Archive for October, 2011
This short video tells the tale of cycling infrastructure in The Netherlands. It’s worth 6 minutes.
Add comment October 30, 2011
Is it just us, or does Jeff Linder appear to have a great life?
Add comment October 26, 2011
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Marketing can be an endless experiment. We run a variety, albeit small in number, of ads, try different media and test as much as we can. With a small company, you test live. We run ads, and wait to see what gets a response, and what doesn't. The first ad that I've produced for Bike Friday that has gotten a significant response appears at the end of this story. It is the result of an idea, and photo shoot in February. This is the story of its birth.]
The view on the other side of the barricade did not appear to be promising.
Snow stretched about as far as the eye can see, which in reality, isn’t all that far. Maybe 150 yards or so.
This I learned first hand, carrying the brand-new white Pocket Llama with the Select Group on my shoulder with my pack on my back.
As my hiking boot crunched the melting snow, I realized it wasn’t that deep. Not that deep for February, that’s for sure.
As the road, Oregon Scenic Highway 242, gently swept around the bend, the tree cover opened and so the snow evaporated.
Dry pavement, with patches of snow littering the path.
Nonetheless, enough pavement to climb aboard.
Climb aboard, I did.
The Llama’s Schwalbe Big Apples clawed the roadway as we began to climb, my trusty assistant Ridgely rushing wildly up ahead, charging into snow drifts and plowing with her nose, before darting back behind me, then to the front again.
OK, so the quiet stillness that a wintery day in the Cascades could offer disappeared in the Tasmanian Devil imitation by my black lab, but that didn’t mean it was any less entertaining.
As we continued the climb, I realized what a nice machine the Select Llama is. This was the first off the production line, and with our launch of the Select line imminent, I needed to get some photos.
In my mind, I needed a specific shot. A true reflection of our pride in our claim that our Bike Fridays are Made in Oregon. I knew it would be a crapshoot, getting up to Proxy Falls this time of the year.
I also knew at worst, it would be two miles of hiking up Highway 242, then 1.5 miles on the trail. And back. Well worth it.
Eventually snow swallowed up the pavement, but not until I reached the final half-mile of roadway to the trailhead. From here on, it was hiking in snow. A beautiful winter Oregon hike. The sound of snow beneath your boots, and an occasional whirl of a crazy dog.
I began snapping photos here and there, where the lava flow from ancient volcanoes has slowly surrendered to Oregon firs. The forest boasts its victory as what snow has made it through the understory is covered with a soft layer of fir needles.
About 10 minutes in, the distinctive roar of water cascading down rock fills the air, and we near my destination.
For the next two hours, I play with Mother Nature, my digital camera and the Llama. I see a magic. I feel a magic. I know it isn’t everyone will feel. I don’t worry about that now.
Instead, I enjoy.
Eventually, I land some photos I love. When I get back, I endure questions and comments. Everything anyone does at Bike Friday receives the same fate. Everyone has an opinion. No one is afraid to share it.
Some don’t see any value in the photos at all. They prefer a single bike on white background. Always. Others demand there be a human in a shot. Some feel the dynamic Oregon scenes steal the attention from the bike.
Me? I just believe that every photo tells a story.
1 comment October 26, 2011
Once again, thank you to those of you in Portland who stopped by our Show N Ride on Saturday.
You kept us so busy, I only had this brief moment to take a couple of photos — and I didn’t even have time to turn around and take a photo of our set up!
It was a fun day. There are a lot of neat, interesting people in Portland.
And, we put a lot of miles on our bikes. That’s what we love to see!
Add comment October 23, 2011
The Makeover team designed a new house for the Korpai Family in New York. Hailey Korpai is a dwarf.
In a nutshell, here’s the Korpai Family story:
After giving birth to Hailey, Jimmy and Darlene Korpai turned their attention to advocating for their little girl. As President and Vice-President of Little People of New York, their goal is to erase ignorance, increase understanding and give families of Little People support and help.
Back in August, design representatives of Extreme Makeover Home Edition contacted us to build a Bantam Bike Friday for Hailey.
From the outset, we were told there were no guarantees our product would make the final show. It did not make the cut. But that wasn’t why we got involved in the first place.
We were referred to Extreme Makeover by Little People of America, an organization we have worked closely with over the years to get Bantam Bike Fridays to Little People.
“The most important thing to remember is that when a Little Person gets a bike, it literally changes their life,” says Walter Lapchynski, our Bike Consultant who specializes in Bantam Bike Fridays. Walter has attended the Little People of America convention in the past, and researched ways for us to make Bantam Bike Fridays for individuals with sizing challenges. “It’s very difficult for Little People to find bikes that are a real solution for them.”
We are proud to say that we didn’t stop with Hailey’s bike.
We have created a partnership with Little People of America to help other individuals get bicycles. If you go to the Little People of America homepage, and click on the orange DONATE button it will take you to the Donation Page. From there, Click here to donate will take you to the form for donations. Under the Reason/Program for Donation drop-down list, you will find the BIKE FRIDAY FUND.
By donating to that fund, you can help us build Bantam Bikes for Little People. Each time we have received enough money to build a bike, Little People of America will award it to a deserving individual.
In addition, Bike Friday has created a special discount for members of the Little People of America.
Add comment October 17, 2011
Late on a Friday afternoon.
In the middle of summer.
What struck me most from the outset: It wasn’t anything like a typical query we receive:
Hello, my name is Brianna with Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and I was referred to you from Little People of America. Our next family that we are building a home for has a daughter who is a little person. We would love to provide her with a bike, and were told you are just the people we need to be in touch with! I would love discuss this with you further.
If you’re anything like me, you paused, and re-read the first 10 words.
Over and over and over.
My first inclination was to listen to the side of my brain screaming PRANK! Call it a survival reaction of growing up with three brothers.
Next I started my brain list of possible pranksters — yes, my brothers at the top — while I decided to indulge this person if, for no other reason, out of sheer respect for the originality of the prank.
The last thing I wanted to do was start spreading the word, if my suspicions were correct.
But only a few minutes later, Brianna responded with another email (don’t ask me why I considered it proof of authenticity, but I did).
That’s when reality hit.
Whoa, cool. Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Love the concept. Helping people. A perfect match for us.
If there is one thing I love about working at Bike Friday, it’s the heart of this company. The core desire to do good things. To do the right thing. Making a bicycle for a child, well, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Reality hit in a few other ways, too.
The child was 5-years-old, with achondroplasia. That’s pretty young for any child to have a bike.
The first serious discussion with Co-Founder Alan Scholz centered around finding out a little more about the situation. All we knew is that the family lived somewhere in New York state. Would it be prudent to build a bike for a 5-year-old who lives in the city? Would that be too dangerous?
Brianna quickly got back to us that it was more of a rural setting, with a neighborhood, lots of land, and lots of farms, where other kids were riding bikes. Hailey just wanted to join in.
That issue solved, we moved forward.
27 days and counting … down
Another fact jumped out. We would have less than a month to build a bike and deliver it. In the middle of the busy summer season.
The next questions that needed to be answered were simple: Can we build a Bike Friday for her? And, can we do it in time?
The answer to the most important question proved to be more than a guess than anything. We didn’t have any measurements to give us confidence one way or another. What we needed most was Hailey’s inseam measurement.
Walter Lapchynski, our Bike Consultant who has attended the Little People of America Convention in the past and worked with many Little People to build Bantam Bike Fridays for them, figured we could do it. Although, he added, the youngest Little Person we’ve ever built a bike for was 8 years old.
There was a moment of silence when everyone considered that. Without question, this would be a very small bike. In all likelihood, the smallest we’ve ever built.
Rob English, our Head Designer, has built custom bikes for kids before. Ideas immediately spun around in his head. But really, he couldn’t do anything definitive until he had some measurements. Well, he couldn’t do anything other than say, OK, he’ll give it a shot. Have a nice weekend everyone.
24 days and counting
That’s where the really tricky part came into play. The Producers of the show receive some information up front, but not necessarily everything.
By the end of Monday, we had some preliminary measurements for each member of the family: Shoulder to wrist; Hip to floor; Shoulder to waist and waist. Good information, but no inseam.
A day later we received height measurements.
Along the way, Brianna shared with us a direct quote from their application:
“… love to bike ride, and would appreciate new bikes for the family.”
Still not 100 percent certain that we’d be able to pull off building a bike for Hailey, we quickly decided to donate bikes for her Mother and Father. Her brother is an infant. The Solution? A Burley Trailer. Why not? The original was designed by Bike Friday Co-founder Alan Scholz, and Burley is still based in Oregon.
That got me to thinking about an Oregon package. Helmets are a must.
22 days and counting …
So I put Brianna in contact with Burley and Nutcase Helmets, a Portland-based company. Maybe we could put together an Oregon package.
16 days and counting …
Still no inseam measurement, making everyone very nervous. But we received more information on Mom and Dad’s size, so we knew we could get them bikes.
11 days and counting …
Finally! An inseam measurement. 11 inches! Whoa, that’s small. At least Rob can get to work on it.
10 days and counting …
We learn Hailey’s favorite colors are green, yellow and pink. Sounds like she’s a University of Oregon Duck fan. Perfect.
8 days and counting …
I’ve seen the design. Wow. That’s a small bike.
6 days and counting …
Pieces. Small pieces.
3 days and counting …
Time to get it powder coated.
1 day and counting …
Final adjustments. Test ride. We got it shipped in time.
2 comments October 17, 2011
The essence of the smallest Bike Friday ever built.
Custom made 90 mm cranks were made to meet the demands of Hailey’s 11-inch inseam. Rob chose a single speed with the ability to add a derailleur in the future.
Speaking of the future, Hailey’s bike has a height adjustable stem and custom handlebars for small hands. The seat adjustable.
Add comment October 17, 2011
We received an interesting note from Bike Friday owner Catharine Stewart-Roache, from Socorro, NM:
My husband and I were cycling he Rhineweg from Basel to Cologne last month and we heard someone call out, "Hey Bike Fridays". There were 3 women from Austin, Texas also spending a month cycling and also very glad to be on Bike Fridays. They had questions about our suitcase trailer system so we were glad to demo for them and tell them how much we liked it. Thought you might want to see our picture.
Add comment October 10, 2011
Here's a note from Samara Phelps, manager of the Travel Lane County Adventure Center. She borrowed a Bike Friday New World Tourist last week for a pre-fall foliage ride. From Samara: Bike Friday played a huge role in my bikeway experience. Come meet our group and join us in celebrating a great adventure in our own backyard. If we can do it, you can too! Come enjoy local wine and Ninkasi beer tasting and listen to our stories from the road. Oregon State Parks Bicycle and Water Recreation Coordinator Alex Phillips will discuss the Oregon State Parks cenic Bikeway program and introduce new routes in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region. This is a wine and beer tasting cyclists will not want to miss! It's Tuesday, October 11 at the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Adventure Center in Springfield. The tasting is from 4 to 6:30 p.m. The presentation starts at 5:30 p.m. The Adventure Center is located at 3312 Gateway St. in Springfield near Michael's and Best Buy.
Add comment October 8, 2011
A gang from Travel Lane County took off
late last week on a Oregon Fall Foliage excursion.
They are cycling 120 around our stomping
grounds, getting an early look at what’s out
there for anyone this autumn.
We lent a Bike Friday New World Tourist to
Samara Phelps (actually, Cari Soong asked first,
but when we could only find one extra bike,
she graciously let Samara take it.
1 comment October 2, 2011