Posts filed under ‘News from the Road’
The Haul-a-Day is available for test rides now at Green Machine Cycles.
J.C. Lind will have a Haul-a-Day soon!
Add comment February 10, 2015
Looking to take a Haul-a-Day Cargo Bike for a spin in New York? Check out this ride at Bicycle Doctor in Brooklyn.
Add comment February 9, 2015
The desert scenery swept into my view like the opening scenes of a good old fashion Cowboy Movie.
The subtle pastel colors of sand and towering Saguaro cactus against a brilliant, nearly cloudless blue sky felt as comforting as an old pair of jeans.
As my tires left the hum of pavement behind and dug into the sandy gravel with a confident crunch, all my senses spiked, like coming home again. Sights. Sounds. Smells.
I’ve been lucky enough to pedal the Haul-a-Day up the hellish grades of Seattle down at Pike Place Market, zip along with traffic through San Francisco’s busy Market Street, and enjoy Eugene’s Willamette River Bike Path.
While the bike certainly appears perfectly suited for those typical urban challenges, those trials don’t necessarily mesh with my true dreams.
No, my idea for a Haul-a-Day is out and away from the places most people would envision for a Cargo Bike.
So during my week-long stay in Arizona for El Tour de Tucson in November, I got the opportunity to take a Haul-a-Day for a spin on my terms.
That meant four hours of riding the bike path until it ends, and hitting the open roads to head out of town, away from humanity, heading for the hills.
Since people often ask about how far you can ride any of our Bike Fridays, I wanted to give it a real test. The endurance test.
Any bike can feel good for a block or two. Or a mile or two.
Once minutes turn to hours, I feel the true test of a bike begins.
Let me toss in right here that I spend most my riding hours on a Bike Friday Llama, previously donned with 2-inch Schwalbe Big Apple tires that have been replaced by 2.2-inch Maxxis Holy Rollers with knobbies. To summarize, light bikes with low friction don’t appear on my radar screen. Results may vary for others.
Aside from the fact I was riding on flat pedals instead of my usual clipless pedals and shoes, the ride was as good as any. As Bike Friday dealer Mike Jacoubowsky said when he returned from a short test ride with the Haul-a-Day, “It has that smooth Bike Friday ride.”
When the road began to rise, I thought, like many, it would be a chore to lug this much bike uphill (the Haul-a-Day starts around 32 pounds, and with everything on my version including my load, it was probably pushing 40 pounds). It didn’t feel that way. That my tires were a slick 1.75 (thin for me) might have had a lot to do with that. Still, it felt sweet. Smooth.
Bouncing on and off the gravel on the side of the road proved to be a breeze (one of the reasons I like wider tires — giving me the ability to make a quick dive if necessary, and yes, I did have to do that way out in the desert). The longer wheelbase took away the chaotic sensation of hitting gravel. I felt totally in control.
By the time I rolled back into town, I had a new goal. Get way out, and way away.
On my drive back to Phoenix, the Saguaro National Park offered the perfect opportunity.
I parked at the Visitor’s Center (I’ll insert here that a Haul-a-Day fits perfectly in the back of mini van without having to take off wheels or shorten the handlebars or saddle), and pedaled back down the road to the dirt Bajada Loop.
As soon as I hit the dirt, my regard for the Haul-a-Day launched into the sky like a rocket.
Although the 1.75 tires weren’t quite wide enough for the deepest gravel and sand sections, the bike performed better than I expected.
Riding down the roller-coaster hills felt more like being on a toboggan as a kid back in Wisconsin. Charging up the hills felt normal, although I mistakenly expected the weight on the back rack would help give me a little more traction than a typical mo9untain bike would.
As I rode I could imagine my camping gear strapped to the back, and my black lab running alongside. That’s my Haul-a-Day vision.
Add comment December 17, 2014
Claudia Covarrubias owns an Open Air Cinema Haul-a-Day and lives in Mexico.
She just pedaled, produced and directed a wonderful video showing the potential of the Haul-a-Day
Add comment December 16, 2014
Adam Newman at Bicycle Times has a Bike Friday Haul-a-Day that he has been riding for a review in a future issue.
Here is his first take on the bike, which he says:
“Bike Friday says it wasn’t looking for outright cargo capacity when it designed the Haul-A-Day, rather it wanted something that was slightly smaller, more maneuverable, more manageable for women and smaller riders, and can fit a wide variety of users. I think they’ve checked all those boxes, as it fills the void nicely between a normal city bike and my massive Surly Big Dummy. Think of it as a two-thirds-sized long-tail. The 20-inch wheels are super strong and keep the weight down low. Being able to step through the frame is also a lot easier than swinging a leg over when it’s loaded down.”
Add comment October 15, 2014
Mike Wendland, who writes a popular blog for RVers, became a Bike Friday owner at the Family Motor Coach Association Reunion in Redmond, Oregon.
Mike wrote a bit about it on his blog in the section with live reports.
And, later, Mike filed this great video on You Tube about his first impressions.
Add comment August 18, 2014
On the surface, Alan Scholz and Billy Henry might look as though they have little in common.
Alan, a Baby Boomer with gray edges up top, is Co-Founder of Bike Friday.
Billy, a Millenial with his hair spiked to a point in the middle, is Co-Founder of the Northwest Association of Blind Athletes.
Spend a little time chatting with each, and their kindred spirit shines as one.
Alan started his first bike shop as a teenager in his parent’s basement in Fargo, N.D.
Billy started his non-profit organization in his parent’s garage in Vancouver, WA.
Alan designs Bike Fridays to extend the wonderful experience of cycling to others.
Billy just took delivery of his first fleet of Bike Fridays to deliver the wonders of cycling to others like him.
“I started with six kids in my garage, doing powerlifting,” Billy said about the organization he started to get visually impaired individuals out and active. “This year we’ll touch more than a thousand people. For a lot of them, it will be the first time they get to experience the joy of riding a bike.”
It’s known as the power of one.
“We like to do whatever we can to help organizations like this,” Alan said. “We actually sell quite a few tandems that allow visually impaired individuals to get out on a bike. In working with Billy’s organization, we’ve been able to come up with a discount program for fleets of tandems, and we want everyone to know that opportunity is out there.”
Billy couldn’t wait to see his new fleet in action. He picked up the bikes at our Factory in Eugene, and drove them to the Rose Garden on the River Bank Bicycle Path for use by the Lane Regional Program for the Visually Impaired.
Each summer the Eugene-based program gets its students out for a day of riding. Billy was pleased to be able to provide the new tandems. On the same day, his organization had a ride going on in Portland. In coming weeks they will have rides in Salem and Albany.
“We spend the summer organizing rides throughout Oregon and Washington,” Billy said. “Last year we had a 60-year-old go on his first bike ride ever. This year a 55-year-old did the same. We have a lot of programs, but without question, bicycling is our most popular.”
The smiles and excited chatter among the group reflected the popularity of cycling. The Bike Friday Family Tandems are highly adjustable, allowing saddles and handlebar heights to be set for different captains and stokers. The 20-inch wheels provide a low center of gravity, and give small children more comfort being closer to the ground.
“The bike was great,” said Joel Phifer, a braillist with the Lane Regional Program. “It was nice to have a bike that fits someone smaller like me. In the past we’ve had to try to ride some bikes that were a bit too big for some of us.”
Billy smiled as he heard the review.
“I can’t thank Bike Friday enough,” Billy said. “This first fleet is just great, and I can’t wait for people to ride these. I’m going out and see how much money I can raise to get another fleet as soon as I can.”
Add comment August 12, 2014
By Robbie Dow / Bike Friday Sales Manager
The 18th Annual Gathering of the Australian Bike Friday Club (ABFC) took place in early April 2014, and I was quite fortunate to be a part of it.
Before the trip started, I was looking forward to meeting several Australian Bike Friday owners, people I’d only talked to via phone and email. However, I was a bit worried about the group rides, as it was nearing the end of winter in Eugene, and I really wasn’t in cycling shape.
Also, while I had ridden longer rides on other bikes, my experience with my Bike Friday Silk was limited to commuting and other short rides, so I wasn’t really sure how it would hold up to the 50km and 60km group rides planned for the event. There’s only one way to find out!
I flew from Eugene to Los Angeles, and then to Sydney, a day later than originally planned due to a visa glitch. The flight to Sydney was only about half full, and I was fortunate to have a row of three seats to myself. This meant I was able to sleep for about 8 hours total, which helped make the 15 hour flight a bit more bearable.
When I arrived in Sydney, Bike Friday owner George Leindekar was kind enough to meet me at the airport and ride the commuter train with me to Central Station in Downtown Sydney. George then helped me get set up on the train to Mt. Victoria. I had two Bike Friday travelcases (one with my Bike Friday Silk, and another Silk that I brought along for the trip), a third suitcase with my personal belongings, and a backpack. I am quite thankful to George for his help, as I don’t know how I would’ve managed with all of my belongings without him.
Even though I was exhausted and jet-lagged, I couldn’t stop looking out my window of the train and taking in the surroundings. The city gave way to countryside, and the train slowly worked its way up an incline through the Blue Mountains to Mt. Victoria. When I arrived at my stop, Bronwyn Laing of the ABFC picked me up, and we went over to her place for a short time before getting back in the car and driving to the town of Rylstone.
Here’s the interesting thing about the ABFC gatherings. The event originally started as a day ride, expanded to a weekend, and kept growing in size over the years. The 18th annual event spanned five days and attracted 138 attendees, mostly from Australia, but also a few people from other countries. Even still, the five days of riding weren’t enough for some, so a dozen or so riders planned pre-event rides.
I met the rest of the pre-event crew in Rylstone, and then I assembled my Bike Friday and prepared it for the next day. We had a fantastic dinner at the local pub/hotel, and I shared a room at the pub with fellow Bike Friday Silk owner, Mitsuo Tadokoro, who was visiting from Japan. The next morning I headed off on my first ride of the trip, a 55km outing to the town of Mudgee.
The ride was amazing — lots of grazing land, with beautiful rolling hills. Early on I saw a wallaby in a field along the road, and there’s just nothing like seeing a wild animal as you ride past on a bike. Riding on the left side of the road took a little getting used to, but by the end of the trip it seemed fairly natural.
We stopped for lunch at a small one-room school in the town of Lue. The teacher came out of the classroom and welcomed us. She said we could use the covered outdoor tables in the school yard (it had warmed up quite a bit, so the shade was certainly appealing) for our lunch, and she even offered us tea and coffee!
After we ate, 18 or so curious and enthusiastic grade school children came outside to meet us, and next thing I knew I was answering questions about Bike Fridays and America one after the next. One of the children asked why I talked so funny. Another boy was about as tall as me, and when one of his classmates pointed out that the two of us were the same height, the boy said, “Hooray, I’m an American!”
I didn’t know what to expect on my visit to Australia, but I certainly didn’t expect to interact with a group of eager school kids. It was a real treat.
We rode some more, and eventually the rest of the pack pulled away from me as I began to lose steam. I arrived in Mudgee in last place (not that we were racing), and this is where riding on the left side of road became a bit more of a challenge for me, as there were numerous roundabouts running clockwise with quite a bit of car traffic.
Fortunately, the drivers were courteous, and I fumbled my way through the roundabouts to the campground, or as it’s known in Australia, “caravan park.” I’ve never seen so many Bike Fridays in one place at the same time, and I work for Bike Friday! I was also surprised to see so many tandems and tikits, but they performed on the long rides just as well as the other Bike Fridays.
The next several days were a blur of riding, meeting people, answering questions, and seeing what people have done with their Bike Fridays. The day rides around Mudgee were incredibly beautiful, with more rolling hills, and a plethora of wineries and grassy fields. The Aussie Bike Friday folks were exceptionally friendly, and everybody went out of their way to make me feel quite welcome. They’re also quite passionate about their Bike Fridays.
Often, I would forget I was on the other side of the planet. But then a car would drive past on the left side of road, or I would hear people would talk with an Australian accent, and I would realize where I was. One person corrected me when we were discussing the brake levers on his Bike Friday: “It’s not ‘levers,’ it’s ‘leevers.’” So I pronounced it “leevers” for the rest of the trip.
This year, the club set aside a time for people to sign up to give presentations and share their experiences traveling on their Bike Fridays. This proved to be a really popular event, and it was fun hearing about all the places people have gone, and the unique experiences they’ve had on their Bike Fridays.
Friday was the longest ride of the event, the “pub ride.” There was a shorter version of the long ride, but I missed the turn for that one and ended up taking the long ride, which ended up being around 70km. We met at a rural pub — the Cooyal Hotel — and I was ready to stop and relax with some lunch. It was fun to see all the Bike Fridays lined up outside, like brightly-colored, small-wheeled biker gang.
Saturday was “fancy dress day,” and several people dressed up in costumes for the day’s rides. That evening, we all gathered at the local country club for a banquet dinner. I gave a presentation about Bike Friday — who we are, what we’ve been doing, and what’s to come. This was followed by a charity auction that raised over $4,000 for Guide Dogs Victoria, an organization that provides services for vision impaired people, including assistance with tandems, so vision impaired people can ride a bike.
On Sunday, I skipped the group ride so I could focus on packing and getting ready to leave. I caught a ride to one of the area wineries where the gang had assembled for a final lunch. I was able to say goodbye to several people before I left. Unfortunately, I missed many people I would’ve like to have said goodbye to, but I guess I’ll just have to catch them next year.
So how did the Silk do? Smooth as Silk. The Alfine 11 hub gave me a nice, wide gearing range, and the only maintenance I had to do was a brief tweak of the shifter cable. Some of the riding was on rough, bumpy gravel roads, and I was surprised at how well the bike handled the terrain. I’m considering switching from a 60t to a 55t belt ring for better hill climbing gearing, as I only really used the top end gears on steep downhill slopes. I’m also considering a lightweight Pocket Crusoe for next year’s event, which will be held in the town of Mansfield in the Australian Alps.
After the event, I had a few days before my flight left, and I’m especially thankful to Bike Friday owners David and Jenny Ingham, who were gracious enough to let me stay at their beautiful house in Manly. I was also able to do a little exploring in Manly Beach and Sydney, which proved to be a lot of fun.
The night before my flight, I was invited to an amazing dinner at a French Bistro with a dozen or so Bike Friday folks, and it was a fantastic way to close out the adventure. I am just amazed at how something as simple as a shared interest in a travel bicycle can bring together so many people to become life long friends.
It’s the magic of Bike Friday.
4 comments May 8, 2014
Here is the second great post about our soon-to-be-released Haul-a-Day.
2 comments April 21, 2014