Bike Friday Riders Continue to Blow Us Away

We Couldn’t Believe What Happened Next…

A community of early-adopting cyclists quickly formed after the creation of the very first Bike Fridays. We were (and still are) blown away by what these intrepid cyclists did with their brand new travel bikes. Here are incredible true stories of some of the earliest Bike Friday riders!

Cycling Every Day for 23 Years & 4 Months

In the nineties, former Bicycling Magazine Editor Jim Langley made an incredible commitment to cycle every day – something not possible without his Pocket Rocket!

Bike Friday Pocket Rocket

By Jim Langley

In 1990, I set a short-term goal of riding every day and a long-term goal of cycling daily for ten consecutive years. Each ride had to be a real ride, which to me means getting suited up and putting in at least an hour of fitness-pace miles. I’d heard of a runner named Ron Hill who actually ran twice a day for over twenty years, so I knew it was possible. Yet, I figured it would be tougher to bike every day because it requires a place to ride, a proper bicycle and getting prepared to ride; quite a process compared to simply slipping on your shorts and Nikes.

None of these hurdles seemed insurmountable, but my job worried me. I had to travel regularly; sometimes even to Europe; and I wasn’t sure how I could continue riding in such unpredictable circumstances. I’d already experienced the hassle of traveling with a bicycle packed in a cardboard box and in a bike case. Because of its size, the airlines charged me $75 or more per flight ($150 for a round trip), which I could not charge to my expense account. Worse, they abused the bike boxes and cases by jamming them in the plane next to other oversize luggage that would bash into the box. Even carefully packed, a lightweight bicycle can get damaged abused like that.

To prevent these problems, I tried shipping my bike via UPS. This is less expensive than the airlines’ fees, but I worried that my bike would be lost or damaged. And, I was never positive it would arrive in time. Of course, I also had to have a safe place to ship it to.

Ed to the rescue

Fortunately, there was an alternative; a new invention. Ed Pavelka, another editor at Bicycling Magazine, had recently purchased a nifty folding bicycle called a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket. He was raving about it… Continue Reading on Jim’s Website

Cycling the Arctic Circle in their 60’s!

And they had almost given up on cycling…

From Ingrid & Dick A.

In the late nineties Dick and Ingrid were touring on a pair of Fuji road bikes, when Dick suffered a serious back injury. “I was lifting the panniers out of our tent and my back went out,” Dick said. “It was so painful it hurt to breathe.” Without any way to lift his legs up and over the bicycle, Ingrid had Dick lay on his side, put the bike between his legs, lifted him upright and gave him a push. Thankfully, two were able to coast to the nearest town for medical attention.

After that injury Dick was convinced he’d never be able to ride again, but Ingrid wasn’t having it: “I know just the bike for you! We’re going to get a Bike Friday.” At first Dick wasn’t so sure, “I thought it looked like a girl’s bike,” but he gave it a chance and was impressed: “It rode like a professional bike.” The low step over was particularly important; Dick could easily get on and off of the Bike Friday, making cycling a reality again! Needless to say, the pair were quick to order a couple of bikes and resume their adventures.

Dick & Ingrid have cycled extensively in the U.S. and traveled several times now across Canada with their Pocket Llamas, including to the arctic circle! “We’ve cycled more than 23,000 miles on our Bike Fridays, both training and touring,” says Ingrid. “They are the best bikes, the doors they’ve opened, the opportunities they’ve given us… we couldn’t have done this without them.”

Our Early Bike Friday Story

By Sally & Jim B. 

Once upon a time there were two teachers who lived in Alaska and they really liked summer adventures…which being teachers….were possible.  About 1973 they went on their first tours in Alaska on Gitane and Cilo 10 speed bikes with sew up tires, rear racks with yellow panniers taking the train to Fairbanks and biking to Valdez and taking the ferry to Whittier, the train to Portage and then biking home.  That was so much fun the next summer they went to Nova Scotia  and then various bike trips each summer.  In 1985 they crossed the pond and biked in Ireland where it rained for 19 of twenty one days, but all had a great time.  They boxed the bikes in boxes from the local bike shop, paid for the bikes to fly and bought tickets to Shannon Airport.  On arrival they assembled the bikes in the airport, loaded the panniers and wondered what to do with the boxes and how they would get boxes to get the bikes home.  This was in ancient history when airport security wasn’t quite what it is today so they wrote their names on the boxes and found a stairway with some stuff stored under it in a quiet corner of Shannon airport and added a note on the boxes that they would be back in three weeks so please don’t throw these out.  This trip had a happy ending after three weeks…the boxes were right where they left them so they paid again for the bikes to fly and all returned to Alaska in good form.

Several more years elapsed with these bikes traveling in similar form until 1998 when one summer day in Anhcorage these two teachers saw two smallish bikes with suitcase trailers parked outside REI.  This was quite a revolutionary idea to the two teachers…..So they waited near the bikes  for the owners to return and then quizzed them on this interesting set up. Well these folks told us of their adventures, flying bikes for free, and trailing their gear in the bike suitcases.  They also gave us a preprinted postcard with all the Bike Friday contact info one could ever need.

In a very short time the teachers became the proud owners of two New World Tourists  In the next few summers tours were made to Denmark and then Austria, the Erie Canal, Austria again, Italy, Switzerland and then another bicycle invention was born…the mountain bike.  Well much as we loved the Bike Friday New World Tourists we looked at the full size mountain bikes as a ticket to travel in the mountains, on dirt roads and the “wilderness” without carrying a backpack on the back and also saving an achy knee joint.  So now we were back to the dilemma of paying to fly our bikes to places these new mountain bikes would take us.  We still loved the New World Tourist Bike Fridays for the paved roads and and bike trails beginning to sprout around the city of Anchorage.  We did, however, beat the airlines at their own game….we built boxes which met the length, width total allowance for size to fly the bike for free, but they had to be disassembled into many parts (see picture) and not advertised as bicycles in those boxes labelled Mountain Research Equipment – they did fly free.

To continue the Bike Friday story….after making several summer mountain bike tours  and another 3 month trip to New Zealand on a sabbatical year with mountain bikes, Bike Friday invented the Pocket Gnu folding mountain bike….so the problem was solved and we exchanged a little cash and the New World Tourists for Pocket Gnus which now travel free as bikes although they are still doing mountain research.  Meanwhile we had helped several  (14 at least) friends into the Bike Friday family with New World Tourists and one couple with a Tandem Tuesday.  Somewhere along the way we retired from teaching and also bought two more New World Tourists from friends who were no longer able to bike… so to make a very long story a little shorter we now own two New World Tourists, two Pocket Gnus, a three wheel tricycle, two full size mountain bikes which don’t get a lot of use and one fat bike and I almost forgot that Gitane hanging from the ceiling in the shed. But the only ones that fly with us are Fridays.

Onion Creek, Moab, Utah

Posing with a tall bike in Austria

If you missed part one of this Bike Friday Genealogy story you can read it here: How Bike Friday Was Born

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