Archive for September, 2013
Denny Fuhrman looked out across the tarmac at the Independence Airport, splattered with a decent number of airplanes and declared that was only a nibble of what’s to come.
“This will be packed with planes,” Fuhrman said in the wee hours of the morning as cooks began preparing flapjacks for the pancake breakfast at the Independence Fly-In and Van’s Homecoming. “Just wait.”
Sure enough. One by one,Â small planes descended upon Independence, Oregon, under clear skies and a bright morning sun.
Most of them were Van’s kit planes. Usually hand-built by the pilot at the controls.
“They take about 2000 hours to build,” Fuhrman said, “and usually cost around $70,000 â€” or more â€” by the time they are finished.”
Van’s has been a great promoter of Bike Fridays over the years, and has one on display at their facility.
Eventually a pilot came to the booth and wanted physical proof that the 2014 Pocket Companion could fit into the storage area of his RV4.
I’ll be honest. The owner of the plane pulled the seat back, looked at the folded Companion and shook his head.
The pressure was on. But …
5 comments September 9, 2013
I got up early Sunday to run some errands.
Early to rise, early to bed.
My goal for the day was simple: Chill in my chair.
I had no other plans. Nor designs.
But I made a huge mistake when I finished my errands. I didn’t close the back hatch on my SUV.
As I settled into my chair, my wife walked in with disturbing news.
“You know Ridgely is in the truck,” she said.
Dang that dog.
If we are ready to embark on an adventure, she goes nuts. Like a caffeine addict at a Starbucks Grand Opening.
The only solution is to open the hatch, and let her in. She’ll sit there for hours if she has to. Her message is clear: You ain’t leaving without me!
Only this time, I wasn’t planning to leave. Period.
I tried to ignore her. I really did. I wanted to rest and relax. It’s been a long month.
No such luck. So after cursing her under my breath, I folded my Aerospoke Llama and put it in the back of the truck.
Suffice to say, Ridgely was pleased.
We headed out near Oakridge to ride the Middle Fork Trail.
It has been ages since I rode the Middle Fork Trail. It’s a mountain bike trail, but extremely well groomed.
I’ll tell anyone who listens that you probably wouldn’t want to ride a Llama on a real technical mountain bike trail. On well-groomed trails, well, it’s a blast. Kinda like BMXing with real mountain bike gears.
The last time I rode the Middle Fork was on my regular Llama. The big difference on this ride would be the disc brakes.
I haven’t spent a huge amount of time on disc brakes. And fewer miles off-road with them. The question is what impact they have.
Since I haven’t been mountain biking in a long time, at least not serious, push the limits mountain biking, it took a while to get adjusted.
The disc brakes take a little adjusting, too. They stop you in a hurry.
Once I got the feel for the brakes, they were super.
In and out of water crossings, the brakes were there, ready to respond, the same way they did the first time.
Not hearing a little grinding of sand and dirt mixed with creek water on my rims helped showcase the value of the disc brakes.
Wet or dusty, they stopped me the same. Everytime.
Maybe it’s just me, but on a very steep descent, I felt like I had much more control over the braking.
This particular descent usually turns into a no brake let’s walk, or drag the back tire affair.
Instead, with the discs, it was a sweet, slow, controlled event.
And listen, control and mountain biking aren’t two things that often come together for me. I’m average at best.
As Ridgely took a couple of dips into the Willamette River to cool down and hydrate, I snapped a couple of photos.
It struck me that it has been a really, really long time since we’ve ridden this trail.
And I LOVE this trail.
So I started searching my memory. When was the last time we rode this.
Oh, yeah, the LAST TIME!
It was an early spring ride.Â Since I wasn’t sure how folks would handle it, I never published the photo of why we turned around.
We came up a hill and, whoa, check it out!
[The photo appears at the bottom for those of you who would prefer not to look.]
A half-eaten Bull Elk was down in the middle of the trail.
Suffice to say we turned around at that point, and headed home.
This time? No Elk. No worries.
We’ll be back. Sooner than later.
Add comment September 9, 2013
The fact of the matter is that you just never know.
You never know what evolves from anything.
Take, for instance, this example.
Ed Poll is the friend of a consultant who helped us out last year.
Ed stopped by and got a tour from Co-Founder Alan Scholz.
Ed wasn’t interested in buying a bike.
They got to talking, and Ed decided to write a blog entry about Bike Friday and Customer Service.
Now that story continues to pop up in Law magazines around the U.S. The latest was in the Wisconsin Law Journal.
Thanks for stopping by, Ed. That story is pretty cool.
Add comment September 4, 2013
OK, that’s a lot of letters. Alphabet soup. What’s it mean?
Well, it means that the Bike Friday OSATA [which stands for One Size Adjusts To All] was a smashing success at the SRTS [Safe Routes to School] National Conference in Sacramento.
On Tuesday morning, LeeAnne Fergason of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance in Portland, and our local Eugene Safe Routes to School Coordinator Shane MacRhodes took a number of cycling advocates on a ride around Sacramento to share some of their teaching techniques.
MacRhodes brought five of his fleet of 40 OSATAs for some to ride. When they were still short of bikes, Dan Allison from the San Juan School District just outside Sacramento loaned eight more OSATAs from his fleet of 30-plus.
After some quick adjustments, the group of more than 20 was off and riding.
With Shane leading the way in his top secret prototype Bike Friday.
Judging by the response of the riders, the OSATAs are just the type of bike they are looking for to use as fleet bikes.
For educational fleets, the OSATA offers a simple design with 8 speeds and front and rear hand brakes.
In the Safe Routes to School programs, instructors got into a school with bikes and teach an entire class how to ride safely. MacRhodes says it’s very beneficial to have a fleet of identical bikes, to avoid the fight over who gets which bike.
3 comments September 2, 2013