Archive for July, 2013
She’s at it again.
Bike Friday owner Carol Collins went to the National Senior Games in Cleveland, Ohio, in July, and walked away with three more gold medals.
Collins, who lives in Houston, won her age group in the 5K and 10K time trials, and the 20K road race. That age group? The 90-94 category.
At age 92, Collins is a numerous gold medal winner.
According to reports from her daughter, Cathy Brechtelsbauer, Carol won the 5K in 15:26, the 10K in 38:08 and the 20K road race in 1:03:52.
“I thought you would be interested in these reports I sent to family and friends from the National Senior Games,” Cathy said. “You would be proud to know she wore her Bike Friday jersey, so it got in a lot of photos. And of course, the bike received a lot of attention. The other bikes seemed to be of the highly competitive sort.”
Carol proved to be quite the media magnet.
“Many people wanted her picture,” Cathy said. “Also, she was interviewed by NPR reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty.”
Extremes, it seems, define Carol.
“She was quite a celebrity for being the oldest woman in the race and for having the tiniest wheels,” Cathy said. “Soooo many people wanted their picture taken with her, even the National Senior Games officials. See photo below with granddaughter Chris Arnette Daugherty too. In the 2nd photo, the medals seem different colors, but they are all gold.”
Cathy said the road race course was up and over an overpass — twice! That meant four long uphills!
“When I saw her off the bike pushing it up part of the first uphill, I knew it was going to take awhile,” Cathy said. “But she must have made up for it on the downside. Then I thought I saw her take a wrong turn and miss the start of her second lap. But someone must have got her around in the right direction.
“Her time was 1:03:52 — faster than I expected. And get this: there were two or three cyclists who came in after her, even though they started at the same time! The announcer got all excited at mom’s finish and called her over to ask some questions. She answered that “It was all right, except for the hills.”
“Pretty funny, since the course was nothing but the up and down. He got her to agree to come to the Games in Minneapolis in 2015.”
Add comment July 31, 2013
More than a hour before Alan Scholz’s scheduled talk at the Portland Art Museum on July 27, Bike Friday owners began rolling up to the courtyard.
First a couple of Pocket Rockets zoomed up. In a matter of minutes, they were test riding a Silk. Then some New World Tourists arrived. A Silk. A Tandem. And more.
One-by-one, the group grew. They exchanged glances and compliments of each other’s bikes, talked about their adventures, and waited anxiously for the talk to begin.
By the time they sauntered into the auditorium for Alan’s talk on bicycle design, the group swelled to nearly 30 people. For the next hour they were entertained by Bike Friday’s Co-Founder, as he discussed elements of bike design and its history.
The Portland Art Museum opened up early for our special group, and the plan was to allow us private access to the exhibit about 9:30.
Instead, Alan engaged the audience and had them wanting more. The Question and Answer segment rambled on past the actual opening of the Museum at 10.
Lou Liserani and his wife Sue live in Vancouver, Washington, and are regular visitors to the Bike Friday booth whenever we are in Portland. They enjoyed the day.
“We had a great time on Saturday,” Lou said. “We had not previously met Alan or heard him speak about the product and the company. We love our Fridays, so it was very interesting to hear the thought that goes into the design of these products.”
Everyone eventually headed to the main hall, where they were treated to Alan’s insight to the 40 bikes owned by collector Michael Embacher, that are on display until September 8.
As they wandered about the 40 bicycles, neatly hung from the ceiling, Alan offered insight into what makes each one special, from a design element.
“We had seen the exhibit before, but it was nice to observe the bikes once more but without the crush of humanity we encountered the first time,” Lou said. “Very impressive that the display contains a New World Tourist, apparently just one of several Fridays in Michael Embacher’s enormous bicycle collection.”
Eventually the group spilled back outside.
With beautiful summer weather on display, a small group hopped onto their Bike Fridays for a ride around Portland, led by former Bike Friday service mechanic Chris Nelson, and Alan.
Alastair Calderwood is an IT professional from London who has been working on a project in Salem, Oregon, and he joined in. He hopped on a Pocket Rocket Pro for a test ride, and joined the bunch.
“The Pocket Rocket was a very smooth and fast ride, and the scenic route along the River Willamette only added to the enjoyment,” Calderwood said.
“About half way I swapped with another rider for a New World Tourist — a slightly heavier bike, slower to accelerate, but with more momentum at cruising speed. After 10 miles on both Bike Fridays, I hardly felt as if I had been cycling at all — despite the hills!”
He rode on Lou’s New World Tourist, and Lou got a ride on the Pocket Rocket Pro.
“The 10-mile ride through downtown, and along both sides of the Willamette River, with Alan and a number of Bike Friday owners was really fun,” Lou said. “It highlighted with great weather and Chris Nelson’s ‘off-road’ adventure along the East side Willamette bike path and the resulting flats. ”
Add comment July 29, 2013
Every now and then I need a reminder that there is more to riding your bicycle than pedaling.
On vacation at Lake Tahoe, I rolled out of the campground at Fallen Leaf Lake for a ride. As I began pedaling up a gentle climb toward a waterfall, I noticed a couple walking along the side of the road. She paused to take a photo of some flowers alongside a rustic, wooden fence. He was picking up garbage and putting it into a bag.
“Thanks for picking up the trash!” I said, offering encouragement. So often we never see the individuals responsible for keeping our wonderful views, well, uncluttered.
As I pedaled on, I heard him yell.
“BIKE FRIDAY!” he shouted, “we have Bike Fridays!”
I spun my Pocket Llama around and went back. They were Bike Friday owners from the Bay Area, up and vacationing in Tahoe. I actually met them last October at the Biketoberfest Celebration in Fairfax, California.
We struck up a conversation and talked of all things Bike Friday for more than 20 minutes. Eventually I rode on.
I’ve been thinking about that chance encounter a lot during my morning commute. I see all sorts of riders roll past.
I’m always struck by the ones who have their heads down, and are cranking full speed.
Now, I have nothing against someone who wants to ride fast. Those individuals of that ilk paid my salary for years as a journalist covering cycling. Yes, you can make a living cycling fast.
Then I also remember one of the first major events I went to, and how a novice reporter asked Frankie Andreu about riding in the Tour de France. It must be wonderful, the reporter said, riding through the beautiful fields and backroads of France.
Frankie, never one to mince words, said [I'll paraphrase for family audience purposes], “Well, actually, in the Tour you spend 99 percent of the time looking at the [rear end] of the guy in front of you.”
Imagine that view for three weeks. 2700 miles. Fun?
I opt for a slower speed. One that allows you to stop, and savor.
The past few mornings I’ve counted cyclists. It comes out to an average of one a minute that see while riding to work in Eugene.
When I stopped this morning to take the photo above, three sunflowers popping up in a wetlands with some ducks swimming behind, I wondered how many would stop to take a photo? How many even pause to look around to catch something like this?
It’s funny. Some of my most memorable moments on a bike are not ones that make my heart beat faster. It’s those that slow it down a bit. Just enough to savor life.
2 comments July 24, 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
The National Safe Routes to School program is looking for a technical director. We figure a lot of Bike Friday owners could make a difference with this great organization.
Add comment July 19, 2013
McKENZIE PASS, Oregon — It doesn’t take long for everything to fall into place. A perfect rhythm pulsates from my head to my toes. A comfortable cadence, steady breathing. This is the ultimate vibe for climbing a mountain.
Yet something in the laundry list of sensations seems different. I swing around a switchback. The grade steepens. I gently flick my wrist. My cadence remains perfect.
Then, it hits me.
The only sound comes from my steady breathing. A huff. Then a puff. Huff. Puff. Huff. Puff.
Suddenly, another sound catches my attention. A few stones tumbling down the side of the mountain, just to my right. I glance to see these marble-size pebbles slow to a halt. Then silence, aside from my Big Bad Wolf impersonation. Huff. Puff.
The Bike Friday Silk, thanks to its Gates CenterTrack Carbon Belt Drive technology, takes quiet to another level. Without question, I’m sure this isn’t the first time a tiny avalanche has coincided with a ride. But it’s the first time I’ve heard it.
The smoothness of each pedal stroke enhances the ride quality to the point that I ascend above the typical riding experience. It’s something that I can’t explain; I can only experience. With a smile on my face.The sleek ride of the Silk, however, is not what brought me out to climb the McKenzie Pass on one of the last days it is open only to cyclists and pedestrians, before motorized traffic takes over.
My test ride concerns the internal hub. This is our showroom Silk Infinity, dressed up with the NuVinci N360 Continuous Variable Transmission.
This five-pound hub is the source of countless debates for customers. Few deny that ability to shift anywhere within your gear range as smooth as melted butter offers a great attraction. But, they say, the weight …
I’m often asked at shows if I would want to cart a five-pound hub a mountain. I couldn’t answer. I want to. So, it’s time to find out.
I’m heading up from Alder Springs Campground at 3,600 feet elevation to McKenzie Pass at 5,335. The climb is 11 miles, with most of the serious ascending in the first couple of miles.
The first obvious question concerns the weight. This configuration is a few pounds heavier than my Pocket Llama, but that fact never feels like an issue.
From the outset, the bike feels as though it was built just for this. Attacking a mountain.
It climbs like a mountain goat, smooth and in control. Smaller wheels allow you to accelerate quicker on a hill, and the ability of the NuVinci to allow you to quickly find exactly the right gear seem to make sudden changes in the grade irrelevant.
By the time the most difficult climbing section is behind me and the grade eases significantly, I spend most of the time reviewing what has just transpired.
I’m not really sure if this is something of a placebo effect. That just might be the reason it is so difficult to describe what’s special about a belt drive, and in this particular case, it’s perfect combination with a NuVinci hub.
One thing I know for sure is that my confidence in the belt drive showed each time I stood on my pedals.
In my previous ascent of McKenzie Pass, years ago on my mountain bike, I couldn’t help but worry about dropping a chain and taking a face plant.
Or, just hoping that a change of gears wouldn’t result in a skip or two at an in opportune moment.
None of those worries with the Silk Infinity set up.
If anything, my entire connection to this bicycle seems so integrated — so synergetic — that all the worries and distractions disappear.
Instead, the experience of the ride itself takes complete center stage. When my breathing quiets on the flat section, I can hear twigs snap in the woods.
I can’t see what might be responsible, but the mere fact that I know it happened struck me as, well, unique for a bike ride.
This is more quiet than walking.
My goal of reaching the summit at sunset becomes a reality, but the images feel somewhat disappointing.
Instead, I find myself just staring at the Silk, in amazement.
Would I carry a 5-pound hub up a mountain? Without hesitation.
2 comments July 10, 2013