Posts tagged ‘Pocket Rocket’
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
EDITOR’S NOTE: On the first evening of August, a dynamic group of families gathered at the house of Shane MacRhodes to celebrate the official arrival of Bike Friday’s Cargo Bike, the Haul-a-Day.
The event brought together the many individuals who contributed in various manners to the birth and growth of the Haul-a-Day from an idea spawned by Shane to the latest offering in Bike Friday’s line.
Bike Friday Co-Founder Alan Scholz, who worked closely with Shane and others, wrote this Thank You note:
Hi Shane, Missy, kids and Haul-a-Day revelers:
Thank you so much to the MacRhodes family for bringing us all together at your house for what I feel in retrospect could be an important historical event for Eugene.
What a great community this is that the long/cargo bikes brings together!
The pieces are all there including what we all know is number one central, our families.
I was so pleased and proud to be part of it with my family and the other families that were there. I feel we are all one family now.
For a first event it was very appropriate to be at Shane’s. He came up with the idea for a Bike Friday Cargo Bike, and the name of the Haul-a-Day. Thank you for that partnership with him Missy! It has been good for me. Clearly family fits the “necessity is the mother of invention” concept well with your family.
If we want to do the right thing and keep riding and “Arriving by Bike” even after kids, then the Haul-a-Day is the right response.
Such wide interest makes for huge moral support that new complicated far reaching products like this really need to succeed. Few products I have done before have gotten such vocal moral support for them than the Haul-a-Day.
This was really a very special group with many years of very specific unusual experience and talent represented that is sure to put Eugene and the Haul-a-Day on the map of “Helping make bikes an integral part of our lives.”
A big thank you to each of you for the contribution you have given to this unusual and exceptional design team. From the folks who made the jigs, brazed, welded, painted and assembled the bikes to all the beta testers.
I hope you all know who you are. I could not have done my part without all of your contributions and support. Perhaps someone will want to record the specifics as it is getting to be quite an interesting and far flung story.
I hope you all know who you are. I could not have done my part without all of your contributions and support. Perhaps someone will want to record the specifics as it is getting to be quite an interesting and far flung story.
I feel it was one of those magic happenings.
A special thank you to my daughter Fraeda who pulled this event together and not only cut a lot of the tubes for the beta Haul-a-Days but laced a lot of their wheels while sewing all their cargo bags. Thank you and love you Fraeda.
Thank you to my wife Theresa for her unwavering support and her patience with months of me seeming to work 24/7.
And to my daughter Hanna for keeping the rubber side down for the business while I have been so distracted by the scope of this project.
Best in Cycling to all of you,
Shane MacRhodes, who worked closely with Alan in developing the Haul-a-Day wrote an entry on the night on his blog, FULLY LOADED.
Add comment August 11, 2014
The buzz along the banks of the Willamette River began to intensify as the afternoon wore on and a blazing July sun beat down on Portland.
In the parking lot of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Disaster Relief Trials Cargo Fair floated in an easy-going manner for a small crowd while, somewhere out there in Portlandia, about 50 competitors zoomed around performing feats of Cargo Madness.
The concept of Disaster Relief Trials are simple: Show off what support human powered machines might be able to provide in a disaster situation. Competitors ride from station to station, performing tasks and picking up cargo along the 30-plus mile route.
The route itself is challenging. Pick your own route. Just get to the stations and perform your tasks.
Among those hauling around Portland were Bike Friday engineer Willie Hatfield and Co-Founder Alan Scholz. They came to Portland to show off Bike Friday’s new Cargo Bike, the Haul-a-Day.
Willie is no stranger to racing with the Haul-a-Day. He rode one of Alan’s prototypes in the Eugene Disaster Relief Trials in the fall of 2013.
Willie placed second, although he did cross the finish line first. However, part of the challenge was transporting an egg, intact, to the finish line. Willie had broken his egg, and was delegated to second place.
So, back in the OMSI parking lot, as the excitement built in anticipation of the finish, we knew Willie had been among the top three for most of the day. He led at one point, then fell a couple of minutes behind two local competitors.
Willie and Alan, of course, live in Eugene. That put them at a bit of a disadvantage in knowing the best routes to take.
Then the PA Announcer barked that they were getting close to the finish. At one of the last checkpoints they would receive eggs. We looked at each other as the tension mounted. Did Willie learn his lesson?
To best understand who Willie is, rewind first of all to the moment I went to Willie to propose he ride in Portland on Bike Friday’s behalf. Willie said he already committed to riding there, and agreed to ride in support of another local Eugene rider.
See, last year in Portland, a ringer showed up. Depending on who you talk to, he was a professional messenger/delivery biker from New York City. NEW YORK CITY!
Of course, he won in Portland. So the tight-knit gang from Eugene hatched a plan to make sure nothing like that would happen this year. They wanted to put Eugene on the Cargo Bike map, and show the folks in Portland what we’re made of down south.
“So,” Willie said, “I’m not going there to try to win myself. I’m there to ride in support. Are you okay with that?”
“Sure,” I said. “That’s really the Bike Friday spirit, not to mention the spirit of Disaster Relief: Find a way to help out, and be there for anyone.”
In the time between then and the Trials, Willie’s responsibilities at Bike Friday grew. He also came up with some ideas for a modified version of the Haul-a-Day to build for the race.
“I wanted to build something that was loud, and stood out,” the typically soft-spoken Willie said. “I wanted to build something that would kick a– and really show everyone what we are capable of doing at Bike Friday.”Without question, Willie produced something loud, his paint job called Pink Lemonade. He also designed a pair of unique cargo racks that some so-called experts questioned, whispering under their breath, “I think he might have some trouble with those.”
We heard that Willie took the lead by the third station, but then we heard how that station challenged them. They would have to pick up a wooden pallet, and carry it for the rest of the race.
Suffice to say, the imagination of the crowd went crazy. How would you carry a pallet?
“I just threw it on and strapped it down,” Willie said, “I really didn’t have any time to think about it.”
At the seventh station, where they had to pick up a box of food — some as heavy as 30 pounds — Willie arrived in third place, but found the two leaders forced to completely unpack and repack. Again, Willie’s strategy was simple.
“I just tossed it on and strapped it on,” Willie said. “I gained a lot of time there.”
For sure. Willie crossed the line in 3 hours and 11 minutes. Two minutes later, second place Ryan Hashagen of Portland finished, dragging his cargo across as his trailer tipped.
Amazingly enough, it would be 19 minutes before the first true Cargo Bike arrived after Willie. But that came after the PA Announcer greeted Willie as the first finisher, but asked if he could show his eggs. Willie reached back into the pockets of his Bike Friday Compass Jersey, and thrust a third-carton of eggs into the air, unharmed. The victor.
Alan crossed the line 16th in the Open Division, covering the course in 4 hours and 29 minutes. His attention to detail displayed for everyone in how neat and simple his packing was on the standard Haul-a-Day rack.
All smiles, Alan was tired, but had a great time.
“That was quite a challenge, but also a lot of fun,” Alan said.
As for the gang from Eugene, who Willie planned to ride in support of, well, they finished and were thrilled to see that Eugene stood atop the podium.
2 comments July 21, 2014
This vibrant exchange popped up recently on a camping enthusiast site. Real talk by real people.
Add comment May 17, 2014
Here’s a neat story about bicycle building here in Eugene, Oregon done by our local weekly newspaper.
Add comment May 15, 2014
Our friends at Adventure Cycling posted a neat story about Bike Friday owner Lou Schweickart celebrating his 80th Birthday on the Southern Tier route.
Check out his Bike Friday!
Happy Birthday, Lou!
1 comment May 14, 2014
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Graham Day passed away on April 15, 2014. According to his wife Margaret, Graham died at home, peacefully and with the whole family around him. You can leave a tribute to him in the COMMENTS section below.
The Days came to visit the Bike Friday factory in 1995 to pick up their Bike Fridays, and to check out the company. After getting a tour and meeting with Co-Founders Hanz and Alan Scholz, they promised to introduce Bike Friday to Australia.
They did exactly that, with a passion and determination unmatched in the history of our company. To date the Days are responsible for more than 300 referrals.
The Australian Bike Friday Club is one of the most dynamic, vigorous clubs in the world. Its annual Gathering [see Robbie Dow’s report below on the 2014 event] is the gold standard for the Bike Friday Community.
We hope all Bike Friday owners take a moment to share the wonderful memories of Graham and Margaret Day, and tell the tales of their incredible impact on our company.]
A tribute from Bike Friday Co-Founder Alan Scholz:
As a cycling Oregonian from the Emerald City it was my good luck and pleasure to have ridden tour with Graham Day in OZ.
We live a long way apart — Oregon to Australia — but the dynamic duo of Graham and Margaret has been an important part of my life since meeting them 19 years ago in 1995 when they visited to pick up their Bike Fridays. I hope they knew, and know, I love them.
Even though I build many travel bikes for the intrepid traveling cyclists of the world, I am pretty much of a stay at home guy. My world has felt much bigger ever since my trip to Australia. That wedge into my consciousness to include far away Australia into my world made, I feel, my life a great deal more substantial.
With the fine folks I continue to meet in that part of the world through them, I can truthfully say that Australians are some of my most favorite people.
Of the few travels I have done, one stands out in my memory above others. That was a trip to do the yearly Australian Bike Friday Club Gathering in the early part of this century. The trip in many ways was overwhelming.
But I want to say to all as I cannot to him, one of my most favorite and stand out memories was riding, talking, and being in a group with Graham. I remember one corner we waited on together out in the country somewhere. We were fixing a flat or waiting for someone to catch up, but it stuck in my mind. It was one of those moments where you say to yourself, “I enjoy this moment and this person is somehow part of enjoying it. I really like being around them. They are safe, they are gentle, and they care.”
I have carried in my heart since that tour with the fine Aussies, Graham as fine of a friend as you could have. One you do not need to confirm that he is there or has your best interest at heart. I am sure that many from his extensive family and friends will miss him. I will carry him in my heart along with the rest of that exceptional experience that he, Margaret, Bronwyn, Dave and all the others enabled.
I feel loss with his passing and send my love to Margaret and all those others that were/are part of Graham’s life. And know you feel as I do, he made our lives better.
From the Bike Friday Oregon side to the Australia Bike Friday side.
1 comment May 9, 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