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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sandy St Augustine Florida By DownTube Folding Bike

In Sand, Downtube Performed Like A Champ
by Larry Lagarde

DownTube Mini folding bikeAbout a month ago, I flew to St Augustine, Florida for a change of cycling scenery. While there, I enjoyed optimal riding conditions, fun trails and even learned of some exciting bike trail developments. I also used the opportunity to test out a DownTube folding bike. Here's my report.

In mid October, I received a mint green 2008 DownTube Mini folding bike to review. Although impressed by the DownTube Mini's handling of New Orleans' rough streets, I was just itching to see how the folding bike's low maintenance drive train and rust resistant materials would fare in a harsher, saltier environment.

DownTube Mini folding bike and folding suitcaseUsing a folding 28" suitcase that I sourced for my Mobiky folding bike customers, I carefully packed the DownTube and boarded a direct ExpressJet flight to Jacksonville, Florida.

In Jacksonville, I caught a shuttle for the 45 minute drive to St. Augustine and checked into the Comfort Suites at World Golf Village. I unpacked, reassembled and inspected the DownTube for damage from the flight; there was not even a scratch.

The following morning, I met up with Billy Zeits with the St. Johns County Parks and Recreation to learn more about the cycling opportunities in and around St. Augustine. A former resident of Marin County and an active cycling advocate, Billy took the day off to show me around. I could not have asked for a better guide.

Guana River Marsh Aquatic Preserve
We started with some off road cycling among the non-motorized trails of the Guana River Preserve. Located on a barrier island on the Atlantic coast just 11 miles north of St. Augustine, the preserve provides a taste of what Ponce de Leon saw when he landed near here in 1513, discovering Florida.

View Larger Map
Tolomato River - Guana Preserve, FloridaAfter observing a bald eagle in its nest a quarter mile across the marsh, Billy and I biked deep into the preserve. Most of our ride was along sandy single track through lowland forests of oak and pine. Bouncing over roots, beneath low lying branches and through the occasional spider web, we pedaled south to the confluence of the Guana and Tolomato Rivers and our reward - beautiful views of salt marsh, lagoons and North America's northernmost mangrove habitat.

Although Billy was on a full size mountain bike and I was on the mini folder, I easily kept pace with him. Several times, the trail went from hard packed sand to deep, loose sand. In one of those instances, the DownTube's 16" x 1.5" Kenda tires bogged down but I was able to plow through otherwise.

The real nuisance on the ride was that the DownTube's chain kept coming off (I failed to fully tension the wheel when I installed it the previous day). My tools were at the hotel so I managed by keeping as steady a cadence as possible and reducing shifting to a minimum. Regardless, the ride through the sandy preserve was one of my highlights of the trip.

Sign - Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research ReserveGuana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTMNERR)
Environmental Education Center
505 Guana River Road
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082
(904) 823-4500
Note: This preserve is a prime location for viewing manatees, wood storks, roseate spoonbills, bald eagles and peregrine falcons.

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Cycling From China To Europe - Fueled By Rice

Advocating Tolerance & Cooperation Worldwide By Bike
by Larry Lagarde

If you thought bicycling across the USA was no big deal, how about biking from China to Europe via India? That's what 5 recent college grads from Minnesota started doing in September.

Fueled By RiceWhy?
People always ask why long distance cyclists take on such challenges. According to the mission statement on their website (FueledByRice.com), this group of adventurers are cycling to become wiser (by interacting with peoples from different cultures), to increase multi-cultural understanding and to advocate low impact living.

Currently, these American cyclists are in China's Guangxi Province waiting for their visas to become valid so they can bicycle through Vietnam.

For photos and regular posts about the happenings on this bike tour, visit FueledByRice.com.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

New Folding Bike Carry Bag

This just in:

Following is a slide show of a new folding bike carry bag we will be offering in 2008. The carry bag will hold any of our 16" folding bikes; some of the 20" folders will fit too (but it's pretty tight).

Carry Bag Details:
  • Sturdy Ballistic Nylon
  • Folded, bag dimensions measure a compact 12" x 12" x 2"
  • Ballistic nylon carry handle and detachable shoulder strap
  • Availability: February 2008
  • Price: $34.99
We still have a supply of the wonderful carry bags from Giatex that attach to the seat post or handlebars and come with all the neat accessory bags (for seat, seat post, handlebars, etc.). As long as the Giatex carry bags are available, we will continue to offer them too.


Crossing America Solo By Bicycle

Hank Verona's Amazing 2359 Mi Bike Tour
by Larry Lagarde

Here's one I dare you to try - riding a 30 year old 10 speed from Jacksonville, Florida to Ramona, California in 25 days - on your own with no sponsors or outside assistance. Sound appealing? It did to 53 year old Hank Verona from Maine.

Hank rode about 100 miles per day. His tour started ominously when some mal contents in a car outside Jacksonville pulled beside him and pushed him off the bike into the grass. Yet another example why Jacksonville was voted least bicycle friendly place in FL... Unfortunately, I don't have much room to talk. Hank said his least enjoyable state to ride through was Louisiana. I know, Hank; I know...

Incredibly, Hank found a hotel or motel to sleep in every night. That's saying a lot when you're riding through lonely southwest Texas day after day.

Although Hank turns 54 tomorrow, he's not ruling out another cross America bike tour. He's even toying with guiding similar tours in the future.

Thanks go to Gene at bikingbis.com for bringing this gnarly cool story to my attention. You can also read a longer story about Hank's journey that was published by the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror.

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Montague MX Mallorca Bike Tour - Final Post

Day 13 - Nowhere To Go - All Day To Get There
by Will Wattles

Will Wattles and his Montague MX next to Rodin statue - Palma, MallorcaI'm writing this from another Cappuccino coffee shop. This one is near Palma's Plaza Espana so the atmosphere is terrific (and it has wi-fi to boot).

I had given thought to a hard ride today but discarded that plan. I went for a 3-mile run to start the day. I've seen lots of runners out and wanted to join them. I checked out of the Hostal Terminus and into Hostal Brondo for my last night. For 40 euros, I got a very nice room with a full bath.

I verified that my Montague MX folding mountain bike box still waited in their crowded basement and went for breakfast. I ate at a great little outdoor place in the marina on Gabriel Roca, just west of Palma. Then I pedaled east all the way down the coast. Today I never spent more than a few minutes from the gorgeous coastline. Ten miles from Palma, the bike lane ran out but I found pretty roads in neighborhoods of exclusive homes.

I enjoyed going down dead end streets and finding that they weren't for a mountain bike. Little foot paths led to secluded beaches open to the public but not advertised. I also found some mountain bike trails through a big wooded area. Lastly there was a cool, very rough road on an undeveloped peninsular. From there I enjoyed a grand view of the enormous expanse of the Bay of Palma with the mountains across the entire horizon.

I pedaled back for an outdoor lunch and then went to work to pack up my folding mountain bike. Even with my needing to remove the luggage rack and working slowly it took only 15 minutes. It's nice to know that when I look for a taxi in the morning it won't have to be huge. Last year, in Costa Rica, I took a conventional mountain bike in a box from the bike shop. It took a full hour of disassembly and was then a box twice as large as this one.

Will Wattles stands beside his boxed up Montague MX folding bikeFolding bikes are new to me and I'm impressed at how well the Montague MX worked. With my 57-year-old knees, I had to shift constantly; yet, the full size folding bike worked flawlessly. I also gave the brakes a workout and they were fine too. In the interest of a full report, I had one pedal that made an annoying clicking sound (a bad bearing I suppose) the last three days. It didn't affect performance or fun. So on a folding mountain bike you can see a lot of Mallorca in two weeks. I rode 466 miles on roads that could spoil a person for biking. This is the most bike friendly place I've ever ridden.

Mileage for the day: 36
Total trip miles: 466

Recap of Will's Mallorca Bike Tour Posts:
Day 1 - Mallorca Via Montague Folding Bike
Day 2 - Touring Mallorca By Full Size Folding Bike
Day 3 - Mallorca - Bike & Hike to Castell d' Alaro
Day 4 - Bike Touring Mallorca From Alaro to Alcudia
Day 5 - Alcudia To Port De Pollenca By Folding Bike
Day 6 - Mallorca Bike Hike - Alcudia Peninsula
Day 7 - Alcudia To Mt Randa By Folding Mountain Bike
Day 8 - Mt Randa To Palma Via Montague MX
Day 9 - Mallorca Mountain Bike Tour - Palma Region
Day 10 - Perfect Mallorca 50 Mile Bike Tour
Day 11 - Rugged & Wild Formentor Peninsula By Bicycle
Day 12 - Delightful 55 Mile Mallorca Bike Tour

More about Will Wattles... Will truly enjoys bicycle touring. Over the last decade, he's toured places such as Greece, Costa Rica, Malta, Chile and Venezuela. For more stories and photos from Will's previous bike trips, visit WillBike.com.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Delightful Mallorca Bike Tour

Day 12 - Port de Pollenca to Palma
Via S'Albufera Nature Area

by Will Wattles

The Hostal Paris made up for no heat and no sleep with a free breakfast that included cereal and fruit: the first of the trip. I loaded my gear onto the Montague MX folding bike and biked eastward from the Port de Pollenca along the expanse of Pollenca Bay and the Alcudia bay. On a lovely morning, I rode for miles and miles along the beach; it was a great way to start my penultimate day.

S'Albufera Natural Area
Flooded road, S'Albufera Natural Area - Mallorca, SpainEventually I turned inland and, after a little while, found the S'Albufera Natural Area - 2,000 acres of protected marsh accessible only to pedestrians and bicyclists. I pedaled the folding mountain bike along roads overgrown with rushes 20 feet tall seeing birds too many to count. Most I could not identify but I did recognize the purple gallinule, a large bird with bright purple feathers and pink legs. It looks a lot like a moor hen which is common on my bike rides in the southern U.S.

S'Albufera features a route around the very extreme of the preserve so, of course, I was drawn to it. There were some puddles in the trail. After the first few, I told myself I should turn back before I got my feet wet. I couldn't resist though and pushed on along the now flooded road. I pedaled slowly so I wouldn't drench my panniers but not so slowly as to stall and have to put my foot down. Then I hit a deep spot and that was that.

cattle guard for bicycles - Mallorca, SpainAt one point, on the edge of the preserve, I rode through a gate. I liked it because it exemplified the Mallorcan style of gate which I've seen many times on my rides. In addition, it marked the first time I had even seen a cattle guard (a series of steel pipes that vehicles can cross but cattle cannot) specifically designed for a bike. How cool.

I stopped to take off a layer of clothing and enjoy the view. White horses, S'Albufera Natural Area - Mallorca, SpainA friendly white horse came over so I decided to take my apple break and share. She liked that and clearly wanted more. As I pedaled along, I obligingly stopped at every view point, and observation deck. I loved the solitude of the narrow trails claustrophobic with the rushes.

Leaving the park I passed through the little town of Sa Pobla and followed a secondary road through a few turns and made my way to Inca for lunch. Ordinary describes Mallorca's third largest city and the little Cafeteria where I stopped to eat offered me anything I wanted to eat - as long as it was a bocadillo. I have this theory that ordinary Mallorcan's don't eat out; they just go there for coffee or drinks and then eat at home.

Great Cicloturismo Route
Leaving Inca, I found the Cicloturismo route with some difficulty. I am glad that I persisted as the route was really a delight. Typical of Mallorca's country roads, it was about half the width of our two-lane roads, forcing cars to slow down to pass one another. Given the limited road width, most drivers take some highway and leave the lane to cyclists. I passed the usual groves and fields of crops as well as acres upon acres of grape vines. In the distance to the east, I could see Puig Randa where I slept in the monastery. To the west, I could see the castle ruins above Alaro of my first hike.

Delightful Cappuccino in Palma
At Santa Maria, the bike route gave out and I rode the Montague MX along an ordinary road. It wasn't so bad and a tail wind pushed me along. I arrived in Palma and checked into the Hotel Terminus where they treated me like a regular. After a 55-mile ride I might have had a nap but had to meet a friend at Cappuccino. We talked for hours beneath the cathedral in a really delightful spot I recommend to all who travel here. I felt full of gratitude that I had such a pretty day and was able to spend it all outside on my full size folding bike, wet feet and all.

Mileage for the day: 55
Total trip miles: 430

Montague MX Mallorca Bike Tour - Final Post

More about Will Wattles... Will truly enjoys bicycle touring. Over the last decade, he's toured places such as Greece, Costa Rica, Malta, Chile and Venezuela. For more stories and photos from Will's previous bike trips, visit WillBike.com.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mallorca Bike Tour - Formentor Peninsula

Day 11 - Peninsular de Formentor
Mountain biking the Formentor Peninsula - Mallorca, Spainby Will Wattles

Kept up to 4 a.m. by drinkers celebrating Christmas while the hotel owner was on Holiday in England, I didn't drag myself out of bed until nine Christmas day. By then blue sky ran from horizon to horizon and stayed that way all day. I couldn't have asked for a prettier day to bicycle the formidable Formentor peninsular.

I climbed the long scar across the cliff face that is visible from all over Port de Pollenca. After 2-3 miles of relentless climbing I got to a wonderful viewing area with impressive views of the town behind me and the tortuous landscape of the peninsular in front. Books say it is only a 25 mile ride but will seem like more and, I'll agree. The first thing that happened as I continued out the peninsular is that the road dropped directly back to sea level. So I had that big climb to look forward to. Then the road started climbing again as I pedaled through a thick forest of conifers in marked contrast to the stark rock faces up above.

The road went up and down in a gorgeous tour of the unspoiled land with steep mountains, sheer cliffs and isolated coves. At one point the road approached a sheer drop off and a tunnel appeared. I was glad to have good flashing lights as I heard a car approach from behind. Traffic was light on the way out and moderate on the way back. Despite the narrow winding road it felt safe to ride because the cars travel slowly due to the laws of physics.

Montague MX folding bike - Formentor Peninsula, MallorcaAs I worked to climb yet another series of curves I wondered if I would have enough water. I had thoughts of a 25 mile ride but this involved more exertion than normal and there would be no stores or restaurants. I even considered cutting it short but the lure of the road was too strong.

Finally, I looked down at the stark promontory approached by winding roads and holding a bleached lighthouse. I coasted down to the beginning of the last climb up to the lighthouse. Paths led down sheer cliffs to the sea far below. I would have to skip those as I had my challenge just to make it back for lunch.

Will Wattles and Montague MX folding mountain bike - Formentor, MallorcaI had an apple and bread and got a fellow to take my picture over looking one of the coves. The ride back went fine as I conserved my water until the start of the big climb and ground it out without incidence. There's a natural high that comes with conquering something challenging and I felt great as I coasted down the long scar back into town.

After lunch and a rest I pedaled over to Pollenca to see the Roman bridge: not much to look at but very old. Up the hill from it I climbed to Puig de Calvari, a hill cherished by the locals for its stations of the cross along the road and a huge long stairway that runs from the city to the little chapel that holds a thirteenth century icon. I enjoyed the outstanding view of Pollenca, Port de Pollenca, the mountains on the Peninsular de Alcudia and the beginning of Formentor with its highly visible road running across the ridge. I finished the day out riding along the bay watching the sun set over a scene one dreams about.

Mileage for the day: 42
Total trip miles: 375

Delightful Mallorca Bike Tour

More about Will Wattles... Will truly enjoys bicycle touring. Over the last decade, he's toured places such as Greece, Costa Rica, Malta, Chile and Venezuela. For more stories and photos from Will's previous bike trips, visit WillBike.com.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Perfect Mallorca 50 Mile Bike Tour

Day 10: Palma to Port de Pollenca via Bunyola and Orient
by Will Wattles

I may have found the perfect Mallorca 50 mile bike tour.

I left the Hostal Terminus and followed the narrow gauge rails of the Soller train. Known locally as Mallorca's tourist train, this beautiful antique takes passengers (but not bikes) into the mountains. After a while our paths diverged, my road went over the freeway and continued north. It was a bit congested but, I never felt really uncomfortable.

Narrow streets of Bunyola - Mallorca, SpainIn a mile or two, it became a quiet back road with a slight incline that increased as I went. After 8 miles I joined a regular two-lane highway for the last mile into the village of Bunyola. I had coffee at the Paris Cafe, noticing the name because I was headed to the Hostal Paris in Port de Pollenca. This cute village hangs on the side of a hill and has narrow streets. The sign with the two arrows means that the car going the direction of the white arrow has the right of way. When I see such a sign, usually at narrow bridges, I'm always glad I'm touring by bike instead of driving a car. In the case of the streets of Bunyola the one that is to yield usually has to back up because visibility is limited.

Right outside of town I saw a row of cars parked mostly on the road so that the narrow two-lane road now was really narrow. I passed a sign telling about 5.4 km road to the top of the pass and its 5.9% average grade. Another sign used pictures to tell cyclists in groups to ride single file.

The road ventured into a narrow valley with steep sides covered with trees and wound back and forth in the familiar switchbacks. The cold morning air felt good as I worked up a real sweat hauling all my gear on the long climb. I saw not a car along the way and heard some sheep bells and nothing else. I took a picture of a gorgeous house set alone in a high spot of the pass with a sheer wall of rock behind it. I got to the top where I sign announced I was at Coll d'Honor. Col means mountain pass in French and I liked the name that seemed to give me credit for my 550 meter (1800 foot) climb from Palma. A teenager on a mountain bike happily took a picture for me in front of the sign.

Orient Valley - Mallorca, SpainNaturally the next thing was to go down the other side. The beauty of the road forced me to go slowly and enjoy the unmarred natural scenery. Then through an opening in the trees I saw a picture-perfect green valley in wonderful isolation, surrounded by hills and mountains.

I biked across the valley enjoying the sound of the sheep and went over a small hill, around a corner and into the tiny town of Orient. As I continued up and beyond Orient it seemed too pretty to be real. I could look behind me and see the rocky outcropping of the pass I had come through.

Town of Orient - Mallorca, SpainThe road then wound smoothly and elegantly through the countryside basically going around the mountain with the old castle ruins I had climbed from Alaro on day three. I had seen this road from the castle and regretted that I wouldn't have a chance to ride it. The decision to include this scenic detour on my ride to Pollenca was not one I made lightly. I worried some about carrying all my gear over the hill but my previous outings must have given me some climbing legs because it felt great.

The last 25 miles to Pollenca involved some of the same road I had enjoyed so much a week ago. However, I followed the bicycle tour signs through Mancor de la Vall and Caimari instead of Binimar and Selva. It was marginally more scenic and slightly more effort.

I arrived in the Port de Pollenca found my way to the Hostal Paris. At 20 euros a night, the hostal was quite a bargain. As was the case with my last lodging in Palma, there was a shower and sink in my room but no toilet. The room also had free wi-fi, a nice bonus for a guy traveling alone without a phone. The lack of heat probably explains the low price though.

I cleaned up from the ride and went out again to forage for groceries. By the time I returned to the hostal, my odometer had clicked 50 miles for the day, my most enjoyable bike tour of Mallorca thus far.

Mileage for the day: 50
Total trip miles: 333

Mallorca Bike Tour - Formentor Peninsula

More about Will Wattles... Will truly enjoys bicycle touring. Over the last decade, he's toured places such as Greece, Costa Rica, Malta, Chile and Venezuela. For more stories and photos from Will's previous bike trips, visit WillBike.com.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Mallorca Mountain Bike Tour - Palma

Day 9 Palma: Beaches, Windmills and a Castle
by Will Wattles

This day began with a dour forecast: light showers becoming more prevalent in the afternoon. It was a day to stray not far from home in between periods of rain.

First I pedaled the Montague MX folding bike up on a hill for a bocadillo (sandwich) and coffee at an outdoor place overlooking the harbor and the cathedral. I figured I must be adjusting to the climate to be able to eat outside. It is the best way to avoid the omnipresent smoke.

Plane landing - Palma, Mallorca, SpainI rode my folding mountain bike down the beach for miles. A few sprinkles fell and then the sun came out a little bit. Encouraged, I stopped for lunch at an outdoor restaurant for a Roma Pizza. With its bike lane along the water, the beach area east of Palma consists of one hotel, condo and tourist business after another. Lino's II, a cheerful amalgam of tables and blue/white awnings, listed menu items in German. As I ate, I watched planes landing and felt the march of time toward the end of my chance to explore this delightful island.

Windmills, Windmills, Windmills

Roadside windmills - Palma, Mallorca, SpainWith the finish of my pizza, I rode into countryside. I passed one windmill after another; there must have been hundreds of them. Struggling into a stiff head wind, I was amazed that each windmill sat idly. I thought back to the electric power plant I had passed at Port D'Alcudia with huge piles of imported coal just waiting to be consumed. How sad that those pretty, pollution free windmills can't compete.

After my ride in the country I was dying of thirst so I went "home" and drank a few bottles of water from the tap. Then, since it still wasn't raining, I went out west of town. After riding up a long hill from the harbor, I saw some woods behind a tall rock wall, people on mountain bikes and a hole in the wall. I carried my folding mountain bike over the rubble for a look and pedaled the Montague MX up the trail.

Two guys were taking pictures of one another going over a jump and invited me to join them; I declined. They turned out to be former Londoners that have lived here for a couple of years. These friendly and enthusiastic cyclists told me the trail would lead up to the castle so I took off up the trail for my most serious mountain bike adventure of the trip. I rode the dirt, rocks, roots, mud and loose gravel trails quite a while. Sure enough, the single track mountain bike trail dumped me at the gate of the 14th century Castell De Beliver.

Montague MX folding bike - Palma, Mallorca, SpainThe Castle has survived in remarkable good condition but its real claim to fame is the grand view. A Japanese couple cheerfully took my picture overlooking the harbor and city of Palma. Then, I put all my flashing lights on for the ride back to my room. I had a great day of riding 40 miles on the beach, in the country and on rocky trails without ever getting more than a few miles from Palma and without getting rained on (sprinkles excluded).

Mileage for the day: 40
Total trip miles: 283

Perfect Mallorca 50 Mile Bike Tour

More about Will Wattles... Will truly enjoys bicycle touring. Over the last decade, he's toured places such as Greece, Costa Rica, Malta, Chile and Venezuela. For more stories and photos from Will's previous bike trips, visit WillBike.com.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Strida 5 Folding Bike - Unboxed

Initial Impressions, Bike Assembly & Photos
Strida 5 folding bikeby Larry Lagarde

Late Friday afternoon, my yellow Strida 5 folding bike was delivered. As much as I wanted to open the box immediately, it was getting dark and I had Christmas duties that required my attention. Reluctantly, I put the box at the top of my list for Saturday.

On Saturday with camera batteries supposedly recharged, I prepared to shoot photos of the Strida. Unfortunately, the batteries or camera were malfunctioning (are you listening, Santa...). Three sets of batteries and several hours later, I started shooting.

Impressive Packaging
Upon opening the box, I was immediately impressed by the packaging and presentation. Saddled between blocks of foam and with foam sleeves between the frame members, the Strida 5 was well protected and gleaming. The yellow and black color combination reminded me of a '69 Dodge Superbee muscle car.

Unfolding The Bike
Once I removed the bike from the box, I opened the quick release on the handlebars, slid the bar ends into place and locked the quick release closed. I removed the single zip tie that held the bike folded. Concerned that a frame member may pop out of one of the ball joints (as was mentioned on CommuteByBike), I gingerly opened the frame for the first time. With a click, the handlebar tube slid into the bottom tube joint and locked automatically.

Except for the seat post, rear carry rack and a small, soft, rubber mud guard that attaches to the front or rear fender, the Strida 5 is pre-assembled (even the tires were pumped up). The seat post and rear carry rack are made of plastic so I was careful with attaching them to prevent breaking the plastic.

Popping The Seat Post Onto The Frame
Attaching the seat post and carry rack is relatively simple but requires some close attention. The seat post is actually two pieces of molded plastic with the seat attached to the top. The bottom of the seat post slips over the frame easily but the top of the seat post is tighter and was bending inward rather than popping onto the frame. I considered removing or loosening the seat but instead used my finger to guide the leading edge of the seat post onto the frame. This worked perfectly.

Selecting Seat Height
The procedure for selecting the proper seat height is hit or miss. Protruding from the frame is a pin for adjusting the seat height. Inside the plastic, molded seat post are several notches to fit the pin. The notch you select will determine the seat height but you cannot sit on the seat until the seat post is securely bolted to the frame. I lucked out and got it right the first time.

Securing The Seat Post
To secure the seat post and carry rack to the Strida 5 folding bike, Strida provides several allen head screws, a nut (for the carry rack) and 2 chromed bands with lock nuts attached. The shiny bands reminded me of the type of hose clips seen on the water hoses of highly modified muscle cars at auto shows.

I snapped one of the chrome bands over the seat post frame. With one hand, I held the clamp and seat post to the adjustment pin and used my other hand in a fruitless attempt to attach the allen head screw. After a moment, I came up with Plan B: wrap the clamp with some of the foam sleeve supplied with the bike and use an adustable pair of pliers to steadily hold the clamp in place. This solution also provided the pressure needed to bring the clamp halves close enough together that I could turn the screw into the threads of the clamp. I used the allen wrench that comes attached to the bottom of the Strida's seat to tighten the clamp a bit more.

Following the same procedure, I attached the second clamp. With both clamps now on the bike, I tightened them further and took the bike for a test ride without the carry rack attached. Immediately, I noticed that the Strida's radical geometry causes the bike to turn differently. The more you turn the handlebars in one direction, there is a pronounced shift in the weight distribution to that side. It's not dangerous though and I found myself adjusting to this within moments.

Tightening Seat Post & Carry Rack Critical
A greater concern was the shifting of the seat from side to side. It was so noticeable that I thought the seat itself was loose on the seat post; however, the seat was fine. Then I wondered... the rear carry rack screws onto the seat post... perhaps attaching the carry rack would make a difference. It did. In fact, the difference was huge. Once the rear carry rack was attached, I detected no motion of the seat. Thus, while the carry rack is only rated to carry 11 lbs, installing the rack is critical to the proper operation of the bike.

By this time, it was dusk and I was out of light - again. I resigned myself to a brief ride and to spend more time with the bike in the next couple of days. I look forward to shooting more photos of the bike soon as well as a video of the Strida 5 in motion and of the bike being folded and unfolded.

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Mallorca Bike Tour By Montague MX

Day 8 Puig Randa to Palma
by Will Wattles

Foggy Santuari de Cura on top of Mt. Randa - Mallorca, SpainI awoke in my sparse, cold cell in the monastery and immediately looked outside. Thick fog hid everything. I could have been a sea level rather than looking out over a sheer drop of some 500 meters. I walked around outside for a few minutes before breakfast at nine. I noticed a couple had arrived on bikes after me.

The same waiter served me lots of food and two cups of coffee to get me started. Lest I give a false impression: the room had a bath with hot water and was brand new from head to toe. With only two narrow beds, minimal wood furniture and no decorations it had a wonderful Spartan feel. The food was great; so this is not really roughing it but, you can pretend.

I bundled up and started down the hill on my pannier laden Montague MX. I went only a kilometer or so before stopping at the Sant Honorat monastery. The fog turned out to be clouds and I could already see countryside from this spot.

Santuari de Gracia on Mt Randa - Mallorca, SpainAfter another kilometer, I stopped at the Santuari de Gracia, the third hermitage on Puig Randa. It sits dramatically on a ledge cut into the cliff and directly under Sant Honrat. I pedaled to the sanctuary's entrance where a man was opening the gate. I asked him if I could go down to Lluc Major using the left hand road leaving the hermitage. He firmly said no and, as I asked, I noticed the do not enter symbol on a sign so I didn't push the issue. It had looked on my map like this was an alternative way to exit Puig Randa and I always prefer not to back track.

Just as I was leaving, I noticed that the sign also said excepto autorizado y bicicletas. So I weighed the sign against the man and chose the former. It was a delightful road apparently almost unused.Lluc Major and Mt Randa - Mallorca, Spain It's switchbacks were much tighter than those on the main road, making the ride down even more fun. Soon I rolled out into the countryside and to the town of Lluc Major.

Lluc Major is very photogenic so I took a few pictures and bought some apples at an inviting little shop. They had a map in the main plaza that allowed me to find my way to the back road indicated on the cicloturismo map I had picked up in Santa Ponca. I crossed a major highway and looked back from the bridge for a nice look at Lluc Major and Puig Randa, in the clouds.

Share the road with bicycles - MallorcaOnce on the bike route I found a cicloturismo kiosk with a map and followed the familiar wooden bicycle signs all the way to Palma. The first ten miles or so couldn't have been nicer biking. There were no cars and lots of what I call “share the road signs” indicating a speed limit of 40 kph which is only about 25 mph. Smooth pavement on flat roads through farm and ranchland with rarely a house and not even utility poles took me all the way to the coast road.

Several groups of bicycle racers passed me including one group with the coach close behind on a motorcycle. I passed a striking church and windmill but didn't determine what it was called. When we finally ended on the relatively busy road it had a nice marked off shoulder. I followed that for five miles or so and at Cala Blava was able to get on separate bike trails for the last 15 miles to Palma.

I pedaled the Montague folding bike through Arenal and by dozens of resort areas packed with hotels, restaurants and the like. It was warm enough now for the outdoor tables to be full and lots of walkers and bikers out giving the afternoon a festive feeling.

I checked into my room at the Hostal Terminus in the heart of Palma and between the two train stations. I noticed that it costs 21 euros a day to rent a mountain bike from the hotel. At that rate, I'd pay for my Montague MX folding mountain bike pretty quickly.

At lunch I chatted with a woman from Peru who lives in London and came here on vacation. She seemed quite envious of my having a bike. I also went to the train station just in case bad weather hits Monday when I have to travel back to Pollenca. A delightful young woman said there was no charge to take a bike on the train and the schedule had little bicycles next to the trains (75% during the week and 100% on weekends) that can carry them. Each hotel has been quite accommodating of my full size folding bike so this really is a bicycle-friendly island.

Mileage for the day: 50
Total trip miles: 243

Mallorca Mountain Bike Tour - Palma

More about Will Wattles... Will truly enjoys bicycle touring. Over the last decade, he's toured places such as Greece, Costa Rica, Malta, Chile and Venezuela. For more stories and photos from Will's previous bike trips, visit WillBike.com.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cycling A Folding Bike Across Mallorca

Day 7 - Alcudia to Puig Randa
by Will Wattles

This morning, as I started to load the panniers onto my Montague MX folding mountain bike, I noticed that a critical bolt on the rear carry rack was missing. I limped down the road with the rack rubbing on the tire and stopped at a hardware store where an energetic young woman found me just the thing and, for 20 cents, I was on my way. Thank goodness it wasn't Sunday! That didn't solve all my problems because the streets were wet and the chance of rain had gone from 20% to 60% overnight.

I pedaled the Montague MX along the coast past the hundreds of empty hotel rooms in Port D'Alcudia. At Las Gaviotas, I took a right and headed to Sa Pobla. Locals call this the Marsh Road because it runs along the Albufera Nature Area, a huge wetlands sanctuary for birds and other wildlife. I saw some birds, none that I could identify, and came to the entrance open only to pedestrians and bikes. Sadly, the black clouds looming overhead made stopping a poor option.

Pannier laden Montague MX full size folding bike near a windmillIn Sa Pobla, I saw an old windmill with a new top portion. I had seen many from the plane and was to see dozens today. Nearly all are falling apart and those that aren't usually house a restaurant. My folding bike was loaded with camera and binoculars in the front pack, clothes and books in the panniers, and a backpack wrapped in a waterproof bag on the top. The latter is nice for hiking, walking around town and carrying on the plane.

The road continued flat until I hit the little town of Muro, which involved a modest climb. The rest of the day the road rose and fell modestly, putting to rest the idea that the center of the island is flat. I passed by farms and fields in a wonderful peaceful bike ride with little traffic. Armed with just a road map, I could only guess if a given road would be pleasant. I passed fields of artichokes and potatoes.

Ancient town of Sineu, Mallorca, SpainAn old fashioned windmill and the local parish church signaled my arrival in Sineu, an inviting town right in the very center of the island. I took a chance with the rain and stopped for a cup of coffee and a break after 20 miles. The restaurant had signs welcoming cyclists hanging on the wall and a few people sitting at tables outside. Although the streets had been wet my entire ride and dark clouds were all around, somehow, I avoided the rain.

On my way out of town, I asked directions from a man who had walked by without looking at me. As soon as I did, he smiled and took time to tell me two different routes, recommending the back roads though Lloret and Pina. Once again the route was ideal - rolling valleys and little farms with few vehicles.

End of my bike ride - Mt Randa's peak, Mallorca, SpainI came around a corner and saw my destination looming in the distance - a flat topped mountain named Randa. I didn't exactly realize that the modestly priced room I had found beforehand would commit me to such a steep climb at the end of my ride. No doubt I could do it. Right?

At Eroski's, a super market in Algaida, I stopped for some apples and juice. The old man checking out in front of me pretended to steal my food. He later said something in German I think because he thought I was German. The island is a prime destination for Germans. When I landed, all the gangways and almost all the planes advertised Air Berlin.

The skies threatened more than ever as I pushed on (still dry). I made it to Randa, a tiny town tucked into the bottom of Puig Randa (Mt. Randa). The 5 kilometer climb kept me warm and offered wonderful views as the road ran around the mountain. The top is 542 meters (1,778 feet) and home to the Santuari de Cura or Hermitage of Cura. A reformed womanizer named Ramon Llull (now a revered figure) founded this former monastery in the thirteenth century. The buildings have changed much over the years but have a grand flavor to them.

I checked into my room. I figured out how to open the two sets of shutters and get a view looking back from where I had come. I could see Algaida but the clouds were low and the view marginal. I hoped it would clear for the view before dark but instead the rain came. Given that the rain held throughout my ride, I couldn't complain about the timing.

When I checked in, I asked the young man if the restaurant was open and he said no but that breakfast would be provided at 9 a.m. I had a small stash of food but had gambled on the restaurant. As the young man left after showing me to my room he mentioned that the bar was open until 4 and that I could get tapas (a snack.) So I went down to check it out. Well, I got a menu of the day with a fabulous fish soup, a fish main course, bread, olives, sparkling water, tea and desert for 15 euros. I was the only one there and the waiter treated me very well. There is a real feeling to this place that makes it a wonderful lodging.

Mileage for the day: 38
Total trip miles: 193

Mallorca Bike Tour By Montague MX

More about Will Wattles... Will truly enjoys bicycle touring. Over the last decade, he's toured places such as Greece, Costa Rica, Malta, Chile and Venezuela. For more stories and photos from Will's previous bike trips, visit WillBike.com.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Temporary, Low Cost Homeless Solution

Combination Bike Tent Cargo Trailer Offers Shelter & More
by Philippe Lucas

One of the challenges in addressing homelessness is that the street population is made up of many different individuals with different needs, goals and abilities. Even when both shelter space and social assistance are available, there remains a segment of the homeless population that refuses to engage these services, preferring autonomy to charity or shelter, and choosing modest income generation rather than government assistance.

A Short-term, Compassionate, Community-based Homeless Solution
Recognizing that even the most autonomous of our street population deserve support, the MOTHERS Project is an effort to provide short-term shelter for 25 members of the street population in Victoria, British Columbia.

Mobile, Bike Based Trailer/Shelters
Combination bike tent and cargo trailerThe project focus is to distribute a unique bicycle tent-cargo trailer to individuals that do not currently use shelter space. Produced by Tony's Trailers (www.tonystrailers.ca), a few of these trailers have already been distributed to members of our homeless population who are using them both as shelter (the trailers, pictured below, fold out into a one-person tent), and for income generation ranging from binning (collecting recyclables from industrial garbage bins), to compost collection, to messenger services. 25 tent-trailers will be distributed over a three month period; 15 will also come with a used bicycle.

Tracking Project Performance
Prior to distributing the trailers, a quality of life assessment will be performed with each participant. The assessment will be re-administered four weeks later to identify statistically significant changes and to assess the overall success of the project. Additionally, two community seminars on this project will be organized by MOTHERS coordinators. These meetings will bring together the public, press, policy-makers, homeless, service and health providers, and university-based researchers to discuss homelessness, poverty, and the economic and environmental benefits of binning. During the first seminar, the project will be introduced to the public; during the second seminar, the results of this project will be shared and discussed.

Community Based, Professionally Administered Project
This is a community-based project, and the recruiting and actual distribution of these bike tent- cargo trailers would be done through the Committee to End Homelessness in Victoria, a highly experienced volunteer group of individuals that include members of Victoria's homeless population as well as their allies in the community. The proposal calls for the distribution of these bicycles to take place at a rate of eight per month for three months, with 1/3rd of the units being made available to aboriginal applicants. The modest pace of implementation will allow the project administrators and the general public to observe and address any project impact on street people as well as the overall community.

Low Cost, Immediate Solution
Although broad-based, long-term solutions are necessary to address the ever-growing social justice and public health issue that is homelessness, providing short-term shelter to those with the greatest immediate need and the opportunity for this group to earn a legitimate income justifies the one time, $26,000 cost of the MOTHERS program.

Philippe Lucas
MOTHERS Project Administrator
Graduate Research Fellow - Center for Addictions Research of B.C.

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Bike & Hike In Mallorca

Day 6 - Hiking the Alcudia Peninsula
by Will Wattles

Once again the first thing I heard this morning was a street sweeper; Mallorca might be the cleanest place I've ever been. Spend a couple of minutes locking your bike to a trash can and you'll be approached by many people.

Bonaire Harbor, MallorcaThe day began a little warmer, near 60 for the high. However the sky and the forecast were totally covered with clouds and today called for winds of 20-30 mph. So I decided to go hiking. I hoped that most of my hiking would be on the west side of the mountain while the wind was from the east-southeast. I biked by the Bonaire marina and part-way back on the winding up and down roads I was on yesterday and then took a turn up a steeper road that led to a religious icon and a closed restaurant. There I hid my bike among pine trees and palmettos and started hiking.

The whole peninsular, except for the military base on the point, is undeveloped and covered with mountains and views. My guidebook cautioned hiking without a good map but, I had no problem and encountered signs when I needed them. I first hiked to Sa Penya Roja at 345 meters. The trail started in the trees but soon took me along a steep cliff with low shrubs and grasses apparently resistant to goats. Mostly sheltered from the wind I enjoyed pleasant hiking conditions and great views all the way. I saw no one on the way up. I found a shallow cave in the rocky, red crag.

On the way down I passed a couple and, as I headed for the second peak Talaia d'Alcudia, I passed a few adolescents. Other than that it was goats and horses. The latter appeared after I climbed a stile over a barbed wire fence. Some grazed on the rocky hillside but one group of four were eating from a bale of hay. I tried to get them to look at me for a picture but they seemed much more interested in the hay.

Port of Alcudia, MallorcaThe hike up the tallest (445 meters) of the peaks took me into the open on very rough ground. At one point I wound around to the east side of the peak and the wind made hiking more of challenge. Despite the gray weather I enjoyed a fabulous view with the peaks of the Alcudia peninsular to the north, Port de Pollenca and its mountainous peninsular to the west, Alcudia, the Bonaire boat basin and more mountains to the south. To the east I got my first look at the Port d'Alcudia, one of the most developed beaches on the island. The wind ensured my stay on the top was brief and I hiked down wishing I could take all the other trails too.

However, it was time for lunch so I pedaled to Port d'Alcudia. On a gray, blustery day in the middle of winter it looked like a beauty pageant contestant home alone. Hundreds of tables waited for people to come eat and the pedestrian areas seemed lonesome. It appears to be a pretty nice place for a very commercialized beach resort. I found a delightful Italian Restaurant where I got Quattro Estaciones which means four seasons and is a pizza with four different toppings. That's an Italian thing but common here as well. The waitress was intrigued with my hike and assured me she would have been tired before reaching the icon.

Defensive wall of the old city w/my Montague MX belowAfter lunch I pedaled around Alcudia and was surprised to see that it was possible to lean my bike against a wall and walk on sections of the crenelated wall that surround the old city. They have many restrictions on cars but, I seem to go anywhere by bike. Other than my initial bus ride from the airport all my travel has been by foot or bike. I get satisfaction out of seeing a mountain in the distance, pedaling to it, hiking to the top and pedaling back. Sometimes my view is smaller because I cover less ground but I think I see more.

Mileage for the day: 13
Total trip miles: 155

Cycling A Folding Bike Across Mallorca

More about Will Wattles... Will truly enjoys bicycle touring. Over the last decade, he's toured places such as Greece, Costa Rica, Malta, Chile and Venezuela. For more stories and photos from Will's previous bike trips, visit WillBike.com.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Perfect Housing Storm

by Larry Lagarde

Since late this morning, it's been stormy today here in New Orleans - and I'm not just talking about the 60 mph wind gusts and thunderstorms that have been lashing the city. At 11 am, police used tasers, pepper spray and more to disperse a crowd attempting to enter City Hall. Six people were arrested. Why??? A housing crisis with no clear solutions...

... and it'll get worse before getting better.

Last week, I touched on the 12,000 homeless here in New Orleans and the fact that a large encampment of 250 homeless people was systematically being disbanded from the doorsteps of City Hall without plans to house them. With huge areas of the city still in ruins from Katrina, the forced removal of hundreds of homeless coupled with plans by the federal government to flatten housing complexes has stirred a hornet's nest of opposition.

Before Katrina, housing project residents that were sick of poor living conditions were promised better housing with lower population densities. The new housing would be upscale, mixed income developments in which impoverished residents would live beside wealthier folks paying market rates. Work at 3 notoriously bad developments (St. Thomas, Desire & Fisher) before the storm supported the government's argument and caused many public housing residents to support the current demolition. So why the fuss? FEMA's bungling for example.

Although some aspects of FEMA's mishandling of Katrina have become legendary, there are others that haven't received as much press. For example, FEMA has been sending confusing messages about disaster assistance almost since the beginning. On one hand, FEMA told evacuees that they'd offer housing vouchers or travel trailers for up to 2 years; however, within 6 months of Katrina, FEMA was sending notices that assistance would end in a matter of days. Then, of course, there's the famous FEMA trailer formaldehyde issue. For 2 years, FEMA's known that formaldehyde levels inside many of their trailers were unsafe; yet, FEMA attempted to hide the problem rather than fix it. Only now after most of the formaldehyde has been released are FEMA trailers beginning to be tested.

Uncertainty due to delays in the release of federal recovery funds, revelations that the US Army Corps of Engineers misled the city for years concerning the safety of the levees that subsequently failed, in availability of medical care, inability of authorities to stem rampant violent crime and more have caused residents non-stop stress since Katrina. Add demolition of vast tracts of public housing as well as the sweeping away of hundreds of homeless and you have a perfect housing storm.

I don't believe that President Bush, the US Congress, the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans are conspiring to make poor black people disappear into the ether; however, I don't live in a still gutted house, a tent in front of City Hall or a cardboard box under a bridge. Unfortunately, 12,000 other New Orleanians still do. For them, hope for better conditions is becoming harder to maintain.

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Montague Folding Bike Tour Of Mallorca

Day 5 - Alcudia to Port de Pollenca & Back
by Will Wattles

Day five started with a weird effort at a British breakfast. I got a fried tomato, undercooked egg, baked beans, sausage, bacon and toast along with coffee for 5 euros. I then rode out along the Alcudia peninsular.

Bicycling on the Alcudia Peninsular - MallorcaAlcudia Peninsular
On the map it looks flat but, steep mountains fill the space and a road running along the west side goes up and down and around with great drop-offs to the surf below. The road of narrow, but smooth tarmac runs through a pine forest and has constant views of the mountains inland and on the Pollenca peninsular directly across the bay.

Feral Goats
Once, I stopped for a picture and heard a noise. I turned and saw a kid staring at me. Before I could get a good picture he and his mother climbed up the sheer slope. The feral goats became common and their acrobatics entertained me.

Zona Militar & Yachts
At points I could see portions of the road several kilometers ahead in the form of graceful curves ascending and descending the terrain. I rode until signs told me I was entering a forbidden military area. I always stop for signs like that. Returning on the peninsular road I passed through Bonair where boats were moored that called Hamburg and London home.

Montague Folding Bike Scores Again
At one point I encountered a sign indicating that the road was a dead end. I continued on and found a path that led through some bushes and along an exposed headland, rough with volcanic rock but rideable. Signed bike route, Pollenca - MallorcaI followed it to a dirt trail through some woods to a neighborhood and then took a makeshift road along the waterfront to get to the road I wanted. Score one for the folding mountain bike.

Pollenca - From Bay To Port
I then took the highway with its paved shoulders along the Bay of Pollenca to the Port de Pollenca. The bay is outstanding with aqua water and bordered by two mountainous peninsulas. The shoulder next to the coast was painted red with pictures of bicycles on it and signs indicating a bike route.

Pollenca Market
Pollenca outdoor market - MallorcaWhen I got to town I passed several bicycle parking areas. It's nice to feel welcomed. I came upon a thriving market set up in the plaza in the center of town. I bought some apples to fuel up for the ride back and sat on a bench in the shade watching the people buy, sell and go about their daily routines.

Mileage for the day: 23
Total trip miles: 142

Bike & Hike In Mallorca

More about Will Wattles... Will truly enjoys bicycle touring. Over the last decade, he's toured places such as Greece, Costa Rica, Malta, Chile and Venezuela. For more stories and photos from Will's previous bike trips, visit WillBike.com.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Touring Mallorca On A Montague MX

Day 4 - From Alaro to Alcudia
by Will Wattles

Sunshine ruled the morning as I left Alaro, headed northeast and found wonderful cycling roads. I got a great view of the molars as I rode by and it was fun to think I had been all the way to the top just yesterday. I stopped to take off some clothes after a while and a couple of older men (probably my age) passed me on very expensive road bikes and wearing official road bike gear including tights. They returned my wave but generally ignored me. That seems to be the way most people here react to me. They are very willing to help when I ask directions but generally ignore me. No one has been rude, not even a motorist. Surprisingly, I later passed the cyclists in my baggy clothes and heavily loaded panniers.

The road had some gentle hills and lots of flat. Most of the time it was a narrow two-lane road with no shoulder and no need for one because cars were rare. Sometimes it became a lane and a half or less. At times it was barely possible to pass a car coming the other way. It made me glad I wasn't in a car. At one point I was riding along a place with a sheer drop off, it wasn't far maybe 6 or 8 feet but there was absolutely no protection. A vehicle passed me from behind and it was a weird feeling: I couldn't get too close the edge but, I had to move over enough for the car to get by.

Red sheep in a field - MallorcaI saw and heard lots of sheep and their bells. Many of them had red stuff on their back I assume it is like a flea powder or something. I saw several of them rubbing on trees as if the powder woke up the fleas. With the bright sun and endless row of mountains, the world felt expansive. I passed through fertile valleys full of olive, almond, carob and orange trees.

Helpful signs led me through towns including Lloseta, Binimar, Selva (shining in the sun on a hill side), Campanet and Pollenca. At Pollenca I tried to enter the Piccolo Horno (little oven) at 12:35 but they weren't open yet. I went back at 1 and was the first customer but by the time I finished the place was packed. I was relieved to see a no smoking sign but soon noticed a young woman smoking. I had the menu of the day for 12 euros which included a big salad with tuna, spaghetti, desert, bottled water and wine (they let me substitute tea). That was a pretty reasonable dinner. Too bad the exchange rate is about $1.50 per euro now.

Porta del Moll - Alcudia, MallorcaRain threatened as I pedaled the six miles to Alcudia. I found myself a little less cocky about the rain after Sunday. I rolled into the walled city where cars are limited and bikes welcome. I found my way through the Porta del Moll Gate to the bar-restaurant-hostal Llabres where I had tried to make an internet reservation but received no confirmation. They had rooms and I got a pretty little, newly-remodeled room with bath and heat for 36 euros a night. I had a window looking out at Constitution Plaza full of tables and chairs from the restaurants that circle the square. I checked out restaurants for wi-fi and then found it in my room.

Mileage for the day: 31
Total trip miles: 119

Day 5 - Alcudia to Port de Pollenca & Back

More about Will Wattles... Will truly enjoys bicycle touring. Over the last decade, he's toured places such as Greece, Costa Rica, Malta, Chile and Venezuela. For more stories and photos from Will's previous bike trips, visit WillBike.com.

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Mallorca By Folding Mountain Bike

Day 3 - Bike & Hike to Castell d' Alaro
by Will Wattles

While warming up at Cafe Alaro, the barista told me about a great place to hike. After another coffee and bocadillo (sandwich) at the cafe, I returned to my room, put on a lot of clothes (to ward off the near freezing chill) and took off on my bike.

Cycling up the Molar - MallorcaI biked the main road (almost two lanes wide but with cars parked along most of it and two-way traffic) toward Inca and soon saw two steep peaks, locally called the molars, to my left. I took a left and started up a narrow paved road toward the Es Verger restaurant high on the side of a steep hill and the Castell d' Alaro on the top of one of the molars. The road immediately began to climb and to wind back and forth in a tortuous series of switchbacks. It hardly seemed possible that a road could climb such a steep incline. Olive trees grew on both sides and black olives and a type of acorn lay in abundance on the surface. Paved for a while it soon gave way to pot holes and patches of cement that looked like they were put down by someone with an attitude. Each switchback gave me a new view of the valley as it rapidly fell below me.

It took nearly an hour to pedal the 3 miles to the restaurant which turned out to be a sheep farm as well. I left my bike in the parking area and proceeded to hike a steeper switchback dodging sheep droppings on the trail and watching birds. Soon the restaurant was far below me and I pushed on for nearly an hour before arriving at the ruins of the fort, once a Moorish stronghold. Little remains of the battlements that played a big role in slowing the 1285 invasion by king Alfonso III of Aragon.

Puig Major, highest peak on MallorcaOn the way up I had shed layer after layer of clothes and was still hot from the exertion. At the top I immediately began to cool off. Snow covered the ground and the air had a refreshing but cold bite to it. In the distance I could see Puig Major, the highest point on the massive mountain range to the west. A young hiker talked about how lucky we were to have the snow to make it all so magic. I agreed but was happy for all those layers I had removed and could now put back on. I enjoyed that descent through the trees as much as I had the climb. I hated to leave but it was cold and I had only a snack. It’s hard to imagine anything on my trip that could match this magical hike/bike outing.

Mileage for the day: 7
Total trip miles: 88

Day 4 - From Alaro to Alcudia

More about Will Wattles... Will truly enjoys bicycle touring. Over the last decade, he's toured places such as Greece, Costa Rica, Malta, Chile and Venezuela. For more stories and photos from Will's previous bike trips, visit WillBike.com.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Touring Mallorca By Full Size Folding Bike - 2

Alaro St, MallorcaMallorca Bike Tour - Day 2
by Will Wattles

The next day I headed off into the hinterlands. I started with coffee at Chantilly where I had a great little window seat and free wi-fi. I had to ride a pretty busy street to make my way out of the city. Cars were okay and I found enough signs to find C713. It is known as the old road as a motorway now parallels it which helps reduce the traffic.

I had no problems riding and was impressed when one car made a special effort to help me through a traffic circle. A bright sun soon displaced the few drops of rain falling as I left. Impressive mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana range reflected the light to my left as I climbed a gentle grade. I came though Santa Maria and thought to stop for lunch. I decided to continue on to Consell figuring I would make it before the black clouds ahead replaced the sun. I was wrong.

The head wind I had been riding into began to blow so hard I felt as if I weren't moving and rain started light and became heavy. Suddenly dark, wet, cold and wind engulfed me. As I pedaled through Consell I saw nothing open and watched as people at a flea market tried to fold tarps in the blustery weather. Already soaked I decided to push on to my destination the foothills village of Alaro.

A street in Cantiu, MallorcaI rolled into town and found a cafe where I got coffee and a sandwich in a modestly warm environment at the Cafe Alaro. After my repast I tried to get into my hotel, The C'an Tiu Ecological Hostal.

As when I arrived at the Hostal Brondo in Palma no one was there and I had to phone. This time I got no answer. It later turned out the proprietor's cell phone battery died. Several other wet cyclists stopped and knocked on the door. They didn't have reservations as I did and continued on to who knows where.

The sun came back out and to warm up I pedaled up a street unto the side of the mountain. The road soon turned very rough and I found myself in the country. Eventually I reached a gate and turned around to see a great view of the cluster of red-roofed masonry buildings that was Alaro.

Continuing up another narrow track consisting first of pavement and then of rocks set in sloppy concrete, I passed olive trees and terraced gardens. Eventually I reached the ebullient owner of the hotel and got into my room and dry clothes. I had a big meal at a very pleasant Italian restaurant called. O Sole Mio. I tucked into bed with two blankets and thought how a week ago being able to lie down and be warm were things I took for granted.

Mileage for the day: 22
Total trip miles: 81

Day 3 - Bike & Hike to Castell d' Alaro

More about Will Wattles... Will truly enjoys bicycle touring. Over the last decade, he's toured places such as Greece, Costa Rica, Malta, Chile and Venezuela. For more stories and photos from Will's previous bike trips, visit WillBike.com.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Mallorca Via Montague Folding Bike

Map of Europe showing MallorcaMallorca.

If you're originally from the UK or Germany, chances are that either you or someone you know has vacationed on this idyllic Mediterranean isle off the coast of Spain. In fact, over 20 million tourists visited there last year; however, only a small number were Americans. What do the Europeans know that we don't? You're about to find out.

Several days ago, Will Wattles (a psychology professor from Francis Marion University with a deep love for bicycling) wrote that he would be spending his semester break touring Mallorca via the Montague MX full size folding mountain bike that he had purchased in September on RideTHISbike.com. Will offered to share highlights of his solo, unassisted bike tour as well as comments on the performance of the bike. Following is his first entry.

Mallorca Via Folding Mountain Bike
by Will Wattles

Settling In
I packed my Montague folding mountain bike in the original box. My bike and bag were lost so I took a city bus to Palma de Mallorca the main city on the island. The bike arrived late the next day late and, the box and bike were in fine condition. The airline delivered it to my hotel, Hostal Borondo, in the old city. Borondo is a narrow pedestrian alley off Born Avenue. I paid 35 euros a night for a tiny room with a shared bath in a great location. I was so excited when the bike came that I put it together and took off for a ride even though it was well after dark.

I pedaled down Born Avenue (not its exact name the streets have Catalan names that are too hard for me to remember.) about half a mile to the waterfront where I got on the bike route that runs along the shore. I pedaled along with my lights flashing under the moonlight with the Mediterranean on my right and passing an occasional jogger or cyclist.

The First Full Day
Montague MX folding bike in Mallorca SpainThe next morning I took off to the west on the same path with palm trees and fancy hotels on my right and a marina full of million-dollar yachts on my left. The bike lane ended and I took to the road. Driving the world over seems to bring out the worst in people, however the motorists on Mallorca have been pretty good. The roads are often narrow with no shoulder as was the case as I headed through Portales Nous where I stopped for breakfast toast and eggs at a restaurant named for Fred Flintstone. As I pedaled past the resort communities of Palmanova and Magaluf I came upon a pedestrian/bikeway. Sometimes the road is faster but in this case I found them quite welcome. A few hills made me work harder and I enjoyed some great views of houses built on the side of cliffs with severe drop-offs into the sea. I followed the bike route to Santa Ponca. Wooden bike route signs gave mileage (actually kilometers) to the next town, At places I found a map mounted on a kiosk showing bike routes both on and off road around the island. I saw a visitor information center in Santa Ponca and went in to see if I could get one of those maps. The woman was very helpful and gave me an old version of the map and several other local maps.

Calvia, Mallorca, SpainThe separate trail ended at Santa Ponca and, I took the road through a series of traffic circles toward Calvia. I crossed over a motorway and after a while a wooden sign directed me to the right down a one-lane paved road. At one point I saw a mountain village to my left lit up by the sun as if it were a celestial spotlight. The pavement ran out and I was glad to be on a mountain bike as I rode though groves of trees maybe carob maybe almond. At one point I stopped to look at a herd of sheep and heard only dozens of bells on the sheep, the bleats of young lambs and maybe some wind. In Calvia I got some juice and bread in a market and took a break in a park with a intriguing history of the city on a mural on the wall. I continued on over a significant climb made manageable by a series of switchbacks that kept the grade moderate. After having the road to myself I hit city traffic for a few miles back to the city. I rode 48 miles that first day and saw many riders on road bikes and mountain bikes.

The Second Full Day

More about Will Wattles... Will truly enjoys bicycle touring. Over the last decade, he's toured places such as Greece, Costa Rica, Malta, Chile and Venezuela. For more stories and photos from Will's previous bike trips, visit WillBike.com.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bicycling From Portland Oregon Airport

by Larry Lagarde

Alaska Airline's Make A Wish planeGreat news! As of yesterday, it is now possible to ride a bike from Downtown Portland, Oregon all the way to Portland International Airport.

Portland is truly a great place to go bicycling. There are bike routes, trails and paths throughout the city as well as long distance rides to beautifully scenic areas nearby. Additionally, Portland is an Amtrak stop and Amtrak's Cascades high speed train has bike hooks so you can bring your bike aboard and visit Tacoma, Seattle, etc.

The new paved path from the airport connects to the bike trail on the levee parallel to Marine Drive, which is a fun ride because of the sweeping views of the Columbia River (on clear days, you can even see Mt. Hood & Mt. St. Helens in the distance). From the bike path on Marine Dr, it's an easy ride to the Jantzen Beach Campground on Hayden Island too.

byCycle.org bike route map - Portland OregonFollowing is a link to the shortest routing from Portland International to Pioneer Place in downtown Portland. This routing is courtesy of the new & experimental interactive trip planner available on byCycle.org, a service that is planning to offer bike maps for destinations across the USA. To create the route map, I entered the addresses for the starting and ending points for the ride and clicked the "safer route" option.

Hopefully, byCycle.org will soon offer the option to select off road routes because it is possible to ride most of the way from the airport to downtown on paved bike paths (the ride is a lot longer but it's scenic and you'll arrive more relaxed).

Riding MAX with a bikeBy the way, Portland's mass transit system (TriMet) can be very handy for cyclists (bicycles on TriMet info). TriMet's streetcars, buses and MAX light rail all accept bicycles.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fighting Homelessness By Bicycle

A temporary yet innovative & cost effective solution to the homeless crisis.

by Larry Lagarde

Homeless with Tony HoarLike a modern day Man of La Mancha, some would say that Tony Hoar is chasing windmills. For two years, this cycling advocate and former Tour de France rider has been testing the use of bikes and special bike trailers to provide shelter, dignity and income for the homeless. Now, social activists in Victoria, Canada are working to take Tony's plan to the next level. (Photo: Homeless with Tony Hoar)

Compared to the rest of the country, Victoria is one of the most pleasant places to live in all of Canada. The climate is sunnier, drier and warmer, leading many Canadians to relocate here but also resulting in a disproportionately high homeless population. Despite the best efforts by established charities like the Salvation Army, the homeless problem is not getting better. If anything, it's about to explode.

Next month on January 22nd, a legal challenge that is over 2 years in the making could overturn Victoria's vagrancy laws, making it illegal for authorities to harass the homeless for sleeping outdoors. City leaders fear that this would make Victoria even more inviting to Canada's homeless; however, Tony Hoar has a plan and an invention that could reverse the crisis. Homeless love it too.

JourneyMan Bicycle Trailer
For the homeless, the JourneyMan is a godsend. A cart, bike trailer, portable shelter, storage container, recycling platform and income source all in one, the JourneyMan is an ingenious tool that simultaneously addresses many issues which keep people homeless.

Folded, the JourneyMan provides flat space for homeless to carry their belongings as well as other items (like recyclables, newspapers, groceries, etc.) so they can make a living. Unfolded, the JourneyMan's flat space doubles; becoming a platform for a tent.

In the words of one homeless person that tested the JourneyMan trailer/shelter, it's "the greatest thing anybody has ever done. You're off the ground, you can put your stuff inside. You're warm and out of the wind. It only takes a couple minutes to put up, a couple minutes to bring down. The police don't harass you. It could make the homeless people's lives a lot better."

Tony Hoar sees even more benefits. "The JourneyMan helps the homeless rebuild their dignity and self worth. As a shelter, it provides privacy, a place for belongings, and a level of safety/security. By eliminating the need for homeless to steal a shopping cart to store their things, it decriminalizes and rehabilitates, allowing authorities to focus on other tasks. There's little maintenance and it's a lot cheaper than a room."

Though the JourneyMan costs $700 a piece to produce, a fleet of these trailer/shelters would be highly visible, making advertising on the sides of the trailer a viable way to recoup costs and even profit from maintaining such a fleet. With advertisers in place, homeless could purchase a JourneyMan at a highly subsidized cost. A portion of the ad revenue could be paid to the homeless on a monthly or biweekly basis; such payment would require bringing the cart in for inspection, ensuring that the cart and ads remain in top condition.

Led by Philippe Lucas, a group of social activists in Victoria is filing for a $25,000 grant to construct and maintain 25+ JourneyMan mobile shelters for distribution to "binners", a homeless subculture of individuals that pick recyclables from trash bins around Victoria and sell them back for the bottle deposit fees. If the grant is approved, Tony is ready to begin production.

Definition of Homeless:
(1) an individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; and (2) an individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is: A) supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill); B) an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or C) a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodations for human beings.
Reference: United States Department of Housing and Urban Development

Main causes of homelessness:
* Lack of affordable housing
* Substance abuse and lack of needed services
* Mental illness and lack of needed services
* Domestic violence
* Poverty, caused by many factors
* Prison release and re-entry into society
* Lack of affordable healthcare
* Natural Disaster

Other major causes:
* Adjusting from forces to civilian life
* Fleeing care
* Asylum seekers
Reference: Wikipedia

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What To Do With 12,000 Homeless

by Larry Lagarde

Two years ago, Hurricane Katrina suddenly made my family homeless. That disaster caused my life to take a different direction and I'm a better person for it. Others have not been so fortunate.

Here's an untidy scenario. You're the mayor of a community with 12,000 homeless. It's winter. A cold front is coming. Your city is broke and no one on the federal or state level appears ready or interested in helping to resolve the crisis. Better yet, the state is preparing to boot 150 of those homeless folks out of their orderly but illegal squatter's encampment in a park in front of City Hall. What would you do?

This is a real situation playing out in New Orleans right now.

The Big Easy is awash with homeless. No one knows the exact number but conservative estimates peg the homeless at @ 12,000. Most are pre-Katrina residents whose homes were flooded for weeks by Hurricane Katrina. Until recently, some were living in FEMA trailer parks that have been closed on short notice. Some are mentally ill. Some are living on the street because their wages, Social Security or disability check is too small to cover New Orleans' storm hiked rents. Some are over 80 yrs old.

The State of Louisiana is adamant. The homeless encampment at Duncan Plaza must go. The space is needed to secure demolition equipment and the state will wait no longer. Never mind that this homeless encampment has housed 100-150 people for months. Never mind that most of the homeless shelters or beds for the mentally ill are gone due to Katrina.

It appears that UNITY of Greater New Orleans, an award-winning collaborative of 60 local housing agencies, will pull off a Christmas miracle with housing for all the Duncan Plaza residents. What about the others though - the 100-150 living under New Orleans' elevated expressways, the rest of the 12,000 living in cars, gutted buildings, parks or a cardboard box behind a building?

Shelter is a basic human need. When governmental officials would prefer to coldly ignore people obviously in need and simultaneously bulldoze public housing projects that could immediately house them, something is very, very wrong.

Tomorrow: an innovative, mobile shelter housing project in Canada

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Christmas Delivery & Bike Inventory Update

Christmas Delivery
Although Christmas is under 2 weeks away, we're still getting bike orders and requests for delivery prior to Christmas. With each passing day, it becomes less likely that new orders to process may not get to you for Christmas. If you are thinking about placing an order, the sooner you do, the better the likelihood that your folding bike order will arrive before the holiday.

Inventory Update
Two of our most popular products (the Kent Ultralite 6 speed folding bike and the SwissBike LX folding mountain bike) are now out of stock. Additionally, stock on other items is running low (just 2 Paratrooper folding bikes are left). Given that it can be months before new stock is available and that several manufacturers are definitely increasing their pricing, now is the time to place your orders.

Don't delay; do it today :-)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Customer Feedback

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Riding The Spine Of Costa Rica

An Exotic Adventure You Can Do

by Larry Lagarde

The Continental Divide is a spine of mountains and high ground that runs from Alaska to the southern tip of South America. Since the summer of 2006, three guys have been bicycling unsupported over this undulating spine using single track and dirt trails whenever possible. They're known as RidingTheSpine.

Now midway to reaching their goal, the RidingTheSpine guys (Goat, Jacob, Sean) have amassed more adventure than most people will have over a lifetime. Chronicles of their adventures in newspapers, magazines and online have led many casual bike riders to wistfully dream of embarking upon their own epic rides. Now you can, safely and for a reasonable price.

John Yost (co-founder of adventure travel pioneer Sobek Expeditions) and Coast To Coast Adventures have teamed up to create an incredible, supported bike ride through the cloud forests and active volcanoes of northern Costa Rica. If you're a RidingTheSpine fan, here's the best part: you'll have the unprecedented experience of bicycling beside the Spine guys on a small but truly spectacular portion of their journey. The distances are short enough (28-40 miles/day) so even casual cyclists can participate.

Known as the Costa Rica Fundraiser Ride, the tour takes place from February 3-10, 2008. Cost to participate is just $795 (including hotels, ground transportation, cycling gear & sag support) and all profits from this very economical adventure go towards funding the rest of the RidingTheSpine journey to where the spine drops into the sea at Ushuaia, Argentina.

Being that I've traveled to this region of Costa Rica, I can personally vouch for the scenic beauty of the rain and cloud forests you'll ride through as well as the awesome volcanic eruptions you're likely to see, hear and even smell. If you can take the time off in February, sign up and join Goat, Jacob & Sean in RidingTheSpine. This trip is definitely one you'll talk about for years after.

To learn more about this tour, visit RidingTheSpine.com.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Bicycle Friendly St Augustine Florida

Epic Beach Rides & Much, Much More

Historic St Augustine Florida - Hypolita Stby Larry Lagarde

(Note: This is the first segment of a multi part story on bicycling in and around St. Augustine, Florida.)

Tis the season to be jolly but if chilly winter weather is sapping your cheer, perhaps a break in sunny St Augustine, Florida could be just what the doctor ordered.

Recently, I traveled to St. Augustine for an update on several regional cycling developments. It turns out that there have been some great changes since my last visit in 2002.

St Augustine Harbor and Castillo San MarcoLittle St Augustine (pop 12,000) is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the USA. Formerly a vital safe harbor for Spanish galleons laden with gold, St Aug was also Spain's northernmost American strong hold.

To protect the town from pirates and rival colonial powers, the Spanish built an impressive stone fortress (Castillo San Marco) and more. The fortifications worked, allowing the town to survive and leaving a rich cultural legacy to this day.

Historic St Augustine Florida - Orange StWith 40+ tourist attractions/points of interest crammed into @ 3 square miles, St Augustine is like a theme park magically brought to life. Watch re-enactors fire cannons and muskets at the Castillo. Sip from a freshwater spring thought to be Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth. Take a sunset pirate cruise on a 2 masted sailing sloop. Watch keepers feed every type of crocodile on earth (including a 17 foot Australian saltwater croc) at the Alligator Farm. See the best view for miles by climbing 174' to the top of the historic, haunted, candy striped lighthouse. And then, of course, there's the biking.

Given the town's small footprint, narrow streets, limited parking and popularity with tourists, bicycles come in handy in St Augustine. Rentals are available but a light folding bike is more convenient. I rode a DownTube Mini with an 8 speed internal hub with 16" wheels and was very satisfied; however, with the flat terrain, a 3 speed or even a simple single speed with coaster brakes would work well here.

Sunset Pirate Cruise - St Augustine, FloridaAs enjoyable as it is to bike in St Aug's historic center, the highlight of my trip was riding on Anastasia Island's white sand beaches. A short spin over the Bridge of Lions, through a quiet residential neighborhood, past the Alligator Farm and across US Hwy 1A brings you to Anastasia State Recreation Area. For 3 glorious miles, the sight of man made structures or the sounds of motor cars are delightfully absent from the beach.

I carried my folding bike across 70' feet of loose sand and began pedaling. The path was an unmarked, 200' wide expanse of flat, hard packed sand that extended all the way to the crashing surf. I playfully weaved back and forth across the beach, serenaded by gulls, waves, wind and the constant crunching of microscopic shells beneath my tires.

Unless you have a boat, access to Anastasia SRA is only from the south end. Thus, the further you pedal up the beach, the greater the solitude. By the time I reached the north end at the inlet to St Augustine's harbor, shore birds outnumbered the 5 people there by @ 800 to 1. Looking west, I was also rewarded with an unforgettable vista: St Augustine at sunset. Terns pecked the sand at water's edge in search of a meal. Behind them lay a shimmering harbor sprinkled with sailboats swaying gently, some gliding slowly across the surface. The golden outline of downtown St. Augustine hovered on the horizon, back lit by the setting sun.

Coming Soon:
Guana's Sand Trails, Rail Trail To Orlando & Road Ride To Jacksonville Airport

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Kent Folding Bike FAQ #2

This morning, I received an email asking about the differences between the Kent Superlites sold exclusively on RideTHISbike.com and the Kent Ultralite sold on Amazon and several other websites. Since many of these questions pop up several times a week, I'm posting my response here for the benefit of everyone.
I saw the video about the three Kent bikes on YouTube, and am now thinking of sending back the 6 speed Kent folder I purchased on Amazon (it has not arrived yet) & replacing it with the Nexus. But I had several questions, I was hoping you could help me with my decision:

Q: Does the Nexus have pedals that are only rideable on one side?
A: All 3 of the Kent folding bikes have the same type of folding pedal. The pedal folds in only one direction and has a lever on the bottom that locks the pedal in the riding position. Kent plans to make dual sided pedals available next year. Meanwhile, if you must have dual sided folding pedals, I've seen them from time to time on eBay for $15-40.

Q: What does the cable do that is shown in the picture at ridethisbike.com? I loved the clean lines of the bike shown on the YouTube video, not sure if there was a cable present because it was a bit dark.
A: The single cable on the Superlite Nexus 3 is the shifter cable for the grip shifter on the handlebars.

Q: Does it weigh 23, 24, or 25 pounds?
A: Kent International makes 3 folding bikes (besides the 6 spd and the Nexus, there's a single speed too). Following are the weights for each model:

1 Spd Kent Superlite Folding Bike: 22 lbs.
3 Spd Kent Superlite Nexus Folding Bike: 24 lbs.
6 Spd Kent Ultralite Folding Bike: 25 lbs.

In 2006, Kent started with the 6 speed and they sent me one to review. I was impressed but I also sent back a list of suggestions that would make the bike better. That list led to them making the single speed and Nexus models and granting me an exclusive to sell them.

Back when there was just the Ultralite 6 speed, that bike weighed 23 lbs. With the introduction of the Superlite series in June of 2007, the Ultralite was outfitted with fenders (the same fenders as on the Superlites). Those fenders added another pound of weight.

Q: Are the levers for folding made of plastic or metal?
A: There are 3 quick release levers used on the Kent Superlite and Ultralite folding bikes. The primary quick release folds the frame; the other 2 are for adjusting or removing the seat and the handlebars.

All quick releases on the Kent Superlite and Ultralite folding bikes are made of metal alloy. Also, the primary quick release for folding/unfolding the frame has a clear vinyl cover over the end to prevent the lever from scratching the frame.

Q: Are coaster brakes repairable?
A: Coaster brakes are wonderful. They're low maintenance, reliable and eliminate the need for brake pads, cables and levers - items that eventually require replacement (brake pads also wear out rims so the rims on a coaster last longer too). Coaster brakes can be repaired/replaced if necessary and are readily available.

Q: Is the mph between the 6 speed & the Nexus noticeable?
A: There is; the Superlite is faster.

Due to the gearing, you can cruise at a higher rate of speed on the Superlite Nexus 3. The difference is about 2-3 mph which sounds minor; however, if you're riding more than a couple of city blocks, you'll notice it.

Q: Is the bike durable? I plan to use it mostly for commuting, throwing it behind the seat of my car, and local shopping. (two miles each way) I usually keep bikes forever, my one and only 'cumbersome' has been with me for over 15 years. So I hope to keep the folder a lifetime too.
A: The Superlite and Ultralite folding bikes are sturdy and durable. Because the bike frame is so light, Kent was able to use standard bike components that have been proven rather than parts that are delicate.

Q: Is the bike heavy? I am small in stature (about 5' 2" 120 lbs.) so lifting a heavy bikes is a bit difficult.
A: All of the Kent folding bikes weigh less than 26 lbs. They are at least several pounds lighter than other folding bikes and much lighter than the average store bought mountain bike.

Q: Why are the Kent folding bikes so light?
A: The Kent folding bikes are made from a special magnesium aluminum alloy. Magnesium is among the lightest of metals; it also is stronger for its weight.

Q: Why does it cost so little for a Kent folding bike?
A: Using the latest in technology, the frames for the Kent folding bike are die cast. Instead of someone tediously cutting tubing and welding it together, molten magnesium aluminum alloy is poured into a mold. Seconds later, it's x-rayed to assure quality. If there is a problem, the frame is rejected and melted down for reuse. As a result, there is zero waste and production time is just a fraction of that needed for a conventional bike.

Q: Is it comfortable to ride?
A: Another quality of magnesium is that it has greater shock absorbtion qualities than steel or aluminum. Thus, Kent folding bikes have a gentler ride than similar sized folding bikes that weigh even more.

Q: What are the differences between the Ultralite 6 Speed & Superlite Nexus?
A: The Superlite Nexus 3 has a higher cruising speed; the Nexus model is also almost maintenance free whereas the derailleur on the Ultralite 6 speed hangs low and will pick up grass clippings, twigs, etc. when in low gear. The Superlite models have a better seat and hand grips (the seat has more padding; the grips are a comfy soft rubber).


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