We already have seen the impact of Cargo Bikes. Have you?
We already have seen the impact of Cargo Bikes. Have you?
Huge chunks of weathered gray rock jut skyward from the gentle tumbling waters of Fall Creek as I roll over the bridge, about to disappear under a thicker canopy of trees as the scenery changes ever so subtly. Those rocks are more submerged during the wetter months, and show why the creek makes a dramatic turn at this very spot.
Big Fall Creek Road narrows at this point where I could call it a day and roll into Cascara State Park to set up camp along the reservoir that reflects the rather dry winter we endured. We camped there 10 years ago, one of our last stops before driving into Eugene permanently to make it our home. I know there are vacancies, which make it tempting.
The feeling of “Been There, Done That” triumphs over any nostalgia rippling in my head. That was then, this is now.
Instead of our popup camper and the SUV filled with gear and my girls, I’m gliding across the bridge effortlessly on a Bike Friday Haul-a-Day cargo bike loaded down to get me through a night of camping.
Up the road a number of small campgrounds dot the edges of Fall Creek, and my heart is set on the solitude they offer. The softening of the afternoon light reminds me that, this being Friday, camping sites get snatched up in a hurry. This could be a lot of extra pedaling for naught.
Yet I’m in no hurry. The images of Fall Creek that pop in and out of view behind the lush green forest calm me. They also make me wonder why this has taken so long.
The last time I packed up camping gear on a bike and headed out with my buddy Jack, we were just hitting high school back in Wisconsin and didn’t have driver’s licenses to accommodate such desires. We had to load up backpacks with our gear, and wobble our way out to Eagle.
I’m thinking back to that because it is exactly why our cargo bike has been so popular. There are a lot of people out there who want to leave their cars behind. A cargo bike offers that type of freedom.
That type of freedom delivers peace on a number of levels. That’s the overwhelming feel on this day. What, Me Worry?
More than anything, this is my personal quest to know the Haul-a-Day better so I can do my job better. That’s just the reason for this adventure. The satisfaction is an added, pleasant bonus.
I’ve got the Haul-a-Day packed up with about 50 pounds of gear which, if you attempt to pick up the bike, feels like quite a significant load. I’m not the biggest dude on the block, running about 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, so having the Haul-a-Day itself start out at 33 pounds is a true benefit.
Having tested my strapping skills to make sure my cargo stays put and felt the weight of the full-loaded bike, the time had come to see how challenging this effort might be. With a solid push on the pedal, the Haul-a-Day responded quickly with a straight launch. No wobbling left and right to get it under control. It zipped forward, like an arrow.
As I’ve done more than few times in my five years of personally testing Bike Friday gear, I find myself shaking my head thinking, “Can it really be this easy?”
Three hours later, as I leave Cascara behind and continue into the Oregon wilderness, I know the answer is a resounding yes.
Although I tend to spend most of my riding these days on bike paths, trails and protected lanes, this venture brought me back to the reality of riding along a busy road with nary much of a shoulder. The feeling of complete control of the Haul-a-Day eased my mind when a logging truck would zoom past.
The gearing on this Haul-a-Day (it’s the same Haul-a-Day that Adam Newman used for his review in Bicycle Times) has 24 speeds and more than enough on each end for me. The two-mile climb from the dam wasn’t too steep, instead long and steady. I handled it with no problem.
As I roll into Broken Bowl campground and see open spots, I think that I should be more tired than I am. I’m lugging around an extra load, yet I could probably continue on if I had to. I see one spot still available on the creek, and realize I don’t need to go any farther. This will do just fine.
A confession from Bike Friday Co-Founder Alan Scholz:
Over the past 10 years I have had several folks from the Bike Friday community tell me that we should offer Bike Fridays with electric assist. They wanted it for themselves, and several had even done it themselves and brought them to me to show how happy they were with them.
Well, I apologize. I did not get it.
I had been looking at electric assist for more than 15 years and the ones I had seen were what I thought of as “not real bikes.” They were heavy, made funny noises, or for other reasons were an embarrassment to ride. Especially if I wanted to ride the bike without the assist.
I literally thought that it was about a cheap low-speed motorcycle so people did not need to pedal. I had not a clue what a really good modern assist was like. Worse, I had used myself as the judge of their potential value. As a designer of things for other people’s lives, that is a big no-no.
Since I was a fairly strong rider I always had been fit enough to do most things under my own power, and I transferred that sense to overall value. Until I started riding a BionX equipped Haul-a-Day this winter I just didn’t get it.
Perhaps worse, I have been married for 20 years and knew my wife sometimes felt bad not being able to keep up. That didn’t happen to me very often so I somehow didn’t realize how much a little boost would enhance her cycling. As Homer Simpson would say, “Doh!”
I have been a bike commuter for more than 45 years. I am now riding a Haul-a-Day equipped with a basic BionX electric assist every day to the shop and back and on city business. I can’t believe how much better it is than me pulling a trailer all those years.
It is not just for small moms with a big load of kids who need to ride over a hill to get them home. I still ride my light road bike on the weekend ride. But I can tell you, having electric assist for day-to-day transportation has not replaced my cycling.
I get just as much exercise as I ever did, maybe more. It is an unbelievable enhancement in expanding my self-propelled capabilities.
I found it has very little down side. As long as you add it to a real bike that fits to begin with, I am convinced these will be very popular and seen as very good value for the cost.
Here is what makes it work for me:
As you can see, I’m sold. The BionX electric assist is a well designed system that will enhance cycling for a lot of individuals. You might be one!
By Jeff Linder
Bike Friday Angel Investor
I really don’t know where to begin …
The new Bike Friday Haul-a-Day has so captured my imagination, making it difficult to prioritize the long list of things I truly like about this bike.
The global view is that this bike has the potential of freeing the up the younger families from dependence on the second car. At least that’s the way it presents itself to me.
A car can be, and most frequently is an essential tool in today’s family experience but just as commonly the use case for the second car is not quite so compelling and if you can be offered an alternative that can help you do those collateral essentials then hey, fantastic. AND if you can make it fun too — holy Toledo, Batman, what a score.
I’ve been riding the Haul-a-Day now for a few months and have had just the best time. It’s so versatile and delightful and it brings a smile to my face every time.
My Haul-a-Day has the BionX electric assist installed and I’m nothing short of a convert. Full disclosure — I’m the kind of guy who likes to ride with the assist at full tilt-boogie, allowing me to cruise at 20-plus mph in virtually all conditions that include some pretty significant hills.
I really enjoy loading up with the Costco goods or packages from local retail outlets to the bewilderment of many onlookers. I’m quite certain that I’m often pushing 75-100 pounds worth of bike and cargo, and have passed my local litmus test of getting up my 22-degree driveway, which is borderline insanity.
This is easily one of the best things to ever come out of the skunk works at Bike Friday and I’m pleased and honored to have one of the first production bikes to test and enjoy. Here are a couple of pictures of yours truly and the Haul-a-Day in action.
By Erica Stevenson
The title of this journal was inspired by a comment from a man on my last long bike tour. He called out: “Y’all know over here, you can’t be peddling your ass around here!” – or something like that.
Anyway, our interactions with the local people in each town were the funniest and most memorable experiences of the trip. Meeting some good Irish people (and especially seeing my family) is what has encouraged me to ride my bicycle around this beautiful little island.
So, this is my first solo bike tour and sort of my first solo vacation, though I’ve traveled on my own quite a bit for new jobs.
In the last year, everywhere I’ve traveled by car has just made me think: “Hmmm, this would be so cool on a bicycle.” The speed of biking is a great way to see local life as it is and still actually go places.
Since moving back to the Bay Area, I’ve been thinking about what it would be like to tour just about everywhere in the world, but Ireland seems like the next logical place to go … I can visit family, it’s somewhat familiar, English, island (can’t get too lost!!) — perfect for a three-week time frame and my first solo bike tour. I’d love to have longer to tour, but I also have a rather cool job, so a crazy chunk-of-year(s) tour will have to wait.
About five months ago I booked a flight and started telling people, I’m going to Ireland!!, and that got the ball rolling.
The bike: I bought a folding bike a couple of months ago through a local Bike Friday dealer, Chain Reaction Bicycles in Redwood City, with the dream of easily flying and riding my own bike in far flung places.
I researched these cute little bikes to death and I was able to pretty much custom choose all of my components (without having the worry or cost of them not working out, which was nice!)
I chose dropbars, bar-end shifters, V-brakes, and I upgraded from their standard headset, seat post, and chain. I’ve put a few hundred miles on my Pocket Llama over the summer and he is AMAZING (and adorable).
Except for being a bit unsure when confronted with rocks, he feels very much like my full sized bikes, nimbly climbs up the steepest of hills, and is quite confident when loaded down.
by: Sandra Allen
The Haul-a-Day is Bike Friday’s addition to the growing cargo bike market. Bike Friday is an Oregon-based bike building company who use words like local, organic, community, and handcraft to describe what they do. They specialize in custom folding and travel bikes, which means the Haul-a-Day has many of the inventive conveniences of those types of bikes and can be customized to your desire.
The Haul-a-Day is a mid-tail cargo bike so it has a smaller footprint but can still carry huge loads without being ‘tippy’ thanks to the 20” wheels giving it a low center of gravity. It adjusts to fit riders 4-foot to 6-foot-4 (1.2-1.9 m) and has a low step-over height which is immensely helpful when hopping on and off with kids aboard. Disc brakes front and back, a stabilizing two-leg kickstand, huge front basket and a plate-deck rear rack round out the specs, while you’ve got the choice of 8 or 24 speeds. The Haul-a-Day is light and agile and rides like a real bike while doing 10x the work. One can customize everything from the rear rack, the front basket, saddlebags, colour, and kid-attachments – Bike Friday loves to work with their customers to create the best bike for your lifestyle.
TELL YOUR FRIENDS You know that classic scene from E.T. that every cyclist loves to reference? Elliot on his bicycle flying through the sky, red hoodie up, E.T. tucked in the front basket. I feel like Elliot in that scene when I ride the Haul-a-Day. Maybe it’s the big basket in the front, or the upright riding position, or the fun, red colour of this model. It just feels like flying on this beautiful bicycle. I get compliments on it ALL the time, and the girls I nanny used to always ask why people were staring & waving at them all the time. I’ve had to explain that we just look so cool & unique, so that’s why all the attention!
I find the basket and 2 huge saddle bags handle all my loads perfectly. The basket is so solidly attached to the bike frame itself – and the wheel turns freely below it – which allows the bike to turn smoothly even in tight places. I don’t think I could handle the loads I do without such a low step-through and the small wheels. This makes it super sturdy and stable when loaded to the brim with cargo or kids or both! I am a small person and manage the bike just fine; I’ve even read an older child could use this cargo bike, which I believe is the only one on the market able to adjust for such a wide variety of people. Great disc brakes ensure I can stop no matter what and the SRAM dual drive 24-speed lets me gear down if I get stopped suddenly and really tackle those hills with ease.
WISH LIST There isn’t much I would change on this bike, it’s pretty darn awesome as is. But hey, we may as well try to get it perfect. So here’s what I’d like to see:
SUMMARY A light, easy and fun mid-tail cargo bike. Having tried a lot of other load-hauling contraptions, getting on the Haul-a-Day was a pure delight! To not feel like the bike is out of your control or struggle much on any sort of incline, I really appreciated all the thought that went in to this beautiful bicycle. If you’re looking for a bike that can haul big loads safely and easily without being a huge presence, then the Haul-a-day is for you.
Check out the great photo of a Haul-a-Day with the coolest camper on the planet.
Bike Friday Haul-a-Days proved their mettle with another strong showing at the Eugene Disaster Relief Trials at Alton Baker Park on October 17th.
We counted 12 Haul-a-Days in the field of more than 50 riders, and Bike Friday Operations Manager Jordan Bishko and his son Eli led the parade by winning the Family Division and crossing the line as the first finishers of the event.
The Disaster Relief Trials (DRT) is a cargo bike event designed to help demonstrate the capabilities of bikes in disaster situations.
The riders planned and navigated a course of their choosing to designated check points in order to fulfill the criteria of the trials, with fully loaded bikes on city roads. At each check point riders encountered obstacles or complete tasks to assist response teams (like a neighborhood Community Emergency Response Team – CERT group).
The DRT is a fundraiser for Eugene-Springfield’s Safe Routes to School Bicycle Education Program.
To help raise funds for Safe Routes to School, Bike Friday donated a Haul-a-Day as the grand prize of a raffle. Emma Newman of Springfield (former Springfield Schools Safe Routes to School Coordinator) won the bike.
In addition to the 12 Haul-a-Days competing, we counted eight others rolling around Alton Baker Park, enjoying the Resilience Fair.
With its low center of gravity and easy step-over, the Haul-a-Day can handle whatever challenges daily life — or a disaster — might throw your way. Being able to control a bike with a load is the key to success, and the Haul-a-Day’s pedigree as a Bike Friday performance bicycle makes it a great choice for a family cargo bike.
More than 150 artisans and manufacturers of bicycles, accessories and apparel display their latest products including Bike Friday, who will be showing off its Haul-a-Day among other bikes.
The show features seminars, how-to’s and family-friendly activities. Food and drink, rides, races and after-parties round out this two-day festival of bicycle culture.
Purchase your tickets on the Philly Bike Expo website. Use promo code: BIKEFRIDAY (must be all caps, no space)