Archive for September, 2011
Former Bicycling magazine New Products Editor Jim Langley is legendary in cycling for his streak.
Langley has ridden at least one hour a day every day for the past 17 years. As a parent with a 15-year-old, it’s easy for me to understand just how long that is.
A major element of keeping his streak alive? His ability to travel with his Bike Friday Pocket Rocket.
He says a lot of great things about his Bike Friday on his website, but this sums it up:
“… I feel that the Bike Friday is one of the greatest cycling innovations I’ve seen. And this is coming from a guy who’s been testing products professionally since 1983, and who, during an 8-year stint as Bicycling Magazine’s New Products Editor, evaluated a hundred or so bicycles and over 1,700 products.”
Enjoy this video on Jim. It’s a great tribute to an amazing feat. Keep riding Jim!
Add comment September 10, 2011
There are cyclists who ride for fitness.
Cyclists who ride for pure joy.
Cyclists who commute.
And, of course, cyclists who have no other wheel-powered choice in their lives than the bicycle.
I’m reminded of that last group each morning on my commute. Along with a healthy doze of commuters, I pass an always somewhat surprising number of cyclists who don’t have a home, yet have a bike.
A number of them react with surprise when I offer the same greeting I would offer to anyone on a bike. Almost always, they respond in some manner. Even if it’s just a puzzling look.
Each time I pass, I think back to a time when I lived outside of San Diego. A good friend of mine was working on a project for a college class. I went out with him, video camera in hand, to interview some homeless individuals.
You might imagine what some of their life stories sounded like. Real life tragedies. Yet, almost to a person, we heard the same sentiment. We don’t want pity, they said, but we do want acknowledgment.
I remember Jack better than anyone. When we approached Jack, and asked if he’d talk to us, he couldn’t stop staring in disbelief. Then he wouldn’t stop talking. The most painful thing, Jack said, is being ignored. Seeing people purposely look away, least they make eye contact.
I’ve tried to remember that lesson. Always.
We’re coming upon an emotional time of the year for me. Just after Labor Day 2008, as summer began to slip to memory, I got laid off. It would be more than two years before I gained full-time employment again. Yes, eventually landing this job, here at Bike Friday.
While still unemployed back in 2010, I ventured past one of the homeless here in Eugene. He had his bicycle and bike trailer pulled beneath an underpass, with the trailer up on a rock. He’d pulled off his tire. Needed to repair a flat. And find a way to pump it up. It’s a long ride to the nearest gas station with free air, he said.
I didn’t have a 20-inch spare on me, nor could my presta connection help his Schraeder valve. But I was, I had to admit, on my way to a bike store. If he promised to sit tight, I’d return and help out. He said he’d wait.
I couldn’t tell him I was headed to exchange a pair of cycling gloves that were under the tree on Christmas morning. They were nice. Really nice. They fit. But cycling gloves, given our employment status, became a luxury item, at least in my mind.
When I got to the shop, I exchanged the gloves. For a couple of spare tubes. And a portable pump. I gladly paid the difference.
Upon my return, of course, he tried to make a big deal about it. He thanked me. Pointed out at least 20 other cyclists had ridden right past, and just ignored him. I was the only one to even speak to him. He felt guilty when I told him to keep the pump.
Don’t worry about, I told him, I’d do the same for any cyclist.
Add comment September 9, 2011
Once Carol Collins gets rolling, look out.
When she’s on her Bike Friday, she takes no prisoners. The evidence sparkles in the sunlight from the three gold medals draped around her neck — hardware won at the National Senior Olympics down in her hometown of Houston back in June.
When she’s just talking about her Bike Friday, she displays the same intensity and passion.
“Oh, I just love talking about my Bike Friday,” Carol says, with a twinkling smile that’s mesmerizing. “My friends get sick and tired of hearing me rave about it, but I can’t help myself. I just love it.”
Her friends apparently indulge her. That’s the kind of respect you garner at her age. Today is Carol’s 90th birthday.
She stopped by Bike Friday a couple of weeks ago, on her drive from Houston to Portland. She felt compelled to stop by and say hi. And say thanks. She just loves her New World Tourist.
Carol rode bikes as a kid. Then she hit a dry spell. She didn’t start going out on long rides until she was 55. In the past 35 years, she has enjoyed getting out and seeing the world.
In the past 10 years, with her New World Tourist, she has visited Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
“That little bike is just so perfect for me,” Carol says. “It’s just so great for traveling. I just fold it up and put it in the back of my car, and I’m off.”
The beauty of the National Senior Olympics — and the reason Carol competed — is that they were held this year in her hometown.
“I never heard of them before,” Carol says, “but I heard they were going to be in Houston, so I figured I should check it out and see if I could ride.”
She did. She won the 5K, 10K and 20K events in her age group, the 90-95 age group.
“You compete in the age group you’ll be in that year,” Carol says, smiling as she admits, “there really isn’t a lot of competition in my age group.”
She means that literally. There just aren’t many 90-year-olds racing.
“I just love my bike, and riding it,” Carol says. “This is a big year for me, so I’ve been celebrating my birthday all year long. But I just love to get out and talk about my Bike Friday. I just had to come by.”
And we were thrilled to have her stop by, although she didn’t stay long. She hopped into her car to head up to Portland. But not before getting a little added information for her favorite topic.
“What I don’t know is why it’s called a Bike Friday,” Carol says.
We told her. It’s named after Robinson Crusoe’s Man Friday. A smile burst across her face.
“Oh, I can’t wait to tell my friends that …”
2 comments September 3, 2011
Add comment September 2, 2011
Add comment September 2, 2011