RideTHISbike.comNews | Folding Bike Shop | Chat & Discuss Folding Bikes | Places To Ride | About Us

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Folding Wheels For Bikes That Fold

Making Full Size Folding Bikes More Practical
by Larry Lagarde

Practicality is the reason why folding bikes exist. Typically, the smaller the wheels on your folding bike, the smaller the bike will fold, making it easier to take your bike just about anywhere you want/need to go. folding bike wheel prototypeUnfortunately, a side effect of smaller wheels is that the bike turns faster due to decreased gyroscopic effect, making some folders twitchy at best. If only there was a practical way to fold the wheels themselves...

Well, maybe now there is.

Following is a video of a prototype, first ever, folding bike wheel. This full size( 700c) folding bicycle wheel uses a regular pneumatic tire; the tire remains fully inflated whether the wheel rim is folded or unfolded.

The inventor of this folding bike wheel rim is Duncan Fitzsimons, a British industrial design engineer. Mr. Fitzsimons has filed a European patent (no. 07252385.5) and is now looking for a manufacturing partner so the folding bike wheel can move into production.

Whether or not such folding wheels would hold up under regular use remains to be seen; however, the product does offer exciting possibilities. I'd love to try one out on a full size folding mountain bike like the Montague Paratrooper. Looking for guinea pigs, Duncan?


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Northeast USA Bike Train Feedback

Suggested routes, starting points and cycling destinations in the Northeast
by Larry Lagarde

The idea of applying the Canadian bike-train concept to destinations in the USA has touched a collective nerve among cyclists across the country. I've received so many specific comments & suggestions regarding where to run a bike train that it seems foolish to keep them to myself.

To help cyclists that are interested in taking their own bikes on Amtrak to get to cycling destinations, I've decided to publish more of the helpful bike train suggestions I've collected. This post focuses on suggestions along the USA's eastern seaboard from Virginia to Maine.

S. Winslow
- South Station Boston to Providence - where bicyclists could pick up the East Bay Trail.
- South Station Boston to Providence / Worcester to Boston: a train trip could be sponsored by the Blackstone National Heritage Corridor - Bicyclists could be drop off in Providence.. ride the Blackstone Heritage Trail, overnighting one day, and then pick up the bike train back in Worcester for the trip to Boston..
- Boston to NYC for the 5 Boro Bike Tour in May
- NYC to Boston for the Hub on Wheels ride in September
- Boston to Portland ME via the Downeaster..

The MBTA has a bike train that runs from Boston to Gloucester on weekends in the summer that is very successful..

Too bad this could not go to Cape Cod on the weekends.. that would be a huge hit possibly.
New Jersey
(Daneen M. Morris, Camden Greenways, Inc.)
We are close to Philadelphia... I can see this being a feasible location for a Bike Train.
(Nancy Schulz, Executive Director, Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition)
My suggestion would be the Amtrak train than runs between Montreal and Boston. Making the trains more bicycle-friendly is a goal we heartily endorse but it's proven to be a tough one. Good luck!
J. Wampler
10 reasons why Amtrak should consider the Richmond area for bike train service.

1) Virginia is home to more of the United States Numbered Bicycle Route system than any other state. Both USBR 1 and USBR 76 cross the state, and they intersect near Richmond.
2) The Virginia Capital Trail, an off-road route linking Richmond to Williamsburg, is scheduled for completion in 2012. This route, along scenic and historic route 5, links plantations and local parks to Jamestown and the Colonial National Historical Park.
3) Richmond is the state capital, and advocates travel here during the legislative season.
4) The Richmond Fan District is one of the largest intact late-19th- and early-20th-century neighborhoods in the country and encompasses about 85 city blocks west of the Richmond downtown commercial area. The grid-like pattern of this neighborhood is bike/ped-friendly, and the architecture is tremendous!
5) The Richmond Area Bicycling Association (RABA) is an active, well-organized club that offers many excursions in the Richmond area.
6) Richmond is the future home of BikeWalk Virginia.
7) There are 20-plus miles of mountain bike trails along the James River in Richmond.
8) The Richmond area is rich in both Revolutionary and Civil War history. The John Smith Trail describes the interface between the early settlers and Virginia Indians in Richmond four hundred years ago.
9) Destinations around Richmond provide additional bicycling opportunities. Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield County has 7000 acres and 50+ miles of trail. Petersburg National Battlefield is a 2,517-acre park that also attracts cyclists.
10) Richmond is centered between the Washington/Baltimore metro area, which has a number of active cyclists, and Hampton Roads, another large metro area with a growing cycling community.

Multi State Passenger Rail Service

Downeaster Regional Train (Boston, MA - Portland, ME via NH)
(Terri Diffin, Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority)
Up to 8 bikes can be rolled onto the Downeaster. Bikes can be loaded and unloaded only at the manned stations (Portland, Wells and Boston). The fee for a bike is $5. Boxed bikes are not allowed as they are considered checked baggage.
Tom M, Cyclist
At one time, Amtrak did offer "roll-on baggage car" service from NYC to Washington DC, and I used that service at least four times a season. Since they discontinued the service, I haven't ridden Amtrak once.

Amtrak does have posted rules that make it APPEAR simple enough to box a bike and put it on the train. However, when I've called, Amtrak staff have been uncertain of the details and worse, only a few trains have baggage cars that would allow boxed bikes. Contrast that with New York's MTA, which allows roll on service and very often during summer weekends will just turn over the last passenger car to the cyclists!

The big tragedy is that both Penn Station in NYC and Union Station in Washington DC are adjacent to beautiful off-street cycling paths. Talk about an intermodal transit dream!
(Tom Sexton, Northeast Region Director, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy)
Last year I priced out a charter from Pittsburgh to DC as the start of our 500 person trail ride from DC to Pittsburgh. We never did it the, not that we thought we couldn't raise 70K they required, but it was just so slow - 6 hours when you could drive it in 3. The regular train would be the same time. However, I still think this is a compelling (longest trail in the US) route and endpoints with other stops if riders would like to do shorter mileage.
(Robert P. Thomas, AIA, Partner, Campbell Thomas & Co.)
-New London CT Amtrak Station is but a few steps from the dock of the seasonal ferry to Block Island, a cycling paradise
-Newark DE connects with the nice college town of Newark, and trails along the White Clay Creek all the up into Pennsylvania
-BWI Airport Station MD connects directly with the BWI Trail and the B&A Trail to Annapolis -- a great day trip, or a weekend trip with an overnight in Annapolis
-New Brunswick NJ connects directly with the D&R Canal Trail after a short ride through the attractive Rutgers campus.
-Trenton NJ connects with the D&R Canal Trail segment going north to Lambertville and Frenchtown.
-Downingtown PA connects with the Struble Trail and Marsh Creek State Park
(Christopher Linn, AICP, Senior Environmental Planner, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission)
Philadelphia's 30th Street Station is a major hub for Amtrak. As for "cycling destinations" a few hours from Philadelphia by train, there are many, so it's hard to come up with a concise list."
Editor's Note: Given that New Yorkers are moving to Philly and commuting back to NYC via Amtrak, Philly is obviously a short hop by train from many major bike trails along Amtrak's NE corridor.


Arriving In Cozumel, Shopping & Bicycling South

by Larry Lagarde

Upon our arrival in Cozumel, we waited for the mad rush ashore to subside. As a recreational diver, I've visited Cozumel several times but not my wife. She wanted to shop so we walked the gauntlet of shops and shop keepers along the waterfront. From the Punta Langosta mall to the Ron Jon Surf Shop, we were enticed with offers of discount diamonds, silver jewelry, tanzanite, Rolex watches, car rentals, jeep tours, Cuban cigars and "typico" Mexican clothing, etc.

Museo de la Isla de CozumelAs nice as all those sales people were, we needed a break and the Museo de la Isla de Cozumel was just the place. Long ago, I discovered that an open air restaurant offered breakfast and lunch on the second floor balcony of the museum and wanted to share this gem with her.

We had a leisurely brunch with pan sucre, huevos rancheros including beans and fried bananas, fresh squeezed orange juice and strong coffee. As we ate, jet boats and catamarans ferried passengers to & from Playa del Carmen and Cancun. Dive boats made for the reefs, para sailers hung in the air and large white cruise ships floated slowly across the horizon.

After our meal, we shopped a bit more then headed back to the boat. My wife opted to take a nap but I was destined for a bike ride. I pushed the Strida out the cabin and through the ships passageways.

Designed with mono forks as well as handlebars and pedals that fold, the Strida folding bike is extremely narrow when folded. All 3 frame tubes are designed to snap together to fold; a magnet helps to keep the axles of each wheel together in parallel so the bike rolls easily when folded too.

Immediately upon exiting the ship, I unfolded the Strida. The tube that makes up the lower part of the frame triangle snaps into the front tube in about 3 seconds. Unfolding and the pedals and handlebars takes just a few seconds more.

I pedaled down the pier between the Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Ecstasy cruise ships, shooting a brief video in the process. I passed one of the courtesy trikes used by porters to deliver passengers to the end of the pier. When I stopped for a moment, I was surrounded by curious bike porters and other locals hawking tours. They had never seen such a bike.

I pedaled south along the waterfront. My destination was Paradise Beach, a beautiful, groomed, palm lined beach on Cozumel's protected, western side. I had two and a half hours to cover 18 miles round trip including shooting photos, video and stopping to enjoy the view.

Next: Strida Folding Bike Ride & Review

Labels: ,

Monday, January 21, 2008

Cozumel Cruise With Folding Bike

by Larry Lagarde

No matter what words people use to describe New Orleans - sensual, dirty, charming, dangerous, magical, tragic, multi-cultural, humid..., there is one that nails the Big Easy - port. Vessels from around the world call on the Crescent City. Most carry grain, steel and other bulk cargo but paddlewheelers, push boats and ocean going cruise ships visit too.

Recently, I sailed from New Orleans aboard the Carnival Fantasy for an extended weekend type getaway of 4 days. My destination was Cozumel, Mexico, an island famed for it's azure Carribbean waters, lush reefs, friendly people, Mayan ruins and shopping. I took a bright yellow Strida 5.0 along to ride on Cozumel. Following is that story.

The Strida folding bike was packed in a soft sided, collapsible, rolling travel bag designed for golf clubs. In order for the Strida to fit in the bag, I unbolted the seatpost mount and plastic carry rack from the Strida's frame. I stuffed plastic bags filled with clothing for the trip around the frame members to protect them from damage.

Although Carnival allows guests to bring folding bikes aboard their cruise ships, the x-ray tech was dumb founded when my bag went through. A bike in a golf bag was a first for him.

Rather than risk damage by a seacap, I wheeled the Strida aboard myself. The process was simple, painless and gave me access to my clothes long before most other passengers.

One passenger commented "you must really like golf." I said "golf's okay but the sticks in this bag are for cycling." I then explained that the bag contained a bike composed of 3 metal sticks that unfolds into a triangularly shaped bike. He was amazed.

Using the multi tool that comes with the Strida, I bolted the seat post and carry rack back onto the folding bike and put the bike away for the voyage. It fit easily under the bed or in the closet.

It takes a day to sail from New Orleans to Cozumel. While there are many activities aboard the ship, I sought peace and quiet time with my wife. My only diversions were walks on deck, a John LeCarre spy novel from the ship's library and fine dining.

Next: Arriving In Cozumel, Shopping & Bicycling South

Labels: ,

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cruising To Cozumel With A Strida

If you've ever inquired about taking a folding bike on a cruise, you may have found that rules vary from cruise line to cruise line. Stories from actual cruisers that have taken a folding bike with them are even harder to find, creating enough doubt that many folding bike users leave their bike at home rather than take it aboard.

Frankly, I know that a folding bike will come in handy at destination ports. The issue is how accommodating the cruise line will be and how difficult it is to move through the ship with the folding bike... but I'm going to find out. My wife and I are taking a cruise to Cozumel with Carnival Cruise Lines. I'll be carting along my Strida 5.0 folding bike.

Next: Cozumel Cruise With Folding Bike


Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Unboxed Bikes On Trains In The USA

Feedback from cycling advocates around the country
by Larry Lagarde

Bike TrainAs a follow up to my story about the Canadian Bike Train, I have been communicating with a variety of cycling advocates across the USA to determine the most feasible possible locations for such a train. Following are some of the comments I have received thus far...

(Lois N. Epstein, P.E.; Director, Alaska Transportation Priorities Project)
"My thought is that tourists would be interested in taking their bikes to Talkeetna, Denali National Park (there's a stop there), and Fairbanks, and Seward to the south, from Anchorage. For all I know, they can already do this on the train."

Mt McKinley - Photo(c)2006 Derek Ramsey)Note: Per the Alaska Railroad terms and conditions, bikes are allowed on their trains; however, there's a $20 handling fee. Alaska Railroad personnel crate each bike and recommend that panniers be removed.

Since the Alaska Railroad leases the land for the paved, 11 mile long Tony Knowles Coastal Trail (great views of Mt. McKinley & voted best bike trail to see a moose) to Anchorage at below market rates, the railroad appears to be bicycle friendly.

(Kathy Keehan, Exec Dir, San Diego County Bicycle Coalition)
"I think it is possible this might work for San Diego.

Currently people already take their bikes on Amtrak north and south into and out of San Diego. Although many people ride their bikes in San Diego, they tend to be spread out and don't really have one central bike destination. There is currently an "Amtrak Century" ride once a year that utilizes the Amtrak service between San Diego and Irvine."

(John Harper, Volusia County Leisure Services)
"I think this is a great idea. We have an Amtrak here in Deland. Volusia County is currently trying to promote Cycling Tourism to our County and the region. Just last week the State of Florida purchased a rail trail corridor here in our county, the longest in the State of Florida, 52 miles. We currently are actively working on establishing the St. John's to the Sea Loop Ride. It will be a 200 mile loop beginning in DeLand running along the St. John's River north then across to St. Augustine south through Daytona Beach to the Cape Kennedy area and then via the new rail trail back to DeLand."

(Keith Holt, Chicagoland Bicycle Federation)
"Best possible Bike Train locations...
Hiawatha--Chicago to Milwaukee

Illinois Service
* The Ann Rutledge (daily service between Chicago and Kansas City, MO)
* The Illinois Zephyr (daily service between Chicago and Quincy, IL)
* Illini Service (daily service between Chicago and Carbondale, IL)
* The Saluki (daily service between Chicago and Carbondale, IL)
* The Carl Sandburg (daily service between Chicago and Quincy, IL)
* The Lincoln Service (daily service between Chicago and St. Louis, MO)"

(Melissa J. Prowse, Oakland County Parks and Recreation, Waterford, MI)
"Chicago has some amazing places to bike, and is quickly becoming one of the most bike-friendly cities in America... I think that it could be great for both Chicago and for Oakland County to promote a bike train service on both ends. We have over 90 miles of trail in Oakland County (where the Wolverine service begins and has 3 stops), so perhaps Chicago residents would like the chance to come to Michigan and spend a few days biking as well...

Please let me know if you do move forward with this concept - I'd be happy to help."

(S Gore - Minneapolis)
For a bike train out of the twin cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) I would recommend the Empire Builder eastbound out of St. Paul. Riders could debark anywhere between St. Paul and the Wisconsin Dells and have a good bike tour back to St. Paul.

The short route (single day ride) would be back from Red Wing. Two ways back:
1) dot.wisconsin.gov/travel/bike-foot/grrmap.htm in combination with an on road route back to the St. Paul Depot from Prescott
2) Cannon Valley Trail in combination with an on road route back to the St. Paul Depot from Welsh or Cannon Falls.

Longer routes could be assembled from Winona and La Crosse using the Great River map above.

Dells of the Wisconsin River - May of 2002 by AmadeustFor the more serious distance tourers a route from the Dells to St. Paul. Most of the route would use the Sparta Elroy and Great Rivers trail to La Crosse. From LaCrosse it would rejoin the Great River road route above. Tons of B&B to B&B and camping opportunities along this route.

The train schedule is pretty good for this. The eastbound train departs at 7:50am and arrives in Red Wing at 9:00am. Riders would still have plenty of daylight to make it back to the Twin Cities. It arrives in the Dells at Noon giving riders plenty of time to cover the first 40 miles on road to the 400 trail in Reedsburg.

(Hutman - St Paul suburbs)
Amtrak is pretty great IMHO. I biked to LaCrosse last fall and took the train back. We ran into some other bikers who had boxed their bikes and took the train to Portage. Then Amtrak shipped their boxes to meet them in LaCrosse for nothing - great service. My friend left his helmet on the platform in LaCrosse and they remembered him, sent the helmet to St. Paul and called him up to get it.

(Todd Antoine, Deputy Director for Planning, Great Rivers Greenway District)
KATY Trail Bridge with cyclists - photo by KBH 3rd."Amtrak does allow a limited number of unboxed bicycles on trains between St. Louis and Kansas City for a service fee (see... mostateparks.com/katytrail/services.htm). The train stops at several cities in close proximity to the Katy Trail.

In Illinois, the Chicago-bound train stops in Alton, Illinois on its way to Chicago which is close to the Mississippi River Trail along with the extensive Madison County Trail network."

(Jack Hirt, Exec Dir, Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin)
"I can tell you that Milwaukee would get a ton of use.

A lot of people commute to Chicago via amtrak and I know quite a few that ride their bikes to the station and then have the hassle of keeping a bike in Chicago. Taking a bike on the train would solve that issue. Then I also know a handful of people that go to the Twin Cities from Milwaukee fairly often and they always go through the trouble of boxing the bike up and putting it in storage. I'll throw the idea around in Madison, but I imagine there would be people accepting the idea of riding their bikes to Columbus and taking the Amtrak from there."

(Nancy Schulz, Executive Director, Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition)
"My suggestion would be the Amtrak train than runs between Montreal and Boston. Making the trains more bicycle-friendly is a goal we heartily endorse but it's proven to be a tough one. Good luck!"


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Riding The Bike Train

Service Allows Cyclists To Embrace Passenger Rail
by Larry Lagarde

ViaRail Bike TrainLast summer, a young and energetic cyclist named Justin Lafontaine launched the Bike Train, a service that included the transportation of unboxed, fully assembled bicycles between Toronto and Niagara Falls on Canada's national passenger rail carrier (ViaRail). A pilot project that ran for just 4 weekends, the service was so popular that ViaRail plans to expand it to new destinations and over a longer season.

Removing a bicycle from the Bike TrainBike Train Details
Essentially, the Bike Train piggybacked a baggage car containing racks for up to 56 bikes onto regularly scheduled ViaRail trains. For the low fee of $59 including taxes and bike rack reservation, cyclists received a round-trip ticket for the 2 hour journey between Toronto & Niagara. Over the 4 weekends that the pilot program took place, 300 cyclists participated. Many came from beyond Toronto to participate.

An Amtrak Bike Train
Although Amtrak currently offers checked baggage service that includes carrying bicycles, cyclists in the USA could also benefit from a Bike Train service. Amtrak serves over 900 communities but checked baggage service is not available everywhere. If Amtrak offered a Bike Train to destinations like Hattiesburg, MS or Anniston, AL, cyclists could take their bikes by train to popular, paved long distance bike trails such as the Longleaf Trace, Chief Ladiga and Silver Comet, boosting rail ridership while spurring tourism.

Given Amtrak's stated goal of increasing regional trains in corridors throughout the USA, an innovative program such as
Bike Train service to select cycling destinations would be a smart move. Besides elevating the profile of passenger-train service among cyclists & rail to trail advocates, Amtrak would boost bicycle eco tourism initiatives, Amtrak ticket sales and regional partnerships with local governmental & tourism agencies all at the same time.


Video - SwissBike Folding Bike Models

This is a video of the 3 SwissBike full size folding bike models for 2008 (the SwissBike XO, LX and TX folding bikes).

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Slideshow - Guana Nature Reserve - St Augustine, FL

Following is a slideshow containing more photos of the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve. When I visited St. Augustine, Florida, Guana is where I really began to put the DownTube Mini folding bike through its paces.

Technorati Profile

Labels: ,

Cycling for fun, fitness & practicality.

Phone: 504-324-2492
Bike Shop Street Address:
231 Dauphine St
New Orleans, LA. 70112
(1 block from Bourbon St; 2 blocks from Canal St)
In the French Quarter

Email Us

© 2005-2012 Areafocus.com. All rights reserved. Website Terms & Conditions