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Pedaling My Arse Around Ireland

Bike Friday owner Erica Stevenson spent three weeks touring Ireland on her Pocket Llama, and she shares her tales.

By Erica Stevenson

The title of this journal was inspired by a comment from a man on my last long bike tour. He called out: “Y’all know over here, you can’t be peddling your ass around here!” – or something like that.

Anyway, our interactions with the local people in each town were the funniest and most memorable experiences of the trip. Meeting some good Irish people (and especially seeing my family) is what has encouraged me to ride my bicycle around this beautiful little island.

So, this is my first solo bike tour and sort of my first solo vacation, though I’ve traveled on my own quite a bit for new jobs.

erica

In the last year, everywhere I’ve traveled by car has just made me think: “Hmmm, this would be so cool on a bicycle.” The speed of biking is a great way to see local life as it is and still actually go places.

Since moving back to the Bay Area, I’ve been thinking about what it would be like to tour just about everywhere in the world, but Ireland seems like the next logical place to go … I can visit family, it’s somewhat familiar, English, island (can’t get too lost!!) — perfect for a three-week time frame and my first solo bike tour. I’d love to have longer to tour, but I also have a rather cool job, so a crazy chunk-of-year(s) tour will have to wait.

About five months ago I booked a flight and started telling people, I’m going to Ireland!!, and that got the ball rolling.

The bike: I bought a folding bike a couple of months ago through a local Bike Friday dealer, Chain Reaction Bicycles in Redwood City, with the dream of easily flying and riding my own bike in far flung places.

I researched these cute little bikes to death and I was able to pretty much custom choose all of my components (without having the worry or cost of them not working out, which was nice!)

I chose dropbars, bar-end shifters, V-brakes, and I upgraded from their standard headset, seat post, and chain. I’ve put a few hundred miles on my Pocket Llama over the summer and he is AMAZING (and adorable).

Except for being a bit unsure when confronted with rocks, he feels very much like my full sized bikes, nimbly climbs up the steepest of hills, and is quite confident when loaded down.

You can read about Erica’s entire journey here.

Momentum Magazine’s Review of the Haul-a-Day

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by: Sandra Allen

The Haul-a-Day is Bike Friday’s addition to the growing cargo bike market. Bike Friday is an Oregon-based bike building company who use words like local, organic, community, and handcraft to describe what they do. They specialize in custom folding and travel bikes, which means the Haul-a-Day has many of the inventive conveniences of those types of bikes and can be customized to your desire.

The Haul-a-Day is a mid-tail cargo bike so it has a smaller footprint but can still carry huge loads without being ‘tippy’ thanks to the 20” wheels giving it a low center of gravity. It adjusts to fit riders 4-foot to 6-foot-4 (1.2-1.9 m) and has a low step-over height which is immensely helpful when hopping on and off with kids aboard. Disc brakes front and back, a stabilizing two-leg kickstand, huge front basket and a plate-deck rear rack round out the specs, while you’ve got the choice of 8 or 24 speeds. The Haul-a-Day is light and agile and rides like a real bike while doing 10x the work. One can customize everything from the rear rack, the front basket, saddlebags, colour, and kid-attachments – Bike Friday loves to work with their customers to create the best bike for your lifestyle.

TELL YOUR FRIENDS You know that classic scene from E.T. that every cyclist loves to reference? Elliot on his bicycle flying through the sky, red hoodie up, E.T. tucked in the front basket. I feel like Elliot in that scene when I ride the Haul-a-Day. Maybe it’s the big basket in the front, or the upright riding position, or the fun, red colour of this model. It just feels like flying on this beautiful bicycle. I get compliments on it ALL the time, and the girls I nanny used to always ask why people were staring & waving at them all the time. I’ve had to explain that we just look so cool & unique, so that’s why all the attention!

I find the basket and 2 huge saddle bags handle all my loads perfectly. The basket is so solidly attached to the bike frame itself – and the wheel turns freely below it – which allows the bike to turn smoothly even in tight places. I don’t think I could handle the loads I do without such a low step-through and the small wheels. This makes it super sturdy and stable when loaded to the brim with cargo or kids or both! I am a small person and manage the bike just fine; I’ve even read an older child could use this cargo bike, which I believe is the only one on the market able to adjust for such a wide variety of people. Great disc brakes ensure I can stop no matter what and the SRAM dual drive 24-speed lets me gear down if I get stopped suddenly and really tackle those hills with ease.

WISH LIST There isn’t much I would change on this bike, it’s pretty darn awesome as is. But hey, we may as well try to get it perfect. So here’s what I’d like to see:

  • An option between the open-back hoop and the full hoop-la. Kids want independence when getting on & off but need the security to not fall off the back. Maybe a gate would help?
  • Stronger internal front shifter. I ride bikes hard it seems and needed to get it readjusted twice over six months.
  • More high gears for speed! I often topped out when riding on my own.
  • Built-in lights. When I attached a light on the back where it could be seen while carrying kids meant it got stepped on while the kids got on and off. Built-in lights are ideal for commuting bicycles!

SUMMARY A light, easy and fun mid-tail cargo bike. Having tried a lot of other load-hauling contraptions, getting on the Haul-a-Day was a pure delight! To not feel like the bike is out of your control or struggle much on any sort of incline, I really appreciated all the thought that went in to this beautiful bicycle. If you’re looking for a bike that can haul big loads safely and easily without being a huge presence, then the Haul-a-day is for you.

Read Sandra Allen’s review of the Haul-a-Day in Momentum magazine.

Haul-a-Day Camping in Style

Check out the great photo of a Haul-a-Day with the coolest camper on the planet.

View here

Haul-a-Days Shine at Eugene Disaster Relief Trials

Jordan and Eli Bishko won the Family Division of the Eugene Disaster Relief Trials on a Haul-a-Day.

BY RAZ

Bike Friday Haul-a-Days proved their mettle with another strong showing at the Eugene Disaster Relief Trials at Alton Baker Park on October 17th.

We counted 12 Haul-a-Days in the field of more than 50 riders, and Bike Friday Operations Manager Jordan Bishko and his son Eli led the parade by winning the Family Division and crossing the line as the first finishers of the event.

Jordan and Eli Bishko work at one of the obstacle stations in the Eugene Disaster Relief Trials.

The Disaster Relief Trials (DRT) is a cargo bike event designed to help demonstrate the capabilities of bikes in disaster situations.

The riders planned and navigated a course of their choosing to designated check points in order to fulfill the criteria of the trials, with fully loaded bikes on city roads. At each check point riders encountered obstacles or complete tasks to assist response teams (like a neighborhood Community Emergency Response Team – CERT group).

The DRT is a fundraiser for Eugene-Springfield’s Safe Routes to School Bicycle Education Program.

Bike Friday Co-Founder Alan Scholz prepares to compete in his third DRT, and placed third in the Resilience Class.

To help raise funds for Safe Routes to School, Bike Friday donated a Haul-a-Day as the grand prize of a raffle. Emma Newman of Springfield (former Springfield Schools Safe Routes to School Coordinator) won the bike.

Seven Bike Friday employees competed on Haul-a-Days including (from left) Damon Vold and his daughter, Jordan and Eli Bishko, Robbie Dow and Kent Peterson.

In addition to the 12 Haul-a-Days competing, we counted eight others rolling around Alton Baker Park, enjoying the Resilience Fair.

Bike Friday’s Kelly Humber (left) and Michael Macemon (right) also competed. Macemon finished second in his class on a Haul-a-Day powered by BionX electric pedal assist.

With its low center of gravity and easy step-over, the Haul-a-Day can handle whatever challenges daily life — or a disaster — might throw your way. Being able to control a bike with a load is the key to success, and the Haul-a-Day’s pedigree as a Bike Friday performance bicycle makes it a great choice for a family cargo bike.

Bike Friday Sales Manager Robbie Dow competed in the Resilience Class.

 

Momentum magazine Haul-a-Day review

Read Sandra Allen’s review of the Haul-a-Day in Momentum magazine.

Win a Haul-a-Day at the Philly Bike Expo

The 6th Annual Philly Bike Expo will return to the Pennsylvania Convention Center on November 7-8, and you can be entered to win a Bike Friday Haul-a-Day by purchasing your tickets in advance!

More than 150 artisans and manufacturers of bicycles, accessories and apparel display their latest products including Bike Friday, who will be showing off its Haul-a-Day among other bikes.

The show features seminars, how-to’s and family-friendly activities. Food and drink, rides, races and after-parties round out this two-day festival of bicycle culture.

Purchase your tickets on the Philly Bike Expo website. Use promo code: BIKEFRIDAY (must be all caps, no space)

Profile on Alan Scholz

Bike Friday Co-Founder Alan Scholz prepared for a day of Disaster Relief on his Haul-a-Day.

Check out the local newspaper story about Bike Friday Co-Founder Alan Scholz. We get to work with this guy every day!

An Epic Homecoming

Bike Friday owner Harvey Cain set out to ride his bike from Sacramento to Chicago for this college Homecoming.

Homecoming means so many different things for different folks, but when it comes to Bike Friday owner Harvey Cain, returning to Lake Forest College for the Homecoming football game means much more.

Cain not only graduated from the school in 1952, he was born at the hospital on campus. Both his parents graduated from Lake Forest, and his siblings also attended school there.

When Cain wanted to find a way to help raise more funds from alumni, he decided he’d ride his Bike Friday from Sacramento to Chicago for this year’s festivities along Route 66

Route 66 holds significance for Harvey. He first got into cycling on Route 66 back in 1939.

At age 85, Harvey said he uses his Bike Friday because of some balance issues from a previous bike accident, as well as its easy step-over.

“My wife Marsha and I have done four three-week bike tours in Europe with the Davis Bike Club and one three-week bike tour of Vietnam — Hanoi to Ho Chi Min City,” Harvey said. “We also did a ride from San Diego to Brunswick Island, Georgia at a 70 mile per day pace in 2008. We did all of those rides on our Bike Fridays.”

You can read about Harvey in the Lake Forest College magazine and you can follow his reports here.

A Tribute Ride

Bike Friday owners Bill Asher, Rik Wanninkhof and David Ho rode a tribute ride for Rik’s son Patrick, who was killed by a driver who was texting as Patrick rode across the US on a fund-raising ride.

On July 30th, Patrick Wanninkhof, a 25-year-old New York high school science teacher on a cross-country cycling trip was killed when he was struck from behind by a car.

The driver of the car reportedly told police she was looking at her cell phone at the time of the crash.

Wanninkhof was leading a group of more than two dozen riders from Maine to California with Bike & Build, a nonprofit organization that raises money for affordable housing.

When the Bike & Build group finished their ride in Santa Barbara, Patrick’s father, Rik, embarked on a tribute ride on Bike Fridays with two close friends, Bill Asher and David Ho. All three wore Bike Friday Compass jerseys when Ho came up with the idea.

“Rik was very appreciative,” Ho said. “It turns out Patrick had taken the year off and was planning to ride his bike through Central and South America. Rik thought it was appropriate that a map of the Americas was on the front of the jersey.”

Ho said that Rik’s original plan was to meet Patrick in California when the cross country ride finished, and take him on a pretty well known and beautiful — but grueling — ride in the mountains behind Santa Barbara called the Old San Marco/Painted Cave Loop.

“To remember Patrick, Bill Asher and I went on the ride with Rik on our Bike Friday folding bikes. The ride was only slightly over 30 miles, but had 5,500 feet of climbing and gradients up to 18%. I hope not to do it again anytime soon.”

Bike Fridays were one of the ties that bind these three friends.

“Rik, Bill and I have been colleagues for over 20 years,” Ho said. “We’re all Oceanographers. Bill was the first one to get a Bike Friday, and that influenced Rik to get one. After borrowing Rik’s bike in Corsica once when we were teaching a summer school, I decided that I need one too. We often ride together at or after meetings in various parts of the world.”

A nonprofit organization has been set up to continue Patrick’s cycling advocacy. You can learn more and donate here.

Here are two stories about Patrick:

Washington Post

Miami Herald
Bill Asher and Rik Wanninkhof on their tribute ride.

Visit Bike Friday at Handmade Bike & Beer Festival

When a lot of folks think of Oregon, they think of Bikes and Beer.

Those two hearty Northwest products will share the spotlight this year at the Oregon Handmade Bike & Beer Fest at Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland, 2944 SE Powell Blvd.

Oregon is the only state in the West that has its own Handmade Bike Show, and once again this year we’ve partnered with Hopworks Brewery, which holds its annual fall Beer Fest.

It’s a great chance to come see the best of what Oregon has to offer from its custom bike builders.

The show runs noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday. On Sunday, the Handmade show hours are noon to 5 p.m.

Raz will be on hand with a number of bikes, including the Haul-a-Day.

Come out and join the fun!