A little introduction

May 18, 2011

I guess before we get too far along on this adventure, it’s time to get to know me a little bit. I’ll be your cyber guide into the world of Bike Friday.

I’m Raz.

Yes, folks call me Raz.

They have since I bestowed that nickname upon myself back in 8th grade. I know, giving yourself a nickname. How lame is that? About as lame as admitting it, I guess.

What you need to know about me is that I’ve somehow managed to string together a run of some of the greatest jobs in the world, with this gig at Bike Friday the latest in a long line. I’m Special Projects Manager.

I’m sure everyone has their own scale for rating jobs.

For some it might be salary.

For some it might be status.

For some it might be the hours.

Maybe the boss.

Maybe someone else. (wink, wink)

For me? It’s the bikes. And the people.

Somehow, here at Bike Friday, those two elements seem to be inseparable. Joined like a cyclist and a fixed gear.

I came to this stunning revelation as I cruised through Central Park a couple of Sundays ago on a Carbon Drive tikit.

Seriously, who gets to fly from Eugene, Oregon, to New York City on the company’s dime? Then gets to ride around Manhattan on two great bikes? Pinch me.

[I spent the first two days on an Infinity tikit with NuVinci hub.]

That’s when I realized the danger of it all. I’m getting spoiled. Or, addicted. I’m not really sure which.

Alan Scholz, Co-Founder of Bike Friday, keeps telling me I need to ride this Bike Friday and that one. I have to get the real feel. I have to know the products.

So I ride them, and get blown away. Like a kid playing a video game.

The fact that I’m back in the cycling biz after a long stint with the absolute, without question, greatest job in the world — stay at home Dad — is kind of interesting.

We landed in Eugene, Oregon six years ago this coming August. That was after spending the summer of 2005 touring the Western U.S. in a pop-up tent camper looking for a place to call home and raise our daughters. We traveled 8,000 miles and lived in the camper for 85 days.

Determined to pick a place instead of chasing jobs around the country as we had done most of our adult lives, we quit our jobs, sold our house, got rid of what we could in an endless Moving Sale, put the rest in storage and ventured forward. We found Eugene to be Nirvana.

Before I opted to trade places with my wife and stay at home, I had been a sportswriter. Talk about a sweet gig.

At The Orange County Register in Southern California, I got paid for watching sports. I watched Tiger Woods play golf as a teen, Julie Foudy kick around the soccer ball in junior high and countless others. One day I asked if they would like a story about riding my bike in the Rosarito-Ensenada event in Mexico. To my utter surprise, they said yes.

That combination of cycling and writing led to a weekly column about cycling. I started chasing the likes of a young Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie and Levi Leipheimer around the U.S. Then I became editor of VeloNews magazine. Rough life, huh?

I left that world behind for the joy of  chauffeuring my daughters to school, gymnastics and birthday parties when we weren’t doing homework, working on crafts or dancing around the living room with the music cranked.

In Eugene, I wrote for the local newspaper, part-time, so I could be with my girls before and after school.

The economy turned sour just as I hit the stage where I planned to get a full-time gig again because my daughters were old enough to get by without me around all the time.

I got laid off. I spent two years looking for work. Then, miraculously, the only real bike job I’d want in Eugene (we refused to chase jobs again, determined to keep our girls here) popped up on Craigslist. Here, at Bike Friday.

I’ve spent most of my seven months here overseeing the construction of this new website. This blog will be a key element of it. We want you to continue to share your inspiring adventures with the Bike Friday Community. We want to give you a close look at who makes Bike Friday tick. Along the way you’ll get a chance to meet the amazing people who make coming to work each morning a joy.

Speaking of which. time to get moving. I like to write at breakfast. Gotta get to work. They’ll be wondering where the showroom Pocket Llama is. You know, the one with the disc brakes and Thudbuster seatpost. My ride home last night.

 

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New York City perfect canvas for NuVinci A day to remember

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ty Smith  |  May 18, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Hey Raz!

    Good job! I really like what I see so far.

    (FYI: I’m the guy who wrote the first review in the “start here” section. Thanks for using it, even with the typos!)

    As I type this, my trusty Season tikit is up with you folks now getting a repair and paint job. I am anxious to get it back, as I am planning on going to a charity event next month for the Lucille Packard Children’s hospital here in California, in connection with the pet therapy group I volunteer with, which is the Delta Society, and I am going to pull a trailer with my dog Guinness in it behind my tikit.

    Hopefully will get some good pictures that you can use.

    Thanks again, and keep adding to the site!

    Ty

    Reply
  • 2. Merl Ledford  |  May 31, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Raz is amazing!

    He met us at Oakland Airport to attend a San Francisco community planning group’s presentation entitled “Dutch Treat” on making our communities more accessible to cyclists along the lines the city of Amsterdam has tried. I flew in with a Senior City Planner from x2 Amgen Host City of Visalia and “Old Blue,” a well-traveled hyperfold Tikit that’s been a demo bike its entire life. (More history of its adventures later!)

    So all of us could ride, Raz talked Bike Friday General Manager Hanna Scholz into bringing down a brand new Model T Tikit to add to the Tikit demo fleet that Sierra Cycle Werks promotes.

    The three of us departed from Kaiser Air at Oakland’s North Terminal where I parked my airplane to go intermodal at the Coliseum BART station. Folding bikes are welcome 100% of the time on BART. We folded quickly, grabbed our BART Passes, and wheeled on board for quick, intermodal trip under San Francisco Bay.

    Off at Embarcadero Station we pedaled to grab sack lunched at the newly remodeled Ferry Building (one of the few structures that withstood the 1907 Earthquake). The place was completely Tikit-friendly: we folded at the door and rolled in to our choice of exceptional take-out sandwiches and healthy drinks (poured conveniently into Bike Friday water bottles for easy transport). Then out the door and up Mission Street to the venue where, our Tikits were welcomed in the packed meeting room as examples of how “real” civic commuters get around. I can’t tell you how great 150+ people smiling at you in a pro-bike environment feels when you roll off the elevator with three state-of-the-art folding bikes.

    The seminar was great: lots of take-aways for our City Planner that are helping model how the City of Visalia’s fully budgeted 500 percent increase in bike lanes will look in an already bike-friendly town.

    I can’t say Raz was 100% responsible for pushing Visalia’s Planning Staff over the top or for the subtle changes in bike-lane configuration and location we’ve seen. We’ve already got extremely talented, pro-bike and pedestrian Certified Planners on staff with outstanding leadership from City Manager Steve Solomon and our City Council.

    But Raz’ willingness to fly down from Eugene with a spare Tikit (and Hanna’s go-for-it attitude toward cutting loose another demo bike!) definitely helped ALL cyclists in out little corner of the world.

    So: Props, Raz & Company! It was a wonderful introduction. Keep up the great work!

    Merl

    Reply
    • 3. Raz  |  June 1, 2011 at 6:57 am

      I gotta say whenever someone invites me to San Francisco to ride my bike and allow me to call it “work” — count me in!

      Merl is one of the great Bike Friday owners who is a tireless mover and shaker. What’s so fantastic is that there are so many of you out there. It makes long days worhtwhile.

      Stay tuned, the story of the San Francisco trip will eventually find its way onto this blog.

      Reply

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