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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Terry Hunter Bicycling East From Baton Rouge

Long distance bicyclist Terry Hunter emailed me today that he's biking East out of Baton Rouge and headed for metro New Orleans. Known to friends as Rainbow Scooter, Terry has ridden his old adult tricycle from Oregon for the Homeless Ride For Southern Grace, a tour he took upon himself to raise awareness for Katrina victims and those made homeless by the storm. Here's an excerpt from Terry:

"today i went to to the capital to talk to Mrs Cheryl Shuffield ... (an) aid to governer (Blanco) and director of constitunent services. I am trying to do the news paper and then as i leave WBRZ-TV Chanel 2 will be covering my exit story , will be going down one 90 east."

In addition to Baton Rouge's WBRZ, Baton Rouge's 2 other television stations (NBC affiliate WVLA & WAFB) interviewed Rainbow Scooter yesterday; a variety of additional newspapers and television stations have done the same along the way.

Keep up the great work, Terry. Ride on & be safe.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Give Bicyclists Room To Ride

by Larry Lagarde

Sometimes when bicycling, do you ever feel like a second class citizen? Earlier this week, a bicycle accident story by Julie Wernau titled "A New Path For Safety" published in The Day (a Connecticut newspaper) reminded me how dangerous it can be to go cycling on roadways.

On January 2nd, while cycling on Route 161 in East Lyme, CT, Christine Richards (a frequent road cyclist and mom of 2) ran over a branch. Her tire kicked the stick up between the wheel rim and brake, launching Richards off her bike and onto the ground. The impact caused a fractured spine, broken collarbone and multiple breaks to her left hand, wrist and arm. Recuperating will cost Richards 5-6 months away from her job and will make it difficult to care for her children.

Although many places require by law that cyclists ride on roadways, all too often, bicycle riders feel unsafe riding in a traffic lane. Forced by heavy or fast moving traffic to ride in debris on the road's shoulder, cyclists are unnecessarily placed at high risk. If they don't ride on the shoulder, cyclists place themselves in the path of confrontational motorists like this one quoted on Smart City Memphis: "Require bicyclists to license their "vehicles" the way I am required to license mine (another form of taxation). then let's discuss sharing the roadways."

Bicycling can be a fun, fit, practical and environmentally friendly means of transportation in the USA; however, building bike only trails everywhere to separate bicycles from motor vehicles is impractical. Certainly, more bike lanes, routes and/or bikeways are needed in streets but the greatest hurdle to safe riding is the unwillingness of some motorists to share the road.

Bicycles are legitimate vehicles with a right to being on the roadway. To protect ourselves and our children, we must change attitudes. Remind your political representatives, local transportation planners and members of the media that cyclists are road users too.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Grand Canyon, RidingTheSpine & FOLC

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to hike the Grand Canyon? How about hiking the Canyon rim to rim in a day; better yet, with bikes strapped to your backs, in sub freezing temperatures and (of course) in the snow? Well, that's what the three guys of Riding The Spine just did.

I have been following the exploits of Jacob, Goat and Sean (a.k.a. RidingTheSpine.com) for several months now. The challenges that they've faced (and overcome) on their unsupported tour bicycling from Alaska to the tip of South America are beyond comprehension. Yet, the Riding The Spine tour has thousands of miles to ride and many more challenges ahead.

For me though, the most humbling and fascinating aspect of their tour is the cause they have chosen to support with their inspirational ride: The Friends of the Lafitte Corridor (FOLC).

As I wrote about in December when I was elected to FOLC's board of directors, this non profit organization that's spear heading a grass roots effort to connect, inspire and revitalize core New Orleans' neighborhoods that marinated for weeks in the putrid floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina. To accomplish this goal, FOLC is weaving together local residents and community leaders with national health, walking and bicycling groups so that a planned bike trail from the French Quarter can finally become reality.

Although most New Orleanians want to return home, factors like sickeningly low insurance settlements, inconsistent & slow governmental rebuilding efforts, an explosively violent crime wave, insufficient public education, rapidly escalating costs of living/rebuilding and unreliable public utilities have kept many residents away and on the verge of despair. Under such dire circumstances, the Lafitte Corridor becomes more than just a simple bike trail. Completing the project would spur the hopes and spirits of the entire region.

Without a doubt, the guys of Riding The Spine and the people of New Orleans are facing seemingly insurmountable odds. Nevertheless, as these 3 bicyclists have rode from Alaska to the Grand Canyon in the dead of winter, so has New Orleans risen from muck and mold (even the Saints made the NFL playoffs this year). Long shots though they are, I'm rooting for Riding The Spine. Ride on, guys.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Great Folding Bike Deal - Save $140

NOTE: This sale has expired.

While they last: a great folding bike deal under $300!

While writing my folding bike review of the Aerlite B folding bicycle, I called Jason at Betst Bikes. I was curious if future versions of the bike would be outfitted with the components on the bike I received. Specifically, I was wondering about the seat post length; I'm 5'9" and I had the post extended just beyond the max extension hash line. Jason replied that the next production run would have longer seat post tubes (that would be notched to aid with extending the post to the proper length when unfolding), a gear shift selector with all Roman numerals (1st gear is now shown with the Japanese character for 1) and a lighter, aluminum kick stand (the current one is stainless steel).

Jason also shared that Betst Bikes might offer a sale on the current stock to make way sooner for new stock with the above specs and this is where the news becomes very exciting.

For a limited time, Betst has agreed to offer Aerlite B's through RideTHISbike.com alone for the ridiculously low price of $279 INCLUDING shipping/handling. To sweeten the deal, Betst is even throwing in the optional rear carry rack at no extra charge; that's a savings of $140 off of the @ $400 price (bike, rack & shipping) available elsewhere!!! What tickles most is that this great deal on an Aerlite B folding bike is ONLY available through RideTHISbike.com.

As the current stock of Aerlite B's decrease and the new production run of Aerlite B's come in, the price will rise in stages back to $379 (bike & carry rack). Regardless what you pay, the factory limited lifetime warranty still applies and you'll be getting one of the best folding bikes for the money.

Again, if you're 5'9" in height or shorter, this deal on the current production of Aerlite B's is a steal but you'll need to act quickly for the best price.

Price: $279.00 Shipping & Insurance Included!
Color: Polished White Gold
Condition: Identical to future Aerlite B except for details above.

More About This Folding Bike...

- photos of the Aerlite B magnesium folding bike (3 January 2007)
- review of the Aerlite B magnesium folding bike (11 January 2007)

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Homeless Ride for Southern Grace

Cyclist riding across the USA for Katrina/Rita victims now in Louisiana

Bicycling across the North American continent is an extraordinary task by any measurement; however, there are several cyclists doing so at this moment. On Sunday, I offered an update on Rune Monstad's progress. In a few days, I'll be writing again about a trio cycling from Alaska to the Southern tip of South America called Riding The Spine. Today, I'd like to introduce a cyclist that's ridden 2400 miles to raise awareness for the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, particularly those made homeless by the storms; his name is Terry Hunter.

Known to his friends as Rainbow Scooter, in many respects, Terry is off the radar. Homeless for over 20 years, Terry has no permanent address, car or telephone number. During his "Homeless Ride for Southern Grace" bike tour, Terry has camped beside the highway next to his well worn Fisher tricycle and provisions laden bike trailer for 400 or so nights.

For the moment, Terry's in Lafayette, LA. He'll soon be heading to Baton Rouge and then (hopefully) to New Orleans (with bridges still out of service East of the city, bicycling East out of New Orleans is a dicey prospect).

While Terry may not look approachable, he's affable and kind hearted. Few people would take on a cross country ride for homelessness or Katrina victims; however, both are worthy causes and I wish Terry well. Ride on, Rainbow Scooter.

Tour Timeline:
26 Nov 2006: Corpus Christi
29 Nov 2006: Victoria, Texas
28 Dec 2006: Beaumont, Texas

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Heli Biking Video

I've never heard of heli biking but apparently it's something that mountain bikers do in British Columbia, Canada so I suppose it's done elsewhere too. Regardless, it looks like an adrenaline pumping ride from start to finish. Watch the video and see for yourself.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Rune Monstad Update: Blizzard Biking Fun

Rune Monstad, that intrepid Viking bicycling around the world, is on his way from Calgary, Canada to Medicine Hat (182 miles to the East). It's the dead of winter and the weather's a cool 8°F in Calgary. At least the winds are calm and it's not snowing at the moment (and I was complaining to my wife yesterday about being tired after riding 40 miles on the Aerlite-B folding bike in sunny, 70°F weather).

To date, Rune's bicycled over 6000 miles and had 105 flats. Quite the individualist, Rune's biking without a sag wagon, cell phone, gps or even an avalanche transmitter/receiver beacon so he can be found in an emergency. If something bad happened, it wouldn't be pretty.

182 miles may not sound like much but it is on a bicycle. If Rune does anything over 60 miles, it would be extraordinary but I can think of no better word that describes this cyclist. Frankly, someone should be doing a documentary of this trip because it's so unbelieveable.

Other than the small town of Gleichen, there are few communities where Rune's traveling along the Trans Canada Highway. Most likely, he'll be spending the night in his tent on the roadside, enduring -20°F temperatures. So if you're on the Trans Canada and see a pannier toting cyclist, offer him shelter for a night and let me know how he's doing. It's got to be Rune.

Like most long distance cyclists, Rune's attempting to pare down the weight of his gear. He's looking to replace his tent with something lighter like a solo climber's tent. I'd also like to see him travel with safety gear like a cellphone and beacon to transmit his location. If you can help with items like these, send me an email as I'm attempting to coordinate things for him (he only has sporadic access to the Internet and is pretty wiped out at the end of the day).

Ride on, Rune!

Rune's Blog

My Initial Post About Rune

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Interview: 8wishes.com's Paul Sanchez

By Larry Lagarde

When checking my email on StumbleUpon this morning, I had an email from Paul Sanchez. Paul's doing something truly extraordinary; he's the guy that was recently interviewed on NBC's Today Show while bicycling 10,000 miles around the USA for dyslexia.

The Hole - video powered by Metacafe

Paul's working to raise $1 million to create scholarships for 100 kids with dyslexia in just 33 days. To accomplish this heady goal, he has a series of sub-goals (like appearing on Oprah). I interviewed Paul about his tour around the country and about his project.

The Telephone Interview
Following are the 10 questions I asked Paul over the phone and his responses.

1. Bicycling 10,000 miles is an incredibly hard task; what motivated you to take on such a ride and how did you stay motivated?
I've been cycling since I was a kid and always wanted to bike the USA. I'm into causes and I have attention deficit disorder & dyslexia so helping kids with my condition just made sense.

2. Describe 3 of the most noteworthy experiences on your tour.
When riding through Cleveland, I met a guy with a grandson with dyslexia. He liked what I was doing and took me under his wing. Besides paying for my accommodations and meals there, he shared his rags to riches story with me. I came away with a greater sense of determination to complete the ride back to California. Another noteworthy experience was my appearance on NBC's Today Show. I arrived in New York behind schedule, tired and low on cash to complete the trip. The national TV exposure gave me some funds I vitally needed and pumped me up mentally to continue at a point when I felt like quitting. A third experience was meeting a real estate professional in Baltimore. The funds she contributed for travel expenses were enough to last me all the way to the end.

3. It looks as if you rode on many bike trails; how did you select the route?
70% of the route came from Adventure Cycling great bike route maps and 30% came from other long distance touring cyclists I sought out for routing advice.

4. How's the fund raising drive going; do you think you'll reach your goal of raising $1million?
I do. Thus far, I've raised $4250. That may seem small but a potential donor has been talking to me about contributing the entire amount. I'm pretty confident that it will happen.

5. How are you coming with the other 8 Wishes?
Pretty well. I'm going to the Sundance Film fest in about a week with a film I put together from the videos shot throughout the trip. It's about an hour long.

6. What are your plans after this project?
Things look pretty solid for a major project shortly after this one but I'm waiting to I've made the 8 Wishes before I announce something else.

7. What did you do to plan for the physical stress of the tour?
Believe it or not, the only preparations I did were planning the route and related details on the computer. I rode like three times before the trip. At the start, I weighed about what I am right now - 225 lbs. When I finished, I was down to a lean 189 lbs.

8. What tips can you offer to others looking to make a long distance tour?
On a long distance trip of a week or more, make sure to bring along enough bike shorts so you can stay clean even if unable to shower and wash clothes daily. The last thing you want to do is to get a rash or blister from riding on your rear all day and have it get infected from dirty clothes.

9. Would you do something like this again?

10. How old are you now?

If you'd like to learn more about Paul Sanchez or help him with his project, visit his website at 8wishes.com for more information.

Paul Sanchez's 8 Wishes Video - 10,000 Miles Around The USA

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Review: Betst Bikes' Aerlite B Folding Bike

For about a week, I have been riding the amazing, 24 lb, magnesium alloy tubed Aerlite B folding bike. When I first heard about this bike, I doubted it would live up to my expectations. I was wrong!

I've bicycled on quite a few folding bikes and the ride of the Aerlite B is among the best. The secret is a combination of quality components and the light yet strong & shock absorbing welded magnesium frame.

From the moment you open the box of this folding bike, notice the superior packing. Critical components are wrapped in foam, bubble wrap & felt rather than the cardboard found on some other folders. The bright and gleaming fenders, carry rack and polished magnesium frame hint at the fine overall finish revealed once the bicycle is fully unpacked.

Pulling the bike from the box reveals the first amazing fact about this bike; it weighs just 24 lbs including the deluxe carry rack, fenders & kick stand. Primarily, the low weight is the result of the magnesium tubing used to construct the 3.3 lb (!!!) frame. Magnesium is the lightest of all structural metals; it's roughly 20% the weight of steel and 67% the weight of aluminum. Virtually every other piece of metal on the bike is made of an aluminum alloy.

The second notable characteristic is the bright gleaming frame. Magnesium has a white gold appearance in it's natural state but the metal is also polished and clear coated (which also keeps oxidation from forming a white dusty powder on the surface). Since the frame is welded rather than die cast (like the Kent Ultralite magnesium folding bike), it's important to note the fine weld quality too (click on the photo at right to enlarge). Like aluminum, welding magnesium can be tricky & time consuming; however, all the welds look super.

The most impressive aspect of the Aerlite-B's components is the Shimano Nexus 3 speed internal rear hub which comes standard. Although the Nexus 7 and 8 (as well as the sweet Nexus Auto D 3 spd with computer controlled shifting) are optional upgrades, the Nexus 3 speed is a joy on the flats. I've found the gearing on some folding bikes to be too low for my tastes but that's not the case here. Shifts are extremely smooth and the gearing is well spaced. In fact, I towed my 7 year old stepson in a trailer with the Aerlite-B, cruising easily in 3rd gear at 15 mph (with a slight tail wind). Other useful components on the Aerlite-B include the Pro-Max V-Lock brakes (great stopping power), Shimano Revo type grip shift, comfortable, oversize, rubber grips and very useful rear carry rack (with built in & removable bungees for securing your load).

Folding & Packing The Aerlite-B
To prevent the handlebars from hanging out when folded, the bars fold between the 2 halves of the frame on the Aerlite-B, making for a slightly wider folded bike. Though this could present problems when packing in a suitcase, the obvious solution is to remove the handlebars at the quick release just as done with the seat and seat post when packing most folders. When folded with seat and handlebar posts detached, the bike easily fits in an airline approved 31 inch suitcase with room for bubble wrap or other protective packing. In fact, given the low weight of the bike, a user could pack clothing in the suitcase with the bike and not exceed the checked bag weight restrictions of most airlines.

Safe To Fold/Unfold & Decent Fold Times
Unlike the incredible Mobiky Genius, the Aerlite-B is not a 3 second folder; however, it still folds fairly quickly (taking about 20 seconds). The longer fold time is due in large part to the safety latches used on the frame and handlebars. To prevent the hinges from opening during riding, the hinges can only be completely closed/opened by pushing on a spring loaded latch (a feature Ralph Nader would love). The quick releases of the seat and handlebar posts allow both to be adjusted or even completely removed quickly. Like folding bikes made by Giatex, Mobiky & Montague, reliable & quick folding, resin "push-in" pedals are used on the Aerlite-B.

Magnesium is known for its strength and dampening qualities and these features are evident on the Aerlite-B. During testing, I loaned the bike to a guy that's 6'2" and 275 lbs; he commented approvingly on the ride quality and the bike was no worse for the wear. In fact, even when encountering bumps or potholes, I found the ride surprisingly smooth. With the tires inflated to the 35 psi max rated on the sidewall, the ride was overly soft for my tastes; however, when I over inflated the tires to 45 psi, it felt like I was gliding. Obviously, this bike is meant for high psi tires and Betst agrees; future bikes will come with 45psi or higher rated tires.

Another notable ride enhancement is the forward angled, adjustable handlebars. Folders like the Kent magnesium require a very upright riding position due to the close proximity of the handlebars, making long distance rides uncomfortable. That's not the case on the Aerlite-B; I rode for 10+ miles on two rides and could have rode much farther had time allowed.

No Grass Catching Rear Derailleur Either
Another ride enhancement comes via the Nexus transmission. Besides beautiful, smooth shifts, and ideal gearing, having an internal hub eliminates the need for a rear derailleur - a critical point on a bike with 16 inch wheels. For example, the derailleur on the 23 lb Kent magnesium folding bike (the bike pictured on the left side of this photo) hangs just 1.5-2" above the ground, restricting riding primarily to flat, grass free pavement.

Verdict: Buy It
Given the rustproof and virtually maintenance free nature of this bike combined with the excellent ride, limited lifetime factory warranty and the very reasonable price of $416 (including the rear carry rack & shipping), I predict that the Aerlite B will become a popular folding bike in short order.

More About This Folding Bike...
- detailed specs of the Aerlite B folding bike (24 December 2006)
- photos of the Aerlite B magnesium folding bike (3 January 2007)
- review of the Aerlite B magnesium folding bike (11 January 2007)

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Positive Fitness Attitudes Cure Obesity

Over the course of the typical day, I Google a variety of subjects related to bicycling and fitness. This morning in one of my searches, I came across "Buzzword of the 21st Century: OBESITY ... Adult and Childhood," an excellent post about obesity from Bonnie Murphy (see photo at right), a fitness coach in Anchorage, Alaska.

Essentially, Bonnie's point is that our bodies are made for movement. Staying physically fit requires changes in attitudes and the choices we make. Amen to that!

Since Bonnie's post was in Womens Health And Fitness Podcast Directory, I may have ruffled the feathers of some fems by doing this but I (a man) posted a reply supporting Bonnie. Here's the gist of what I wrote:

"The obesity epidemic is societal. Stopping the epedemic is within the means of any loving parent. All we must do is look at the behaviors we are teaching our children and alter them.

Identify physical activities that are within the capabilities of the entire family and make those activities part of a fun, daily routine. Once physical activity is presented in a positive light, our children will embrace it for life."

We are the sum result of the choices we make. If you're unhappy with the person you are or see in the mirror, there is a miracle cure: physical activity. Take a dose every day; you won't regret it.

For more about Bonnie Murphy, visit her website (www.bfitandwell.com). If you set your own weights but would like someone knowledgeable to encourage your fitness program, Bonnie is also a Fitness By Phone personal trainer so give her a call.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Great Places To Ride: American Tobacco Trail

Here's a trail suggestion that I received today from fellow cycling advocate Phillip Barron:

The American Tobacco Trail -- 22+ miles of paved (the approx 7 miles that run through the center of Durham, NC) and semi-paved (the southern portions, crushed rock) converted rail trail in Durham, NC. Southern portions of the trail extend into Wake and Chatham counties, but the bulk of the trail is in Durham County. A National Recreation Trail, it is a non-motorized, multi-use path, free and open to the public (hours from 5am to 10pm). It's one of the more heavily traveled bike paths in the area, a truly commuter avenue connecting Durham with Research Triangle Park (a regional center of employment). It is also part of the work-in-progress East Coast Greenway.

Thanks Phillip. I've been looking to ride the American Tobacco Trail and am glad to receive your suggestion.

For more info about the ATT, see the links below. If you know of a great bike trail that should be on my list, please write me by clicking on the "email us" link on the bottom of this page.

ATT Website -- http://www.triangletrails.org/ATT.HTM

Photos of trail building and usage: http://www.triangletrails.org/PHOTOS.HTM
Phillip Barron's photos & stories of the ATT: http://www.nicomachus.net/bikes/att/

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Answers: The Locust Folding Bike

An Interview With Folding Bike Designer Josef Cadek
By Larry Lagarde

Within the last several months, a flood of websites I follow (including TreeHugger.com, EcoGeek.org & GetOutdoors.com) have promoted the next evolutionary leap in bicycle design as the Locust (a folding bike design concept by Czech designer Josef Cadek). Curious to learn more, I Googled "Locust folding bike" and "Josef Cadek" but every site I visited seemed to rehash what I had already found. Determined, I went straight to the source and emailed Josef Cadek, who was kind enough to answer a variety of questions I had asked as well as send the photos displayed in this story.

Q: Why did you design the Locust folding bike?
A: I used to race bicycles (road and track) and that is why it was always my goal to design some new, unusual bike. I consider the folding bike something very useful and practical, but most of the available ones have lots of compromises.

In my work, I am always searching for new ways to solve problems and issues, ways that have never been tried or ever considered. For example, the bicycle was first invented over 100 years ago. Over the years, many bicycles have been designed and many engineering and design solutions have been applied, with time and experience determining which ideas worked (with the rest relegated to museums). Under these circumstances, it seems hardly possible to create something new, fresh and innovative; however, this challenge is exactly what excites me - creating new thoughts and things for future.

Q: How did you come up with the radical design of the Locust folding bicycle?
A: When I design a product, form follows function. I always look for the "inner meaning" of things to determine which design allows the product to work best. As a result, the appearance of my designs is always the conclusion never the starting point.

The idea behind the Locust was developed in a very analytical way: I asked myself what parts of a normal bike can never fold? Wheels, of course. So everything else must be subordinated to wheels...and from this idea it was clear to me what shape the bike will have. Also, one of my core objectives was to keep "classic conservative geometry", using the biggest wheels possible to achieve the easy handling and feel of a normal bike.

Q: How did you come up with the name "Locust"?
A: Locust was the first name that came across my mind when I had completed the first sketch. Somehow, the design reminds me of a locust and the name stuck.

Q: What is the target market for the Locust?
A: Everyone. Kids commuting to schools, students on campuses, families, car users (it could be a trunk bike) and even businessmen in cities...

Q: How long have you been working to get the Locust folding bike built?
A: It is over the year now. I know it is hard and it might take a while.

Q: What material do you envision using for the Locust's frame?
A: Molded plastic; it keeps the weight and price low. Materials like carbon fiber would move it to the category of exclusive and luxurious goods and I do not want that to happen.

Q: Have you ever rode a folding bike?
A: I have rode on a couple of different models but I don't own any.

Q: Do you have a favorite folding bike (among those now commercially available)?
A: No. I was not happy with any. I do have a racing bike and will also be the owner of the Locust folding bicycle with serial number 0000001. :-)

Q: Have you received many inquiries about the Locust?
A: I am constantly receiving questions from all over the world about availability, weight, colors modifications etc. People want it and there is huge business potential in it. Companies want to sell it and I have received offers for distribution in the UK, EU, Asia etc...

Q: What's your goal for the Locust folding bike?
A: To see it in the streets. Everything else is just details.

If you are interested in other figures, numbers about it etc, just email me.

Q: I see that you have other designs on your website. It looks like you specialize in transportation designs; is that correct?
A: Sort of, I studied in Prague at CTU (Czech Technical University) faculty of transportation science. Thus, transportation design is the main sphere of my design work, but I have done other projects as well (household products and baby products for example).

Q: What is the spark that inspires your designs?
A: I love creating something with my brain, hands, mind and soul. This "human touch" moves things from just an idea to creation and that is the most beautiful thing about design. I'm inspired by everything; all I see, think of or about. Perhaps I just see more possibilities or I think in different ways than others do. I have often wondered how ideas come and how a thought develops for a new design, but I can not really explain. It is hard work, practice, education and sometimes good luck. Altogether, it is called talent I guess.

Q: How old are you?
A: I am 26.

For the record, following is Josef's "official" overview of the LOCUST project:

Design offers a full-valuable bike that can be folded, stored in small spaces (cases, car trunks). Main feature is the circular frame allowing unusual folding. Both wheels have overhung mounting. After releasing safety lock nuts, wheels are turned around relevant axis into frame. Because rear wheel folds, momentum transfer from crankset to rear wheel must be divisible. Common chain system is replaced by belt system with outer toothing. Belt is mounted on two rollers. Both "Chainwheel" and pinion have outer toothing, ensuring right direction of turning and divisibility of the whole system.

Rear hub contains internally geared hub similar to Shimano Nexus system. GripShift type shifting. Red safety lock releases saddle support to fold saddle down towards frame. To fold handlebars, first release revolving safety lock nut on top of head set. Handlebars can then be moved back towards frame. Bike is equipped with disc brake in front and clamshell brake at rear, preventing blockage of wheel folding mechanism. This bike will be welcomed by people in traffic-ridden cities, young people, students on campus. It can be used to good effect in large industrial facilities, airports, city centers as a rent bike or as a "parasitic" means of transport: user can park her/his car outside city center and bike to work. Colouring is designed with safety in mind.

Josef is looking for investors to bring the Locust to production. For more information about the Locust folding bike, contact...

Josef Cadek
Pod Strani 2159/17
Prague 10
100 00
Czech Republic


tel: 00420 603 97 36 19

Story copyright © 2007 RideTHISbike.com d.b.a. Areafocus, Inc. All rights reserved.
Photos in this story copyright © 2006 Josef Cadek. All rights reserved.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Tourism Value of Rail Trails

In my tours on rail trails, I've met other bike tourists from far and wide. Some bicycle tourists were were staying in hotels and B&B's while others were camping; however, each traveler was there because of a rail trail. Naturally, other types of bike trails attract tourists but abandoned rail lines are excellent candidates for spurring economic growth.

By turning a dormant rail line into a bike trail, the corridor remains intact, properties near the corridor increase in value, new businesses are started, jobs are created, and the quality of life improves. I heartily encourage leaders around the world to look upon decommissioned rail lines as the economic engines they can become.

For more on the tourism value of rail trails (rail lines converted into walk/bike trails), read Rail Trail Economics. Also, the Rails To Trails Conservancy offers a wealth of info about rail trails.

Larry Lagarde
Urging bicycling for recreation, commuting, health and a better future.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Photos: Aerlite-B Welded Magnesium Folding Bike

Following are 19 photos that I shot today of the Aerlite-B welded magnesium folding bike. For comparison purposes, I shot some photos showing the $299 Aerlite-B beside the $169 diecast magnesium folding bike. Surprisingly, the bikes have many similarities (for example, both are extremely light, weighing in at no more than 24 lbs.) but the Aerlite-B definitely offers higher quality components and a smoother ride.

More About This Folding Bike...
- detailed specs of the Aerlite B folding bike (24 December 2006)
- review of the Aerlite B magnesium folding bike (11 January 2007)

MSRP (including shipping): $396

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Aerlite-B Welded Magnesium Folding Bike

After waiting two and a half weeks, I am now in possession of an Aerlite-B, one of Jason Cary's new welded Magnesium alloy folding bikes (the 24 lb. folding bicycle I had described on December 24th).

The bike arrived late this afternoon so there was no time to photograph or ride it (let alone remove the bike from the box); however, I plan on doing all of that (and more) tomorrow.


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Visiting The ER - Not The Ideal Way To Start 2007

Take it from me: spending hours in the Emergency Room waiting for help is not the ideal way to start the New Year.

My wife wasn't feel tip top this afternoon and decided to take a nap after lunch. Around 3 pm, in a scared voice, she said "Larry, there's something terribly wrong with my right eye." When I looked at it, I didn't understand what I was seeing. Instead of the cornea's normal curved dome shape, it was sloping inward and was bloodshot around the edges. As calmly as I could muster, I said "that doesn't look good." I immediately called down to my dad that Robin had a medical emergency and that we were leaving for the hospital. We jumped in the car and arrived at East Jefferson Medical Center 5 minutes later.

I drove up the ramp to the Emergency Room and leapt from the car to find someone to help us. I walked into the triage area; there were 40 or so people waiting for help but I saw no hospital staff. A sign on the wall said to fill out an information slip and wait but I thought Robin was in danger of loosing her sight and wasn't going to settle for an impersonal sign for instructions. I walked around the Emergency unit until I found a security guard. The guard confirmed that Triage was the place to go so I went back. Eventually, an attendant came out to call the next patient and I explained the situation to her. She followed me out to the car, looked at my wife's eye and said "Oh God" which was not very encouraging.

The attendant wheeled my wife into the Triage waiting area and said someone would be right out. We waited nervously for over an hour, watching as only 2 or 3 patients were called in for the initial meet and greet with a nurse. Finally, I asked my wife if she knew the telephone number for her Opthamologist. Incredibily, she did! Why hadn't she given it to me already??? (Of course, she was in shock and was doing everything she could to simply keep from crying.) I called the Eye Clinic and left a message with their answer service. Five minutes later, the doctor called back. I explained the situation & he agreed it was potentially very bad; he instructed me to drive to their clinic immediately.

We left the ER and were at the eye clinic in minutes. As we drove up, the doctor's car was the only one in the parking lot and it's headlights were on. He went there just for us! He asked Robin a series of questions and conducted several tests. Around 6:30 pm, we learned that Rob probably had an allergic reaction - possibly due to an allergy to cats that was aggravated by Rob's helping me nurse our cat back to health. By 7:15 pm, we were giddily walking through Walgreen's to get the $90 eye drops prescribed by the doctor. Robin's eye already looked 90% better.

Few posts are as personal or traumatic as this one; however, I wanted to share it to encourage readers to remain calm in an emergency and to appreciate what you have while you have it. Thing can change in an instant without warning no matter how old or young you are.


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