Just got an inquiry from an AMAZING artist in Sweden, Anders Jakobsen aka Lagombra, who has built this truly spectacular bicycle rollercoaster in Eindhoven at the MU Art Foundation for an exhibition about the Dutch bicycle.  Sadly, it’s long gone, as one can tell by reading between the lines of the exhibitor’s (designhuis) website.  However, I was so blown away, I thought I’d share for you all to writhe jealously about.  I know I did.  Read more here, here, and here.

I’ve actually been making use out of my Twitter account lately.  Mainly, it’s to watch every move of Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman (the illustrator and author respectively of the original BOOK form of Coraline.. P. Craig Russell was the artist for the graphic novel).  Just kidding, though those two are Twitter-sluts, I swear!

Anyways, I digress.  I was paging through various updates and came upon one very interesting one from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance that simply asked “Would you trade in your car for a fully-loaded, hand-crafted, Fort Collins-built commuter bike and trailer?” and sure enough, those great beer-brewing bike bums New Belgium (founded bike a Bike Friday owner, no less!) are offering a free (and rather stylish-looking) bike outfit to anyone willing to simply let go of those blasted cars.  Sure, if you’re carting around a buncha kids, you might have a good excuse, but you single folks got nothing. 😀

If you still think I’m nuts, consider this great calculator that can help you really look at the TRUE costs of car ownership.. and what you could do with the money you save.  It’s really startling.  If it surprises you, think about the majority of your rides.  Could you car share or bus instead if you’re not into getting wet or being cold?  Are some of your trips within walking distance (many are– to the corner store, for example).  Review the National Household Travel Survey and you’l find the car’s value begins to wane a bit.

But hey, if a cool free bike won’t convince you, I certainly won’t.  Just wait until we get to Europe’s gas prices.  According to one source, out of 141 countries, we were 101 in gas prices which means that 100 were worse.  This means the majority of the world is trending towards higher prices.  Have we any reason to think this won’t be the case?

As far as I’m concerned, having Hanz and Alan on the front cover of Time as the world’s most influential people, seeing Sylar and Luke Campbell from Heroes continue their journey on a Family Tandem, or having U2 do a continental tour on a fleet of Pocket Rocket Pros equipped with Shimano’s new electronic shifting Dura-Ace 7970 Di2 wouldn’t be half as cool as this.

Nope, the Bike Friday has made it to the big time:  on the greatest (cycling) comic strip of all time, Yehuda Moon. of which I have blogged around at least once.  Anyways, marvel at the profound glory of the tikit sandwiched neatly between witty word-balloons and careful caricatures of cyclists we surely know:

What a perfect bike the tikit is for this subject of drivers’ attitudes towards cyclists.  Indeed, though the law extends cylists the right to ride, it doesn’t not give us the right to respect and certainly does not demand drivers’ to give it to us.  No matter how much we have tried to follow the rules of the road (hopefully we are) and tried to act calmly when the poor sap getting 10mpg yelled at you for being on his road, we have not yet got to the point where there is mutual respect among different forms of transportation.

There is a solution though:  fold it up and stick it on the bus.  Bring your iPod and enjoy some good tunes while you catch up on your reading.  And get some fresh air, too.  You may think this can be done with a normal bike and the answer is just– in some places at some times.  Even in sleepy Eugene, though, the busses are getting crowded and bikes are getting turned away.  Every bike except folders.

Indeed, there’s a reason we made it to the Big Time, folks. 😀

Walk, bike, drive, fly, carpool, take the train or bus, just get your buns down to Eugene, specifically Hutch’s Bicycles at Charnelton and 10th (by the downtown library) on March 6th from 5:30-9:00 p.m. and you can get yourself, among a slew of great offers, 15% off  Bike Fridays!!!

In addition to that, you’ll be able to check out some of the finest manufacturers of bicycles and bicycle accessories in the Northwest, including Chris King, Burley, Co-Motion, Rolf, Castelli, Detours, Redline, Yakima, and Showers Pass.

The local bicycle club, GEARs (run by our very own Paul) will be there, as will Lee Shoemaker, representing the city of Eugene, and one of two certified bicycle schools in the country, from Ashland, Oregon, the United Bicycle Institute.

William L. Sullivan, author of THE BEST guidebooks about the wonderful state of Oregon, will be there as Oregon Adventures.  I’m still bummed I missed his workshop on car free recreation at the Eugene Walking/Biking Summit.

edit 2/24/9: Oops on the above.  Turns out this is the other Oregon Adventures, from Oakridge, Oregon.  They do guided bicycle adventures.  Cool stuff, but not William L. Sullivan, who still is the best. 😀

Music will be provided by Skip Jones, a local boogie piano man, who calls on the likes of Otis Spann, Professor Longhair, Dr. John, Fats Domino, Leon Russell, and James Booker for inspiration.  Ought to keep it lively.

You can meet the mayor of Eugene, Kitty Piercy, who has pushed through resistance from the community (which, despite its hippie/anarchist reputation, is surprisingly about half right-wing) to try to make Eugene a more fun, sustainable, livable space.  She deserves your thanks as it much of our success can be attributed to her support.

There’ll be door prizes and contests.  They’ve got wine tastings, too!

All of this is free!  Seriously, this cannot be missed.

Mike and I should be there to represent Bike Friday so come say hi!

scan0001Seriously, it may happen.  Sure, we’ve joked that we should send Obama a tikit, what with him being a cyclist anyways, but a tikit may find its way there in a totally different way.  It turns out that one of the people rumored to have a place in the seat of Secretary of Transportation is none other than Peter DeFazio, Bike Fridays’ own Congressman.

Being a supporter of local business (and subsequently NOT a supporter of the economic bailout), and a serious bike advocate (he’s got a bike/ped-only bridge in Eugene named after him!), Peter toured our factory two years ago.  Since, he’s been seen doing his commute on a custom built, all-American just the tikit.  Here you can see him with Alan and our dealer development dude, Michael Bennett, in front of the new Eugene courthouse with his favourite ride.

But hopefully soon you’ll see him in the White House. 😀

Whether we have McCain or Obama leading the future of America, I certainly hope that they’re leading it towards this prophetic display in Christchurch, New Zealand, that a couple good friends found:


I am hopeful that both would move us in this necessary direction.  I just have a sneaking suspicion one of the two will get us there quicker.  Here’s hoping for the best.

ambiguity sign
Let’s imagine a new tikit model.  We’ll call it the Not The tikit.  It comes in 5 varieties:

  1. The one from Malawi.
  2. The word for stitches or tricks in Finland.
  3. The DJ from Istanbul.
  4. The London company that provides IT consulting to legal and accounting firms.  These are the nasty folks that stole our domain name!  Boycott them now!
  5. The Massachusetts record label Northeast, which once labeled itself Tikit (thanks, Malcolm).
First person to take their Bike Friday tikit to all of the above locations will get a special prize.
By the way, the other Bike Friday continues to get tons of press, yet I don’t think I’ve heard of a Bike Friday bike on a Bike Friday ride.  Another prize for the first one of those.
Lastly, how about a third prize to anyone that sneaks their Pocket Crusoe onto the set of the new TV series Crusoe.
Don’t forget the proof!
That ought to get us some good stories!

Bike Friday has been alive with activity lately, so much so that this blog is a nagging memory every now and then while I ride to get to work, so I can in turn work like crazy and then finally get to ride home into the sun to my beautiful family.

Needless to say, things have been good. We had a nice vacation on the beach in Newport. We flew kites in a state wayside right down from our hotel that thanks to knowing the right people was less than it costs to stay in the Motel 6 on the freeway here in Eugene. We didn’t do much of anything. That was a nice change of pace.

After which, Bike Friday went to the Oregon Country Fair in custom-built (folding, too!) tie dyed polo shirts and showed off the bikes. We showed Ted White‘s classic “Return Of The Scorcher,” a movie that’s not only well known for showcasing bike culture around the world (read: see it if you haven’t!) but also for inspiriting the first Critical Mass (and also much less so for including a little interview with Kash, who runs our SF tikit agent Warm Planet, as he washes some underwear on tour). We made a whole skit out of it, explaining that our power source wasn’t working and that we’d need to bring in the back-up ROB unit.  As it turns out, the “ROB unit” was Rob English, fastest British man and 7th fastest in the world according to the hour record, atop Hanz’s desk which is entirely pedal powered.  He was all decked out in a huge Union Jack in the form of full-on time trial gear.  Anyways, it was a blast, but we didn’t get to camp because the Fair’s weird like that. I guess.

The girls left me last weekend and I went to Paul‘s well-named “No Car Party” as well as the even better-named “Kidical Mass.” The latter really sticks into my memory because it was a heck of a lot of fun on bikes. I’ve appeared at a Critical Mass or two and kind of like it. The police reaction to it I don’t like. But Kidical Mass was none of that. Just a family-friendly group touring about the neighborhood with the kids, enjoying the ride and following the traffic laws along the way. It was not like we were blocking traffic (yes, yes, I know, “we are traffic”), but it was like the other traffic didn’t exist. We went down to the Whiteaker Neighborhood River Festival I didn’t even know existed and then rode all over. Then they were playing “Labryinth” at the park and the plan was to go to Laughing Planet beforehand but I thought the dog might miss me.

In the Bike Friday front, we’ve never had a July like this. Usually things start slowing down now. They’re ramping up. In other news the tikit line hit a real milestone in production today, being a sure sign of the ease at which we’ll be able to keep up with the increased desire for transportation solutions. Season tikit? Yeah, it’s pretty much ready. We’ve got a blinged-out fiber Express tikit in the showroom we’ve been calling the Carbon tikit. Kind of like a carbon credit, but much more useful for getting the groceries.

I’ve just been riding (actually so has Sierra, both on the Tug-a-bug and on her own Bantam NWT) and hope that I’ll take the Pocket Llama to Cycle Oregon Weekend and the tikit to the Bridge Pedal. The 54×15 will be perfect. Hope to see you there!

In honor of the Last Friday Artwalk (the much better of the two in Eugene) as well as Critical Mass, I propose we change the name of our most ridiculously-category to “Bike Friday Fabulous First/Final Friday Fixed Gears.” There will be one every month or else!

Lastly, go see/hear Panasonic‘s new release if you haven’t. Yes, I know they’re now called Pan Sonic because of that silly electronics company, but I still remember them at Panasonic when I saw them play with Merzbow and Masonna. Indeed, that was probably the most memorable show of my life. Their cold, mechanical, form of minimal techno is unlike anything else, all pink-noise and square-wave. The latest is another live set, just brimming with raw, powerful energy, like a technology-current Esplendor Geométrico. I just wish it were a LOT louder. Just put it on headphones in the dark on turn to tracks 8 until the end to feel the full frontal force.

On the same trip, 1/2 of the aforementioned, aka Mika Vainio, who usually seems to have more in common with minimal glitch composers like Ryoji Ikeda or Alva Noto than anything else, also put out a great album called Oleva under his alias that even has a cover of Pink Floyd‘s “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” to rival Psychic TV‘s. It’s dark, throbbing, almost ambient at times and highly recommended.

What’s new in ya’ll’s world?

I personally think it’s ridiculous that we have an expanding population and yet we’re still trying to figure out ways to fuel automobiles.  I mean, where are we going to put all these cars?  We should be investing in research on greener mass transit at the very least.  Surely there are examples of basically carbon-neutral systems already in place— why not bring this technology to the entire U.S.?  Supplement this with some folding bikes and you’re set.  I digress, though.

So in case you haven’t been paying attention, biofuels are dumb for quite a few reasons.  Sure, the guy next door that’s using McDonald’s old fryer grease to make biodiesel isn’t doing that bad, but that’s not really expandable on a wide scale, whether it be city wide, state wide, or nation wide and so it’s certainly not going to work world wide. 

So for commercial biofuels, you have to really think about how it’s going to get made.  First they’re going to be using agricultural land to grow crops.  This means that we lose some of the food supply, since we lose land to grow it on.  In some cases, this means chopping down rain forest, and guess what that means– wasted carbon.  And did we forget the fact that we’re still burning carbon?  One study found we were better off using gasoline!  Environmentally and socially, this is dumb.

But get this– with this year’s El Niño, a drought is predicted.  This is obviously going to impact our ability to produce biofuels this year.  And to make matters worse, our economy is going to hell.  Why is that worse?  Because we have a whole bunch of money tied up in that crop.  It looks like the US is going to be hit hard all because of a bunch of stupid greenwashing.  Lesson learned, folks.

So since biofuels mean hunger (directly and indirectly as more Americans will have less money to spend) and environmental damage, you can consider yourself a sinner according to the Vatican.  So get to confession now and repent people!

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Attention cyclists!  If you have yet to check out the great comic strip Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery by Rick Smith, you absolutely must.  It’s basically about this shop in Cleveland, which has to be a crazy coincidence (that’s where I’m from!).  Not surprisingly, Rick himself is from Cleveland as you discover in Cranked‘s eye-opening interview

The shop is run by two guys– one a total parody of your typical down to earth Rivendell Reader fan (this is the voice of Rick he admits) and another more of a hard-assed roadie type.  If you dig deep into the pages you’ll discover the shop was somehow started because of a cyclist getting run over by a motorist.  One day, a city council guy shows up and asks them to remove it. 

You can read the strip for more on the serious side, though.  What I want to focus on is on the humor.  Today’s strip made me laugh so hard I couldn’t stop, honest, for 10 minutes straight.  Every time I thought about it I would just laugh again.  See for yourself:

When I stopped guffawing though it really made me realize how true it is.  I run Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires on both my tikit and my Pocket Llama and am constantly told by people about faster tires.  I’ve been down that road before, and as a recovering weight weenie, I can tell you there are very few instances I’d actually want those faster tires.  I mean, I like riding bikes, not changing flats. 

Do I care about a loss of 1-2mph?  Hell no.  Tim Link, who runs the same tires and has a bit of a racing background, agrees.   Furthermore, Schwalbe and Rivendell (and likely others) believe that sometimes a wider tire can be faster.  For the Marathon Plus tires, they are certainly heavier, so they’re a bit slower.  But not much.

So my suggestion, as Joe says in the comic: "%$@*# flats."  I will warn you they’re not exactly "unplattbar" but the only things that will get through will be like big rusty nails, so they’re essentially flatproof.  Figure 1-2 flats a year.  You can get Marathon Plus tires in the Bike Friday store for all the 406 (e.g. New World Tourist but not Pocket Rocket) bikes here (1.75" / 70psi — ignore the 50psi we say and if you don’t believe me check the Schwalbe website) and the 349 bikes, including the tikit, in a 1.375" / 95psi configuration by calling our service department.

Big wheels, don’t fret, as Schwalbe makes a range of possibilities that should be easily sourced from any local bike shop.  Try their dealer locator and if that doesn’t work, just order off of Schwalbe’s website.

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