I've been biking for practically my whole life, or at least since I first learned to ride a two-wheeler when I was four or five.
As a kid growing up in Southern California during the 80s, my friends and I could often be seen pedaling through the suburbs on our BMX bikes.
When I was nine years old, I experienced my first over the handlebars crash after a mistimed jump along a steep dirt path the local kids called “Banzai.” That crash made me a bit of a legend among the neighborhood kids, and I was hooked. It was also during this time that I began to experiment with bike maintenance and repair, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.
Later, my family and I moved to rural Michigan, and my bike became even more important to me because many of my new friends didn't live within walking distance. While I still rode a BMX bike, biking became more about transportation rather than biking for the sake of biking.
As a teenager, I was more likely to be seen on a skateboard than a bike, but I did have a little 5-speed road bike for longer trips. After one ill-advised attempt to ride the road bike off-road, which culminated in bent forks thanks to a tree (I swear that tree came out of nowhere!), I found myself bikeless for a year or two.
I ended up moving to North Idaho, and before too long, I picked up an Alpine Designs mountain bike. It was my first experience buying a custom bike from a builder, rather than just picking out a bike at a store.
The difference was huge and easily perceptible, and just having a bike that fit me well and had good components made riding much more fun. As a result, I found myself riding even more than before, usually off-road.
Life happened, and I regrettably had to sell that bike, but a year later I picked up a mountain bike from a “big name” bike company. Although it was lighter than my previous mountain bike, it wasn't the same. I don't know if it was the assembly-line feel, or what, but for some reason it just wasn't as much fun to ride.
But it was a decent enough bike, and it was my main form of two-wheeled transportation for about 15 years or so.
At one point during those 15 years, I moved to Eugene, OR. With its abundance of bike paths, and general bike-friendliness, I started mainly using my mountain bike less on dirt and more on pavement for commuting, or for exercise, or for just going for a ride with friends for the fun of it.
I also ended up with a freestyle BMX bike that my brother lost interest in riding, and it's fun to cruise around it every once in a while and feel like a kid again.
After a brief second stint in Idaho, I returned to Eugene and ended up working as the Showroom Host at Bike Friday. Although I was very much interested in cycling, I'd never had any interest in folding bikes before I joined the company.
But once I started actually using them, it was clear how much easier it is to simply fold a bike and put it into my car's trunk, rather than the alternative of attaching my Yakima rack to my car, and then put my non-folding bike on it each time I wanted to take my bike somewhere.
Also, my bike is much safer in my trunk than on a rack exposed to the elements, such as the time the wind ripped my rear fender off my bike as I was driving at 70 MPH on I-84.
Besides my love for bicycling, what drew me to Bike Friday was the Bantam line of bikes for Little People. As a person with short stature, I know first-hand that it can be a struggle to find bikes (or clothes, chairs, cars, etc.) that fit. I found it refreshing to see a company that's willing to tailor its products to anyone with any body type.
Also, I'm impressed with Bike Friday's no-compromises approach toward their products. Having ridden Bike Fridays almost exclusively since I've been with the company, including during event rides such as the 35 mile long Portland BridgePedal, I can say these bikes are not toys. They're high-performance machines.
This is what makes Bike Friday so unique. Sure, lots of other companies sell folding bikes, and some even sell a few high-performance models, but who else sells a high-performance bike that's custom-sized for your body, that folds, that fits into a suitcase you can check onto an airplane, and is made right here in Eugene, Oregon, USA? Only Bike Friday. I think that's really cool.
When I'm not riding a Bike Friday, you might find me on a hike with my dog and best friend, Tucker (who I'm currently training to get used to riding in a bike trailer -- my long-term goal is to end my car-dependency), paddling around one of the local waterways in my inflatable kayak, playing guitar or bass, taking photos, writing (right now I'm working on a novel), home-brewing beer, or just spending time with friends.