Archive for January, 2012
BikePartners.net in Santa Rosa, California has connected with the Rent A Bike Now network that offers customers a one-click solution to renting bicycles anywhere in North America.
When in Sonoma County, BikePartners.net offers Bike Friday rentals with a concierge-quality mobile service oriented to the discriminating consumer who values a quality travel experience. Bicycles are booked online or by phone, then delivered to the customer’s location (in the Sonoma County region), or via UPS door-to-door shipment.
“We wanted to share the love we have for Bike Fridays, so we’ve made access to the bikes easy and fun,” BikePartners.net founders Geoffrey Smith and Camille Armstrong say.
Their partnership with Rent A Bike Now makes planning a Sonoma County bicycle adventure a snap.
“Cycling is all about the experience and BikePartners.net delivers on all counts,” says George Gill, President of RentaBikeNow.com. “From high-end equipment to free delivery, these guys go the extra mile for every customer.”
BikePartners.net is an authorized sales and rental dealer for Bike Friday folding bicycles. View their web site or call 855-483-3732 toll-free.
Add comment January 30, 2012
[EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the SECOND INSTALLMENT of the Catalog Tales. It's the story of the adventure to collect photos for a catalog that morphed from a traditional piece to the publication now available by contacting us here.]
Mountains, lakes, rivers — Oregon offers so many options it’s impossible to create lists, much less rankings.
The Rogue River becomes my next stop strictly because of its location. Camping overnight at Farewell Bend just outside Union Creek will leave me on the fringe of Crater Lake National Park, and allow me a quick trip in the morning.
Before I go any further, let me proudly admit there is another reason for this stop. If you are ever within 100 clicks of Union Creek, find a way to get there. It is the home of Beckie’s Pies. Simply put, a taste of Oregon that you will never, ever, forget.
At Farewell Bend, The Rogue cuts through lava flow with near laser-like precision, leaving behind mind-boggling rapids and falls.
With the sun quickly descending behind a ridge of firs, I have enough time for a quick series of photos along the lava banks.
On my ride back to my campsite in the shade, I pass a lucky fisherman camping on the river. He carries five rainbow trout, reminding me it’s time for dinner as soon as I get camp set up.
After dinner, it’s time for a campfire. My family and I spend a lot of time camping. We spent the entire summer of 2005 living out of our 10-foot tent camper, as we toured the West deciding where to live.
That was a lot of nights around the campfire, talking about our day. Those were special nights. Quality time. We did eventually decide to settle in Eugene. Eventually I connected with Bike Friday.
But, there’s something about spending the evening around the campfire.
OK, I’ll admit, this isn’t the greatest photo ever taken. You’re probably laughing at me wondering why I took it in the first place. [Don't feel badly, I'm laughing at myself wondering why I took it in the first place.]
However, as my daughters watched the slideshow of my weekend, it swept Sierra into the place I live in my mind’s eye.
“They (the Bike Fridays) look like photos of people on vacation,” Sierra said, a few slides before the campfire scene popped up. Then that shot pops up.
“OMG, that really looks like people now!”
Light is fickle.
My imagination went into overdrive last night, contemplating the possibilities of morning light on Crater Lake.
Seriously, I headed this direction believing with all my heart that it’s nearly impossible to take a bad photo of Crater Lake.
That was before I saw the morning light diffusing a haze over Crater Lake. Ah, yes, it’s all about the light. Refraction, reflection. But you do need light.
I snapped a couple of photos before I realized my greatest mistake of enjoying my time around the campfire with Ridgely the night before. I failed to plug my camera battery in for a recharge.
No worries. It became the perfect excuse to have breakfast at the Crater Lake Lodge, since I skipped a campfire breakfast to get here in time for the morning light.
After ordering the French Toast filled with Marion berry cream cheese — which won the nod in a tight vote over the breakfast trout — and recharging the battery, we began the drive around the lake.
Before we got really rolling, we caught some deer having their breakfast.
A ranger once told me the average length of a visit to Crater Lake is 45 minutes. That means most visitors opt against driving [or riding] the complete loop. Granted, it takes well into July most years for the complete loop to open. If it’s open, do not pass. Go for it. The views are stellar.
Even if you can only ride a few miles of it, just imagine the memories.
[STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT INSTALLMENT]
Add comment January 27, 2012
[EDITOR'S NOE: We recently received this travel log from Bike Friday owner Rowan Moore Gerety.]
A few words on having the Bike Friday in Mozambique:
I should start by saying I have never seen a bicycle turn heads as my Bike Friday did in Mozambique.
“Avião!” was the kids’ most common refrain — airplane — to describe how sleek it looked and how fast it moved.
I also heard, “original” (as in not pirated) and “máquina” (machine — as in damn reliable).
Seeing it fold was something else. More than once, I had the pleasure of taking my bags off a bus and staying silent as I gathered my things together while the motorcycle taxis hounded me for business. It always drew a great laugh from onlookers when, after telling taxistas repeatedly that I didn’t need a ride, I unfolded my BF, hung the paniers on, and wheeled off.
Bikes are pretty common throughout the countryside there, so as different as mine looked and felt from the average Indian-made Hero brand bike there, it was something that everyone could relate to.
Most people had a standard by which to judge bikes in a way they wouldn’t have computers or cars, so it was fun to see how everyone reacted. I made a lot of friends because of the bike, and made more than a few teenagers’ days by letting them take it for a spin.
I was impressed by the bike’s performance, too. With the exception of a broken grip shift which I replaced with a little Made-in-China substitute, I had no mechanical troubles in 10 months of daily riding on rough gravel and dirt paths, and overall abuse. It rode fast and upright, much as a full-sized bike does, and handled well on rough terrain.
Before leaving, I could not have imagined how practical it would be to have a bike with me in Mozambique.
On short distances, public transit, where it exists, would have doubled or tripled my travel time, and often, I found myself in towns with nothing but motorcycle taxis, and those sometimes few and far between.
Nor would I have guessed how much more practical a folding bike would be than a normal bike.
In the capital, Maputo, late at night, I put it in the trunk of taxis if I was worried about riding home, and on long trips, it got shoved into impossible crevices in the bowels of buses and vans without much of a problem.
Many vehicles carry cargo on the outside, too, but the police often solicit additional bribes for this, and they pass the charges onto you! Once, my bike traveled 1000 miles strapped to the underside of a bus chassis just inside the rear wheel well and emerged, miraculously, unscathed.
1 comment January 26, 2012
[EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the FIRST INSTALLMENT of the Catalog Tales. It's the story of the adventure to collect photos for a catalog that morphed from a traditional piece to the publication now available by contacting us here.]
The Lowell Covered Bridge emerges from the haze like a dream while its reflection dances like an apparition in the nearly placid Dexter Lake as I drive past along Highway 58 headed east from Eugene into the mountains.
That would make a stellar photo by anyone’s standard. Since I’ve donated my Labor Day weekend to that particular cause, finding great photos of the essence of Oregon, the temptation gnaws at me.
I’m just 20 minutes into a weekend of travel and exploration, so I zip past. I could drive 20 minutes some other morning for this shot, and maybe catch the rowers in an 8-man scull in a perfect position. Not today. The clock is ticking.
The morning light that brings Dexter Lake to life won’t last forever. I’m hoping it at least holds on until I can get to Waldo Lake. That would be a perfect beginning for my adventure.
I have no more than a vague outline in my head of what I hope to do. Sure, there are some back at the office who shook their heads when I pitched my idea.
“I don’t understand why you think you need these photos …” the Devil’s Advocate said so matter-of-factly.
To be honest, I’m not sure I understand, either. The need comes from a source within, possibly my Muse. Maybe this is my only way to properly communicate how I feel about Bike Friday, both the company and the bikes.
A Picture is worth …
I’m a writer. Words, sometimes, don’t feel adequate.
So that’s why I packed up three Bike Fridays, camping gear and squeezed in my black lab Ridgely. That, and the fact that I’m about to produce my first catalog for Bike Friday.
I believe in themes in any communication. This catalog will celebrate our 20th anniversary. A lot can change in 20 years.
One thing that stayed true, through it all, was the commitment by Hanz and Alan Scholz to keep building Bike Fridays in Oregon.
Bike Fridays represent the independent spirit of adventure that defines Oregon, that was born with the Oregon Trail and lives on. I wanted to capture that in the photos.
So, Waldo Lake emerged as stop No. 1 on my journey, if for no other reason, it was the first great photo op on my way to the quintessential Oregon scenic — Crater Lake National Park.
The main artery that pumps life into Eugene, the Willamette River, begins in the crystal clear waters of Waldo Lake high above the mountain bike nest of Oakridge.
For some hardcore Oregonians, the aspect of the Waldo Lake experience that reveals our essence beyond its breathtaking views is the sound of silence.
You cannot run a combustion engine on Waldo Lake. Interaction with the lake remains natural.
The fact that I zoomed past Dexter Lake with the image in my head of rowers gliding on glass is not lost on me as I pull up to Shadow Bay and see men preparing hand-made wooden kayaks for morning of paddling.
They prove to be as intrigued by my folding bikes as I am with their kayaks.
They take the time to explain to me the details of ordering a kit, and building your own kayak. I watched from afar as a neighbor and his friend slowly pieced together a wooden canoe, and despite my lack of handyman skills, I’m tempted.
Likewise, I surprise them with word that Bike Fridays are built right in Eugene. They remark how well a folding bicycle would have worked on a recent trip that involved short portages from river to river.
I point out they wouldn’t be the first to strap a Bike Friday to their vessels.
The New World Tourist appears on the boat ramp, with the kayaks launching.
The Pocket Llama waits its turn in the truck.
About 30 minutes later, I’m heading for the north side of the lake feeling that it is going to be a special weekend.
My mind wanders as I race morning light to the other side.
What I love about Waldo Lake is that you could easily find any one of these three Bike Fridays here.
If you’re touring through Oregon on your New World Tourist, the route from Eugene to Crater Lake would take you up Highway 58, through Oakridge, past Salt Creek Falls, Waldo Lake and over the Willamette Pass.
Shelter Cove on the west end of Odell Lake offers a calmer side of that legendary splash in the Cascades. A stop at the Odell Lake Lodge is a must, if, for no other reason, than to see the mounted Mackinaw that lurk beneath the surface.
The Mackinaw – huge lake trout that can exceed 30 pounds — always capture my attention.
But don’t let me get ahead of myself. That’s farther up the road.
I’ve yet to come to Waldo Lake when the roads are clear of snow and not see roadies taking advantage of the challenging terrain and wonderful views.
Driving through the campgrounds, mountain bikes like the Pocket Llama have only a slight edge in numbers of Pocket Rocket-like road bikes.
Which, of course, brings me to the Llama.
It comes out of the truck on the north end of the lake, screaming for action.
I have one particular photo in my mind’s eye that I cannot leave without.
To get that photo, however, it will mean, however, hitting the trail.
So much for keeping this brand-new Ink Black Llama in pristine condition for its photo shoot. The dusty trails that wind through the Taylor Burn area en route to my destination turn the Big Apples a shade of burnt orange, not to mention coat the rest of the bike.
A bath in the stream helps a little, and I get a bit carried away with some experimental photos.
They toy with my mind.
They look interesting, but really, what’s the story?
This Bike Friday just decided to head out on a log, and see how far it could get?
Somehow I’m transferring Ridgely’s curious personality to the bikes.
It might be a loooong weekend.
I eventually get back on the Llama.
About 20 minutes into the ride I’m completely overwhelmed by the joy of scooting up and down the trail, exquisite views of the lake popping in and out of the trees. I’ve forgotten this is my Bike Friday, and not my Gary Fisher Cake.
When I find my spot for my photo, the temptation to throw away the rest of the day on the trail and complete the 23-mile loop around the lake — one of the outstanding mountain bike adventures Oregon has to offer — is cranked up in intensity by my heart rate.
The calming views of my photo bring me back to reality.
I’ve got miles to log before the evening light. Photos to shoot.
[STAY TUNED FOR INSTALLMENT 2 ....]
3 comments January 20, 2012
This is what happens when business takes you off the beaten path.
Check out the entry in What Do You Do on a Friday.
Add comment January 19, 2012
As part of the celebration for the Eugene Science Factory’s 50th Anniversary, Bike Friday joined forces with them to conduct an essay contest for students.
Students wrote in 100 words or less: How A Folding Bicycle Could Change Your Family’s Life.
Alana Schneider, a 9-year-old home schooler from Veneta, Oregon, won. Her prize: Her family will have free use of a Bike Friday Family Tandem for six months beginning when the Oregon weather obliges.
The Amazing Folding Bicycle
Once in a town not quite as big as Eugene, there lived a family of four. The Dad, Mom, Sister and Brother each had a bike. Now, these bikes were special. You’ll probably think they have fancy gears or maybe you’ll say they are brand new, but no, that’s not it. They can fold up! We all went on a trip and we barely had room for the bikes. When we folded them up, they fit perfect and we could bring extra camping gear. It was exciting. We rode our fold-up bicycles everywhere.
On Friday, Alana and her family took a Tour of the Bike Friday Factory.
Add comment January 16, 2012
Maria Ng sent in some photos of her and Bike Friday
traveling companions Carol Taylor, Trish Woods,
Daniele Leyder and Karel Pelikan, who cycled through
Belgium and France in September 2011.
1 comment January 12, 2012
Check out the latest from Lynette Chiang on Bike Friday owner Lon Haldeman:
By Lynette Chiang
This one’s for BF Desert Campers and fans of Lon Haldeman/PACTOUR.
I’m just back from an assignment in Peru videoing PACTOUR’s many, many charitable projects for schools, orphans and streetkids there. He also sponsors two local women cycling champs who are training for the Olympics. Here’s the 90 sec trailer on the brand new Pactour YouTube channel (PacTrack) – do leave a nice encouraging comment there for Lon
Here’s the trip itself that you can do with PACTOUR
galfromdownunder.blogspot.com/ 2011/11/ booking-it-along-amazon-with-pa ctour.html
I’m now on a 20-min DVD that will hopefully attract donations to continue this work. So feel free to contact him and offer to donate – or do a/the tour with him. Fun stuff!
Add comment January 10, 2012
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Everyone has a story. In 2012, Bike Friday will celebrate its 20th Anniversary by telling stories. Our stories, your stories — everyone's stories. Our first story goes back to Bike Friday's roots in bicycle racing in North Dakota in the 1980s.]
As success stories go, you’d be hard-pressed to fabricate one as endearing as that of the Scholz family, that includes brothers Hanz and Alan, who founded Bike Friday in 1992.
Their love affair with bicycles blossomed during the 1970s and 1980s, when elite bike racing re-emerged from its long hibernation in the United States. Alan became interested in cycling while working toward a Boy Scout badge as a youngster.
It’s not as though the Scholzes jumped on the band wagon in some cycling haven like New England or Colorado — or even Indiana or Wisconsin — where the seeds already were sown. These unassuming beginnings unfolded in the Great Plains of Fargo, North Dakota.
It was a family affair.
“There were a lot of families involved,” Alan says, noting that his family was among the most active. “At that time our cycling clubs were really family clubs. We would all ride together: parents, kids and racers. Everyone had the opportunity to learn from riding with the best. There was a lot of mentoring then.”
Fast forward a bit, and Alan opened a bike shop in the basement of his parents’ house while he was in high school. It later moved to the garage, and eventually became a traditional bike shop called Nomad.
Alan raced as senior in the district known as the Dakota Territories — the vast landmasses of North and South Dakota combined because of the tiny population of racers. The brothers’ parents, Earl and Mary Esther, became the district representatives. They organized and officiated at races.
Nomad became the center of the club.
“We sponsored weekly events and rides,” Alan says. “Since our club was an everything club, everyone went to tours, state races. and even nationals together. Moms, Dads, kids from 8 years old on up.”
While Alan’s business grew with the opening of a sister store in Grand Forks run by his brother Ian, so did the community of cycling enthusiasts in the Dakota Territories. When youngest brother Hanz began racing in Fargo, so did another youngster in the district, up the road in Grand Forks.
“Back then we had maybe three races a year, I believe,” says Andy Hampsten, an upstart youngster who pedaled his way from Grand Forks to European Grand Tours, including the Giro d’Italia title in 1988. “I started my first race when I was 13 or so. I guess, I was 12. It was at the University of North Dakota. In my class, it was my brother, Steve, my best friend, Pete O’Kelly and myself. I was third. Maybe that was before anything was sanctioned.”
Hampsten started racing on a Raleigh. When Steve bought a Gitane, Hampsten went to the Grand Forks Nomad shop to upgrade, and bought a Peugeot PX 10 from Ian Scholz. It was time to get serious.
“We did a lot more riding than racing,” Hampsten says. “We would drive six hours to Bismarck to do the state championships. It’s a pretty big state. It was hard finding a ride. There were only half a dozen racers in Grand Forks. I’d do touring, just riding five days a week.
“There were just so few races. My bother was a year and a half older than me. We would talk about racing and hash over what happened after a race, that we went too slow in the corners, things like that. But there were only a few times a year we could practice anything we learned in a race.”
So much of that riding and mentoring took place on club rides.
“As I think back to Hanz and Andy’s rise to national class, it comes from an inclusive mentoring atmosphere that the shop and club were central to,” Alan says. “We presented possibilities that simply would not be there in an outback like Fargo. Our closest competition was Winnipeg or Minneapolis — full day trips out of the realm of possibilities for budding juniors. We had to build and run our own system.
“My parents supplied the ‘wheels’ in so many ways to make it possible for young talent to develop.”
That’s exactly how Hampsten remembers it.
“Their parents were the Dakota Territories,” Hampsten says of the Scholz family. “One (parent) would be District Rep, both be judges at the races, and they’d be giving out food, feeding everyone. It was the whole Scholz family.”
With his strong foundation, Hampsten took what he learned in North Dakota and built on it.
“I went to England in the summer of ’77 when I was 15,” Hampsten says. “That changed everything.”
To hone his skills, Hampsten spent his summers racing in Wisconsin, living in Madison. But each year he would come back to race his district championship. And face his Dakota rival, Hanz Scholz.
“I remember one championship, traveling from Wisconsin — must have been my second year as a junior,” Hampsten says. “I came to the Junior Boys race, and it was only Hanz and myself. We had 80 miles to do, 5 laps.
“I remember when we got our feed bags, we decided to sit down and eat sandwiches. It was a little bit of a hilly course. I attacked a bit at the end. Hanz was really good. We came down to a sprint — doing track stands for the last mile.
“He jumped early. I came past him with 150 meters to go, but he fooled me. He came back around, and we had a photo finish before there were cameras. It was too close to call.”
Too good to forget.
“Yes, I remember that race,” Hanz says. “It was the world’s longest matched sprint. I remember how strong he was and how determined I was that he wouldn’t drop me. I wasn’t strong enough to lead at a very fast pace, and he wasn’t strong enough to ride away — 35 miles of hell and we could have just ridden up the road a quarter mile and sprinted in. The result would have looked exactly the same.”
As it was, the result looked to be a dead heat. Normally, it would be up to the judges to pick a winner.
“His Mom and Dad were judges,” Hampsten says, with a chuckle. “They talked it over a little, and then came over and asked, ‘Between you guys, who do you think got it?’
“I thought I held him off. But Hanz threw his bike better. They asked us to talk about it. We both thought we won it. Then Hanz said, ‘I’m not going to go to the National Championships anyways, you’ll go. So we’ll say you won.’
“It was really a fun time.”
It was where the heart and soul of Bike Friday was forged. Where love of cycling ran deep.
“I remember one year riding from Grand Forks to Fargo for a race,” Hampsten says. “No one I knew had a car. We drove with people from Sioux Falls, driving through the night. Then I rolled a tire in a race, and drove all the way back. But the center of all the hubbub, was the Scholzes.”
And Alan’s Nomad Shop, which specialized in bicycles and cross country skiing.
“We only had six months to ride our bikes,” Hampsten says. “We had long winters to think about where to ride and to tinker with bikes.”
That tinkering became the fertile ground from which Bike Friday was born.
Today, Hampsten splits his time living in Boulder, Colorado, and Tuscany. He and his brother Steve own Hampsten Cycles in Seattle.
“Everything is great,” Hampsten says. “Everything is fun. Hampsten Cycles is doing well in Seattle with Steve. We’re selling Olive Oil. Business is keeping us busy. But we’re still having fun and riding our bikes.”
So are the Scholzes.
Add comment January 4, 2012
Here’s a little peek at the Super Pro that Alan Scholz put together recently. It weighs in at 15.5 pounds:
3 comments January 4, 2012