Elle Steele packed up her Bike Friday Haul-a-Day, along with her kids, and came to Eugene for the Kidical Mass Camping Trip.
On the surface, Alan Scholz and Billy Henry might look as though they have little in common.
Alan, a Baby Boomer with gray edges up top, is Co-Founder of Bike Friday.
Billy, a Millenial with his hair spiked to a point in the middle, is Co-Founder of the Northwest Association of Blind Athletes.
Spend a little time chatting with each, and their kindred spirit shines as one.
Alan started his first bike shop as a teenager in his parent’s basement in Fargo, N.D.
Billy started his non-profit organization in his parent’s garage in Vancouver, WA.
Alan designs Bike Fridays to extend the wonderful experience of cycling to others.
Billy just took delivery of his first fleet of Bike Fridays to deliver the wonders of cycling to others like him.
“I started with six kids in my garage, doing powerlifting,” Billy said about the organization he started to get visually impaired individuals out and active. “This year we’ll touch more than a thousand people. For a lot of them, it will be the first time they get to experience the joy of riding a bike.”
It’s known as the power of one.
“We like to do whatever we can to help organizations like this,” Alan said. “We actually sell quite a few tandems that allow visually impaired individuals to get out on a bike. In working with Billy’s organization, we’ve been able to come up with a discount program for fleets of tandems, and we want everyone to know that opportunity is out there.”A fleet of eight Family Tandems sat in the Bike Friday Showroom awaiting delivery to the Northwest Association of Blind Athletes.
Billy couldn’t wait to see his new fleet in action. He picked up the bikes at our Factory in Eugene, and drove them to the Rose Garden on the River Bank Bicycle Path for use by the Lane Regional Program for the Visually Impaired.
Each summer the Eugene-based program gets its students out for a day of riding. Billy was pleased to be able to provide the new tandems. On the same day, his organization had a ride going on in Portland. In coming weeks they will have rides in Salem and Albany.Staff members of the Lane Regional Program for the Visually Impaired, parents and volunteers prepared for a ride on a wonderful summer afternoon in Eugene.
“We spend the summer organizing rides throughout Oregon and Washington,” Billy said. “Last year we had a 60-year-old go on his first bike ride ever. This year a 55-year-old did the same. We have a lot of programs, but without question, bicycling is our most popular.”
The smiles and excited chatter among the group reflected the popularity of cycling. The Bike Friday Family Tandems are highly adjustable, allowing saddles and handlebar heights to be set for different captains and stokers. The 20-inch wheels provide a low center of gravity, and give small children more comfort being closer to the ground.
“The bike was great,” said Joel Phifer, a braillist with the Lane Regional Program. “It was nice to have a bike that fits someone smaller like me. In the past we’ve had to try to ride some bikes that were a bit too big for some of us.”
Billy smiled as he heard the review.
“I can’t thank Bike Friday enough,” Billy said. “This first fleet is just great, and I can’t wait for people to ride these. I’m going out and see how much money I can raise to get another fleet as soon as I can.”
Jonathan Gault steers while Mark Miller provides horsepower from behind. Jonathan’s wife, Kristin, works with the Lane Regional Program and they have a son who visually impaired. They bought a Bike Friday tandem last year. Joel Phifer captains while Kenza Minkler rides as stoker. All shapes and sizes enjoyed pedalling along the Willamette River on a toasty summer afternoon.
The buzz along the banks of the Willamette River began to intensify as the afternoon wore on and a blazing July sun beat down on Portland.
In the parking lot of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Disaster Relief Trials Cargo Fair floated in an easy-going manner for a small crowd while, somewhere out there in Portlandia, about 50 competitors zoomed around performing feats of Cargo Madness.
The concept of Disaster Relief Trials are simple: Show off what support human powered machines might be able to provide in a disaster situation. Competitors ride from station to station, performing tasks and picking up cargo along the 30-plus mile route.
The route itself is challenging. Pick your own route. Just get to the stations and perform your tasks.
Among those hauling around Portland were Bike Friday engineer Willie Hatfield and Co-Founder Alan Scholz. They came to Portland to show off Bike Friday’s new Cargo Bike, the Haul-a-Day.Bike Friday Co-Founder Alan Scholz prepared his Haul-a-Day for competition at the Portland Disaster Relief Trials.
Willie is no stranger to racing with the Haul-a-Day. He rode one of Alan’s prototypes in the Eugene Disaster Relief Trials in the fall of 2013.
Willie placed second, although he did cross the finish line first. However, part of the challenge was transporting an egg, intact, to the finish line. Willie had broken his egg, and was delegated to second place.
So, back in the OMSI parking lot, as the excitement built in anticipation of the finish, we knew Willie had been among the top three for most of the day. He led at one point, then fell a couple of minutes behind two local competitors.The Disaster Relief Trials began with a short sprint to a collection of buckets, lids and cones. Each rider had to grab one of each, get it on the bike, and ride!
Willie and Alan, of course, live in Eugene. That put them at a bit of a disadvantage in knowing the best routes to take.
Then the PA Announcer barked that they were getting close to the finish. At one of the last checkpoints they would receive eggs. We looked at each other as the tension mounted. Did Willie learn his lesson?
To best understand who Willie is, rewind first of all to the moment I went to Willie to propose he ride in Portland on Bike Friday’s behalf. Willie said he already committed to riding there, and agreed to ride in support of another local Eugene rider.
See, last year in Portland, a ringer showed up. Depending on who you talk to, he was a professional messenger/delivery biker from New York City. NEW YORK CITY!
Of course, he won in Portland. So the tight-knit gang from Eugene hatched a plan to make sure nothing like that would happen this year. They wanted to put Eugene on the Cargo Bike map, and show the folks in Portland what we’re made of down south.
“So,” Willie said, “I’m not going there to try to win myself. I’m there to ride in support. Are you okay with that?”
“Sure,” I said. “That’s really the Bike Friday spirit, not to mention the spirit of Disaster Relief: Find a way to help out, and be there for anyone.”
In the time between then and the Trials, Willie’s responsibilities at Bike Friday grew. He also came up with some ideas for a modified version of the Haul-a-Day to build for the race.
“I wanted to build something that was loud, and stood out,” the typically soft-spoken Willie said. “I wanted to build something that would kick a– and really show everyone what we are capable of doing at Bike Friday.”Willie’s modified Haul-a-Day attracted a lot of attention as soon as the Cargo Bike crowd got a glimpse of it. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Don’t even ask about the price of a paint job like Willie’s. It was crafted by Peter Kaspar. If you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it.]Without question, Willie produced something loud, his paint job called Pink Lemonade. He also designed a pair of unique cargo racks that some so-called experts questioned, whispering under their breath, “I think he might have some trouble with those.” Slowly the crowd gathered around the Bike Friday booth as Alan and Willie prepared their Haul-a-Days for battle. Even OPB cameras captured the buzz.
We heard that Willie took the lead by the third station, but then we heard how that station challenged them. They would have to pick up a wooden pallet, and carry it for the rest of the race.
Suffice to say, the imagination of the crowd went crazy. How would you carry a pallet?
“I just threw it on and strapped it down,” Willie said, “I really didn’t have any time to think about it.”The first to congratulate the new Portland champion? Bike Friday owners Zane Ingersoll (right), and Lou and Sue Liserani.
At the seventh station, where they had to pick up a box of food — some as heavy as 30 pounds — Willie arrived in third place, but found the two leaders forced to completely unpack and repack. Again, Willie’s strategy was simple.
“I just tossed it on and strapped it on,” Willie said. “I gained a lot of time there.”
For sure. Willie crossed the line in 3 hours and 11 minutes. Two minutes later, second place Ryan Hashagen of Portland finished, dragging his cargo across as his trailer tipped.Ryan Hashagen had some late race cargo issues, and finished second with a very strong showing with his bike pulling a trailer.
Amazingly enough, it would be 19 minutes before the first true Cargo Bike arrived after Willie. But that came after the PA Announcer greeted Willie as the first finisher, but asked if he could show his eggs. Willie reached back into the pockets of his Bike Friday Compass Jersey, and thrust a third-carton of eggs into the air, unharmed. The victor.Alan finished with the neatest, tightest looking batch of cargo. His eggs, too, were unharmed.
Alan crossed the line 16th in the Open Division, covering the course in 4 hours and 29 minutes. His attention to detail displayed for everyone in how neat and simple his packing was on the standard Haul-a-Day rack.
All smiles, Alan was tired, but had a great time.
“That was quite a challenge, but also a lot of fun,” Alan said.
As for the gang from Eugene, who Willie planned to ride in support of, well, they finished and were thrilled to see that Eugene stood atop the podium.Alan Scholz rode the Disaster Relief Trials on a Bike Friday Haul-a-Day with a standard rack and bags. In addition to the wooden pallet, Willie collected a 9-foot 2×6 board, a five gallon bucket of water, a cone and a box with nearly 30 pounds of food. He didn’t race, but Bike Friday owner Zane Ingersoll showed off his modified Tandem XL that he uses to haul up to 200 pounds of cargo.
Bike Friday is more than a family business for the Scholzes.
That’s because cycling is part of the fabric of their lives.
Alan Scholz, the co-founder of Bike Friday, cracks a wide smile when he thinks about today’s cutting-edge cycling publications that are geared toward young families. Magazines like Momentum and Bicycle Times.
These are the kids who grew up in Burley Trailers, says Alan, the man who designed the Burley Trailer in the ’80s to transport his daughter Hanna as they lived a car-free life.
Now they have kids of their own, and they have cycling in their blood. It’s part of their life and they want it to remain part of their lives and their children’s lives.
While Bike Friday has built an international reputation with its travel and folding bicycles, tandems always have held a special place in the company’s DNA.
When Alan and his brother Hanz decided to try their hand at designing bicycles, their first creation was the Burley Duet Tandem.
The brother duo raced tandems, and put their designs to the ultimate stress test.
That knowledge is built into every Bike Friday tandem.
All Bike Friday tandems break down and fit into two TravelCases for air travel.
And the Bike Friday Two’sDay folds to conveniently fit in the trunk of most sedans or the back of an SUV.
There is great utility in our tandems, Alan says. But more than anything, they are built to be legacy tandems. They are built to last and to be handed down from generation to generation.
When Alan’s youngest daughter, Sarah, came along, Alan designed the Bike Friday Family Tandem. He quickly learned the magic of a tandem.
Sarah was only four years old and we had it under the tree for Christmas, Alan remembers, noting that the stoker seat was set for a child, one of the benefits a Bike Friday tandem can offer. When we came out, she was already sitting on the stoker. Even a young child can see it’s right for her.
The Bike Friday Tandem XL Select is set up as a great mix of components to give you the best ride at the best price.Tandems are a Family Affair at Bike Friday.
Some photos from Sunday’s Blackberry bRamble here in Eugene.
- Â Â Â Complete the new Ironman length tri here in NZ (I have previouslyÂ completed Â the New Zealand Ironman in Taupo, North Island.)
- Â Â Â Get to the start (and finish!) injury free and healthy.
- Â Â Â Do all of my training rides, runs and swims in beautiful settings here in New Zealand
- Â Â Â Do swim training all in the Marine reserve near my house in Hahei to prep for the 3.8k (2.4 mile) lake swim
- Â Â Â Do training runs all on trails in the area as the 42k. (26.2mile) run in Wanaka is mostly off road, and rides mostly along the coast and through the coastal hills
- Â Â Â Prepare for the 180k (112 mile) ride throu the Otago area.
- Â Â Â Enjoy every minute of the preparation and the event.
- Â Â Â Perform all of my cycle training on my Bike Friday (I have done more than 5,000 kilometers in 2011 on either my New World Tourist or my Pocket Llama, depending on weather and road conditions).
- Â Â Compete on the actual day on a Bike Friday, either my New World Tourist or my wife’s Pocket Rocket.
- Â Â Raise awareness among triathletes about the versatility and quality of the line of bikes Bike Friday produces.
It’s the kind of moment that represents the true essence of Bike Friday.
It’s a day like any other.
Bodies shuffling in and out of the office.
Then Rob English appears from around the corner, rolling a Bike Friday into the room.
Our head designer simply slides it up against a pole, leans it just right, and disappears from the room without saying a word before anyone can really react.
And the buzz begins.
In a moment there are one, then two, then three, then four, individuals surrounding the bike.
“Oooh, check this out …”
“I like this …”
“What about the color?”
Much, much later, I get the chance to do a photo shoot with the new celebrity up in our makeshift studio.
Under the lights you get a whole different vibe.
Wondering what the reaction will be to a photo.
And how it differs from actually being there, in person, looking at it.
It was the first Select model out of production. With an emphasis on color.
The color debate raged.
Sky Blue Sparkle with red cable housing and red decals.
Some hated it.
Some didn’t mind.
Don’t think anyone fessed up to really loving it, although I was digging something about it.
But, it worked. It struck up conversations about colors.
OK, maybe they weren’t conversations as much as they were passionate arguments.
But color came to the forefront.
What do you think of our color offerings?
What’s the combo you can’t wait to order?
Let us know.
Portland’s rep as a cycling Mecca goes without saying. There’s just so many aspects to its cycling culture, it’s difficult to know where to begin.
No better example of that than Hopworks Urban Brewery BikeBar that opened in June.
It’s not just a typical Portland-esque hangout for cycling types. They have created a frame canopy where Oregon Custom Frame Builders get to display their handicraft for free.
We’re proud to have our tikit frame among the group, although, admittedly, it doesn’t fit your typical photo frame, if you will.
Everyone has a story.
That has been the primary lure of journalism for me over the years. The story.
It’s also one of reasons it’s fun to come to Bike Friday each morning.
This is an eclectic bunch.
Not too long after I arrived, Co-Founder Alan Scholz made a point to have me search out Merle Rothweiler, who works in production.
“He could be a really great resource,” Alan said. “He has some incredible artwork.”
That’s the kind of teaser that sends my creative juices whirling like a blender at Jamba Juice.
Think about it. A guy who works in the line with a flair for art. It’s already a great story.
A few days later, Merle took an afternoon break to stop by my desk with his portfolio. It blew me away.
I didn’t know how I’d find a way to use Merle’s artistic talents. I just knew I had to find a way.
Fast forward a couple of months, and we had a brainstorming meeting about a new project: The Bike Friday Poster.
We wanted to create something that would be cool, that Bike Shops around the world would love to have hanging on their wall. Something that would capture the essence of Bike Friday — not to mention grabbing the attention of anyone passing by.
Time to talk to Merle.
Now, one might wonder how some creative meetings unfold. The answer is, it depends.
Back in my days at VeloNews, we’d have regular brainstorm meetings for headlines. That was really code for blow off steam meetings in the late afternoon. Ideas would fly. We’d be roaring. Some good stuff came out of that.
Sometimes creative meetings don’t need anything more than to light the fuse.
I met with Merle. Said we’re thinking maybe a map. Bike Friday. Oregon. Adventure.
Merle looked up with his eyes sparkling with ideas — a sure sign there was no need to go any further.
He went out and started drawing, and nailed it. Just what we were looking for.
The Bike Friday Poster, available on the webstore …
Merle Rothweiler putting the finishing touches on a Carbon Drive tikit. He has been a member of the Bike Friday production team since 2004.
When the worldâ€™s largest recreational bicycle ride, VÃ¤tternrundan in Sweden, finished at midnight June 18th with its highest number of participants, Great Britain’s Patrick Stevens aboard his Pocket Llama was among the 18,272 cyclists who completed the full 300 km course.
VÃ¤tternrundan, held for the 46th consecutive year, starts and finishes in Motala at the north-eastern end of Lake VÃ¤ttern in south-central Sweden, halfway between Stockholm and Gothenburg. The main event circles the scenic Lake VÃ¤ttern, while the shorter rides are held on its eastern side.
The 300 km ride this year saw the largest ever number of overseas registered riders, 4,548Â (20% of total), representing 37 nations â€“- so many that the organizers had been forced to erect more flagpoles along the finish, to accommodate all nationalities participating.
Here’s part of Patrick’s report to Bike Friday:
“I have just come back from cycling VÃ¤tternrundan (pronounced vet-turn-rund-an) which is a 300 km (about 190ish Miles) and is meant to be the largest recreational bicycle ride in the world.Â People from all over the world were there. It is one of the Swedish Classics.
“There were super expensive racing machines all over the place and I got a lot of laughs (and scoffs) for riding on a folding bike touring bike with phat tires. OK, I wasn’t exactly Lance and I did have to work a lot harder than my friends who were on their road racers, but I did putÂ quite a few others to shame by whizzing past them on the Lama.
The comment most people seemed to make was that I would be so much slower on a folder. OK, I was slower than those who were on racing bikes and cycling in groups, but I put that down to being on a Lama touring machine andÂ and not a Rocket racer. Still 13 hours including breaks etc., was not bad and I am very chuffed with my 28 kph average speed.”
Anyone interested in 2012, entries for the 2012 VÃ¤tternrundan are accepted beginning September 1st. Entries are accepted on a first come, first served basis. Last year, all spaces for the 300 km ride were filled in six weeks.Â Cyclists wishing to participate in any of the 2012 events should contact the organisers at:Â firstname.lastname@example.org.