Our bikes are well known for their quality ride, folding capabilities, but most of all their versatility. However, every once in a while a customer comes to us because they need their bike to fill a specific purpose.
Brian D. poses with his New World Tourist connected to his boat trailer
Brian D. is one of those types of customers. Brian called us last fall after his bike was tragically stolen while he was out rowing on his boat:
“For the last fifteen years, I have been towing my rowing shell with my REI touring bike 71/2 miles to Suisun Marsh. I call this my bike/row/bike. Last fall I had the unfortunate experience of having my bike stolen while I was rowing. I had it locked to a fence. The bike thief dismembered the chainlink fence and cut the chainlink to remove my bike.”
Having your bike stolen is disheartening enough that anyone who’s had their bike stolen can tell you it is almost enough to want to give up on cycling all together. Brian was down, but not out. He had previous experience with Bike Friday as a Tandem Two’s’day owner, which he would commonly ride with his wife. However, it was his daughter who convinced him to get back in the saddle and try something different:
“Well, I was going to retire from bike/row/bike, but my daughter talked me into getting a folding bike to use for the towing. That way i could place the folded bike in the rowing shell at the waterfront.”
From there it came down to working with a Bike Friday Design Consultant to figure out how we could build a bike that best served Brian’s needs. Working with Steve, Brian configured a New World Tourist with a few key features that made it the ultimate towing bike:
“The staff at Bike Friday reviewed what I needed and we decided the New World Tourist would be the perfect tow bike. Its low center of gravity, disc brakes, steel frame, and gearing have lived up to my expectations.”
Another happy customer! We’re so glad to be able to help people when they come to us with unique situations such as this one. Here’s a short clip of Brian towing his boat with his new bike:
China, Thailand & Bali: What to do, where to ride how to fly
Words and photos by Emily Farthing
When I got to the ticket counter in Shanghai at PVG (there are two airports in Shanghai- important travel tip) they weighed my Samsonite case, bike neatly packed inside, and said it would be 1,494 yuan, equivalent to about 240 USD. This bag’s flight to Thailand was going to cost more than my ticket to Thailand. I had already missed one flight and ate that cost due to lingering in a funky Airbnb in the French Concession with my partner.
This was the evening when I realized there needs to be this blog post- How the f&*^ do you travel through Asia with your bike Friday and not go broke.
Tip One: Airline Choice.
SE Asia is inundated with western backpackers because it’s cheap. You can fly extremely cheap on Airlines that cater to people with no checked baggage and minimal baggage. Thailand, as I learned on this flight is the hot vacation spot for young Chinese, so our weekend trip to the Oregon Coast or Lake Shasta, is their flight to Bangkok or Phuket. They know this little secret and in turn travel light. With Thai Lion or Spring Airlines- Do not try and take your Bike Friday. Instead go with China Southern (Delta Partner), Garuda, or Air Asia; and when choosing Air Asia book from their site. That way you can pre determine the cost of your checked baggage.
Tips for Flying with your bike:
15, 20 AND 30KG Are magic numbers. Cheap Airlines will not allow over 15kg. Air Asia will have you pay for up to 30kg (Ideal for your bike and extra goodies) for about $20. Know how much your bag weighs – an estimate. This will help you determine how much shopping you do.
Use Kayak or Edreams to look at ticket prices then book through the airlines directly to avoid baggage fees. I thought I was saving money when using Kayak but in the end, going cheap cost me more than I bargained for. After paying $240 for my bag once, I double checked every airlines before booking again to ensure I wasn’t paying extra. In the end Edreams was the best cheap booking website because it automatically saved my travel preferences and recognized that I was travelling with a large checked bag.
Tips for traveling with your bike once you land:
Once I got to Thailand I had learned to always request a 1st floor room. This isn’t always an option but easiest when trying to haul your bike to and from your room. Let people know you have a bike in there– People look at you gallivanting through Asia like a princess with your closet by your side, but watch their face transform when you let them know that inside that suitcase is a bike! Spread the love! Map My Ride – a great tool once you get into a city to navigate where safe places to cycle are. I used this in Chiang Mai for great City routes with and with/out bike lanes.
China and Internet- There is no Google in China. Yes, a shocking realization. If you get there and want to access google, google maps or a search engine try these two options: Use Bing. Yup, it’s that once in a lifetime experience of using this when you never ever thought it would come in handy. Download a VPN- A VPN is an IP address in another country like the US to trick your devices to think you are in the US. My favorites are STAR, and PROVPN, you can find them in the App Store.
Bali is not the best cycling destination. Bali was one of my favorite places on the entire trip. It is rich in Hindu culture, rituals, jungles, lush rice paddies, monkeys, beaches. However, as for infrastructure, the roads are crowded with moto bikes and the entire time I was there I saw only a handful of cyclists. Of course, if you are determined, you can still ride in Bali, but for myself I found it much easier to see the whole expanse of the island, including the active volcano, and beaches, by renting a moto bike. That being said, I was still nervous at riding the moto bike. Streets in Bali and Thailand are British style – on the left side of the road. As you ride a moto bike or bicycle, it takes time to get accustomed to always being on the opposite side of the street. Take Caution.
Favorite Place to ride:
Coming in at my favorite place to ride my Bike Friday was Shanghai. I love that the streets were full of other cyclists in a wide bike lane. This gave me comfort that the drivers were also prepared visually to see cyclists. Contrary to this, many places like Thailand were just launching bike share when I was there so the culture was still largely focused on motobikes. Shanghai is another world when on a bike. You get to see the hole in the wall noodle shops, clothing stores and street vendors that Didi (Chinese Uber) and taking the Subway just couldn’t provide.
If I were to go back, I would do more research ahead of time on routes. When in China or Thailand, the internet can be very spotty. Knowing some designated routes I’d like to go would be very helpful to set daily ride goals. GOOD NEWS: next up I am heading to South America so I can do my research then share all I learn again with you!
Recently we were presented with an opportunity to sponsor a group of local high school students who build and race electrically powered vehicles as an extra curricular activity. These students, who attend Willamette High School in Eugene, were familiar with Bike Friday in part because one of our bike builders, Mike C., had participated in the program himself back when he was in school and is described by the current students as: “a legend.” So when they asked if we would be able to help them out with some parts (the vehicles happen to use bicycle wheels and other components we have on hand), we were more than happy to oblige!
Look for the Bike Friday decal, placed across the wind shield!
This past weekend the car went out for it’s first taste of the track and there was no shortage of excitement! Unfortunately, part of the way through the race a mechanical error from another car caused a crash that rendered theirs unable to continue. According to Jase Brooks, who built the vehicle: “Another car broke their steering and slammed us into a curb breaking quite a few things.” However, Brooks, who is currently a Senior and has been in the metalworking program since his sophomore year is not deterred. “We will gear up for the next race and do our best to win.”
Results aside, at the end of the day it’s amazing to see the next generation working on projects such as this. These skills are incredibly practical and it’s inspiring to see them working to solve problem such as maximizing efficiency for an electric vehicle. Bike Friday is glad to be able to support this program, hopefully it will lead to a better future for our community and the world at large!
I don’t think this is the last time we’ll see this vehicle will be put to the test, we will be sure to keep you updated with the latest on this project so stay tuned!
Bike Friday Staff Give Thumbs up for these Great West Coast Rides
Looking for a great ride to test out your Bike Friday this summer? Here’s a collection of rides that our staff can personally attest to! Plus, these rides aren’t too far from the Bike Friday factory in case you want to stop in and say hello, try out our latest models or pick up your new bike. So without further ado, here’s a list of our picks for the best rides of the summer on the West Coast:
Bike Friday customers Tim Link (left), Patrick Wheeler and Katherine Roberts smile for the camera during a fun ride for the whole group!
This isn’t the first time we have recommended this ride, and it certainly won’t be the last. The iconic Cycle Oregon has long been one of our favorite ways to get out and explore our great state. With some amazing scenery (this years ‘classic’ route takes you through the North Eastern part of Oregon) and some of the best amenities any ride has to offer (including plenty of Oregon’s famous craft beer to keep you cool!).
Bike Friday Co-Founder Alan Scholz Rides His Bike Friday in the 2003 Edition of Cycle Oregon
This year’s week long ride goes from September 8th to the 15th, find more information here: www.cycleoregon.com/
Looking for something with a slightly smaller time commitment? RAMROD (Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day) bills itself as the Northwest’s best single day ultra-marathon cycling event. With over 10,000 feet of climbing over the course of over 150 miles, this is not a ride for the feint of heart. However, it offers stunning views of one of the most beautiful mountains in the Cascade range. This ride takes place in late July and is limited to only 800 participants a year so don’t wait, register now!
Who doesn’t love riding for a good cause? Each year over 2000 participants join in on the AIDS/LifeCycle ride, which goes from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The purpose of the ride is to raise awareness as well as money towards research to end HIV/AIDS. This ride goes over the course of a week, features themed rides for different days and for many is a truly life changing experience.
The NorthWest Tandem Rally is more than just a ride, it’s a gathering of tandem enthusiasts from around the world! This year’s event is being held in Albany, Oregon, which is only a short drive north from our Eugene headquarters! This year’s event should be particularly epic, because of the 4th of July holiday, the event will have rides around the beautiful Willamette Valley beginning June 29th all the way to July 4th. Along with the riding, there will be a trade show and other activities planned for participating tandem enthusiasts!
This one is pretty straight forward: this group ride starts in Seattle and goes straight to Portland. Though it is set up to be done over two days, with a mid-point stop that takes place (fittingly) in Centralia, Washington, those who want to power all the way through to Portland can do it in a single day. 10,000 riders participate in this epic event, and the area separating Seattle and Portland is really a joy to ride through.
This year’s event takes place on Saturday, July 14 to Sunday, July 15, 2018, find out more and register by visiting Cascade Bicycle Club’s website: www.cascade.org
Oregon Gran Fondo
‘Gran Fondo’ is an Italian for ‘Big Ride’ and this one in particular doesn’t disappoint, bringing an epic ride to our own back yard of Eugene. This ride offers a few different options for riders of different skill levels, with rides of 40,71, 117 or 137 miles. This ride is particularly awesome because it is one of three rides that make up the “Oregon Triple Crown,” a series of cycling rides with a variety of conditions!
Find more info about the Gran Fondo as well as the rest of the Oregon Triple Crown at theseries website.
Portland Bridge Pedal
This classic ride has been around for nearly as long as we have and it’s purpose has remained the same since it’s inaugural ride: give cyclists a chance to ride across the many amazing bridges that connect the city of Portland, which is split in half by the magnificent Willamette River. This year’s ride is limited due to construction, but it will still feature six different bridge crossings! Those who are looking for more of a challenge are welcomed to take a second lap.
Boulder County Officials on a bicycle tour crossing into the west side though the newest Portland Bridge the Tillikum Crossing. Diego G. Diaz/For the Daily Camera April 25, 2016
What do you do when your extended family is going on a river cruise, and you want to be with them but hate cruises? You take your Bike Friday pakiT and ride along the cruise route, self-guided, self-contained, and unsupported, and you meet them in cities along the way from Budapest, Hungary to Nuremberg, Germany.
While described by Bike Friday as a great performance city bike, I wanted to see if my brand new pakiT could take me from city to city just as well as my Air Glide and Pocket Rocket had taken me on self-contained tours in the past.
First of all, let me tell you about my pakiT. After watching the 2017 Kickstarter video promoting Bike Friday’s newest addition about a dozen times, I knew I wanted to be one of the first owners, so I signed on as project backer. My pakiT is a Glacier blue cutie with Gates Carbon Belt Drive and Shimano Alfine 11-speed Internal Hub. The grease-free, maintenance-free belt drive was a big attraction for me and did not disappoint. What has always driven me to travel with my Bike Friday bikes was their spirited character and compact travel simplicity. My pakiT was even more compact and spirited.
When I arrived in Budapest after more than 20 hours of traveling from Eugene, Oregon, my hard-shell suitcase (9.5” tall x 20” wide x 12” deep) and I squeezed into the micro-elevator to the 3rd floor Airbnb apartment where I would stay for a few days while exploring Budapest. That was pakiT’s one and only elevator ride. I carried her easily up those three flights and more for the duration of our ten-day adventure. Unpacking and assembly of pakiT took less than 30 minutes and then I went to sleep to join life in the local time zone.
In the morning, I took the suitcase loaded only with my air-traveling clothes for the return flight home, to a nearby post office. Despite no common language between the postal worker and myself, we completed the shipping form and I forked over 10,784 Hungarian Forints (approximately $42.00 USD/$35 EUR) to ship the case to the Nuremberg hotel I had reserved for the end of my trip.
To acclimate myself to the city of Budapest, I joined a day-long city tour with a company called Bike Breeze. The other ten riders borrowed a bike from the company, and the ride leader finally agreed to let me take my own bike after I convinced her that packiT could handle the city’s castle district hills. My little packiT and I outperformed every other tourist in the group! I was surprised that I only saw two other cyclists wearing helmets; maybe the pavement here
doesn’t hurt so much here. Budapest, the Hungarian capital, is the result of an 1873 merger between two distinct cities: Buda on the hilly western bank of the Danube River and the flat Pest on the other connected by the Széchenyi Chain Bridge.
When I met my family at the cruise port, they couldn’t believe I was going to ride “those little wheels” and keep up with the cruise ship to meet them in Bratislava, Slovakia; Melk and Linz, Austria; and Passau, Germany. After some quick catching up and confirming meeting plans, I headed out of Budapest for my 101 km ride to Esztergom, Hungary.
Along the route I encountered city streets, bike paths, busy roadways, and farm roads. Late one afternoon, I took a wrong turn on a dirt farm road just before the village of Esztergom while running out of daylight. A young family stopped to help when they saw me standing along a three-way gravel intersection puzzling how to get to the village I saw ahead but couldn’t seem to reach. They threw me and my bike in the back of their pickup with the mom and their dog, and
dropped me off on the bike path where I should have been. Speaking in broken English, German, and Hungarian, I learned that they had been to Oregon (PDX airport) and that wild boars would have found my legs tasty if I had stayed in that rural area past dusk.
Esztergom to Győr, Hungary, was a long 84 km ride on Euro Velo 6, mostly on sand, gravel, and pebbles. It was a challenging day where the route was not remarkable, but pakiT’s performance was. Fields of sunflowers and soybeans were my constant companions on a solitary 90⁰ ride. The only English I heard today was a bicycling couple arguing about whether to turn right or left at a t-intersection on the route. 80.5 km the next day from Gyor to Bratislava, Slovakia was more of the same terrain through mostly undeveloped rural areas. The bumps and root heaves along the route made me glad of all the lifts and jumps we practice in indoor cycling classes at the YMCA.
This seltzer bottle water fountain in Győr, Hungary was a fun reminder to keep hydrated in the heat of the summer.
My pakiT really showed her city self on the route from Bratislava to Vienna (79 km), from battling a headwind on the rough gravel of the Donauradweg (EV6) to being nimble and responsive in stop-and- go city navigating, dodging pedestrians and fellow cyclists on the busy ringstrasse circling Vienna.
A short one hour train ride (17.60 EUR for me and 2.00 EUR for pakiT) deposited me in historic Melk in the picturesque Wachau Valley.
It is always a thrill to meet a fellow Bike Friday rider. You can usually recognize them before you even see their bikes by the enthusiastic shout of “Bike Friday!!!” when spotting each other. I met Mary from Texas, riding a 20-year old SatRDay recumbent in Dürnstein, said to be one of the most beautiful towns in Austria. I also caught up to my family’s cruise boat here and passed them on the way into the next port, waving at them as I rode past!
20-year- old SatRDay meets 2-month- old pakiT.
A highlight of the trip was a pick-your- own flower farm outside of Lauf an der Donau where I delighted in the acres and acres of sunflowers and gladiolas. While I couldn’t take any with me, I took dozens of pictures and left a small thank you contribution in the honor system cash box.
A street vendor in Erlanger encouraged me to model one of her “Hute fur den Fahrradhelm.’ Yes, my helmet is really underneath this custom-made waterproof, shading, and fashionable helmet covers.
Upon arriving in Nuremberg, I was thrilled when the hotel clerk wheeled my red Bike Friday suitcase out from behind the front desk. After nearly 600 km in ten days across 4 countries, pakiT and I were happy to celebrate an excellent adventure with a seat in the shade and six small Nuremberg sausages grilled to perfection with weinsauerkraut and kartuffel salat and a dunkel beer in the world’s oldest bratwurst restaurant in the world. Zum Gulden Stern’s history dates to around 1375.
So, can a great little city bike go on big adventure? If it’s a Bike Friday pakiT, you bet!
Big Adventure for a Little Bike Fun Facts:
Riding days: 10
Distance traveled: 587.2 km
Countries visited: 4
Train rides: 3
pakiT folding demonstrations: 4
Visits with the cruising family members: 5
Mechanical problems: 0
Flat tires: 0
Hottest day: 99⁰ F
Coolest day: 54⁰ F
Photos taken: 654
Fifteen Lessons I Learned From My Solo Adventure:
You’re never lost when you are on a bicycle.
Hydration is more important than you think.
Reapply sunscreen and chamois butter during the ride.
Stop and smell the flowers and take pictures with them.
Use Pocket Earth as a back up to any GPX tracks and maps.
Don’t be in a hurry while riding on gravel or loose sand.
When there’s no shoulder, don’t be ashamed of riding on the sidewalk along busy roads.
Always wear your rearview mirror.
Keep your headlights and taillights charged; you’ll need them.
Keep the air pressure in your tires up to the recommended PSI.
Don’t forget sunscreen on your ears.
Get a good night’s sleep every day.
Look for remarkable things when the route is not remarkable.
Eat small meals or fruit during your ride, but don’t skip meals.
You and your bike can do amazing things when you work together.
Helping you figure out how much electric assist boost you need
Humans are powerful! However when it comes to navigating the wild world of electric assist options, to choose the right e-assist for your needs, it is helpful to know how powerful a human can be and how much additional power you really need your e-assist kit to add to your bike.
This article below was written by designer Alan Scholz to help you understand the amount of power a human can produce and then compare it to the amount of power most electric assist kits can provide. Enjoy!
-Hanna Scholz (Bike Friday President)
How Many Horses Do You Really Need?!?
By Alan Scholz
In the lab, experiments have shown an average “in-shape” cyclist can produce about 3 watts/kg-1.4 watts/lb for more than an hour (e.g., around 200 watts for a 70 kg/154lb rider), with top amateurs producing 5 watts/kg (350 watts 154lb person) and elite athletes achieving 6 watts/kg for similar lengths of time.(6 watts per kg – think world hour record of 400 watt output for 60 minutes and distance of about 30 miles/48 kilo) Elite track sprint cyclists are able to attain an instantaneous max output of around 2,000 watts (& can sometimes break chains doing it!), Elite road cyclists may produce 1,400 to 1,700 watts as an instantaneous maximum in their burst/sprint to the finish line at the end of a five-hour-long road race. (now you know how they do those 40 mph/65kph sprints at the end of those Tour de France stages!!)
Now look at this in terms of horsepower.Mechanical horsepower of 550 foot-lbs per second is equivalent to ~745/750 watts. A healthy human can produce & sustain ~ 0.1 hp/75 watts indefinitely; trained athletes can manage up to about 1800 watts briefly & 0.3 hp/220 watts for a period of several hours. Regular folks bicycling are riding at between 25 watts & 150 watts, if they are not a skilled cyclist. If we have some cycling skill we are not only able to put out more wattage within our comfort zone (for an hour) but also going faster per each watt we put out by riding a more efficient bike, doing it more ergonomically (because it fits us correctly), we are trained, fit, efficient in the proper movements, and our bodies are trained to be better heat exchangers (dumping the excess heat is also easier outside the “lab”).
Example Situation: A Moderate Cycling Commute Distance
Assume a cyclist riding on flat ground, no wind, & motivated. We can expect about 200 watts of power output in an upright position (mountain bike) that should result in an average speed of about 16 mph, a road bike in its better aero position = 20mph, both have street tires on pavement. Let’s assume a distance of 8 miles one way. That will take 30 minutes to get to work, and the same to get back, a road bike rider in better more efficient aerodynamic position takes 24min. The total energy used of 200 watts X 1 hour = 0.2 kilowatt hours. So the cost would be about 2 to 4 cents if it was electricity. (the road rider 200 watts x .8hr = .16 kilowatt hours.)
A very comfortable commute (or slow touring pace) of 75 watts will produce a speed of about 10 to 13 mph. It takes more time but no sweat. These slower speeds makes the commute about 48 minutes to 37 min.
For watts vs. speed reference: 100watts = 12/15mph, 125watts = 13/17mph, 150watts = 15/18mph. (Thank you to Grin Technologies for their great power/load simulator!)
Typical speed in American cities has been shown to be about 30 mph. Portland Oregon averages 23mph. During rush hour & in contested areas it runs more like 15mph. Sometimes this includes a lot of expressway parking & engine running at stop. In 2016 it was reported that the average speed in the U.K.’s busiest cities had dropped below 10 mph! Clearly travel by bike in cities is very competitive time wise.
Bicycles are very efficient if designed for actual riding and not as motor bikes or for extra large loads. Total weights of riders & loads over 100kg/ 220lbs take considerably more energy if there are hills and repeated start ups and stops are needed. And we don’t all have the same capacity legs, skill, or motivation all the time.
What the paragraphs above show is that anyone with an addition of 100 to 200 watts of assistance can ride like the breeze with predictable trip outcomes and feel the thrill of a gifted athletic while doing so. If you can do an easy 100 watts and 12 mph, an additional 100 watts will put you in the Sweet Spot that I have found to be 17-18mph. Fast enough to make real fast predictable trips and still stay safe.
This fun 3 min video gives you another way to see the power a human can produce compared to the power it takes to run a house hold.
By Hanna Scholz
How many horse power/watts a human can produce:
1 Horse Power = 750 watts
A healthy person can produce around . 1 hp / 75 watts which gives them a cruising speed of 10 to 13 mph
A fit cyclist can produce over .25 hp / 200 watts and cruise at close to 20 mph or more
A top amateur athlete cyclist can product up to .5 hp / 350 watts for more than 1 hour and ride at 25-28 mph
A top elite athlete cyclist can produce about 400 watts for 60 minutes for a 30mph (World Hour Record) pace
How many watts / horse power to add to your bike to boost your human legs:
When an average human adds between 100 to 200 watts (1/10 – 1/4 hp) to their output with electric assist they become just as capable as a fit athlete cyclist!
If you can already comfortably cruise at 12mph on flat ground then if you add an e-assist boost of 100 watts then you can cruise at 17-18mph with the same effort. This is the ‘sweet spot’ speed that makes for predictable andsafetrips.
If you have some hills or plan to carry some heavy loads then you may want to add 200 watts of electric assist to smooth out the tough parts of your trip.
Have you considered reducing your carbon footprint by trading in one of your households cars and committing to cycling in its place? If so, you’re not alone! Abigail M. and her family recently decided to follow through with that idea and purchased a Haul-A-Day powered with a Mid-Drive Electric Assist and since that purchase they haven’t looked back! Their experience has been so profound that they recently wrote a commentary that recently aired on Vermont Public Radioabout how this bike has affected their lifestyle. Their writeup is a great introduction to what life is like with an electric cargo bike, but we decided to connect with them and ask some specific questions about what their experience has been like with a Bike Friday! Below is a transcript of our email conversation:
“Abby’s 1st ride” with my older daughter. Photo credit: Dave Cohen
Bike Friday: Tell us about your first Bike Friday experience?
Abigail M.: In November 2016, my wife and I sold one of our cars to become a one-car family. In June 2017, we some of used this money to buy a Haul-a-Day, happily becoming a one car and one cargo bike (plus several other bikes) family. After a few solo rides getting acclimated to the bike, my 5-yr-old daughter joined me on a more official “inaugural ride” to downtown Brattleboro, Vermont. We both had a blast!
BF: What factors eventually led you to choosing the Haul-a-day?
AM: We’re lucky to live close to Dave Cohen, founder of VBike, who is available for consultations and has a half dozen (or more) cargo bikes available for test riding. The Haul-a-day was the most appealing for several reasons: easy on / off due to the low bike frame, low center of gravity, 20” wheels, ability both to haul gear and two kids or a second adult, and its overall comfort.
BF: Now that you own the bike and have ridden it a fair amount, what has stood out to you about the bike? Anything unexpected?
AM:In addition to everything listed above, I’ve come to love the roomy front basket, which often holds my kids’ backpacks, groceries, or organizing materials for my work as a climate activist.
BF: Do you feel like owning a Haul-a-day has led to changes in your life and the lives of your family members?
AM:Down-sizing to one car and now owning a Haul-a-day has led to major changes in my life and my family members’ lives. Perhaps most obviously, we bike more and drive less! This has been an ongoing goal for years, but this transition “forced our hand.” We now have nearly 850 miles on the HaD, most of which are miles we otherwise would have driven. Additionally, this has connected each of us more closely to our community, to other people we pass on our bike, to our local weather, and to the natural world.
BF: How has having an electric assist system changed the way you ride your bike?
AM:Brattleboro is full of hills and carting around two kids on the back of a bike is heavy, so having electric assist has been a “game-changer.” It has enabled me to carry my kids anywhere I need to go, whether there are hills on the ride or not. Ultimately, it has meant that the terrain and the extra weight are no longer issues.
BF: What advice would you give to someone looking to reduce their (or their families) carbon footprint by riding a bike?
AM:Take the leap and do it! It’s good for the earth, it’s good for you and your family, and it’s affordable (especially when compared to the overall expenses of having a car). Plus, it’s super fun!
Thanks so much to Abigail and her family for giving us this insight into their lives with a Haul-a-day! We are excited for more of our customers to be able to experience the power of electric assist, if this is something you are interested in please contact us, these bikes will be widely available soon.
Electric assist takes center stage towards a full line of options to fit you!
We are finding that electric assist gives a whole new perspective on what a cycling experience can be and adds a completely new dimension to Bike Fridays. This multi-stage project started several years ago with the goal of a complete line of electric assist products. Inspired by customers persistently asking us for e-assist, Alan Scholz (BikeFridayco-founder) has been using his 50 years of cycling experience and 40 years of bicycle related design experience to research, experiment and design the best electric pedal assist kits for each of the BikeFridayline. Alan has completed the first 2 stages of this multistage project. He is now deeply into the 3 stage and moving into the 4th.
Read a summary of the first 2 stages in a previous blog post! Click here
Stage 3 Update: Mid-Drive Electric Pedal Assist on the Haul-a-Day
This winter four of us at the factory have been riding our own electric pedal assist Haul-a-Days with mid-drives for testing and enjoyment. Alan continues his testing of multiple batteries and controls, Hanna does daily errands, Walter commutes and Michael takes his 3 year old to school. We all conclude a happy thumbs up! This is a great daily transport city bike set up!
“I have used my e-assist Haul-a-Day for groceries, picking 70lbs of plumbs and hauling friends across town. I found it helps me feel more confident to ride even when I am tired and in a hurry. I still pedal and get exercise more than I thought I would as the pedal assist just helps me go faster than I could on my own. When I feel strong I don’t turn the assist on and the bike still feels like the great bike it is!” -Hanna Scholz
Hanna often rides her own Haul-a-day to and from work. She doesn’t always need the electric assist, but appreciates it when she needs it!
We have also delivered several mid-drive electric assist bikes to customers who elected to be early beta testers. We have gotten great feedback and stories. Stay tuned for a wonderful story in the next newsletter about how the electric assist Haul-a-Day is changing a families life.
We will officially release the Mid-drive system for the Haul-a-Day and Family Tandem shortly. Stay tuned and let us know if you are interested to learn more.
Stage 4 in process: Adding the electric assist dimension to the New World Tourist and Pocket Rocket.
Customers have been asking for a simple light and packable electric assist system for their New World Tourists and Pocket Rockets for years. Alan has been testing options to find the best kit to add this powerful new dimension to these Bike Fridays. We have one beta tester on the road and will be offering retrofits shortly. More information will be coming soon! Let us know if you are interested in these new products!
Alan Scholz has now ridden another 1,000 miles on his e-assist and had another leap in perspective for this project. He will be publishing his findings and insights in a continued series of Blog posts this spring.
You can read his previous posts on this topic here:
Here is his latest writing on Another Leap in perspective on Electric assist for cyclists:
Living in the Sweet Spot. Go with the Flow!
How 2018 is a grand conjunction for the multi-dimensional bicycle.
By Alan Scholz
What drives my many years as a designer of bicycles and cycling products is my belief in sharing my own feelings of flow with others.
Many top level athletes talk about being “in the zone” or as it is called “Flow”. It is a positive experience of energized focus and enjoyment in the process of an activity. It is incredibly common for cyclists to experience flow and many do so regularly. It’s one of the major reasons why they ride. They may say they ride to eat, or they ride to stay fit but often they really have a relationship with cycling that is akin to a positive addiction to looking for their next experience “in the zone”!
I am just such a cyclist. There are plenty of other reasons to see the world from a bicycle that are all valid, but those reasons are all enhanced by the emotional effects of cycling.
Here is Alan with his Haul-a-Day. This bike is currently one of his “test beds” for the electric assist systems we are researching and testing at Bike Friday.
I have been riding this bike to the shop (Bike Friday H.Q.) everyday for the last 3 or 4 years with all kinds of loads and often a trailer too. I raced it in 3 DRTs (Disaster Relief Trials) and managed to place in 2! I believe 15 to 18mph is the sweet spot for touring and commuting. The Electric enhancement makes that possible for anyone! To the surprise of the local bike club I ride my Haul-a-day (cargo bike) on road rides up to 50 miles on the weekends with them, riding comfortably with the fast group on a bike nearly twice as heavy as everyone else! The motor is very quiet and I remind them fairly often that I am not actually Superman and I need a sip of electricity now and then to keep up. They seem to be cool with that and occasionally I’ll provide a fellow rider having trouble keeping up with a boost on a challenging climb. They are not disappointed as in their minds: ‘Keeping up is great’!
I have 50 + years as a commuter, tourist, racer, father of children who are now cyclists, and 10s of thousands of customers who have ridden my bicycles, pulled my trailers, grown up in my trailers, or used one of the 100s of special components or accessories I have designed. I especially prize the thousands of kids who have learned to cycle in Safe Routes to School programs around the US on the OSATA bike I designed specifically for a purpose like class instruction.
I have come to understand that some of this wide and fairly unique perspective is something I should share. Doing so now is because of a convergence of factors that I have been watching and wishing for all my life. The triggering event was finally seeing through my own blinders the wide value of electric assist enhancement to the cyclist.
I again thank the Bike Friday customers who encouraged and hounded me to find out how we could offer it here at Bike Friday. I have been at it now for nearly three years. The original project was to find the answer to an enigma,” The main mystery of Electric Assist for bicycles. Why is it not more popular in the US? It is wildly popular other places. What do they know that we don’t?” I think I now know a large part of that answer.
I am very energized to announce this blog series where I will share what I have learned and why I am now convinced that cyclists can find enhanced value, enjoyment and utility through electrically assisted bicycles. In my next piece I will explain to you why Bike Fridays have always been Multidimensional bicycles and how ETBs (Electric Travel Bikes) can add an additional dimension to the bicycles of folks in the know.
I’d love to know what questions our customers have about Electric Assist and how you feel about Bike Friday’s moves into this exciting market. Please leave your feedback, questions and opinions in the comments below, your feedback energizes my work!
Best in Cycling! – Alan Scholz Cofounder & Designer at Bike Friday (& father of the CEO/President of Green Gear!)
Flow (psychology)From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one’s sense of space and time.
This post is written by Steven F. who got his first Bike Friday in November 2016 and immediately loved it. However, it was the effect his bike had on his family that made his story truly worth sharing.
I bought my Bike Friday Pocket Llama two days after I dropped my son off at the University of Oregon for his freshman year. My then 10 year old daughter and I chose a purple frame with green cables.
When I said goodbye to my firstborn.
Two months later, the bike arrived and a new adventure began. I felt like a kid again, even if I wondered what people were thinking about my folding bike. I rode for exercise, errands, and to work.
I’d bought the bike primarily to have something compact for air and long distance car travel. But what I have found now in a little over a year is that the bike is fun, easy to handle, and has increased my excitement about riding anywhere.
I did notice, though, that with 8-speeds the bike was a little shaky on down hills and I had to work harder up hills. So last fall, right after I dropped my son off for his sophomore year, I upgraded my Pocket Llama to 27 speeds.
I could not believe the difference. I pedaled around as if I were champion bike racer. I found any reason to ride somewhere. I visited my wife at the library to check out more books; I flipped on my lights and rode to a crafts store at 8:30 PM because my daughter needed supplies for a middle school project; I went to Whole Foods and stuffed my panniers with a week’s worth of groceries. A neighbor asked me about the bike.
“I’ve seen you riding it around so fast,” he said, “that I thought it was an electric bike. Where can I get one?”
My son thought it looked, um, interesting; my wife may have used the word ‘clown’ to describe the bike, or me. My daughter, interestingly, the one who’d been mortified by the electric bike I’d made her ride with me on a specially designed seat in back, loved it.
“The colors are so cool,” she said one day. After she road-tested one at Bike Friday, she said, “I want one.”
Then last summer came and I told her I was planning to bike to school a few days a week. With her. She was now going to be in the middle school where I teach social studies.
“I am not biking on the roads,” she said, being extra cautious. “You can’t make me.”
My daughter and son know how I feel about doing our part to help the environment, reduce, reuse, recycle, and impact, even in a micro-manner, climate change. I pack their lunches with reusable stainless steel containers and food grade plastic wraps from Kids Konserve; we recycle the daily newspaper, all cans, bottles, and mail; we use our own bags at the grocery store.
So biking to school, when possible, is an act, a statement of support that makes me feel as if we are making a difference. But my daughter, active in gymnastics and dance, about to embark on the brave new world of middle school, would not budge. “You can’t make me,” she repeated.
And then I violated one of the major principles of Parenting 101. I bribed her. “Maya,” I said, “if you agree to bike with me to school I will let you get your iPhone now instead of next year.”
Her eyes widened. She pursed her lips. “OK,” she said, “but only on the days I don’t have zero period,” which is when she gets to school at 7 AM for band or chorus. “Done,” I said. We shook hands or pinky swore. Over the summer she got the phone, a rose gold 5SE. A week before school began, she and I took a test ride on the sidewalks all the way to the campus. She actually felt elated. “I know I said I was scared,” she said, “but riding my bike is really fun, Dad. I
want to ride everywhere. We can even have a car-free day.” I nearly fainted.
Two months later, the luster had worn off. Although there is a near continuous sidewalk from our home to the school a mile away, drivers are often rude and plow right through cross-walks. I would yell, they’d flip me off, and my daughter would become more and more frightened. About two weeks ago, in late November, a paved pedestrian path opened up right near our home. Though it goes in the opposite direction, making our ride closer to two miles one way, it is entirely car free until the train stop. And then the road is virtually uninhabited by automobiles because it’s early in the morning.
From the road, we slip behind the duck pond onto a gravel path, over a bridge, and straight to a cross-walk manned by a real crossing guard. My daughter’s anxiety level is basically non-existent. I cram her binder and clarinet into my front panniers, and I told her I’d tie her backpack down with bungee cords on the back rack once school resumes in January. We ride twice a week with one of her classmates.
And my daughter still thinks the bike and I are cool, which is one of the best and unintended reasons for owning a Bike Friday.
2017 has come and gone and while it’s hard to deny that the world has seen its fair share of turmoil this year, we found that there were still plenty of moments worthy of celebration! For Bike Friday, 2017 marked our 25th year of operations and it brought many reasons to celebrate. We wanted to start the year by looking back at a few of our favorite moments and photographs of 2017, this is a combination of moments that were important to us and photos that were especially loved by our community. We hope you enjoy looking back at them as much as we did!
President Hanna Scholz celebrates successful StartEngine Campaign
In this photo, Bike Friday President Hanna Scholz takes a moment to relax and appreciate the success of our StartEngine Campaign. Because of this campaign, we had the flexibility to invest in ourselves and plan to use the momentum to have an incredible 2018 filled with growth!
Haul-a-day Power Makes Community Movie Possible
Seeing our bikes being used out in the world has a way of bringing warmth to our hearts, but some situations are even more special than others. Seeing these children from Oaxaca, Mexico power their own enjoyment using a Bike Friday was truly a moment to be remembered. Revisit this story in our prior blog post.
Pocket Rocket Pro Overlooks Beautiful Brazil
This photo comes from instagram user @d_sojourner who travels far and wide with his Pocket Rocket Pro. This stunning shot captures the essence of rainforest capped hills of Brazil and was purportedly taken below the world renowned ‘Christ The Redeemer’ statue during Diederik’s impressive ride!
A New Team Member Experiences Bike Friday Joy For The First Time
In 2017, we welcomed a handful of new team members to Bike Friday including Jac, our newest Marketing & Community Manager Jac got his first real chance to experience Bike Friday while exploring Costa Rica. This shot captured some of his first moments on the bike, you can see the joy in his smile!
Haul-a-day Proves Itself as a Heavy Duty Person Powered Transport!
There’s nothing as satisfying as seeing another happy customer, and this next photo fits the bill perfectly. Maria uses her Haul-a-day to help her complete tasks for her own business and this shot shows exactly why it’s become such an asset for her: serious carrying capability! Keep pushing, Maria!
Those were our favorite moments of 2017! Did you have a a great moment with your Bike Friday that you’d love to share? Send it to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave it in the comments below. We are incredibly excited to generate more of these moments in 2018 and we are glad to have all of you to share it with!