Posts tagged ‘fixed gears’
EDITOR’S NOTE: Bike Friday owner Rod Oram wrote this summary of the interesting story of his lost and found Pocket Rocket.
By Rod Oram
My wonderful Bike Friday, source of some great cycling adventures around the world over the past seven years, was lost/stolen from the United baggage system at Los Angeles airport last December when Lynn and I were en route from Auckland to Little Rock, Arkansas.
United was utterly hopeless and highly infuriating through my two weeks of persistent calls to them. They never found the bike; and applying for compensation was incredibly tedious. They demanded, for example, the original receipts for the bike. Handily, I got a copy from Bike Friday, the Oregon company that custom-built the bike for me in 2008.
My claim was for $4,500 for the bike plus $1,000 for all my cold weather riding gear, lights and tools in the suitcase with it. Eventually in late March United paid $2,200 and my travel insurer paid the rest.
One Tuesday morning I was at my desk and the phone rang.
“Hi, Rod! This is Peter from Bike Friday. Do you still have your Pocket Rocket?”
“Very sadly, no,” I said.
“Well, Rod, it’s in Scottsboro, Alabama now,” Peter said.
“…and it’s on sale at the Unclaimed Baggage Centre for $499. A guy named Mark was visiting from his home in Washington, D.C. and he and his family went shopping at the center. He saw this real nice Pocket Rocket and he said to himself, ‘What’s a nice bike like that doing in a place like this?”
“Mark bought a Pocket Llama from Bike Friday in 2002 so he’s real keen on our bikes. So he noted the serial number and sent it and a photo to us…so that’s how we know it’s your bike and where it is.”
I was still slightly stunned when a few minutes later, Peter forwarded to me Mark’s email with the photo of my bike. It looked in pretty good condition except the long handle bar stem, which separates from the fork when the bike is partially disassembled and folded into its travel suitcase, was missing. Also, the plate on the downtube reading “This Bike Friday was custom-built for Rod Oram” had been pried off.
I called the Baggage Center in Alabama and a woman sounded fairly helpful but not utterly convinced by my story. So I sent her Mark’s email and photo.
I didn’t hear back from her for a day. So I emailed her again, this time with the entire paperwork on my United claim, including the receipt for the bike. She replied saying she was working on it.
Jeez, I thought, how hard it is to pull the bike from the display and at least tell me that much. Or were they worried they would lose revenue if they had to give it back to me?
After a while, I was worried the bike might be sold if it was still on the floor. I needed external help.
I looked up the local paper of this distinguished little town, population 15,000…it was The Daily Sentinel A reporter named Wes answered my call. I explained I was a journalist from New Zealand and I had a bit of a story for him about a lost-and-found-bike from halfway around the world.
I said, please could you go and buy it for me I’ll send you my credit card details, or send you the money on PayPal, with a photo of the bike…then we can discuss afterward how to get it home.
He didn’t sound particularly interested but I persevered. I sent him the string of emails from Peter and Mark plus the photo. I added a few gushy word about how much the bike meant to me. I’ve ridden in here in New Zealand in Australia, the UK, Italy and China…in the US I’ve ridden it to the top of the highest paved road in North America, Mount Evans in Colorado (which, by the way, is 600m meters higher than Mount Cook), and I rode it around the circumference of Singapore in a day, etc., etc.
Two hours later, I got an email from Caleb L. Manning, vice president of Scott Group International, which turns out to own the Baggage Center. It’s a nicely integrated business. It writes software for airport baggage handling systems. The worse its software is, the more stuff they have to sell at the Center!
He was all gushy Southern charm, saying he couldn’t do enough for me to get the bike back to me … to which he added:
“Lastly, we fielded a call from Wes Mayberry at The Daily Sentinel here in Scottsboro, where our store is located. I hope that you would agree to reach back out to Mr. Mayberry and confirm with him that the wheels are spinning for a happy ending to this story, and that you did not even have to buy it back. We would appreciate that greatly!”
He said it was going to be awfully complicated to get the bike back to me in New Zealand. He’d work on it with United. Jeez, I thought, how hard is it t put a bike on a plane?
In reply, I suggested they ship the bike tBike Friday in Oregon for a replacement stem plus a new Samsonite suitcase for it to travel in. Then Bike Friday can ship it to a friend of mine in Chicago because I’ll be there for work in late September.
A senior person at United was now in on the email traffic, apologising profusely and expressing effusively how thrilled she and all her colleagues were that they are about to reunite me with my bike.
United agreed to pay for the shipping to Oregon and then to Chicago, and did not ask for a refund.
I haven’t had so much fun in a long time!
It’s almost as much fun as riding my Bike Friday in a wonderful part of the world!
Add comment August 19, 2015
Huge chunks of weathered gray rock jut skyward from the gentle tumbling waters of Fall Creek as I roll over the bridge, about to disappear under a thicker canopy of trees as the scenery changes ever so subtly. Those rocks are more submerged during the wetter months, and show why the creek makes a dramatic turn at this very spot.
Big Fall Creek Road narrows at this point where I could call it a day and roll into Cascara State Park to set up camp along the reservoir that reflects the rather dry winter we endured. We camped there 10 years ago, one of our last stops before driving into Eugene permanently to make it our home. I know there are vacancies, which make it tempting.
The feeling of “Been There, Done That” triumphs over any nostalgia rippling in my head. That was then, this is now.
Instead of our popup camper and the SUV filled with gear and my girls, I’m gliding across the bridge effortlessly on a Bike Friday Haul-a-Day cargo bike loaded down to get me through a night of camping.
Up the road a number of small campgrounds dot the edges of Fall Creek, and my heart is set on the solitude they offer. The softening of the afternoon light reminds me that, this being Friday, camping sites get snatched up in a hurry. This could be a lot of extra pedaling for naught.
Yet I’m in no hurry. The images of Fall Creek that pop in and out of view behind the lush green forest calm me. They also make me wonder why this has taken so long.
The last time I packed up camping gear on a bike and headed out with my buddy Jack, we were just hitting high school back in Wisconsin and didn’t have driver’s licenses to accommodate such desires. We had to load up backpacks with our gear, and wobble our way out to Eagle.
I’m thinking back to that because it is exactly why our cargo bike has been so popular. There are a lot of people out there who want to leave their cars behind. A cargo bike offers that type of freedom.
That type of freedom delivers peace on a number of levels. That’s the overwhelming feel on this day. What, Me Worry?
More than anything, this is my personal quest to know the Haul-a-Day better so I can do my job better. That’s just the reason for this adventure. The satisfaction is an added, pleasant bonus.
I’ve got the Haul-a-Day packed up with about 50 pounds of gear which, if you attempt to pick up the bike, feels like quite a significant load. I’m not the biggest dude on the block, running about 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, so having the Haul-a-Day itself start out at 33 pounds is a true benefit.
Having tested my strapping skills to make sure my cargo stays put and felt the weight of the full-loaded bike, the time had come to see how challenging this effort might be. With a solid push on the pedal, the Haul-a-Day responded quickly with a straight launch. No wobbling left and right to get it under control. It zipped forward, like an arrow.
As I’ve done more than few times in my five years of personally testing Bike Friday gear, I find myself shaking my head thinking, “Can it really be this easy?”
Three hours later, as I leave Cascara behind and continue into the Oregon wilderness, I know the answer is a resounding yes.
Although I tend to spend most of my riding these days on bike paths, trails and protected lanes, this venture brought me back to the reality of riding along a busy road with nary much of a shoulder. The feeling of complete control of the Haul-a-Day eased my mind when a logging truck would zoom past.
The gearing on this Haul-a-Day (it’s the same Haul-a-Day that Adam Newman used for his review in Bicycle Times) has 24 speeds and more than enough on each end for me. The two-mile climb from the dam wasn’t too steep, instead long and steady. I handled it with no problem.
As I roll into Broken Bowl campground and see open spots, I think that I should be more tired than I am. I’m lugging around an extra load, yet I could probably continue on if I had to. I see one spot still available on the creek, and realize I don’t need to go any farther. This will do just fine.
2 comments July 20, 2015
PHOTO: Bike Friday owner Elle Steele riding with her boys on a Haul-a-Day.
Elle Steele pedals through the streets of Sacramento on her Bike Friday Haul-a-Day with her two boys sitting comfortably on the back.
The sun shines down upon another beautiful day as she makes the short trip from her home to pick up her oldest son from school.
As they roll past commercial buildings back to the safety of her neighborhood, Elle asks how his day went.
There’s a give and take of a little chit-chat as the boys enjoy the ride.
“The Haul-a-Day turns our everyday routine into an adventure with my two boys as we immerse ourselves in the sights and sounds and smells of our city,” Elle said, pausing to laugh. “I suppose you could take out the smells to make it sound better, but I think my boys really get a great sense of what the city is really like.
“Like when we ride past a bakery and they are baking fresh bread. There’s just so much to experience when we’re running errands or making a drop-off run to school, and being on a bike allows us to move at a little slower pace instead of just driving through in a car all closed up inside.”
From the Co-Designer of the Haul-a-Day, Shane MacRhodes, to a large number of other parents who have become Haul-a-Day owners, sharing special moments with their children is the ultimate reward of cycling with kids.
“There’s more to it than just riding them around from here to there,” Shane said. “You’re also showing your kids how to ride responsibly and safely. It’s just a great way to spend time with them, outside, experiencing the world.”
KayCee Millitante found her way to the Haul-a-Day after working her way through the bicycle learning curve.
“We sold our car in August of 2013 and wanted to use a bike as our primary transportation,” KayCee said. “I really didn’t know much about bikes and I wasn’t so sure I was going to like it, so I just bought a $100 bike from Target. But then I realized how easy it could be.”
A former teacher, KayCee home schools here two children, and that includes plenty of field trips around downtown Chicago.
“I started looking around and I’d been reading Elle’s blog online,” KayCee said. “I knew she liked a lot of things I like, so when she had good things to say about the Haul-a-Day, I knew I would like it, too.”
She did. In fact, her family now owns two Haul-a-Days.
“For me the most important thing is that I think it really makes us much closer as family,” KayCee said. “When we’re riding around we’re talking and looking at everything. There’s just so much more to it than I even imagined.”
Although it is summer vacation, it’s not too early to plan for the fall and the new school year.
Bike Friday’s production schedule for Haul-a-Days is quickly filling up, and if you would want to take delivery on a Haul-a-Day in September, you need to act now.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Elle and KayCee are bloggers who share a lot of information about family cycling and Haul-a-Days. You can read Elle’s blog “TinyHelmetsBigBikes” HERE and you can read Kaycee’s blog “ChicagoBikeMom” HERE.
Add comment July 15, 2015
PHOTOS: Bike Friday owners Maria Holeso and Greg Hartman in Iceland.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Bike Friday owners Maria Holeso and Greg Hartman recently uploaded this travel story and photos to the What Do You Do on a Friday section of our website:
“This past June we went on our first ever biking adventure!
“We choose Iceland and Bike Friday. What an amazing bike!
“These awesome bikes took us 900 miles through some crazy rain, wind and steep mountain passes. We spent 5 weeks biking and camping all over the beautiful country of Iceland.
“There is such a great feeling of freedom and peace being able to explore a country by bike.
“Thank you Bike Friday for making it so simple. I am already ready for our next bike adventure. Patagonia here we come!
“If you would like to see our YouTube video biking Iceland on our amazing Bike Fridays, check out “two crazy trolls bike Iceland.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: You can always upload your own adventure stories and photos on our website at “What Do You Do on a Friday”
Add comment July 11, 2015
PHOTO: Bike Friday owners Adam Arlan and David Nestvold raising money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in Vermont.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Bike Friday owner Adam Arlan sent us this note and photo about his travels and fund-raising on his Bike Friday.]
“Hello Bike Friday Team,
“I wanted to share this picture with you. Front row is me (Adam Arlan) and David Nestvold with our Bike Fridays.
“We are both bike coaches for the northwest chapter of JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). We help riders train and prepare for destination rides as we raise money for the cure of Type 1 Diabetes.
“The photo is from our trip to Burlington, Vermont from Seattle for a century ride. In this picture we’re in the southern part of Burlington overlooking Lake Champlain.
“I purchased my Bike Friday from you in January 2014. So far it has been to Hawaii, California, Arizona, Nevada, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
“Last November we traveled to Arizona with several JDRF riders as well. We rode El Tour de Tucson and raised money for JDRF on my Bike Friday.
“I’ll be taking it on another JDRF ride this fall to Death Valley. We also got another JDRF rider to buy a Bike Friday.
“Here is the link to my fundraising site for the JDRF ride this fall.
Add comment July 5, 2015
It’s nearly impossible to forget the first time I felt the exciting crunch of gravel beneath the wheels of my bike.
The summer sun beat down on us, four junior high renegades bombing around on our bikes with a thirst for exploration and adventure.
That’s a fancy way of saying we were looking for a shortcut to my friend’s new digs, hoping a closed road would pay off.
We skirted around the wooden barricade, and soon charged down a thrilling, winding, hill. That’s when the pavement disappeared beneath our rubber and gravel introduced itself at the most inconvenient of moments.
A quick, terrifying glance at my speedometer showed we were pushing 30 mph as we whipped through a tight corner.
My buddies, with more appropriate bikes for this, slammed on their coaster brakes and roared to a stop with their fatter tires. Meanwhile, on my less than ideal 10-speed with rim brakes and thin tires, I didn’t dare touch the brakes for fear of my wheels skidding out from under me.
With some sketchy fish-tailing not to mention Divine Intervention, I somehow managed to stay upright through the turn, but before the road could level off and I could breathe easy, reality hit.
I found no wooden barricade on this end of the road. No, I faced a 6-foot tall berm of dirt to discourage visitors. A small, foot-wide worn section showed I wouldn’t be the first to slip over this impressive obstacle.
Instead, I would just be the first to do so at 30 mph.
Here I bow to the reports of my witnesses, who say I launched 20 feet high and 20 feet out before flipping over my front wheel with my elbow somewhat softening the impact of my face on, you guessed it, more gravel.
Of course, by this point in my life I was well acquainted with the emergency room and stitches. So you understand how gravel sparks memories for me.
The emergence of Gravel Grinders as popular cycling events — my aerial acrobatics notwithstanding — makes sense to me. Especially having spent the better part of the past 10 years in Oregon exploring countless gravel fire roads.
My Bike Friday Pocket Llamas (yes, I have two) have proven to be perfect for Gravel Grinding, and after my recent trip to Sea Otter in California, I learned our Bike Friday Diamond Tourist might even be more hungry for that type of terrain, and for a more affordable choice we have our Bike Friday Pocket Expedition.
The greatest value of my Bike Friday comes from the travel aspect that few consider at the outset: Its ability to remain folded in the back of my SUV, under a blanket, giving me constant access to my bike without anyone knowing I have it with me.
Here in Oregon, that means endless opportunities to steal away an hour or two, simply riding up the nearest fireroad.
The ability to go to wider tires make the Llama, Expedition and Diamond Tourist perfect for this joyriding. Toss in a Thudbuster seatpost and you’re ready for action.
After countless miles on Schwalbe Big Apple tires, I’ve spent the past year enjoying Maxxis Holy Rollers, that give me a little bit of knobby tread that, I hope, might come in handy if and when that next berm rears its ugly head.
Here are two great resources for Gravel Grinding:
You can read more of Raz’s adventures in his ebook “You Can’t Cook a Dead Crab and Eat It”
Add comment May 18, 2015
Brock Dittus of The Sprocket Podcast in Portland recently interviewed Bike Friday Special Projects Manager Raz for a podcast
Add comment May 11, 2015
This from owner KayCee Millitante:
“My first time taking a bike on the Metra — ever — and the only problem I had was that the conductor wouldn’t stop asking me about my very cool bike smile emoticon (and I’d been nervous because I heard some were cranky about bringing on bikes!)”
— KayCee Millitante
Add comment March 16, 2015
We got this note from a Haul-a-Day owner:
“With the front wheel turned around and the bike in the 52cm position, the Haul-a-Day fits nicely in the bike racks on a Santa Clara VTA Light Rail train car, so HaDs in the Silicon Valley can ride light rail with confidence!”
— Martin Quiazon
Add comment March 16, 2015
Some amazing people are attracted by the Haul-a-Day.
The song is called The Wolf and it is written and performed by John Ross-Boyce.
Add comment March 10, 2015