We recently received an email from Alan Burnstein:
I thought I'd send you an email about my Bike Friday
that I bought in Spring, 1993. I was living in
New York City at the time and bought it
to take on the train for out-of-city excursions.
I rode it extensively along the lake front
when I lived in Chicago in the early 2000's,
but when I moved to Georgia, I didn't do much
bicycling, and my Bike Friday fell into disrepair.
I had it overhauled last year at a local
bike shop, and it runs good as new!
I've been riding it at Hilton Head as well as
at our weekend cottage at Callaway Gardens in
Pine Mountain, Georgia.
EDITOR’S NOTE: It has been nearly five years since Dolores McKeough sent us this email, reminding us that it’s never too late to chase your dreams!
Hi, I got home 24 hours ago.
What a fantastic, beautiful summer. The adventure, fun, stress, friends made, country seen, and on and on.
The trip started innocently enough with friend Cathy in Tampa on April 3. It ended yesterday after I biked from Malibu where I was camping with three companions, whom I met in Big Sur, to Santa Monica where I folded my Bike Friday into it’s suitcase (after I took the wheels off since it had been serving as my trailer).
So many good things happened on this extravaganza trip including the folding experience in Santa Monica. I didn’t want to disassemble the bike on the beach, although it was a beautiful day, there was too much sand.
So, I went to the REI store where Robbie, the bike repair manager, suggested I use part of his work space. What a generous offer. I took him up on it and had the trailer wheels and attachment off in no time. I then folded the bike (taking the accessories off is the most time consuming part of the process) and put it in the suitcase (the former trailer).
The suitcase with the bike weighed in at 52 pounds at the airport (even though it was two pounds over the allowance Suncountry let it go). My duffle bag with camping stuff, clothes etc weighed in at 28 pounds. And, I had two carry-ons.
So I figure the bike plus all my stuff was about 85 pounds. That’s a lot of weight to ride across the country and partly up and down two coasts. But, I did it and feel great.
I just added it up! I think I rode about 1,000+ miles from Mt. Dora, Florida, to Williamsburg, Virginia; then 4,500 TransAm miles from Richmond, Virginia, to Florence, Oregon; then 1,100 miles from Florence to Santa Monica California.
That’s 6,600 miles on my Bike Friday with 85 pounds, from April 3 til August 29. That impresses even me.
As you know it is not simply the miles that count but the terrain, the road surface, the elevation, the weather …
It was wonderful. The picture was taken North of San Francisco. Note the long sleeves; the weather did not warm up til Santa Barbara.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Before opening Bike Friday in 1992, Co-Founder Alan Scholz owned and operated a few bike shops, and spent time as a national level racer. Here are his expert tips on how to spend your money wisely when buying a bike.]
By Alan Scholz
Here are the basics I learned long ago about buying a bike on a budget, in order of importance.
1. Make sure you get a good frame in the right size. Get help making sure the frame fits your body by someone who is knowledgeable about fitting. Look for the best frame you can afford for the right type of riding you plan to do. Nothing else matters as much if you are on a budget. Everything else can be upgraded later if you are short on funds. Good designers, cyclists, and shop employees know this. It’s a good test of their basic knowledge.
2. Ride the saddle if it came with the bike just long enough to see if you can put up with it. If the bike does not come with saddle and pedals, thank the designer. That means they invested that money into the frame and wheels for you! Get a saddle that works for you — it is worth the individual focus. Price and weight are not good criteria to use to choose a saddle. You need to test ride a number of saddles and buy one that is acceptable.
After you have been riding a while, you will be ready to trade up to a better saddle. When your butt is new to cycling, an acceptable saddle is as good as it gets. When you can ride 15-25 miles a day regularly get a nice saddle if you feel you need a different shape. Don’t believe anyone who says “this is a men’s saddle, or this is a women’s saddle.” Get one that fits and feels good. Ignore the rest.
3. If you can afford it, get a good set of wheels. After getting a frame that fits, wheels that are relatively light will give you by far the most bang for your buck.
4. If you are pushing your budget, buy cheap heavy tires. You will be replacing tires eventually, and then you can get some good tires. Wearing out tires will happen sooner than you think. That’s when you can buy better tires. You will be best served to really enjoy your bike, although frame and wheels will do the most toward that goal.
5. Next change your steel stuff out for entry level alloy if you must limit funds. Steel chainrings, brakes, seatposts, and derailleurs are a dead give away that they are sub-standard for someone who wants to be a real rider and can afford more than the minimum frame and wheels. They may work fine but they were put there to save money and they are heavy. Your motor cannot be changed. Weight matters. Used parts are often a good choice, but you need to really know parts design. Brand is not always a clear indicator. Ask a knowledgeable friend or expert consultant.
6. If your ship has come in, you can be picky but not arrogant about parts and prices. People who ”buy” into the sport usually do not become good nor happy cyclists. The most pricey and light gear will not perform for you out of the box if you have not already gained top level skills to utilize and appreciate them. From the experience in my shop days starting hundreds of folks to cycling, it takes as a minimum, three progressively better bikes as an adult to get to the top level, best for you. It doesn’t matter how much money you have.
7. Full Custom is usually not available or understandable to you until the third level of bike and thousands of miles. Small custom builders must charge 2-5 times as much as off the shelf mass produced bikes. If you do not know that they still mostly make less than minimum wages doing so, you will not appreciate their output anyway. Your best choice then is to buy an off the shelf imported bike and think you got a good deal. All small manufacturing concerns, one person to 60 people are squeezed by this math. Imports are cheaper because the factories are larger and they have the economies of scale. But they often also practice a lack of respect for good design that a small custom builder will have. Inexpensive or dear, a bike can serve you well if you take the time to choose. Take a ride with the local bike club and you will find there are far more important skills than a full wallet to keep up.
Jim Langley has ridden his bike every day for the past 22 years. That’s an amazing streak. His numbers are staggering:
Nearly 8,000 days
More than 120,000 miles
Since December 30th, 1993, the former technical editor of Bicycling magazine has ridden every day. It’s a mind-boggling streak that begs the question: How did he do it? Perseverance and determination are certainly key factors, but Langley also has another element to credit: His Bike Friday Pocket Rocket.
Jim Langley and his new Pocket Rocket in 2006. photo courtesy Jim Langley
“I could never have kept the streak alive without my Bike Fridays,” Langley said. “Some of my all-time favorite rides were made possible only because I had my Pocket Rocket along with me, like riding up and down the Haleakala volcano in Maui. If you’ve never done that you need to.”
Do you have a streak? If so, Like us on Facebook and share your streak and story with the world.
It all starts with having a bike that fits your body and is equipped to do what you need it to do. Bike Fridays can fold and travel with you. Our cargo bike the Haul-a-Day can do the work of your SUV while you get exercise.
Jeff Linder on his Bike Friday Haul-a-Day Cargo Bike with BionX electric pedal assist
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.
A Bike Friday Haul-a-Day Cargo Bike with BionX Electric Assist loaded with supplies from Costco.
A Bike Friday Haul-a-Day Cargo Bike loaded down with Propane tanks.
Bike Friday owner Erica Stevenson spent three weeks touring Ireland on her Pocket Llama, and she shares her tales.
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.
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:
An option between the open-back hoop and the full hoop-la. Kids want independence when getting on & off but need the security to not fall off the back. Maybe a gate would help?
Stronger internal front shifter. I ride bikes hard it seems and needed to get it readjusted twice over six months.
More high gears for speed! I often topped out when riding on my own.
Built-in lights. When I attached a light on the back where it could be seen while carrying kids meant it got stepped on while the kids got on and off. Built-in lights are ideal for commuting bicycles!
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.