Tag Archives: Bike Friday

Cuba: Cycling, Cigars, and Classic Cars…

Cassandra Brooklyn is a New York City-based travel planner and tour operator specializing in off-the-beaten-path trips to Cuba and Mexico that emphasize biking, hiking, and cultural exchange. You can find more bike tour and trip information on her EscapingNY website or by following her on Facebook and Instagram.

Bike used on this adventure was a Bike Friday New World Tourist

And now Cassandra’s story…

If you would have told me a year ago that I would be bike touring by myself across Cuba this year, I would have thought you were crazy. Though I’ve been a daily commuter for 12 years, lead a Food and Cycling group in New York City, and have ridden several century tours (on a single speed!), I had very little bike touring experience. Sure, I had gone weekend bike-packing to campgrounds in New York state and did a 5-day bike tour around Cape Cod, Massachusetts, but those were very short trips, all completed with friends, within 250 miles of my home in Brooklyn, New York. I will be honest with you, when I decided to bike tour Cuba by myself, I was flat out scared and worried I would die of heat exhaustion along some abandoned highway in the middle of sugar cane country.

When I began leading group tours to Cuba in 2015, I quickly began attracting a lot of cyclists so I launched bike-themed tours dubbed “Cuba: Cycling, Cigars, and Classic Cars”. We took cars in between cities and rented bicycles to ride around attractions within cities. There’s no better way to explore Havana’s energetic streets, Vinales’ tobacco fields and farm-studded valleys, or the Bay of Pigs’ quiet back streets than by bicycle!

Interest in cycling Cuba is growing so I wanted to explore the country by two wheels so that I could expand my tours to include proper bike tours in the future. I was also eager to return to some of the far-flung regions and lesser-visited provinces that I had backpacked and hitchhiked through a few years ago. I considered using my Surly long-haul trucker touring bike but instead opted to get a Bike Friday New World Tourist. I wanted to be able to throw my bike on a bus (or truck, or tractor, or horse carriage!) if I needed to save time. I also didn’t want to deal with a bike box since I planned to fly into Eastern Cuba and fly out of Western Cuba and I didn’t think the box could handle the trip. Bike Friday was the perfect solution!

I started my tour in Eastern Cuba, visiting sleepy fishing villages and swimming holes in Holguin. I then headed to ancient Taino burial grounds and quiet beaches in Guantanamo and on to countless historic revolutionary sites and Fidel Castro’s grave in Santiago de Cuba, a lively city that hosts a wild carnival each summer. In central Cuba, I returned to the Bay of Pigs, the site of the infamous failed US invasion and some of the best assortment of government-sponsored propaganda billboards in the country! I rode north to Varadero, the country’s first and most famous beach resort town, perhaps the only place on the entire island where you’ll find a five-star resort that is actually five stars. I opted for a casa particular, a B&B run by a local, then pedaled west to Havana to scout some new rides for my group tours.

One of my favorite parts of the tour was riding along Cuba’s northwest coast, between two of the country’s most popular tourist cities, Havana and Viñales. While hundreds of tourists crammed into tour buses and rusty classic cars that sped along the main highway – the most direct route between the two cities – I opted for the meandering northern coastal route, where I typically had the road to myself as I enjoyed ocean breezes, beach views, and spectacular mountain valleys. Though my group tours to Cuba always include a bike ride through Viñales’ magical tobacco valleys, this was my first time arriving in the city by bicycle, offering views that no 1950s Chevy can compete with! Instead of heading directly back to Havana along the main highway, I took another detour to visit a VERY mountainous region known for its waterfalls, swimming holes, orchid garden, and the country’s first eco-hotel.

Road conditions in Cuba vary dramatically but being a New Yorker, I’m very accustomed to dodging potholes so I didn’t encounter much trouble. Because my Bike Friday folded up so easily, I threw it on a bus or strapped it to the top of a classic car a few times to skip some of the longer stretches of gravel in Guantanamo and Santiago that are known to cause tons of flat tires. May is rainy season in Cuba so I rode through my fair share of rainstorms. Note to self: pack fenders next time! On several occasions, a pick-up truck picked me up during a downpour and drove me to somewhere I could find cover. Again, I was grateful that my Bike Friday fit so easily into their vehicles.

I was fortunate to not run into many mechanical problems during my tour, though I did lose my helmet the first day! I suspect my taxi driver unhooked it from my backpack on the drive from the airport, but I was able to borrow a helmet a couple weeks later and use it the rest of the trip. What we consider “everyday” bike tools and gear can be difficult to impossible to come by in Cuba so I brought absolutely everything I thought I may need (except fenders!), including tubes, spokes, spare washers and bolts, tire levers, lube, a multi-tool, and a wrench. Equally as important as bike tools are a tube of sunscreen, which can be surprisingly difficult to come by in a fiercely sunny country. Check out my How to Pack for Cuba blog post that goes over some essential items to take on your next trip.

Most bike shops in Cuba buy their bikes off foreign bike tourists and don’t receive shipments from manufacturers so it’s very unlikely you’ll come by a bike box in the country. Many bike tourists leave their bike box or suitcase at the casa particular they stay at then return to box it up at the end of their trip. Since I flew into and out of airports that were 450 miles apart, this wasn’t an option. I brought my bike suitcase on the bus with me from Eastern Cuba to Western Cuba, then had a taxi driver I work with bring it to Havana for me while I biked along a different route. I don’t recommend sending your bike box with just anybody but there are many trusted taxi drivers who would be happy to transport your box should you fly in/out of different cities.

Over the summer, I will write more blog posts about my bike tour, touring alone as a female, and about some of my favorite, less-visited parts of Cuba, like Baracoa, a small town in Guantanamo famous for chocolate, coconut “cucurucho”, and the country’s largest national park. You can follow my adventures by signing up for my monthly Adventure Newsletter or following me on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, or Pinterest. If you’re interested in joining my next bike-themed group trip to Cuba or you’d like help planning your own trip adventure, shoot me a message on my EscapingNY website!

Winner – Cargo Bike Review from Randy Kirk

From time to time we really want to toot our own horn as we love what we are doing to help others live a better life.  Thankfully we have people out there who really love us and we are lucky enough to work with some really great people.  Below is one of those people who happen to love what we do and we get to work with a little bit.

“Randy Kirk’s ballots are in and the winner is – The 20” Wheel on a Haul-A-Day!

Categories: Cargo, Sports Utility Bike, Freight Bike, Collapsible Bike

The Haul-a-Day by Bike Friday

You’ve probably laughed at some of the long title awards like Academy Award for Best Writing Adapted Screenplay. This bike category is kind of like that. And Bike Friday wins easily because, well, they created the category with having a cargo bike that can travel.

Prior to the Haul-a-Day, freight bikes or cargo bikes were super heavy, clunky, hard to ride, and those are the nice things you can say about them(One of our team members owned a Yuba Mundo and rode it for six years and can confirm this…his wife would not even ride it due to its size). The Haul-A-Day changed everything with their “Sports Utility Bike” category that still meets the criteria of a freight or cargo bike. This bike can haul even when hauling a big load. Think Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander Hybrid or Subaru Outback wrapped into one.

In addition to changing the entire landscape when it came to bikes designed to carry large, heavy, or awkward objects, including children and pets, Bike Friday designed the bike to sit on it’s rear cargo platform or come apart into three sections if you want to travel with it(it is how they got started after all). This means you can store it in the corner of your garage in a tiny footprint, or take it apart to transport in your trunk(pop the seat-post and handle-bar post so it fits into a Subaru) or a suitcase. It can even ship by UPS!

Once again, this lightweight, convenient bike is made in a family-owned factory in Eugene, Oregon(Track-Town USA, Prefontaine Race and the birthplace of Nike) and you get to spec it out exactly the way you want it because they specialize in custom bikes. Besides offering up to 72 gears, an electric assist e-bike using a mid-drive system with bottle-style battery, and all manner of baskets and carriers, the bike can also handle a trailer but also the best kid hauler hands-down do to low center-of-gravity.

In the end…it’s the lightest and easiest bike to ride in its class which is why it’s the WINNER!”

Thanks Randy…we agree.  We love building great bikes and even better we get to use them ourselves. Our mission is to do our part to offer a great bike that you could imagine replacing one of the cars in your garage with and we believe we have finally done it with the E-Assist enabled Bike Friday Haul-A-Day.  We hope this review has been helpful and we look forward to getting you on a Haul-A-Day soon.

E-motion is High at Bike Friday

E-motion is High at Bike Friday

The 3 Es of our Electric Enhancement systems for Cyclists

E-xpectations, E-tiquette, E-mancipation

E-xpectations:

why now? the law, realistic power & speed, + flying with an E-nhanced BikeFriday

Why now?

Why now and not before? The short answer is confusion. Confusion caused by multiple definitions of what an electric bike is. Many widely varying opinions of what they should be, laws all over the world about electric bikes that do not seem to have anything in common with each other and sometimes with bicycles. Equipment has become a lot better and (tops for me) quieter. And last working through my own unfounded it seems large biased against electric assist. – Here is an example. – Depending on where you are in the world the local laws allow 200 watts, 250 watts, 500 watts, 750 watts and 1000 watts motors. All being defined to fit under the classification of regular bicycles because they have pedals!

Electric bikes and the law(s!)

Are they talking about the same thing!?

I think bike laws have had a huge share of confusion. In a big part from an obvious appearance that they were not written by folks who understand bicycles or cyclists. The local laws that allow 200 watts, 250 watts, 500 watts, 750 watts and 1000 watts motors to all being defined to fit under the classification of regular bicycles, because they have pedals. The average person pedaling puts out about 60 to 100 watts. This will get you from 9 to 14 miles an hour on a flat road depending on your bike and your position. Add another 100 watts to that will put you at 20 mph. Something that fit riders can do. Or you can do with a 100 watts system added to your own 100 watts. Some jurisdictions have speed limits of 15mph(25 kph), some have 19mph, some have 20mph, some have 22mph and even 25, 28 and 30mph! A long read on Wikipedia on electric bike laws will convince you they do not share rational with regular cyclists. Some laws limit your speed if you have a motor to less than you could ride on your own without! Some tie the law to helmet laws, or to age required, 14, 15, 16 years old and older to ride them. Some areas just make them illegal. All the laws are trying to distinguish electric bikes so they don’t need to be licensed like a motorcycle or moped. The most rational laws are the European Union one and how the Scandinavian countries treat them. But even those don’t specify if the power limit is motor wattage draw or output power. (Most systems only average about 70% efficient, so a 200 watts system could be actually 200 watts output or only 140 watts.

A realist interpretation of the law for power and speed for a Cyclist

Perspective makes it all fall into place – and in your favor!

At Bike Friday we believe that looking at it from the perspective of a cyclist will keep you from conflicting with the law almost everywhere. A basic interpretation for the reason for a law is to make sure we play well together without endangering each other and to limit the damage to ourselves. Or even simpler, that common sense is not very common. So to put it into perspective a few rules of thumb can make the size of things much clearer. –

It takes about 60 watts to walk at a steady manageable pace. (3mph/5kph) A jog at 6mph/10kph is about 75 to 100 watts. It is easier to cycle than to walk and the same outputs gives you about 3 times the speed. ( with air drag starting to dominate going over about 10mph). A relatively healthy and fit person can ride at 100watts for quite a few hours (longer than they can jog because no jarring) and with that go about 13 mph. (producing an 8 hour century, if you are fit enough in the nether regions.) Average city cycling speed in Copenhagen is about 10 mph/16kph. So that is base perspective. Strong fit younger riders are flitting around town at 15 to 17 mph and putting in some effort. A decent amateur cyclist can produce 200 watts for many hours and with that ride at 20 mph. 20 mph and overtakes special handling skills. Racers develop this but not good for the average person without the experience, willingness, and skill to crash relatively damage free. (As long as cars are not involved. Oh! They are!) (Best in the world can do 400 watts for 1 hour! With a special position on their bike & go 30 mph). Our bike club here in Eugene has determined that speeds over 15 mph on the bike paths is dangerous to everyone. Physics also says the same thing. With these insights, your goals and expectations as a cyclist become clear if your goal is to ride with others and keep up with folks a bit stronger than you. The sweet spot, and confirmed by my own 50 years of cycling, is 15 to 17 mph. This says the European laws make the most sense, 25 kph /16 mph. If you can do that without electric enhancement you don’t really need it. And if you can only ride at 75watts or 50 watts you only need about another 60 watts to ride at 25 kph /16 mph. That means 200 to 250 watt motor (at an average of 70% efficiency) will bring you to at least 200 watts total and ability on the flats to ride 20 mph. It is clear that unless you have powered cycling in mind (not pedaling at all and at relatively dangerous speeds without a shell around you for protection) you do not need a horsepower (750 watts) or 1000 watts plus to be an E-enhanced cyclist of above-average ability! Nothing wrong with having a hobby but cycling for the most of us fits under 20mph on the level. (tailwinds are free game! Watch the downhills.)

Flying with an Electric Enhanced Bike Friday is now possible!

Simple, light and legal batteries can fly with you

Bike Friday was an early pioneer in making it easier to travel and fly with a bicycle. We did that by making the bike fit the airlines’ regulations. One of the bugaboos of Electric bikes or Lithium batteries-anything is that it is still a fast developing field and some of the first steps in really high power batteries were more dangerous than expected and scared folks. Especially the FAA. None of us wants fires on planes and because of the numerous battery chemistries and manufactures the rules are very stringent. The solution to this at BikeFriday was to innovate by looking at their requirements and finding someone who could help us meet them handily. ( If you read the piece above this you can probably guess that Bike Fridays electric enhanced are lighter & more efficient bicycles do not need huge batteries and still get a significant range.) We did find a great company and product to make the whole system work and fly legally. The solution is very sophisticated & durable modular batteries that meet the FAA’s criteria & when joined up to make a light & effective battery for your traveling Friday. Typical batteries add about 4 lbs to your carry on luggage. (3 modules for 300 watts hours capacity)

E-tiquette:

Sharing the cycling space, noise, you can keep up but you shouldn’t make others suffer or be unsafe.

How are Cyclist different and what experience & space belongs to them

I doubt that if you are a cyclist reading this that I need to tell you that we are not motor vehicles but a type of pedestrian. (the best type!) Our drive is human scale interaction with minimum gear and maximum fun. Where ever we ride we are looking for it being quiet enough for us to converse while we ride and no noxious fumes or dangerous fast-moving metal. We want it to be quiet and we want to feel like we are supplying all the motivating force. Good manners mean we respect that for others so that we all get the great reputation that arriving by bike gets almost everywhere.

Keeping up is great to do – Dropping others you came to tide with is a no-no

I have ridden with thousands of people over 10s of thousands of miles. From that, I pull an empirical perception of cyclist both new and old timers. One of the core ones is this. People want to keep up but other, perceived faster stronger riders (not always true), intimidate them even to the point of them apologizing and asking others to not wait up for them. So when you arrive with a big motor they may not be comfortable and may think or say you are cheating. I will cover the false idea of cheating below but it is very bad manners to go on a group ride with the intended or unintended results of dropping others who the pace is too fast for. With a light, quiet, simple Bike Friday E-enhancement equipped bike, good manners and good logic says you use it to keep up but not challenge others with it. I have found my riding E-enhanced with the groups is well tolerated. I seldom tho when using it see the front of the group and only then if I am sure I will not pull too hard so as to drop someone. I also feel if I am comfortable I am the right guy to slow down and ride with anyone who drops off the pace. Turns out they are often better company than the fast guys!

The Essence of cycling is elegant, non-obtrusive, human scale, at one w/ nature & companions.

Seems like that says it all there. If your electric enhancement improves or helps ensure that for you then it is cycling. If it doesn’t then it is probably fitting another description.

E-mancipation:

the truth will set you free, a tailwind when you need it, put it all together. E-motion

An Egalitarian perspective. The perspective from eyeglasses.

It took me a long time to confront my bias but eventually, I realized that electric assist can be seen as like an eyeglasses prescription, what is needed to bring my sight/riding as close to 20/20 as I can.

Being a strong rider does not mean we need to ignore empathy and yet I do see that often in young riders in their exuberance. What I am espousing here is the good that can come from sipping a few electrons so that you can continue to fully participate. If you can ride at 150 watts all day then you may not need help. (I also sometimes use mine to ride with the 200 watts crowd) The point is that the sweet spot of about 14-17 mph 23-27kph should be easily and properly available no matter your current engine. You can tell them Alan Scholz told you it was OK!

Simple, Freeing, & Easily available

When you put it all together, a properly designed, simple, light, quiet/silent E-enhancement is little different than padded cycling shorts, a great saddle, or a mentor on a tandem taking you on the first group ride that you kept up on. It can be all the difference towards understanding why cyclist keeps on keeping on with the smile on their face, the bugs in their teeth, and the weary good feeling in their legs. (ok eating is a good reason too) When you consider all the large costs in the world for minor returns the Bicycle comes up as one of the great deals of all time. A few electrons may be needed but don’t be shy, they may be all you need to stay in and there is plenty for this.

That’s what emancipation is. It is a right.

E-motion is the operative word and can have a fine double meaning.

At Bike Friday I am pleased to be able to help level the playing field. I did not for the longest time realize was tilted in my favor. Pulling a trailer with kids, a loaded cargo bike is a couple of great reasons to add a few watts to the average human to make transportation rational and elegant, but maybe this is the reason that folks who really love cycling don’t understand why others don’t find it exhilarating. Maybe you need to ride in the sweet spot feeling like it is all you!

Alan Scholz – CEO & CO-FOUNDER & Bike Designer

May 2018 

Two’sDay Tandems, Races and life on a boat…

Just sit right back and hear a tail, a tail of a fateful trip, a tail of tiny wheels, which really know how to rip. The Stoker was a mighty pedaler, the Captain brave and sure. The Tandem with tiny wheels charted its course for the race and here is their tale:

We purchased our Two’sDay last year after test riding one at the Bike Friday headquarters. We bought it knowing we had several overseas trips planned for the next few years, and this was the first. Bike Friday was the first to make a folding tandem bike so this was a big deal for us to be buying a bike from the people who first took on this challenge.

This wasn’t our first trip to the islands but we were inspired by a chance to ride a tandem and participate in a race on a return trip, we couldn’t say no. Of the 75 tandems on our cruise ship, ours was the only BF(Bike Friday). So, after a week of riding each of the Tahitian islands, we returned to the island of Tahiti where we met up with 150 more tandem riders, who were waiting to embark on the same cruise we had just completed. Of the 75 couples on the second cruise, there were two more BF tandems.

The Le Ronde Tahitienne is the largest sporting event in French Polynesia and as part of our cruise, we were all entered as contestants in the race.

The race was very well organized and all distances were an out and back format that hugged the shoreline of the island There were a couple of 10% grade hills to climb and as usual what goes up must come down. Our BF did not disappoint on the descents, even in the rain. As a side-note, we must say that after this ride we had to pull the whole bike apart to clean all the salt-water off of the bike as it got into everything.  Make sure to plan for this after your trip and don’t wait a month/year to do it as you will pay the price down the road.

We had several people asking us the usual questions about the smaller wheels and whether we had to peddle more. All of their questions were answered when our BF held its own on the flats, which was evident by the many people drafting us when they could keep up. People were also surprised when we passed them or just hung with them on the climbs.

After the halfway, turn around point, of the race we were able to see the faces of the riders behind us. What I noticed was a lot of heads were turning to look at the couple on the funny looking bike with the little wheels that cost one half to one-quarter of what they may have spent on their 700 wheeled bikes.

The benefits of having the BF even got better when we returned to the cruise ship to box our bikes for the flight home. While others had to wait a couple of hours to gain access to their bike boxes and tools, we retrieved our Samsonite cases from under our stateroom bed and had our BF all boxed up while others were just getting their boxes. A side-note on folding bikes vs. coupler bikes…Bike Friday makes the most amazing folding bike and it’s just too easy to fold for travel.

We look forward to touring Ireland and Germany later this year on our BF.

Readers can follow our BF adventures at lets_bike_together on Instagram and @biketogether.norco on Facebook. Our mobile bike repair and Bike Friday sales business is at letsbiketogether.com

Thanks for reading our story…hope to see you on the road with two wheels under you and a smile on your face.

Sweeping the streets…one Haul-A-Day at a time…

Our friend Matthew has been working on a little project with his creation called Bicimakina for many moons and its tale we set before you about a man on a mission.  A life free from flats, no longer having the need for emergency repairs.  Find his story below and may your journeys take you to faraway lands, where the streets are littered with smiling faces rolling on two wheels for miles of smiles.

Enter the mind of Bicimakina solutions for changing the world:

 

For a long time, I had terrible tires, something cheap, I don’t remember. I kept meaning to buy new ones, but I’d forget until I inevitably chanced upon some broken glass.

I could never risk running over the glass, it was a guaranteed flat. So the choice was always either to swerve into traffic or screech to a halt. It was a frequent and frustrating occurrence. Of course, instead of just getting some sturdier tires I concocted the most stupidly elaborate solution possible: put a broom on the front of the bike.

 

Thankfully, as I had a Haul-a-Day, I could easily build an attachment for a deployable push broom. All I had to do was design it around the convenient headtube mounts, used for the front rack + plate. So, during quiet hours in the shop, I tinkered away until I had a working prototype.

The idea was good in theory: an angled broom, like a snow plow, would push all of the glass off to the curb. Better bike lanes for all. There was only one problem. It doesn’t work. Like at all. Unless you’re sweeping bouncy balls or getting geese out of your way, it’s pretty useless. The glass just rattles around under the bristles and then pops out of the back and you run over it anyway. It’s not even any good for getting leaves or debris out of the lane.

So this is where we call on all our BFF’s(Bike Friday Friends) and encourage you to get involved, help our friend Matthew at Bicimakina bring this solution to life in a truly functional way.  Makers of the world unite…with many minds we can change the world one bike at a time.  Can you help us with this project?  Support our friend and fellow maker who wants to ensure flats are a thing of the past and smiles for miles are a thing of the future.  Enjoy the video below and then share with us your ideas…how would you take a Bike Friday Haul-A-Day and adapt a broom to it for clearing the bike paths as needed?  Show us your stuff!

Replacing the need for Uber, Lyft and smelly Taxies when traveling…

Have you ever wished you could just jump off a plane, walk out the doors of the airport and be off on your adventure? No waiting for trains, Uber, Lyft or a smelly taxi?

The Bike Friday New World Tourist was created to solve these problems. It even has the option to add E-Assist that can fly with you and boost your ride if it gets tough.

Bike Friday has the solution. 

  • A bike that folds to easily fit into a car trunk, train shelf or other transport
  • A bike that can pack into a standard airline suitcase (no over-sized fees)
  • A bike built for you so it fits and rides great and you can take it with you
  • Added benafit of 20inch wheels that climb hills better than a traditional wheel size
  • With E-Assist you will be able to have all this and a good Irish wind at your back at all times

If you have ever traveled by bike, you know just how good it feels to jump on your bike after a long flight.  The first 30 seconds on the saddle you are still dreaming about how good it would feel to hit a pillow for 8-10 hours, but then a minute into the ride it’s like the clouds lift and you are in your happy place.  It’s life-changing, to say the least.

A good ride shakes the flight out of your legs and gets you in the right mindset for the rest of the trip. As a tourist, there is no better way to see things than by bike.  The simple pleasure of sleep will also come as a good friend when you finally do find your place of rest for the night, it may just be the best sleep you’ve had all year.

When you embark on the challenge of finding the perfect bike and seeing the world and a thirst for adventure is part of what makes you tick, check out Bike Friday.

The Problem with “normal” sized bikes, they are hard to travel with.  No matter which way you turn the coin around they are:

  • Bulky = hard to maneuver through travel situations when Not riding
  • Big package = they cost extra money to put on airplanes
  • Too Big to fit into most vehicles in most places around the world
  • Rental bikes don’t fit like your bike does and can get expensive for long tours

Bike folds to fit easily into a car trunk

 

Bike packs into an airline checkable suitcase. Suitcase can turn into a bike trailer also!

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the words of the great Dr. Seuss “Oh The Places You’ll Go”.

Two people, two bikes, two suitcases ready to travel anywhere!

The New World Tourist would be a great choice and a welcome friend to make your adventure complete.  If you have any questions on the wonders of having an E-Bike with E-Assist, please don’t hesitate to ask.  We are pretty tickled by how amazing it is and what it can do to help you reach the next ridge, winery or small alpine village.

Thankful for customers who toot our horn…

Because we are not good at tooting our own horn…we are truly thankful for our long-time customers who do.  This is one such story which thankfully has a happy ending and is one of the many of our “Why’s” when people ask us what our “Why” is.  E-Assist truly is a wonderful thing if done correctly.  Enjoy the story.

“Hi Hanna, Alan, and the Bike Friday team.

It’s been awhile since we have been in touch with you, but there is a reason for doing so now—an unfortunate reason on one hand, and a positive one on the other.

 

Last August, a day after her birthday, Sharon had a very serious cycling accident that did not involve any car.  It happened on an E-JOE EPIK SE electric folding bike.  She described what happened before she fell on a downhill in a bike lane: “The bike’s steering began to wobble uncontrollably—the handlebars were going back & forth [laterally] rapidly and violently.” Because she could not control the steering, she knew she was going to fall either to the left or the right side. She could not remember whether she tried to brake. The odometer showed 925 cumulative miles and the max speed that day was 29 mph. She suffered a number of injuries but has been recovering well since; she isn’t sure whether she will cycle again.

In our effort to determine the cause of this accident we, and two excellent bike shops here in Boulder, could not find the “smoking gun.” Chuck Ankeny, who had previously worked on this bike to improve both the rough steering and the sloppy brakes to make it absolutely safe, said this accident could probably not be duplicated in a lab. An e-bike web site had several negative comments about this bike, but we had not checked it out before buying it. We concluded that the accident could have been caused by a combination of a poorly designed and manufactured frame and incorrect weight distribution (the bike had a 5-lb portable oxygen concentrator in a wire basket mounted on the rear rack, and rear panniers with a few   items). 

Then I made a comparison between the E-JOE and my 2007 Crusoe BF: both are folding bikes with 20-inch wheels, with a similar, but not identical geometry. The steering on the two bikes is total different, which most likely contributes to the difference in weight distribution on the bikes (excuse my lack of expertise here). 

Here is the positive reason that I am writing to you.  My emphasis here is the proven quality of the Bike Friday products.  I have ridden a BIKE-FRIDAY CRUSOE, my 3rd Bike Friday (BF), since 2007. I rode my 1st BF (1995 New World Tourist) and 2nd BF (2001 Pocket Rocket Pro) on a number of Ride the Rockies tours and elsewhere, totaling thousands of miles (on one RTR tour a fellow rider had asked me how stable these bikes were on the downhill; I told him to follow me down, and never saw him again).  During these years, I experienced not one accident attributable to the design or the manufacture of the bike itself. Moreover, Sharon rode her 1995 New World Tourist in Hawaii, New Zealand, and Colorado without a single incident or accident, until health problems required her to discontinue cycling (until she discovered e-bikes). In other words, a big thanks to all of you at Bike Friday! Keep up the good work.

I read with interest your postings and work on e-bikes.  In 2011 when she discovered e-bikes, Sharon bought a RANS crank-forward bike with an 8-pound BionX battery. The bike worked for her, she took to it well, but the battery deteriorated after a few years, AND the bike was unwieldy and very difficult to transport.  Still, it restored her freedom to cycle again after 12 years off the bike. Then, the unfortunate purchase of the E-JOE. 

Thank you,

Sharon and Manfred S.”

 

We hope to see Sharon on an E-Assist bike soon so she can keep on doing what they both love to do.  Happy Trails!

Bike Friday Family

Some Favorite Rides From Bike Friday Customers

We recently sent out an email with a handful of our favorite upcoming group rides and we got a passionate response! There was a lot of excitement and several great additional suggestions, so we decided to make a follow up list!*

*You can help us grow the list by posting in the comments section

 

Anonymous’ pick: AIDS/LifeCycle Ride to End AIDS 2016

A fully supported, 7-day bike ride from San Francisco to LA to raise money and awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Thousands participate in this 545 mile long, life-changing ride every year.

6/5/2016 San Francisco, CA

Registration Closed

http://www.aidslifecycle.org/

 

John from Oregon’s pick: Cycle Oregon – Week Ride

A fully supported ride through bucolic Oregon in its late summer peak. Enjoy massage and acupuncture, cold microbrews, Oregon wine, gourmet coffee, hand tossed pizza on this week long ride!

9/10 Myrtle Creek, OR

Registration Closed

http://cycleoregon.com/week-ride/

 

Brian from Oregon’s pick: Rapha Retreat L’Eroica Vintage Tuscany

Grab your vintage bike and head for Italy. Rapha presents a stunning four day, fully supported ride through Tuscany, complete with daily massages, nutrition coaching and airport pick up.

9/30 Tuscany, IT

Registration Closed

http://pages.rapha.cc/travel/retreats/eroica-vintage-tuscany

 

Co-founder of Bike Friday, Alan Scholz’s pick: Solvang Century

When Alan heard we were putting out another list, he wanted to make sure that this personal favorite made it into the mix. Alan rode in the Solvang Century a number of years ago and loved it “It’s a beautiful spring ride, and if I had the time I would absolutely do it again!” The 100-mile SoCal ride supports cycling as a means of rehabilitative therapy for heart disease. Proceeds go to benefit three summer camps for children with severe congenital heart disease.

2017 Date TBA – Solvang, CA

Make sure to look for this ride next spring!

http://www.bikescor.com/solvang_century/information.html

 

Bronwyn from Australia’s pick: The Annual Australia Bike Friday Club Ride

Every year 100+ Bike Friday owners gather for a five day ride in Australia; this year marks their 20th! Join them next year for their 21st ride in April of 2017!

Contact Bronwyn  bicycle@aapt.net.au  or Margaret  mday@picknowl.com.au for more information.

Help us grow our list!

Bike Friday owners have the best perspective on the world’s best rides, because Bike Friday owners ride all over the world! Tell us your favorite rides in the comments section below.

 

 

The Under Rack Bag: An In-depth Look.

As builders of folding bikes we’re all about innovation and economizing space. Allow us to introduce you to our latest space-saving invention, The Under Rack Bag.

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The Under Rack Bag  is a clandestine storage unit that sits directly underneath the deck on the rear of our cargo bike, the Haul-a-Day. Strap on a couple of our Cargo Bags and the Under Rack Bag virtually disappears.

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The main consideration for this clever new bag was to create a permanent place for carrying small items that you want to keep on your bike and out-of-sight. This new bag is perfect for tools, extra tubes, reusable shopping bags or just about anything else that you can think of.

The bag is now available for $80, contact us by phone or email to order yours: info@bikefriday.com 1-800-777-0258

Here are the specs on this new thief-thwarter:

  • Durable water-resistant nylon
  • 500 cubic inches/8L
  • 140 grams
  • Reflective strip
  • Velcro attachment system
  • Strap for attaching tail light
  • Fits with fenders and/or BionX system installed

Installation of the bag is easy and it can be done with or without the Cargo Bags installed. The bag simply attaches with a series of Velcro straps to the frame of the bicycle. To see an overview of the bag and hear a few words from its inventor, Bike Friday Co-Founder, Alan Scholz check out this video:

 

Tesla’s Frunk? Our Bikes Fit With Room to Spare.

Bike Friday tikit in a Tesla frunk

We found this great little post on the Tesla website. Pretty great to see our TiKit fitting very nicely right into one of the many world changing vehicles in the world.  Our mission is to change the world and glad to see we are not the only ones.  Cheers to taking steps…one step at a time.