Network for success. And, Brompton an “urban living problem” solution

IMG_0822Want to see real accessibility changes within a city? Austin engineer Nathan Wilke says to think in terms of networks, not individual bicycle-friendly projects. (People for Bikes)

The network effect probably accounts for much of the popularity of bicycling in Oregon. Consider the number of bicycle-related businesses (that aren’t bicycle shops) in Portland and Eugene. And consider what a more inclusive list would look like–this one somehow overlooks the presence of Co-Motion Tandems in Eugene. (About.com)

Dahon recently announced availability of four 2014 folding bicycles in North America. The entry-level single-speed Boardwalk S1, with alumium rims, steel frame, fenders and kickstand, the only one of the four that includes a standard rear rack, has a suggested retail price of $299. (Bike World News)

In 2013, Brompton sold 3,000 folding bikes in the U.S. market. The company seems ready to increase that number to judge by this and other recent comments. “Our market, they’re not cyclists,” says Will Butler-Adams, Brompton’s managing director. “They’re just people who are pissed off at how they live in a city.” The Brompton, he says, is “a solution to an urban living problem.” (Bloomberg Businessweek)

 

 

 

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Day 22: #30daysofbiking

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There, in the background, possibly my favorite bicycle (if you don’t count the bicycles I have yet to acquire): the World’s Heaviest Fisher.

The formula for frame weight is pretty simple: start with a 1-1/4-inch Evolution headset, increase tube diameters to match and make sure those tubes are the same thick, straight gauge throughout their lengths.

Make it a $50 closeout deal, bolt on whatever parts you have laying around–once more unto the parts bin, dear friends–and you have a commuter’s dream, especially if you don’t have a hill to climb, which, unfortunately, I do.

Retroshift levers make shifting just as convenient as the most expensive Shimano STI levers–and more affordable. Mount whatever shifters you have to the bosses on top of the Tektro brake levers. Friction, indexed, down-tube, bar-end shifters–they’re all game.

The newest addition to the bike is the oversized MKS Lambda pedals. Wear whatever shoes you have on. No cleats, no toe clips to mess with. And you’ll never miss the clipless pedal systems on the commute (sorry again, Shimano).

But what about that hill? Doesn’t the Fisher mean a lot of extra effort? Not on the way to work–it’s all downhill, almost all the way to the river. And anyway, a commute shouldn’t be a race.

Just remember the bike won’t float.

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Day 16: #30daysofbiking

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I don’t know how the bike didn’t fall over when I backed up to take the picture. It was so windy I could see the trunk of the tree moving–just above the saddle.

One more day of the Twitter-promoted #30daysofbiking. First day of the year for the 2300–and I’ve been experimenting.

Last year I ran Profile Stoker 26 bars using a threadless stem on a riser, but the bars were low. So I bought a Nitto Dirt Drop stem with 100mm of reach. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the Dirt Drop (which doesn’t have a removable faceplate) around the bend of the Stoker.

Battling the impulse to order a Nitto Albatross handlebar like the one on the Schwinn Sports Tourer, I turned to the parts bin.

Hey, a pair of Cinelli Giro bars. Use a steel tire iron to open up the Dirt Drop a bit, and they slide right in.

What to use for levers? Well, not those mismatched large and small Shimano 105s. That would be goofy. But I do have a pair of Campys to go with the seatpost. Super.

Or Nuovo.

A zip tie around both brake housings, high above the stem, keeps the rear cable from flopping to the left before it enters the top tube. Finish the bars with a pair of Velox plugs, and I’m good to go.

One speed will do it. If the 2300 was a high wheeler, the front wheel would be 64 inches in diameter, 14 inches more than the wheel I rode when I owned the Kennedy ordinary. Last year I ran the bike as a fixed gear (no coasting); this year I installed a freewheel on the other side of the White Industries Eno Eccentric hub.

No need for a computer to calculate speed today. With bars this high, I might just have been faster had I headed out on foot, leaning into the breeze. But when I turned for home, I enjoyed more than a tailwind.

Let’s call it what it was: a Sailwind®.

 

 

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Day 12: #30daysofbiking

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What central Illinois lacks in hills, it makes up for in wind, especially in the spring when the weather is rushing around, trying to make up the mind it doesn’t have.

Spring? Winter? Combo plate of meteorological nonsense?

Today it was spring, with a sturdy breeze straight out of the south.

And this was the scene at the turnaround point, before pancakes and coffee.

Love the high-quality aluminum and stainless steel supports of the Arkel Big Bar Bag. In addition to making it easy to install and remove the bag, the aluminum of the supports pulls off the difficult trick of looking good even when the bag is off the tandem.

Ritchey makes a nice adjustable stem that lets me raise the bars without ruining the speedy lines of the bike.

And I thought I’d capture the stem-mounted Electra bell before I replace it with one from a Kickstarter project.

Another fine day in April.

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Thinking about a Bike Friday Haul-a-Day. And, cargo bikes from Texas

bystandersChoices are rarely black and white when it comes to bicycles. Say you want a cargo bike. Do you want a short wheelbase for maneuverability? Are you willing to give up a bit of carrying capacity to get it? Or do you want a long, low loading platform? If so, where are you going to park it?

That’s what makes cargo bikes so interesting–they come in wide variety of sizes and missions.

Click the link at the end of the next paragraph for pictures of one of Bike Friday’s newest designs, the Haul-a-Day, a cargo bike with 20-inch wheels front and back. The author already has a full-size Yuba Mundo, but is intrigued by the idea of a multimodal cargo bike, a bike that can be combined with train travel.

What would you do? Buy the Haul-a-Day or not? And if you buy it, do you keep the Mundo or sell it? (Tiny Helmets Big Bikes)

I’m used to reading about cargo bikes in the Pacific Northwest and the Netherlands. They’re scarce in the Peoria area. But I didn’t expect to hear anything about cargo bikes from Dallas. If you’re on a tight budget, and one-piece cranks work for you, you may find something of interest here. (Oak Cliff Cargo Bicycles)

Texas looks ready to encourage people to ride all kinds of bicycles–and not just in Austin, which I’ve come to think of as the Portland of the South. “Houston approved more than $100 million in bonds for bike trails. San Antonio plans to triple bikeable streets by 2020. Dallas unveiled plans to lay out a new network of 1,100 miles of bike lanes over the next decade. All of this is rooted in a very Texas kind of reason: City leaders realize bike lanes are good for business.” (NPR)

Closer to home, Chicago plans to add five miles of protected bike lanes and 15 miles of buffer-protected bike lanes this summer and another 30 miles of bicycle projects between the end of the year and 2015. (Chicago Tribune)

 

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Day 6: #30daysofbiking

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Continuing the Twitter-promoted goal of riding every day in April. Today: First day in shorts and second day riding with a friend.

Could this be the highest handlebar bag ever? My apologies to the randonneurs in the audience.

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Day 3: #30daysofbiking

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It’s a Twitter thing. Ride every day in April. Doesn’t matter how far or for what. And today, it wasn’t far. Still, it was nice to have a flock of geese for an audience.

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