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Monday, May 25, 2009

Bigfish On The Levee

by Larry Lagarde

Two days ago, I took the BigFish out for an evening bicycle ride on the Mississippi River levee trail in Waggaman, LA (just outside New Orleans). I brought my camera with me and shot video as I rode. The video you see below is the result of that ride. Hope you enjoy it. If you're not a fan of French punk rock, you may want to turn down the volume a smidge...

If the video has you interested in the BigFish folding bike, I'm excited to announce that the BigFish will be available for purchase very soon in North America. Priced in the Mobiky/Strida range, the BigFish will appeal to city commuters and urbanites. It has a great ride, rolls when folded and 3 speeds (with rear coaster brake).



Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Greener Way To Travel

by Larry Lagarde

Want to really lower your carbon footprint the next time you travel?
Take the train for the long distance portion of your journey and ride a bicycle at your destination.

During the New Orleans celebration this past weekend of National Train Day, Amtrak ran contests giving away hug-able stuffed replicas of their mascot ARTE. Basically a green smiling leaf topped with a conductor's cap, this cute mascot is a reminder that travel by rail is more eco friendly than traveling by car or plane; however, ARTE also offered additional tips for cutting energy use, reducing your carbon footprint and saving money too. Among those tips: bicycling at your destination.

Frankly, ARTE's bike tip was more limited (as in take a bike or walking tour) but with folding bikes like the IF MODE, it is entirely possible to take a bike with you no matter where you go on Amtrak. Once you reach your destination, rather than rely on transportation that's not within your control (taxis or public transit), simply pedal away from the train station on the wheels you brought with you.

As a Hurricane Katrina survivor, I have experienced the effects of climate change firsthand. Even if you doubt climate change is taking place, isn't it better to err on the side of caution? Replacing the filament light bulbs in your house with compact flourescents or using less polluting means of transportation may seem insignificant but if everyone decreases their carbon footprint in a small way, the overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would be huge. Please help make the world cleaner. Do something to reduce your carbon footprint today.


Ride Review: IF MODE Folding Bike

by Larry Lagarde

Simply put, riding the IF MODE full size folding bike is pleasant and fun.

The first thing I noticed was how effortlessly the bike folds and unfolds. To fold it, unlock the release on the frame, nudge the front portion of the frame back and guide the wheels together so the magnets in the hubs click together. To unfold, place your fingers between the 2 wheels and turn your hand so the magnets release their grip. Then, pull the front portion of the frame forward until it's in place and lock the release. And yes; it does take about 3 seconds to fold or unfold.

On The Bike
Mounting the IF MODE, my first thought was how comfortable the leather grips and saddle were. The leather is supple and has the right amount of padding - enough, say, for your hands to sink into the grips a tad but not too much (ditto for your buns).

The Ride
The IF MODE is stable - just like a well built non-folding crossover bike should be. The enclosed drive train is almost completely silent, making noise briefly when switching gears. Low gear allows for quick accelleration. In high gear, I cruised at 18.5 mph. With disc brakes front and rear, stopping power is ample and immediate if need be.

Biggest Surprise
Although I was excited about the IF MODE long before it was in production, what surprised me most about the bike is the way it attracted interest from cyclists and non-cyclists alike. Urban bike commuters understandably admire MODE features like the bike's enclosed drive, fast folding/unfolding mechanism, ease of rolling when folded and the bike's clean looks; however, many non-cyclists simply gawked in awe when I demo'd the bike at National Train Day.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Video - RideTHISbike.com At National Train Day

by Larry Lagarde

This weekend, I was invited to display and demonstrate folding bikes at the New Orleans celebration of National Train Day 2009. Bikes are allowed to be taken aboard travel on Amtrak; however, only folding bikes can go anywhere Amtrak serves.

Since folding bikes are just now becoming popular, Amtrak wanted the public to see a variety of folding bikes that can be used when taking a journey on the national passenger rail network.

Here's a short video I shot at the event. Note the IF MODE full size folding bike on display. In addition, I brought a CarryMe DS, Strida 5.0, a Kent Compact Nexus 3, an E-Z Pack and the Kent Mini 8 folding bike prototype.

By far, the crowd pleaser was the IF MODE. Amtrak marketing manager Jerome Trahan noted that the RideTHISbike.com booth received almost as much attention as the historic passenger cars on display (that's pretty serious). Even New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin stopped by for a photo op.

If you're curious about Amtrak's policy concerning bicycles that fold, here's a copy of the official policy statement concerning carriage of folding bikes aboard Amtrak trains.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

New IF MODE On Display @ National Train Day

by Larry Lagarde

In celebration of National Train Day, Amtrak has invited RideTHISbike.com to display and demonstrate examples of folding bikes suitable for rail travel.

9 May 2009; 01:00 PM - 07:00 PM
New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal
1001 Loyola Ave.
New Orleans, LA. 70113
Display & demonstration of folding bicycles including the new, award winning IF MODE full size folding bike

View Larger Map

About National Train Day In New Orleans
Amtrak will commemorate the 30th Anniversary of their operation of the historic CRESCENT service with special events from 1 - 7pm. The FREE event at the New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal will include exhibits, entertainment, Amtrak giveaways and a display of current Amtrak equipment as well as historic private rail cars. SCOTT MILLER AND THE COMMONWEALTH will perform as the event’s finale at 6pm.

Join us for some great family fun!

First Look - Production Model IF MODE - Slideshow

by Larry Lagarde

Here's a first peek of the production model IF MODE full size folding bicycle. I shot these photos this morning after the shipment arrived. (NOTE: Click on any photo to enlarge. To turn off the music, just click the audio button at the top left of the slideshow.)

More fresh photos of the IF MODE folding bike will be shot over the next few days. Now, it's time to print some shipping labels so everyone that's been waiting can have their new MODE bikes soon.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Most Bicycle Friendly Cities

Matador Travel writer Hal Amen recently posted this list of the world's 15 most bicycle friendly cities:

15 Most Bicycle Friendly Cities
1. Amsterdam
2. Barcelona
3. Berlin
4. Copenhagen
5. Paris
6. Boulder
7. Chicago
8. Davis
9. Ottawa
10. Portland
11. San Francisco
12. Beijing
13. Cape Town
14. Bogotá
15. Perth

Although the order and some of the cities that made the list are debatable, there's no doubt that each of these cities see lots of cyclists.

To gain an understanding why Hal chose these cities, read the full story on MatadorTravel.com.


Amish Country Bike Tour is Sept. 12

Delaware's Kent County Tourism office emailed me this morning with info regarding their 2009 tour of Delaware's Amish country. In addition to the various loop tours that they've offered previously, there will be a bike race this year too. Here's a copy of the email.

Delaware's 23rd Annual Amish Country Bike Touracbt logo
Greetings from Delaware to all our cycling friends! We wanted to let you know this year's Bike Tour is set for Saturday, September 12, 2009, and that registration is now open! The tour will again feature several loops: 15, 25, 50, 62 and 100 miles. Our Amish community will be back again with home-baked pies and cookies at Stop Number One -- the Amish School House. Those who have participated before know that this event attracts folks from families to serious cyclists, children to seniors! Register online: www.visitdover.com.
We are holding the line on registration fees this year: $25 for adults if you register before Friday, August 21 ($30 after the earlybird date); and $10 ($15 after August 21) for children under 16. Here are some value-added bonus items you'll receive with your registration:
  • Free bike tour map of Amish Country
  • Free water bottle
  • Free food stops featuring home-baked pies and cookies as well as healthy snacks
  • Free catered barbecue picnic luncheon
  • Free beverage
  • Free post-ride party with live band!
Registration is now open and you may register and pay online to save $5: www.visitdover.com, click on annual events, Bike Tour.
New This Year: 25-Mile Bike Race
You asked for it, you've got it! This year's Amish Country Bike Tour will feature a 25-mile competitive race on an alternate course (in other words, the competitive racers will cycle on a different route than the regular 25-mile bike tour loop). The event will raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer. It is being managed by the BayHealth Medical Center physicians and PROCAP, the prostate cancer awareness organization. This race will be timed.
Cost of the 25-mile competitive race will be $40 and proceeds will benefit prostate cancer reserach. Participating cyclists will receive a free water bottle, breakfast and timed race results. Prizes will be awarded. Stay tuned for more information on the race.
Come On Over to Dover!
Delaware's Capital Region Map
Why not make a weekend of it -- spend the second weekend in September in Delaware's Capital Region -- enjoy the Amish Country Bike Tour and other activities as well. Here's a line-up of fun things to do during your weekend stay:
  • Tax-free shopping, dining and entertainment
  • Two casinos -- you may hit the "big one!"
  • Special bike tour weekend kayaking trips with Return to Nature Kayakers
  • Visit the AMC Museum -- 24 restored military aircraft
  • Coming Soon -- Special hotel packages just for bike tour participants!
Another Great Event Managed by Kent County Tourism
Delaware's Capital Region

Note: Major urban areas that are an easy drive to Kent County include Alexandria, Annapolis, Baltimore, DC and Philly.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Winner Reviews Her New Folding Bike

EDITOR'S NOTE: Contest winner Marla Ferber submitted this review of the new E-Z Pack folding bike that she won. LL

by Marla Ferber


I knew that I could "rideTHISbike" and I was able to do so!

I had started looking at folders for obvious space reasons, but also because after more than a decade off a bike, I actually was afraid of a big bike and wanted to know that I could plant my feet on the ground easily if I lost my balance.

The E-Z Pack was easy to ride and gave a comfortable ride. It was easy to steer and
was not twitchy with it's fat tires, despite it's small 12" wheels. I was amazed at how fast it was and how much fun it was to ride it. It is a great bike for flat ground or gently pitched slopes; though when I tried to climb our steeper streets, it showed it's one gear limitations and I was not strong enough to pedal up the sharper inclines.

The saddle is narrow and lean and I do not think that I will find it comfortable for long distances. It seems to me to be more of a "male" saddle and I think I will chose to replace it with a wide, cushiony saddle which will be more comfy. However, that is merely a personal preference, not a necessity.

This is a "lot of bike" for the price! I love its stylish "look" and easy passover, though it is sort of a "diamond in the rough" in that It does not have the flawless finish and distinguished workmanship of a high price folder. It does what it has to do well and the first ding won't make you crazy.

The E-Z Pack folds easily into a small package, but you cannot "walk" it like an umbrella folder and take it into stores, restaurants etc. basically unnoticed. It does fit easily under tables, in closets, corridors or just in a corner. I put mine in the tiny floor space between the front and back seat of my compact car w/o any problem. However, it does not stay there for long as I always just want to get out and "rideTHISbike."

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Fair Price For Bike Cargo Trailers

by Larry Lagarde

What's a fair price for a new bicycle cargo trailer?
BOB type bike TrailerHunt around online and you'll find that a variety of cargo trailers exist for bicycles. With most bike cargo trailers costing well over $200, buyers tend to be hard core cyclists. But what if there was a really practical trailer that cost well under $200... what price point would attract more recreational cyclists to purchase a cargo trailer??? We may soon find out.

Maya Cycle bike trailerThis week, I expect to learn when the Maya Cycle Bicycle Trailer will be available and for how much. The Maya is an innovative cargo trailer that can be removed swiftly from a bicycle and rolled around like a mini wheelbarrow. The trailer's unique design makes it potentially useful for everything from tranporting groceries to bags of dog food or mulch.

bicycle cargo trailerI have been intrigued by the Maya ever since I saw it last year at InterBike. Somewhat similar in appearance to the BOB mono-wheel trailer, the Maya has a flip down kickstand. Attach the Maya to your bike and the kickstand holds the bike upright. When the trailer is detached from the bike, the kickstand keeps it steady and level.

While demonstrating the trailer for me, the designer (Mike Staniszewski) told me that he hoped to retail the Maya for $150 or so. If the trailer proves stable and durable, that's crazy cheap!

bike trailer hand cartMike offered some months ago to send me a Maya bicycle trailer to review. If it arrives soon, I'll do my best to begin the road tests so objective info is available before bike season ends.

What would you pay for a good, new bicycle cargo trailer? $100? $150? 200? More? Post a comment with your answer.

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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Contest Winner Gets Her Folding Bike

Folding bike contest winner Meg Ferber sent me the following email regarding the arrival of her new E-Z Pack folding bike.
Today was the day! I had refused to go anyplace all week until it was dark enough that I was convinced that UPS had gone home for the night. I didn't want to miss a moment of the experience of receiving my bike. I didn't want to look in my mailbox and find a UPS notice saying "we were here, where were you!" Late in the day, I went down to walk my dog, naturally only in areas where I could continue to keep a sharp eye out for the "Wells Fargo Wagon."

I was totally surprised to see a small carton sitting in the foyer, it was marked E-Z Pak, and my name was on it! *

The bike was well packed and undamaged from shipping. It was snug in its box and it took some pulling to get this little bundle out. I am 5'1" and the bike folded didn't even come up to my knees; it is a nice small, compact, package.

The instructions were uncomplicated and everything went together w/o any difficulty. Most of the bike was actually already assembled and just needed the handlebars, seat and pedals put on. Even the extras, such as the kick stand, the fenders, the carry rack, the many reflectors and the little ding-dong bell were already attached.

I took it down to a really good, professional bike mechanic to check it out and make sure that I had put the bike together correctly. He tightened, straightened, oiled and admired the E-Z Pack and declared it a great little bike. I had met Matt C. when, as preparation for receiving my bike, I went to his bike maintenance course in Burlington, Vt.

I think that the bike is great looking! It's picture doesn't do it justice. It has a classy, unfussy look that is sleek and attractive. I only took a short spin on it once it got it's checkup and was very pleased. Then weather closed in and we went home. I'll write about this more once I ride him again.

Him? I have been reading bicycling blogs and see that some seem to name their bikes. I decided to do so too. It wasn't hard to decide on a name. The bike, with it's sparkling silver finish practically named itself; Hi Ho Silver! (maybe it's a generational thing-12" tv's and Roy Rogers)

Sounds like I'll be getting more info from Meg concerning her new E-Z Pack folder. When that arrives, I'll post it as well.

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