada’s rollers and chain. “Chain management” is a big issue on recumbents in general. When youâ€™ve got to replace your chain you use three conventional bike chains hooked together. The humongous length of chain flops all over the place and rubs on things if you don’t “manage” it. The x-roller system Bacchetta uses worked well for this purpose.
So here’s a picture of the finished prototype.
It rides great! Nimble like the Rans Rocket, but fast like a Bacchetta if I recline the seat enough. I rode it for a few weeks around my home in Morgan Hill, CA, and it did just fine. I got cocky and decided to enter the Oregon Human-powered championships, held May 24 and 25 at Portland International Raceway. That should be no problem with a suitcase bike!
Before you get to the Friday packing part, here are the extra steps: remove the seat, undo the master link on the chain, put it in a plastic bag so it doesn’t get grease all over everything, then unclamp the boom. Not too bad, about 10 minutes worth.
Now go through the usual Friday packing procedure. Then work the boom in around the bike. Dang, it won’t fit with the cranks attached. OK, undo the cranks from the boom and fit them in separately. Almost done, just fit the seat in on top of the bike and close the lid!
There’s no way the lid going to close without separating the seat in two. So out comes the hacksaw again, and off to the hardware store again for some more mending plates. The result works from an engineering standpoint, if not too aesthetically pleasing (nothing a little black duct tape won’t hide).
Now the two parts of the seat go in and the lid closes! With me kneeling on it while I strain my fingers working the latches, hoping I’m not bending anything critical inside. There’s a good chance if TSA pops this open to inspect, they’ll never get it closed again. All right, so it’s a two suitcase bike. Thank goodness Southwest Airlines lets you check two. The seat goes in the bag with my clothes.
I flew to Portland a day early so I could show it off to my friends at Friday in Eugene. It took less than 10 minutes to reassemble the bike! That’s aside from the recumbent part, which took a further 90 minutes, much of which was spent on reassembling the blankety-blank seat.
I finally made it to Fridayâ€™s facility. Now, I was a bit embarrassed showing off my kludged-together contraption to professionals, but it was warmly received. Alan Scholz and a couple of other guys took it for a ride and came back smiling. My favorite was when I tried to explain that the seat didn’t adjust, so only people with about the same leg length as me could try it out. Someone took one look at the bike, laughed and said “Rich, you don’t need to explain why the seat doesn’t adjust”.
So feeling nicely reassured that the folks at Friday didn’t mind too much what I did to their creation, I headed up to Portland for the event. I had scratched the decals during the conversion process, so they steamed them off for me at Bike Friday and gave me new ones to replace them with. But I managed to promptly lose them!
So I showed up at the Portland raceway with an unidentified bike, but at least I was wearing my Bike Friday Jersey. It was well received, and more than one person who fondly remembered the SatRday said they liked it. As I was zooming by (at least it seemed like zooming to me) in the time trial, I heard some â€œgo Friday!â€ shouts.
I must say in this crowd I fit right in, in fact this was one of the tamer of the homebuilds. I think my favorite was a front wheel drive recumbent where you pedal with both your hands and feet. Quite a good workout, the rider was quite fast on it, but man was he huffing and puffing afterward.
As far as the racing results, the bike did pretty well, although it could do with a better engine. I’m working on that, but with a vintage 1953 engine thereâ€™s only so much you can do.
In the racing class of recumbents without fairings, the bike got soundly whupped by the â€œlow racersâ€ which are super-aero with the rider very low and almost horizontal — itâ€™s a bad sign when you can see them balancing themselves by laying a hand on the ground while they are standing still.
The â€˜bent Friday held its own, though, against more upright (and practical) â€œhigh racers.â€ So if you like a fast practical bike like the performance bikes by Bachhetta, Volae, etc, I think this design could be a travel worthy equivalent (if we can get the packing time down from 90 minutes).
Since the Portland trip, Iâ€™ve also ridden the bike in a human-powered vehicle event at the Hellyer velodrome nearby in San Jose. It was exhilarating riding it on the banked turns, which I had never tried before. I even played with swooping down from the banks into the straights like the track cyclists do in match sprints. I was glad to have brakes, though, unlike track bikes.
But I must say that, like most â€˜bents, this bike shines the most as a comfortable cruiser. Lazyboy on wheels!
2 comments September 15, 2013
We get calls every day. From people all around the world.
Sometimes the names sound kinda familiar. Like really familiar.
Sometimes we have to ask, “Are you THE [fill in the blank]??”
Guess who called in to order the Triple above?
HINT: Look at the nameplate!
Add comment September 11, 2013
See, this graffiti artist Gabe DeLao stopped by the Factory .
“Listen, you have trouble with taggers,” he said. “They tag blank walls. But if you have artwork, they respect it, and leave it alone.”
Kinda made sense to us, especially when Gabe admitted that he started as one of those taggers when he was young, but has since seen the light.
So he made us a great offer we couldn’t refuse.
And presto. The container out front got a makeover.
You can check out Gabe’s work at muralogy.tumblr.com
1 comment August 8, 2013
Adventure Cyclist’s Patrick O’Grady has a video review of the Bike Friday Silk online. Check out the whole review in the latest issue of Adventure Cyclist.
Add comment August 6, 2013
On this Saturday, July 27th, you are invited to join Co-Founder Alan Scholz and a few others from Bike Friday’s headquarters in Eugene, Oregon, as we take advantage of the Portland Art Museum’s gracious hospitality.
The day will begin at 9 a.m. as Alan gives a talk about bicycle design in the Whitsell Auditorium. Then the Museum will open its doors 30 minutes early for Alan to lead an exclusive tour through the Cyclepedia exhibit.
Visit the Museum’s Buy Tickets Page to order your tickets. Use the Promo Code BFS727 to get a discount price of $11, a $4 savings from the regular admission price.
Ride your Bike Friday to the event and take advantage of the Portland Art Museum’s secure bike parking. Later on, we might take a short ride through Portland!
Also, Join Raz at Portland Sunday Parkways on July 28. Bike Friday will be at Arbor Lodge Park on Delaware and Bryant.
Add comment July 23, 2013