Archive for September, 2011
Nothing better than a first-hand account to give you insight into the Bike Friday experience.
Graham Smith recently decided to find out once and for all what it is like to travel by train in Australia with his New World Tourist.
Add comment September 30, 2011
Portland Sunday Parkways closed its 2011 season on Sept. 25 with a ride through the Northeast section of town.
Despite some stormy weather, with periods of downpours, the turnout was pretty good.
When the sun poked through, the traffic level spiked and everyone was out to have a good time.
A reminder to anyone who was there, or missed it. We plan to come up to Portland for a Show and Ride event the weekend of October 22-23. The site has yet to be determined. If you are not on our email list (if you are on our email list, you would have gotten the email notice last week that we were coming to Portland Sunday Parkways), just email Raz (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he’ll make sure you get notified where and when we will be there.
Meanwhile, enjoy some shots from Sunday:
2 comments September 26, 2011
Since they were passing through Eugene, they figured they’d stop by Bike Friday to see if we could help them out.
You see, Jo Erickson suffered a spinal cord injury that left her with paralysis of her lower right leg and foot. At the time, she thought her cycling days might be over. But Rand found a solution.
“I have no control of my foot,” Jo says, pointing to her right foot that points outward. “I couldn’t ride because my heel would catch.”
Cycling was an important element of their lives.
“Rand and I had been riding for 33 years,” Jo says. “Before my surgery, we were riding every day.”
“Well, not every day,” Rand says.
“OK, then,” Jo says, “I’ll say five times a week for 33 years.”
So Rand, now a retired fireman, went to work in his shop. The result was a platform pedal that brought cycling back to Jo.
“The first one was plexiglass,” Jo says, “but it eventually broke. So he made the next one with steel.”
No, Rand says, he’s not a designer or handyman or metal worker. He just came up with the idea and made it.
“With each of her surgeries she has lost a little more ability,” Rand says.
“I’ve had four back surgeries,” Jo says. “With this last one, I lost a little bit more. So I started having troubles on the bike I’ve been riding for 10 years. It was like trying to learn to ride all over again.”
The Ericksons stopped at Bike Friday wondering if our bikes could offer a solution. Jo took a New World Tourist with a NuVinci hub for a ride. She bought it.
“She can get on it easy and off it easy,” Rand says. “It’s a little bit lower to the ground, so she can comfortably stop and feel secure.”
It isn’t as easy for Jo to get on and off her saddle on most bikes. Getting her right foot out of the pedal can be a problem, too.
“That makes me feel leery,” Jo says. “As soon as I got on this bike, I put my foot down by myself.”
Rand just shakes his head.
“I don’t know why,” Rand says. “But it works.”
Add comment September 24, 2011
But getting a sense of what it all means it somewhat of a challenge.
Each element of the bike industry has its own take, and its own interests.
So, finding out what’s on the horizon — where we are headed — is easiest to find out from the journalists. In a nutshell, it’s their job to know.
As a former magazine man myself, hooking up with a couple of editors placed high on my agenda.
Since I’m the Marketing Dude here at Bike Friday, I have to know what people are thinking. What they are doing. So we can react, or, even better, jump ahead of the curve.
I spent some time with Michael Deme, editor of Adventure Cyclist; Mia Kohout, co-publisher of Momentum; and Karen Brooks, editor of Bicycle Times.
Adventure Cyclist speaks to a large contingent of Bike Friday owners — those who log thousands of miles touring on their Fridays.
Throughout the summer, it seems like once or twice a week we hear from a Bike Friday owner crossing the U.S. on the Adventure Cycling Trans-Am route. Or headed someplace else with an Adventure Cycling map in their bag.
Members of the Adventure Cycling Association have learned that Bike Fridays make great touring bikes. There’s a synergy that connects us.
My question for Deme, though, looked to the future. What’s next?
“Ultra light bike packing,” Deme said excitedly. “Jay Petervary just set a course record on the Great Divide Route.”
Moments later, Deme grabbed his iPad and called up the fresh news. Petervary completed the 2,500-mile route set up by the Adventure Cycling Association in 17 days, 19 hours and 1 minute.
“When we first created the Great Divide Route, a lot of people said, “Who’s going to do that?’” Deme said. “Well, thousands of people have done it. And thousands more will. We sell a lot of those maps.”
The wilderness, Deme says, is where it’s at. Or, where a lot of cyclists want to be.
The new breed of adventurer heads off road, riding as far as possible, then carrying the bike for as much as needed. Then it’s back on the bike. On, and off. On and off.
“It’s all about being ultra light,” Deme said. “You pack as light as you can. Just the basics, nothing more. People are moving to lighter bags. Not even using panniers, really. New gear is coming out all the time.”
Deme can relate to the urge to get out there.
“I remember when I saw my first mountain bike,” Deme said. “I took one look at it and thought, wow, you know what you can do with that? And that’s what people are doing. Getting out, and getting off the road.”
Finding the right bike that will offer the versatility to take on a variety of challenges for bike packing — from the touring to get to the wilderness, to the bike packing itself — is the challenge today.
Another trend Deme sees emerging are snow bikes.
“A lot of companies are coming out with the snow bikes,” Deme said. “That’s catching on, doing a lot more riding in the winter. It starts with the technology, and then filters down to everyone.”
While Adventure Cyclist caters to those who create big dreams for special occasions, Momentum and Bicycle Times are geared more toward every day cycling.
Momentum magazine focuses on city riding. Specifically, Mia Kohout said, those individuals who have about a 4-mile commute to work.
“Our goal is creating things to help them get more out of cycling, or to get into cycling,” Kohout said. “We look at the things that affect these people, like accessories, equipment and even infrastructure. We look for more accessibility. And we want to get more women involved in cycling, so we talk about how to fit cycling into the family element.”
Kohout sees more and more individuals testing out cycling as a way of life. To that extent, Momentum spends a lot of time and space covering style and fashion.
“We get a lot of flack because we do focus on fashion,” said Kohout, who emcees the magazine’s fashion show each day at Interbike. “But we see fashion as part of the inspiration element of cycling. Especially for women. We show them you can look nice and still ride your bike.”
Both Momentum and Bicycle Times work to fill a void that was the foundation of cycling’s growth in the 70s and 80s. They work as mentors for cyclists testing the waters for the first time, much as cycling clubs did in the past.
“When I got started in cycling, you would join a club,” Bike Friday Co-Founder Alan Scholz said. “The members of the club would take you under their wing and show you the ropes. It was a very casual, friendly and very inclusive environment back then.”
Scholz is proud to say that the Bike Friday Community — which emerged organically — represents the best of those qualities.
“We never set out with the idea of creating a community,” Scholz said. “It just developed on its own, created by the great folks who have become Bike Friday owners over the years. The best part of our community is how inclusive it is. Bike Friday owners go out of their way to help out others.”
Kohout said Momentum works hard to help anyone interested get into cycling.
“There are so many elements to cycling that it can be difficult for someone trying to get started,” Kohout said. “We try to explain those things to our readers.”
As Bicycle Times editor Karen Brooks wandered the halls of Interbike with staffer Adam Newman, she found herself feeling compelled to take a hard look at what her magazine represents.
“What we are doing, basically, is redefining what road cycling is,” Brooks said. “It’s so much more today than just a high-end racing bike. It’s touring, it’s commuting, it’s recreational riding. What I see are people who want a bike that they can ride in number of different situations.”
The demographics of Bicycle Times and Momentum slant toward the younger cyclists. Scholz likes to call them the next generation — the kids who grew up in Burley trailers pulled by their parents.
“What we really see are people who are looking at cycling in a different way,” Brooks said. “It’s more of a way of life rather than a hobby.”
Along with that, Brooks said, she sees the price of bikes rising.
“I really see an interest in more expensive commuting bikes,” Brooks said. “A few years ago some companies came out with expensive commuters, and there wasn’t much interest in them at all. But now people are taking a hard look at expensive commuter bikes because they are replacing cars. Compared to the cost of a car, at $2,000 commuting bike looks like a good deal.”
1 comment September 21, 2011
The City of Eugene closed down 3 miles of roads downtown, along Skinner Butte Park and out to Washington Park on Sunday, and the locals came out to experience the fun.
A number of vendors including Bike Friday set up shop at a couple of activity centers along the road.
Our booth was at Skinner Butte Park, along the Willamette River.
With our New World Tourist, Pocket Rocket and Pocket Rocket models with the Select Group, an Infinity tikit with NuVinci Hub, a Crusoe and Season tikit, I was ready to offer test rides to anyone who wanted to take advantage of the open streets.
Before the action really heated up — keeping me busy enough for the four-hour stretch that I couldn’t take any other photos — a Bike Friday customer dropped by with his rig.
Gerry showed off his early Bike Friday. Frame number 621.
This being our hometown and all, there were plenty of Bike Fridays represented on the streets. Just wish I had the time — or another set of hands and eyes — that I could have taken photos of them all.
Thanks for everyone who stopped by, and those who took test rides.
Next Sunday Bike Friday will be in Portland for the Portland Sunday Parkways.
See you there.
Add comment September 19, 2011
Prismatic Powders has been a Bike Friday partner for more than 20 years.
This year, when we put an emphasis on colors to personalize your Bike Friday, we offered you 18 Prismatic colors to choose from.
The result has been some colorful Bike Fridays hitting the road this year.
Before you take a look at what Prismatic did to some of our frames for its booth, a BIKE FRIDAY DISCLAIMER: At this time we don’t offer all these wonderful choices. But remember, I said, AT THIS TIME.
You know what happens here at Bike Friday. If you want it, you usually get it.
3 comments September 16, 2011
Jeff Pedelty wrote a story about using his Bike Friday to see his daughter graduate Marine basic training. It’s been selected as a finalist in a Clif Bar contest.
Add comment September 15, 2011
One winter morning, Dave Rosen of NuVinci stopped by Bike Friday to show us the latest incarnation of Fallbrook Industries’ Continuous Variable Transmission hub.
To put it mildly, he faced a building full of skeptics. Yeah, many have heard of NuVinci before. Nice idea, but …
To his credit, Dave left us a bike outfitted with NuVinci. Don’t ask me why, but it was leaned up right in front of my desk.
I watched it come and go, and come and go, and come and go.
And each time someone came back from a ride, almost unanimously, I heard: I want that on my next bike.
When Co-Founder Alan Scholz and head designer Rob English rode it, and came back converted, they went to the drawing board. In a flash, we had our first two Bike Fridays outfitted with a NuVinci 360 hub.
We built an Infinity tikit with NuVinci, and an Infinity New World Tourist with NuVinci. We had them ready for the spring show in Seattle, and pretty much handed them over to NuVinci for them to show.
They have spent the past year showing our bikes, from consumer bike shows, to Press Camps and Dealer Camps, to the Oshkosh Airshow. At Interbike, they put us on a pedestal. Well, at least up on the wall.
What I saw, were a lot of folks with cranked necks, looking up at us.
2 comments September 15, 2011
The primary purpose of Interbike is to allow manufacturers and supplies to show their new products to shop owners, who decide what they will have in stock for next year.
Since all our Bike Fridays are built to order and we have special partnerships with our dealers, we don’t have a booth at the show.
Instead, we have a presence through some of our partners.
I flew into Vegas on Wednesday for a one-day quick run through the show to deliver our Carbon Drive tikit to the Gates Belt Drive booth, to meet with some media folks, and to take a quick peek at some neat stuff we might add to our Factory Showroom.
Nothing exemplifies the ease of travel with a Bike Friday more than delivering the tikit.
We packed it up in a suitcase, and I flew to Vegas with it as my checked luggage. Flying Southwest, of course, that meant it was free.
I got to the Gates booth, and in 10 minutes I showed their technicians how we had it packed up (since they will have to repack it to send it home), and it was up and on display in their booth.
Add comment September 15, 2011
The soft morning light slowly unveiled my long shadow dancing on the asphalt in front of me as I crested the short hill on my bicycle. Careless and free with elbows jutting outward from my handlebars, my silhoutte swung back and forth, left and right — a rhythmic pattern in-sync with my effortless breathing — like Dorothy’s Scarecrow skittering up the Yellow Brick Road, off to see the Wizard.
The rising sun warmed the nap of my neck and cast a golden tint on the stunning pre-fall colors, the maples and oaks pumped up to an intense raging green about to explode into a multitude of orange, yellow and red. Like a painter with smooth, confident strokes, the image playfully leaped to life inviting me to follow its lead.
The scratching sound of the tires gripping the pavement set a hip-hop beat. The scent of pine flashed through my nasal passages, replaced by the sweet forest aroma that transported me back to my youth, hiking through Bishop Woods on the last days of summer freedom before school would start again.
Seven months earlier the physical effort to charge up this incline sparked an internal change of gears, from aerobic to anerobic training. The shortness of breath and burn of lactic acid in my thighs seized control of my attention. Back then I was oblivious to the big picture setting, even though the light was nearly the same from the parallel positioning of the sun to the solstice. The temperatures were much more chilling then as winter transformed to spring, rather than summer to fall.
But today, oh, today was so different. Change was eminent. I could sense it. Strange how autumn is my time of awakening instead of spring. I’ve felt it before, this overwhelming awareness of the moment. They call it “the zone” in athletics, when everything appears to move in slow motion, allowing the senses to create individual harmoney. The mind and body become one, and magical things happen. In my life, these moments wake me up like splashing cold water from a mountain creek on my face.
This wakeup call sent a clear message. Like a cold waterfall drenching me, every cell in my body sprung to life. A chill ran up my spine, not down. My life, once again, felt perfect. The images that cascaded through my head were Debbie, Sierra and Taylor. Three beaming smiles of the girls who make me what I am. Their love blinded me for second. And what followed was the feeling that life just doesn’t get any better than this.
As I said, though, I’ve felt this before. And I can never get enough of it.
I experienced it on the eve of heading of to college, spending that evening with my girlfriend Tasha, soaking up every bit of its essence, instinctively knowing that when the sun would rise, things would never again be the same. And that would be fine. Better than fine. Actually, it would be inspiring.
The first time I held Debbie in my arms it hit me, too. It felt so natural. No, supernatural. My heart knew we were soul mates even though we barely knew each other. Her kiss aroused a sense deep inside of me that screamed I want to kiss this woman for the rest of my life, and at the same time calmed me with the knowledge it will be reality.
The wave of emotion also hit me the night we sat on the grassy knoll of Alpine Valley, with a bright full moon rising over the forest beyond the stage. As purple lights bathed Bruce Springsteen sitting on a stool; with guitar and harmonica strung around his neck, he sang “Racing in the Streets” hitting me straight in the heart.
“Some guys they just give up living,
Start dying little by little,
Piece by piece
Some guys come home from work
And wash up,
And go racing in the streets.”
Not long after that Debbie and I were toasting a new adventure, heading off to California with no jobs or promises, just the essential belongings and our hearts filled with dreams.
Of course, there was the night sitting around the campfire in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, when the light of the moon sparkling across the gentle ripples of Lake Alturus signaled clearly there was only one way to improve on the perfection of life we enjoyed. Eleven months later, after 14 years of marriage, Sierra rocked our world. And just two years later, Taylor followed. I don’t know if most couples can feel the magic when it happens. For us, the moments of conception were as obvious as an California earthquake.
These moments of epiphany seem to come more frequently as I get more in touch with myself. Absintence created a clearer view of everything. Yoga brought the clarity to another level. And ginseng managed to crank it up yet another notch.
At the same time that I feel on top of the world, I’m saddened. I remember countless times of explaining to friends and family these wonderous moments when I sense that if my life were any more full I might explode. I only see an emptiness in their eyes. They have no idea what I’m talking about. They haven’t made it to this place yet. My single wish for the world is that everyone finds it not once, but often. As I do.
The ability to wake up each day and know that it will be better than the last. To just know that life has much more in the future than you could ever imagine, then to experience it, and know that more is yet to come makes my heart literally rise and float around the room like a graceful eagle in the sky, able to see the tiny details that often slip past even the most perceptive people.
That is the cloud of wonder I rode on this morning. I know things won’t be the same again. Something is in the air. And like waking up on Christmas morning, I can’t wait to see what it will be, because I know the change would be for the best. As usual, I must note the date for future reference: 9-11-01.
NOTE: I sat down at my desk after my ride into work that morning and wrote all of the above. Just as I finished, Joe Salas walked in and asked if I have been listening to the radio. I said no. He said something was going on in New York …
Add comment September 11, 2011