Word on the street: Al Cappello, Portapedal Bike, Tempe, Arizona

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Daughter Rosie, Al and Donna Cappello.

Say what you might about Peoria, Illinois, real estate here is relatively stable–especially compared to the Phoenix metro area. Prices there dropped more than half between 2006 and 2011. In 2009, Phoenix had more empty commercial space than anywhere else in the country.

While the home and commercial markets have bounced back, the local chaos in real estate, combined with the 2008 recession in the rest of the United States, hit the Phoenix architectural community hard, leading down-on-their luck practitioners to look for other options.

What Al Cappello found was folding bicycles, and he turned that find into Portapedal Bike in Tempe. (His former partner, Jeff Looker, turned to guitars. For a musician, walking into Acoustic Vibes Music next door must be a lot like a folding bike fan like me walking into Portapedal Bike.)

How long have you been here in Arizona?

IMG_3731I moved here from Buffalo, New York, in 1975 when I was 21 years old, so I know snow. I moved to pursue a second college degree in architecture.

I graduated and started an architectural firm in 1987 with my business partner, Jeff Looker. Donna [Al’s wife] was our office manager, and we did well until the first recession in the early 1990s. That lasted a year, year and a half.

Then we got together again, and Donna, again, became our office manager. And, again, we did pretty well until the last recession. That was a real killer for us.

The bank that funded most of our projects in the Las Vegas area went under, so we didn’t get paid. Contractors didn’t get paid. We thought after a year we’d be back into things, but year after year it got worse.

Don’t get me wrong. Architecture’s a great profession, but it’s a god-awful business. It’s rife with problems and issues and liabilities. No one was really happy in it, and during the last recession we went from 13 employees plus Donna, myself and Jeff to one employee in a matter of months.

How did you get into the business side of bicycling?

It was my sin-in-law. I can’t call him my son-in-law yet, but he’s a wonderful sin-in-law. He and my daughter live in northern California. He used to fly into a little airport that was three miles from our home but 30 miles from where we work.

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Welcome to the Brooks Nook, an alcove filled with a wide array of the English saddle maker’s offerings, including the Cambium saddle, which features a vulcanized natural rubber and organic cotton canvas construction and, as a result, immediate comfort without the break-in period associated with traditional leather saddles.

When they would fly in, they would call us to pick them up. Donna or I would leave work and drive thirty miles to drive them the three miles to our house. Once he mentioned that if they had folding bikes, they could ride from the airport to the house and pick up their stuff later.

So I started looking for used folding bikes and got to know them and appreciate them. I was amazed at what a quality ride they provided. I became fanatical about them because I had a lot of time on my hands.

I bought 10 bikes to find the right pair to refurbish and give them for Christmas. But then I thought to myself even that pair didn’t look that good, so I bought two new bikes.

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Tucked inside the Brooks Nook: a case full of MKS quick-release pedals. I run the pedal closest to the camera, the MKS Lambda, on my Bike Friday tikit and Dahon Bullhead.

That left me stuck with a lot of folding bikes, so I went down to Tucson. They have a bike fair down there. It’s quite nice. They close down the old downtown area. Out of the 10, I sold seven within an hour and a half.

I thought this could be quite a niche market. But it wasn’t until a few months later, with the recession dragging on, that I knew I had to do something,

I knew of a pair of Italian folding bikes called Amicas that had been for sale. I called the guy, and he said they hadn’t sold yet. I was with Donna that day doing what she wanted to do because she had been working really hard and taking care of her dad. So I asked her can we go look at something now–we spent the day doing your stuff. And she said sure, as long as it doesn’t have anything to do with folding bikes.

I said well, it does. And she agreed to go anyway.

So we went down to Mesa, and when the guy pulled the bikes out, Donna nudged me and said, you gotta buy these bikes. They were gorgeous, gorgeous condition, really cute. So I bought them. Later, Jeff looked at them and said you gotta open a folding bike shop, and that’s how it all it all started.

What about the lines you carry now? How did you start carrying them?

Jeff started a guitar shop called Acoustic Vibes Music. He’s right next door. That’s where our bike shop used to be. We were calling some of the major folding bike manufacturers in the world, like Bike Friday and Brompton. We’d tell them that we’d like to sell their bikes, and they’d ask where the shop was.

We’d say we don’t have it yet, but we’re going to remodel our building, and by the way we do sell guitars, and this is what our web site looks like. I don’t know how we convinced them, but we did.

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This is a 1983 Moulton AM7. Newer, lighter Moulton bicycles sport visibly smaller-diameter frame tubes and, according to Al, much improved suspensions.

I called the Moulton distributor. He was here in Phoenix. He came down to our building, and we told him what we wanted to do.

Lucky for us he started in the music business. He was a guitarist. So when he saw the guitar shop, he said we could sell the bikes, because he wanted to come down and see the guitars every once in a while. That’s how we got started.

We started with the minimum number of bikes on a credit card. We had to sell at least three bikes to buy four, then we had to sell five bikes to buy seven, and we just slowly eked it out that way. We started with Moulton, Brompton and Bike Friday. Those were our first three lines.

Everything here is for easy transport, easy stowage and a fun ride. Because when you ride a small wheel, the steering’s much more responsive than the big-wheel bikes. It’s the difference between driving your dad’s big old Buick and a Mini Cooper.

Could you tell me a bit about each line? Who buys a Moulton, for instance?

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Note to Larry D.: Here’s a belt-drive two-speed Moulton, just like the one you came oh-so-close to buying a while back. And it’s in stock for immediate delivery, too.

Moulton probably attracts the most sophisticated buyers–people who have ridden high-end bikes like Bianchis or Pinarellos. They appreciate the mechanics of the bike. Not only is the Moulton quick and agile because of the small wheels, but the front and rear suspension allows you to use high-pressure, low-rolling-resistance tires. So it’s really quick but extremely comfortable.

The Moulton is not a folding bike, it’s a separable bike. You can easily throw it into your car or disassemble it to fit into a suitcase. A faired Moulton holds the land-speed record for a rider in a normal riding position: 51.29 miles per hour. It’s almost revered in Japan. Moulton doesn’t advertise, but I think it’s the best-riding bike in the world.

Moulton is not well known here in the States, so you have to have a history in cycling. It’s usually the older crowd that buys a Moulton. I sold one to a 76-year-old gentleman in Milwaukee. He wrote me back. He said the last time he rode 40 miles without wrist, shoulder and neck pain was 25 years ago. Said he felt fantastic.

That’s the Moulton.

Brompton?

It’s like the Moulton; it’s a handmade bike out of the U.K., and like the Moulton, designed by a mechanical engineer. It is the most compact of all the folding bikes.

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Colorful line of Bromptons, and just part of Portapedal’s inventory of these London-made folders.

Brompton owners have ridden good bikes in the past and now travel quite a bit. They travel for business or pleasure, and they know how good it is to have a nice bike with them, how it enhances any travel. What a great way to explore a new area, by bike. By car you miss a lot. Walking is too slow.

It’s so easy to take with you. You can ride to a restaurant in a new town, fold it up and take it in. It’s easy to take it on a bus. If you’re in Europe, you can hop on any of the trains with it. Unfolded, the Brompton has a 41½-inch wheelbase, which is as long as a big-wheel bike. So it’s very stable.

My Brompton customers have done 300-mile and 500-mile tours in Europe. They’ve done the Seattle-to-Portland ride with it, 204 miles in two days, and the Tour de Tucson, 111 miles in one day. It’s a surprisingly capable bike that is very portable.

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Al says the Brompton C-Bag is the company’s most practical. Here, he demonstrates a C-Bag-equipped Brompton in shopping-cart mode. Just take the mostly folded bicycle into the grocery store with you, load up on supplies, pay for them, and wheel on to your next destination.

Commuters use it day in and day out to get to work. Multimodal commuters combine it with the light-rail system here in Phoenix.

One of my most interesting customers is Ryan Guzy, a young engineer. He has a great website called Brompton Mafia where he posts pictures of all the places he’s been with his bike. He just got back from a Brompton race in Chile. He did the Brompton race in Spain. He rides his Brompton to work. It’s always by his side. He’s brought many people into the fold, pun intended. It’s his favorite mode of transportation.

How about Tern?

I’ve carried Tern bicycles since that company began. The younger crowd likes them. They have a more contemporary look, and they’re super lightweight. If you’re looking for a 20-pound bike, Tern has it. Tern has some lower-end models, too. They have a $400 bike that a kid from Arizona State University could at least get started with.

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Al is a big fan of the Tern X10, which features an aluminum frame, wide-range 10-speed drivetrain, American Classic hubs, FSA cranks and an adjustable stem.

The originator of Tern is Josh Hon, who is the son of Dr. David Hon, who started Dahon, which is the oldest and probably the largest folding bike company in the world. Josh wanted to go off and do some things on his own.

He’s made some nice improvements in componentry and especially in the frame, in the hinges of the frame. The higher-end bikes feature beautiful components, including hubs by American Classic and low-spoke-count rims. The wheel design comes from Rolf Prima, which has been low spoke count for years and years. They’re just gorgeous bikes.

The people at Tern are enthusiastic. They come out with something different every year. I think they’re going to go a long way.

And Montague?

Montague is the full-sized folder. The original concept came from an architect in Boston. We primarily carry the company’s mountain bike.

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You remove the front wheel before folding a Montague. If you look closely, you’ll see a road Montague tucked behind its mountain-bike brother. (And to the right of the picture, you’ll see the back end of a Bike Friday Future tikit.) In Tempe, the Montague mountain bikes move. The road bike? It’s been there a while.

There are a lot of campers here in Arizona. We get a lot of snowbirds who come out here with their RVs and camp and then go back to Minnesota and Canada, all those cold places and so they’re big fans of the mountain bike. It has 26-inch wheels that allow them to ride the fire roads.

They choose the Montague over non-folding mountain bikes because they can store it inside their cars, which is the advantage to all folding bikes. They’re easier to store, easier to protect from thieves. You don’t have to worry about them.

We don’t stock Montague road bikes because they have too much overlap with our other folders, all of which are basically road bikes. Next year, Montague is coming out with a gravel grinder that has wider tires, and we’ll stock that.

What about Bike Friday?

We’re still a Bike Friday dealer. We don’t stock a lot, because number one, Bike Friday sells directly, and number two, they make all different sizes of frames. It’s hard to figure out what to stock. You get a particularly tall person or a heavy person or a particularly short person and the medium bike you have on the floor doesn’t work.

But we do take special orders for Bike Fridays. They’re great people and they’re good at what they do. We service a lot of Bike Friday bikes.

Where do your sales come from?

Our sales are about half walk-in, half Internet. The past few weeks it’s been more out the door, more like 60/40. Next week it could go the other way. Our most-distant customer lives in Australia. He ordered a Brompton. He was in a little isolated town and found us on the Internet. We’ve also sent bikes to Canada.

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Another look at the beautiful, but production-intensive Moulton spaceframe. Note the inventor’s signature. In the late 1950s, Alex Moulton (1920-2012) designed the suspension of the original Mini car.

We get a lot of inquiries from places like Thailand, Italy and Russia, but we can’t send bicycles to every country because many of them have protected distributors. We can’t send to Asia for instance, but we do get a lot of inquiries. We talk to people from all over the place.

Maybe I need to back up a bit. How did you get into bicycling in the first place?

I’ve been a cyclist all my life, passionate about cycling. Jeff, my old business partner, was also an avid cyclist, and we commuted to work. Originally our office was 12 miles away from our homes. We drove into work on Mondays with our bikes and four changes of clothes and rode back and forth the rest of the week on our bikes.

It was really an alternative form of transportation for us. After a hard day’s work, you ride home, and you feel great, both emotionally, physically and everything else. It’s a great way to start your day and a great way to end your day.

I rode home the day the temperature in Phoenix hit its all-time high, 122 degrees. I wasn’t aware of the record, but I should have been. Halfway through the ride I reached for my water bottle. It was like drinking tea.

You’ve started two companies. You’ve ridden the architectural roller coaster. What’s a great day for you now?

I’m 61 years old. I feel like I’m 12 years old when I’m on one of the small-wheel bikes. It just has that kind of feel to it.

The only Dahon on the floor is the Jetstream P8. Al likes it because of its front and rear shocks.

The only Dahon on the floor is the Jetstream P8. Al likes it because of its front and rear shocks.

I enjoy seeing excited customers.

Say a customer comes in for a big full-size bike, because, they know a small-wheel bike can’t be any good. I show them the Brompton for fun, or the Tern.

At first, they’re very skeptical. But I love seeing the ear-to-ear grins on their faces after that first ride. You don’t have to sell these bikes, just show them the features.

We get emails. People talk about going to Hawaii with their bikes and how it was the best trip they ever had. Some people say the bikes have changed their lives, that they’re using the bike day in and day out and that they’re losing weight and feeling better than ever. They design their trips around the bicycle.

With the majority of his customers between 50 and 81 and favoring an upright ride, Al sells a lot of Brooks B67 saddles. According to Brooks' website, this saddle was first featured in the company's 1927 catalog.

With the majority of his customers between 50 and 81 and favoring an upright ride, Al sells a lot of Brooks B67 saddles. According to Brooks’ website, this model was first featured in the company’s 1927 catalog.

That’s the joy of this business. When I get a phone call here, it’s somebody saying, hey, I love the bike, I want to order one for my wife. In architecture it’s hey, one of you guys made a mistake in the dimensions, and it’s a $25,000 mistake. Who’s going to pay for it? I don’t miss those calls at all.

We see ourselves almost as a service business, providing a service to folks. Because when you get people cycling more, you know, you just feel great. A bicycle is just a great way to experience the world, and we help make that happen.

So every day we get someone on a bicycle, that’s a great day.

Posted in Bike Friday tikit, Brompton, Business, Dahon, Montague bicycle, Tern Bicycles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Word on the street: Bill Tracy, Metro Cyclery, San Diego

Bill Tracy sells Brompton and Tern folding bikes. He commutes to work using a combination of bicycle, car and trolley.

Bill Tracy sells Brompton and Tern folding bikes. He commutes to work using a combination of bicycle, car and trolley.

Here’s how you find Bill Tracy’s two-year old bicycle shop. In the continental United States, go as far west as you can, then follow the coast south until you’re about 25 miles from the Mexican border. Look for palm trees near a tile-roofed strip mall. One of the nation’s shortest all-glass skyscrapers is probably still for lease across the street. Can’t miss it. And you shouldn’t miss talking with Bill.

So, where are we, Bill?

Cruisers and folding bikes dominate sales at Metro Cyclery.

Cruisers and folding bikes dominate sales at Metro Cyclery.

This is technically Linda Vista/Morena District, but we are near the junction of Interstate 8 and Interstate 5, which is centrally located near Mission Bay, Sea World and downtown.

And how did you get here?

Well, for most of my working life, I was in the building materials supply business, which I sold in 2000. I’ve always had a passion for bikes so I decided to go to bike mechanic school to learn how to work on my bikes. From there I ended up working at a couple of shops near Palm Springs part time and learned that I really enjoy the biking business. But then all our kids started having babies down here in San Diego and decided to move back to be near them and open my own shop.

Seems to be a strong affinity between Nutcase helmets and folding bikes.

Seems to be a strong affinity between Nutcase helmets and folding bikes.

I noticed the folders as soon as I came through the door.

Yes, we carry Brompton and Tern folding bikes. We carry Yuba cargo bikes, which we’ve been selling quite a few of lately, mostly to young families. It’s kind of a minivan replacement. The bottom one there is an electric one, the elBoda Boda, and then we also carry Electra beach cruisers and Townies.

You can pack a lot of Bromptons and Brompton bags into a small space without making it cramped.

You can pack a lot of Bromptons and Brompton bags into a small space without making it cramped.

As far as numbers of bikes, that’s the one we sell the most of for riding around the bay. Electra’s Townie is the best-selling bike in North America, so we sell a lot of them.

We also carry several more commuter-oriented bikes. The Breezer–we carry several of their commuter-type bikes. Cruiser bikes and the folding bikes are the ones we sell the most of. And the Townie.

Electra's "Flat Foot Technology" (note the forward crank location on these cruisers) gives riders decent leg extension and the ability to stop while seated with both feet flat on the ground. Perfect for nearby and ultraflat Ocean Front Walk and its eight-mile-per-hour speed limit.

Electra’s “Flat Foot Technology” (note the forward crank location on these cruisers) gives riders decent leg extension and the ability to stop while seated with both feet flat on the ground. Perfect for nearby and ultraflat Ocean Front Walk and its eight-mile-per-hour speed limit.

How did you decide on Brompton and Tern?

I think they’re the two best brands of folding bikes. I knew when I opened the shop that I wanted to carry Brompton. I also wanted to carry another brand that had a lower price point, and Tern seemed the better choice in terms of quality and value. We sell a lot of folding bikes to commuters, people who like to travel by plane, boat, or RV, and to students or people who are space conscious. We sell more Bromptons than Terns, but we sell quite a few of both.

Brompton folding bikes come in a lot more colors than red and black. Metro Cyclery carries the rainbow.

Brompton folding bikes come in a lot more colors than red and black. Metro Cyclery carries the rainbow.

The Bromptons are more portable. That’s one of the big differences between the two. They fold up smaller, so if the space thing is an important consideration, that might tip someone toward the Brompton, because it’s easier to deal with the folded bike. When the Bromptons are folded you can pull them along without carrying them. They fit into tighter spots. A guy who has a big boat bought two yesterday.

Tern has different models for different things. They have some that are like racing bikes. And they have bikes that start at about half the price of the Brompton, so that’s a consideration for some.

If you're looking at a bunch of bicycle shop pictures and you see a racy white-and-orange Tern Verge X10 suspended above a line of massive single-speed cruisers, you may have found your San Diego pictures.

If you’re looking at a bunch of bicycle shop pictures and you see a racy white-and-orange Tern Verge X10 suspended above a line of massive cruisers, you may have found your San Diego album.

You can get into a nice folding bike for less money than the Brompton with the Tern. Tern’s best-selling bike is this one here, the Link D8, and it sells for about half what the Brompton sells for.

Least terns are endangered birds in California, but when it comes to bicycle sales, the Tern Link D8 is among best of breed.

Least terns are endangered birds in California, but when it comes to bicycle sales, the Tern Link D8 is among best of breed.

What do you ride to work?

I live in the east part of San Diego County, a town called Alpine, so I drive down the hill from Alpine to El Cajon and then ride the bike in from there. My commute into work is 20 miles one way, and there are a couple-three decent hills in there.

For five months I was riding a two-speed Brompton, one of our demo bikes, and it was doable on the trip in, but I had to work pretty hard on a couple of the hills. So when I decided to get my own Brompton, I got a six speed. It’s got a wide-enough gear range to go pretty much anywhere, and so I ride it in two or three days a week.

Cruisers are great near Mission Beach, but it was a lot easier climbing the hill behind Metro Cyclery on a six-speed Brompton. This is Bill Tracy's personal commuter, complete with front generator hub and lights.

Cruisers are great near Mission Beach, but it was a lot easier climbing the hill behind Metro Cyclery on a six-speed Brompton. This is Bill Tracy’s personal commuter, complete with front generator hub and lights.

If my wife is working that day, she’ll swing by with the car after work, pick me up and take me home. Otherwise, I just ride a half mile up to the trolley station here, fold up my bike and hop on the trolley, and take it back out to my car.

There's no better way to sell parts and accessories by talking about your own experience with them. I bought the Sella Royal Mano Grips after riding Bill Tracy's very own Brompton.

There’s no better way to sell parts and accessories than by sharing your own experience with them. I bought the Sella Royal Mano Grips after riding Bill Tracy’s Brompton.

One of the options on a Brompton is a Brooks B17 saddle, so I have that on a couple of my bikes. I really like that saddle. Brompton also offers a whole bunch of bags that clip on the front of the bike. Mine is a bag called the S-Bag, but they make an open basket that’s really popular and a high-end bag called the Game Bag that’s new as of a few months ago. Lots of options to carry things on the bike.

Where do your customers come from?

They come from all over San Diego County. Many come down from Orange County and Riverside County, and we do a lot of business with people who live in Mexico, that live in Mexico City. We’ve sold a lot of folding bikes to those folks.

Business has been good and it’s been a busy summer. It’s only our second year, so we’re still getting our feet on the ground.

You’ll find Metro Cyclery at 1211 Morena Boulevard in San Diego. Look for the colorful Nutcase helmets just inside the door. Bill also sells Arkel bags, including three models I use: the Bug, the large Handlebar Bag and the TailRider Trunk Bag. If the shop were any closer to me, my budget would be in real trouble. But I limited the visit’s monetary damage to a pair of moderate-style Sella Royal Mano Grips that I want to compare to the Ergon grips on my Bike Friday tikit.

Note to Co-Motion’s Dwan Shephard: Might want to send a tandem brochure down to San Diego. Bill’s making noise about getting a new tandem with a Rohloff hub and belt drive.

Bill puts in quite a few miles each year on his S&S-coupled Santana tandem with Shimano Sweet-16 wheels. (Yep, 16 spokes a wheel: pretty wild.)

Bill puts in quite a few miles each year on his S&S-coupled Santana tandem with Shimano Sweet-16 wheels.

Posted in Brompton, Business, Other bicycles, Tern Bicycles | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bicycles on purpose in the Netherlands. Plus, car free in San Francisco

dfsdfsToday, city centers in the Netherlands attract great numbers of people on bicycles. But it wasn’t always this way. In the 1960s and 1970s, cars dominated the narrow streets. “What happened in Assen and across the Netherlands was that planning on a large scale gave streets a defined purpose rather than all of them operating in a chaotic manner as through routes by car,” writes David Hembrow. “Motor vehicles were not prioritized above all other transport but careful considerations were made of where they should go and where they should not.” Check out the before and after street scenes. (A view from the cycle path)

Brief round-up of architecture for bikes, including a Danish apartment building that allows its bicycle-riding occupants to reach ground level from their front doors even when those doors are several floors off the ground. (Guardian US)

This couple got rid of a car and picked up an electric cargo bicycle. Lower transportation expenses made it easier for the pair to buy a condominium in San Francisco. Here’s a look at the bicycle that carried the load, the BionX Bullitt. (Hum of the city)

IMG_0513I promise: I’ll catch up on product reviews soon. In the meantime, I’ll simply say I agree with this review of the versatile Fix It Sticks T-Way Wrench. “Shipping with a 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, and 6-millimeter hex bit, along with a T25 star bit, the T-Way is almost three tools in one. After a quick trip to my closest hardware store for a 1.5, an 8, and even a 10-millimeter bit, I had just about every hex and star wrench needed for my bike, all in one tool and for less than forty bucks.” (Pictured: Using the original Fix It Sticks multi tool to refold the frame of a Dahon Bullhead.) (Art’s Cyclery Blog)

 

 

Posted in Equipment, Infrastructure, Other bicycles, Weekly Linker | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Word on the street: Katy Shackelford

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Katy Shackelford works for the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, a group that covers Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties. According to its website, the commission “was established in 1958 to promote intergovernmental cooperation, regional planning, and a vision for the future.”

She’s also a board member of Bike Peoria and proud owner of the first bicycle she’s ridden since she was 10 years old. Before coming to the area, she was a graduate student at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

I talked to her just after her Schwinn got a quick tune-up, including a pair of badly needed tires, at the Bike Peoria Co-op.

What do you do for the Tri-County folks?

I’m a regional planner. Right now, I’m working on the long-range transportation plan for the tri-county. It’s multimodal, so it involves all forms of transportation.

That involves bicycles?

That involves bicycles. The bicycle end is going great. We’ve got a lot of feedback from the community. We’ve got an active public engagement site up right now. It’s envisionHOI.mindmixer.com. People are putting in their input on where they think improvements in transportation need to be made throughout the region. I have to say most of the improvements have been along the lines of improved bicycle-pedestrian access and increased access to transit. A lot of people are talking about using transit and bicycles to get to work.

So why are you a board member of Bike Peoria?

I’m a board member of Bike Peoria because I moved here and found a great group of people who were really passionate about making Peoria a better place, and we thought we could do something with bicycles. I wanted to be a biker, and I thought, I knew the government side and I wanted to know the bikers’ side. So I’m trying to be the link between the professional and the activist, I guess.

Tell me about your bicycle.

This is the first bike I’ve had since I was a kid, and we moved around a lot as children, so I didn’t even have a bike once I turned 10 years old. I had friends who would try to give me bikes in college, but they were always too tall for me. So I found this one on Craigslist, $35. Happened to be a woman in Pekin who said “great condition.” She just left it in her garage 25-odd years.

And what kind of riding are you doing?

I ride with the Women on Wheels. They meet at Bushwhacker on Thursdays at 5:30. And it’s a great group of beginners. You don’t have to be a professional to do it. Especially me, since [I just finished] my first real 10-mile ride. So it’s for fun. I like to use it to get around and do bar crawls.

What do you see happening in 2015?

For me, I just want to be more comfortable riding. I want to feel safer on my bike and know more about it and feel more comfortable on the road. I think as a member of Bike Peoria and as a member of the board, I was the least experienced biker, and I really want to improve my credibility.

Posted in Advocacy, Infrastructure, Report from the road | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Advertising to Rock Island Greenway trail users

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By promoting “FREE Water and Restrooms Available During Open Hours,” Superior Water Services, a retailer of water softener and drinking water systems, bids to become part of the infrastructure serving the active transportation community in Peoria.

This is the company’s sign as it appears from the railing of the Rock Island Greenway bridge just west of Knoxville Avenue, a five-lane north-south arterial. It may be one of the first private-sector advertising efforts aimed specifically at trail users–and makes use of what had been a less prominent side of the building.

Junction City shopping center, in the background, is on the other side of Knoxville. A side path connects the center to the trail just east of the bridge.

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Bicycles from Turbo Bob. Bridges from the 18th century

 

Tern head tube, badge

Tern head tube, badge

Couldn’t make it to Interbike? Check out YouTube. Turbo Bob has video of the Tern booth, the Dahon booth (where he was told to stop shooting) and the Montague booth. Trends moving through the non-folding world are also evident in the folding bicycle space, including disc brakes, belt drives and electric-assist motors. (YouTube)

Local rider Mike Honnold is pretty happy with the Fly6 tail light, which incorporates a camera to record everything that happens behind the bicycle. A lot of his YouTube videos feature his son in a trailer, but the most memorable footage may just be “Tim’s Epic Crash on the Rock Island Greenway.” At Interbike 2014, Outside magazine named the Fly6 as one of its Gear of the Show winners. (Outside)

bicycle-parkingHow do you park your bicycle at home? Leaning against a wall? Kickstand? From a hook? How about flat against the ceiling? Check out that last option in a video from an Italian manufacturer (flat-bike-lift)

Oregon Manifest is “a nonprofit organization that values the process of making, the spirit of ingenuity, and the passion of brave undertakings.” One of the group’s recent activities was The Bike Design Project, in which Oregon Manifest “partnered high-level design firms with American bicycle craftsmen to collaboratively develop the next-wave urban bike.”

-With all the votes in, Teague x Sizemore Bicycle won with the Denny, a bicycle with handlebars that double as a lock and fenders that are less like Honjos and more like the old tire wipers that flick debris off before it punctures the casing.

-Even if you’re skeptical of bicycle design contests, this one and this bike are worth paying attention to for one reason: Fuji says it’s going to take the Denny into production. Thanks for the link, Marlon. (Oregon Manifest)

Interested in recreational multimodal travel? “For $3, Bike Aboard! allows cyclists to bike one way on the Ohio & Erie Canal towpath and take the train in the other direction.” (Washington Post, via The Columbus Dispatch)

Here’s a view of Portland, Oregon, from a St. Louis cargo bike enthusiast. Short version? Pick up a Portland Citywide Bike Map, enjoy the bike boulevards and don’t be surprised by some poor infrastructure design choices along the way. (Her Green Life)

In the United States, the 2013 National Bridge Inventory includes just two functional bridges from the 18th century. They’re both in New Jersey. (WNYC)

Posted in Dahon, History, Infrastructure, Montague bicycle, Other bicycles, Tern Bicycles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Word on the street: Brad Nauman

Brad Nauman

Brad Nauman is the store manager for Bushwhacker, which promotes itself as Peoria’s original outdoor store, and the secretary for local advocacy group Bike Peoria, which is newly incorporated as a non-profit organization.

What does a store manager do for Bushwhacker?

I buy all the bikes. I buy all the product on the bikes. I manage the bike staff in terms of staffing hours, hiring, that type of thing. As far as the whole store, I am responsible in the winter for all of our snowboards, snowboard accessories and portions of overall control of the store in terms of who’s staffing what and when. But as far as the whole store, I’m not the general manager. Our owner takes that title.

What’s the best thing about working at Bushwhacker?

Everything that we sell we do, so if you want time off, you go for a bike ride, you usually get time off. You want time off to go to a play, you probably don’t get the time off. So we encourage people to be active.

Why are you interested in Bike Peoria?

I think that cycling is important for everybody to do, and Bike Peoria seems to have the best grip on the city in terms of getting things done. Since I’ve seen them created, we’ve seen more things happen than in the past 20 years it seems.

I don’t know if it’s a matter of coincidence or that what we’re doing actually is making a difference, but the big thing that Bike Peoria is doing that seems different than what I was a part of with PAMBA [Peoria Area Mountain Bike Association] or IVW [Illinois Valley Wheelm’n] is that we have relationships with city officials, and they are seeking us out for input and opinion.

Posted in Advocacy, Business | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments