Posts tagged ‘cycling’
Add comment November 23, 2014
The conference room at the Bahia Resort buzzed as I reached my hand into the glass bowl to pull out the name of the winner of a New World Tourist at the National Bicycle Tourism Convention in San Diego.
For the past three days, the movers and shakers who represent the heart and soul of cycling stopped by the Bike Friday booth to drop their business cards into the bowl and chit-chat about cycling — the tie that binds us all.
Arlen Hall, a tour director for Adventure Cycling, is a Bike Friday owner and very vocal supporter of our bikes and our cause. I can’t tell you how many people came up to me at this event to tell me Arlen is Bike Friday’s biggest supporter.
As my hand swirled around the bowl and the anticipation intensified, Arlen said he started thinking to himself.
“I thought, what if he picks my name?” Arlen said. “I don’t need another Bike Friday. I have one and I have one for my girlfriend. So I thought, who would I give the bike to? Then I thought, I’d give it to Camille.”
According to Arlen, seconds later, I announced the winner to the crowd: Camille Solei Stupar.
She screamed and rushed to the front.
With 250 folks at this convention, it was hard for me to talk to every last one. I did spend an elevator ride with Camille earlier in the week, so I knew a little about her. But not enough.
Camille lived in California for a long time, and then moved to Florida. There she got rid of her car.
When she was between jobs, a friend offered to build up a bike for her.
“A good friend of mine built up a Trek 520 for me,” Camille said. “It was such a great bike, and I asked to pay him. He wouldn’t take any payment. Instead he told me, ‘This is your Gratitude Bike. Just pay it forward.’ ”
So, that’s what Camille does. She recently got certified by the League of America Bicyclists as an instructor, and started doing tours in Florida.
“To be honest, you have a new dealer in St. Pete, Two Fold Bicycles,” Camille said. “And I was there looking at your bikes. They were high on my wish list.”
Camille’s goals are to get bicycles into the hands of those who don’t have access to bikes. She wants to teach kids how to ride, and mothers.
“I think we’re losing a whole generation of cyclists,” Camille said. “There are a lot of kids who don’t know how to ride because their parents don’t know how to ride. I want to create mother-child classes to teach both.”
Camille simply couldn’t wipe her bright infectious smile from her face the rest of the day.
“Now that I have this bike, it will allow me to do a lot of traveling with my bike,” Camille said. “And it will let me take the bike riding now, and give it to one of my volunteers who recently got her bike stolen.”
Paying it forward.
“You couldn’t have picked a better name out of that bowl,” Arlen said.
I couldn’t agree more.
1 comment November 9, 2014
The buzz began months ago.
Check that. It began a year ago.
Back in October 2013, a couple of Bike Friday employees rode some prototype Cargo Bikes in the Eugene Disaster Relief Trials. Engineer Willie Hatfield was first across the finish line. Michael Macemon was fifth.
You could say from that moment, the race was on.
Over the course of the past year, Bike Friday moved aggressively to get its Cargo Bike, the Haul-a-Day, into production.
All the while, the list of employees hankering for a Haul-a-Day grew. So did the list of those who wanted to spend a Saturday riding around Eugene, hauling challenging loads up to 200 pounds, and just testing the limits of our bike.
When they lined up for the 2014 Eugene Disaster Relief Trials on Saturday, October 11 at Eugene’s Alton Baker Park, no less than 10 Bike Friday employees straddled Haul-a-Days.
When all was said and done, Bike Friday Engineer Willie Hatfield won the event. But not without some extra challenges thrown in.
The night before the event, Hatfield’s modified Haul-a-Day that he raced to victory in the Portland Disaster Relief Trials this summer was stolen.
At the last second, Willie switched to a production Haul-a-Day decked out in Gaylynn Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And he still won!
From start to finish, it was a Haul-a-Day event.
The wide range of Haul-a-Days showed off the custom designs available to all customers.
Bike Friday donated a Haul-a-Day to be raffled off at the event. And we loaned two Haul-a-Days to officials from FEMA, who competed to see what a real Disaster Relief might feel like.
Of course, the proud papa of the event was Bike Friday Co-Founder Alan Scholz. He worked closely with Eugene Safe Routes to School Coordinator Shane MacRhodes to design the Haul-a-Day. Shane’s wife Missy won the Women’s Class on a Haul-a-Day carrying three kids!
For Alan, who invented the Burley Trailer in the 1970s to transport his young daughter Hanna, it wasn’t just seeing his bikes everywhere that was inspiring.
“We had so many families out there,” Alan said. “That’s where my heart is. With families. So to see a lot of parents with their children was really rewarding for me.”
A lot of those parents felt the same way.
“The most memorable part is riding with little ones,” said Bike Friday Consultant Peter Berra, who rode with his three-year-old daughter. “You have to pry them off the bike when your done. Their enthusiasm is contagious.”
The heartfelt bond between a parent and child has been a driving force in Alan’s designs of tandems, and that translates easily to the Haul-a-Day. Bike Friday Production Manager Jordan Bishko enjoyed working closely with his five-year-old son, Eli.
“The DRT and Haul-a-Day allowed us to participate in a competitive event together as a team,” Jordan said. “I knew the stakes were high when I heard Eli mentioning the race to Mom and friends multiple times, as well as his expectations of winning. I was certainly engaged and excited, it was refreshing to see him as engaged.”
The fun unfolded over days, not just on race day.
“We practiced mounts, dismounts and talked about the various obstacles we might face,” Jordan said. “We even practiced the finish line salute and high five, if we were first.”
Although they didn’t get to do their salute, they did win! They were first in the Family Class.
“The Haul-a-Day set him (Eli) up right behind me during the event,” Jordan said. “We were able to chat a bit, as much as my elevated heart rate would allow. We both had a great time; Eli particularly enjoyed the variety of surfaces we traversed.”
For many of the Bike Friday entrants, the Disaster Relief Trials represent more than just a day of fun. They ride their bikes every day, and cycling is a key element in their lives.
Bike Friday Consultant Walter Lapchynski experienced a roller-coaster of emotion during the day as he described his time on his Haul-a-Day.
“Useful. Fun. Painful,” Walter said. “Saving lives is hard work, but rewarding. Springfield’s Washburne district and the path leading to it is darn pretty. It was an awesome turnout. It’s way better to be at a DRT in your community — it opens you up to opportunities to help your community be prepared for disaster.”
Seeing the various challenges a city like Eugene offers a bike proved to be educational for riders, and a good challenge to show off the Haul-a-Day’s features.
“I loved the off-road section,” Bike Friday Service Rep Kelly Humber said, echoing a sentiment shared by many of the Bike Friday riders. “I also really enjoyed getting to see parts of the city I’d never been to before. Anna, my girlfriend, accompanied me for a lot of it, which made it like a really fun ride all over Eugene/Springfield where you get it to wave at friends passing every few minutes.”
As for his Haul-a-Day?
“My Haul-a-Day performed excellently,” Kelly said. “Point it uphill and it goes like any other bike. I climbed up Skinner Butte no problem. Well, OK, it was hard still. The foot rails allow bulky weight to be carried low; it’s great for stability and handling”
Like Kelly, Bike Friday Sales Manager Robbie Dow was impressed with the Haul-a-Day’s ability to feel like a regular bike, especially while climbing Eugene’s challenging Skinner Butte.
“I was impressed with how well the Haul-a-Day handled, particularly on the off-road section,” Robbie said. “I climbed Skinner Butte on the bike, which was my first time ever climbing Skinner Butte on any bike. Even with 75 pounds of cargo, the bike handled the steep hill like a champ. The DRT proved that the Haul-a-Day is an indispensable tool for surviving a natural disaster or a zombie apocalypse.”
Bike Friday Webstore Manager Todd Reed has been experimenting with various electric assist devices over the years, and used an experimental prototype while winning the Electric Class.
“I used up almost my entire charge on three batteries I carried, so at the end was pretty much limping home,” Todd said. “One of my axioms for e-bikes is that they have to be good bikes when the power is off, so in that respect, the bike works pretty well.”
No, we aren’t quite ready to announce an electric assist Haul-a-Day is ready for production. Still more testing to do.
Bike Friday Consultant Michael Boggs summed up the event, which fits the Bike Friday mission statement and the goals for the Haul-a-Day
“The Eugene DRT was a wonderful event full of people trying to make the world a better place for bicycles,” Michael said. “It was so much fun seeing the things they wanted us to carry and to test your mind flexibility in packing your bike with water jugs, pumpkins, grain, and variety of smaller goods.”
1 comment October 20, 2014
Bike Fridays won all but one of the major divisions at the 2014 Eugene Disaster Relief Trials.
Bike Friday engineer Willie Hatfield won the Responders Class, while Bike Friday Co-Founder Alan Scholz won the Resilience Class. Bike Friday Production Manager Jordan Bishko won the Family Survival Class.
Willie, who won the Portland DRT this summer, had his modified Haul-a-Day stolen the night before the race. He raced on a stock Haul-a-Day and still won the overall title!
That means that the Haul-a-Day has crossed the line first in every DRT it has entered (at last year’s Eugene DRT, Willie crossed the line first, but finished second when his egg was found to be cracked!)
In all, 10 Bike Friday employees competed, as well as many other Haul-a-Days!
Responder Class (cargo bike): 13 cyclists carried 200 pounds of cargo 30 miles, with Willie Hatfield finishing first.
Resilience Class (cargo bike): 21 cyclists carried 75 pounds for 30 miles, with Alan Scholtz finishing first.
Survival Class (family): 15 cyclists carried their children 10 miles, with Jordan Bishko finishing first.
Survival Class (regular bike): Nine cyclists carried 25 pounds of cargo 20 miles, with Michael Carpenter finishing first.
Add comment October 13, 2014
Bike Friday’s tikit won a Good Design Award in Japan.
The Good Design Award is a comprehensive and annual program for the evaluation and commendation of design, organized by Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP).
Its origin was “Good Design Selection System” established in 1957 by Ministry of International Trade and Industry.
Since then, it has been given to approximately 40,000 outstanding designs for more than 55 years.
Add comment October 7, 2014
Bike Friday owner Merle Ledford sent us this note that a couple of Bike Fridays make cameo appearances in the latest Safe Streets video.
Add comment October 2, 2014
EDITOR’S NOTE: We recently received an essay from Bike Friday owner Dr. Murray Fishel, who discovered cycling and let it change his life. He retired from teaching and took up cycling.
In 1991 I was a professor of Political Science at Kent State University. In the previous 10 years I had become increasingly sedentary in my life. No major activities or exercise, only pacing across the front of the classroom. By this time I weighed about 250 pounds.
Then the University announced that it would offer a 5 year buyout to faculty members who had a minimum of 25 years of service. After buying 2 years of service from other universities at which I’d taught, I had 27 years, making me eligible for the buyout. I suspected, however, the program would be so popular with more senior faculty that I would not be included in the buyout, at least for several years.
My suspicion proved wrong. I was selected in the first year. While I had a skill that would allow me to continue to earn money —namely political consulting– I began to panic because I had no real outside interests beyond politics. So, here I am a 54 year old professor faced with early retirement and nothing to do most of the time.
Everything I’d read warned against allowing that to happen. The caveat was, “Don’t retire unless you have a variety of outside interests.” And, I didn’t. As luck would have it, around this time, I happened to see an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on mountain biking. Intriguing. That night I decided that I would take a chance and risk investing $300 on a mountain bike. Hopefully, I would like it.
In September, 1991, I went to the Wheel and Wrench Bike Shop in Kent and purchased my first bike as an adult… a Diamondback Sorrento mountain bike. Mark, the salesperson, persuaded me that I should also buy a helmet, tire levers, patch kit and a spare tube. I did, even though I didn’t have a clue as to how to fix a flat.
I vowed to myself that I would never spend a lot on biking “stuff.” and would NEVER EVER wear those funky looking spandex bike shorts!
Shortly after buying my Diamondback, I ventured out for my first ride. I was scared, a bit embarrassed at 250 pounds and was hoping I wouldn’t see anyone I knew. I put on an old pair of jeans, Cleveland Indians tee shirt and my vintage converse All Star shoes. I also wore my new helmet. I was the living incarnation of the anti-biking persona.
I rode 3 miles on the Summit County (OH) Bike Hike Trail. I took a radio so I could listen to the Cleveland Browns. (Yes, another loss.). I made every rookie mistake possible. I missed shifts, threw the chain on a hill and was unaware of bikes around me.
After the 3 miles, I thought my legs would fall off. The next morning I woke up sore with an aching butt and legs. It took me another few days before I was willing to try again. But I did. And, that was 113,000 miles ago.
From Retirement to Bucket List
After I retired I began to do political consulting around the country. I realized quickly that I needed some form of exercise or I’d go crazy. The consulting was high pressure work. Candidates and organizations expected me to be smart, creative and instantaneously give them answers to complicated questions. I always did the best I could; but by the end of most days I had a bad case of fried brain.
Sometime in the early to mid-1990s some biking friends, Greg and Judy, bought Bike Fridays. These bikes were remarkable since they allowed riders to fold them, pack them and travel with them. I decided to spend the money and get a New World Tourist from Bike Friday.
Pretty soon I was taking the bike on consulting gigs in different states. Sometimes, I’d ride very early or very late on a certain day; other times I’d build an extra day or two onto the trip itself.
Since getting the Friday, I’ve ridden about 20,000 total miles on the folding bike.
The convergence of political consulting and the Bike Friday in my life were the initial stimuli for my biking adventures outside of Ohio. The versatility of the Friday is remarkable. Without it and the consulting I’d never be writing this essay. It was years later–2007–however, that I actually put the goal of biking in all 50 states at the top of my bucket list. By that time I had pedaled in 40 states. I’ve used a Bike Friday to ride in 35 states and 4 countries. (See Table provided)
On Saturday, August 30, 2014, I flew to Anchorage, Alaska to bike in state number 50. And, on September 4, 2014, I returned home, having pedaled 160 miles in my 50th state.
Favorite Friday Tours
- Seattle, WA to Crescent City, CA along the Oregon Coast (Self-Contained)
- Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England to Edinburgh. Scotland (Coasts and Castles)
- San Francisco, CA to Santa Barbara, CA (With the Bicycle Adventure Club)
Toughest Friday Rides
- C-2-C, Whitehaven, England, to Newcastle. England
- Ireland, Cobh Island to Galway
- Death Valley and Lake Tahoe
Most Beautiful Friday Rides
- Oregon Coast
- Pacific Coast of CA
- Big Island of Hawaii
- Moab, Utah, Arches National Park
Best Friday Trail Rides
- Centennial and Hiawatha Trails, Spokane, WA to Coeur d’Alene, ID to Hiawatha Trail
- Bird to Gird, Anchorage, AL
- Military Ridge Trail, Madison, WI
- Ohio and Erie Canal, Towpath Trail, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cleveland, OH
Most Satisfying Experiences on the Friday
- Riding with my late wife Judy on the Big Island of Hawaii, England and Ireland
- Using the bike to ride with my Grandson, Max, Stepdaughter, Amy, and Granddaughter, Jude
- Using the bike to help fulfill the bucket list goal of biking in all 50 states
Add comment September 18, 2014
Elle Steele packed up her Bike Friday Haul-a-Day, along with her kids, and came to Eugene for the Kidical Mass Camping Trip.
Add comment August 26, 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