Bike Friday turns 21; Book Bike propels literacy

headbadge transfered from old stemBike Friday, the Eugene, Oregon, folding/packable bicycle company founded by Hanz and Alan Scholz, is 21 years old, and according to an email from General Manager Hanna Scholz (Alan’s oldest daughter), the company has built 40,000 machines over that time. The creation of a Bike Friday Companion model was recently documented in a time-lapse video, which includes the all-important test ride. (YouTube)

The 2013 season is underway for the West Bloomington (Illinois) Book Bike. Volunteers pedal the single-speed Worksman delivery trike to the farmer’s market, Miller Park and other destinations to hand out free books and promote literacy. This community service needs books (in English and Spanish) and riders. Check out the Book Bike’s Facebook page. For more information, contact Karen Schmidt at 309-824-2257 or (Facebook)

Imagine you’re driving on the interstate. Before every off-ramp, you see an arrow below a simple illustration of a car. Nothing else: no exit number, city name or compass direction. Ridiculous. But that’s pretty much the exact state of dedicated bicycle signage in the Peoria area: a green sign with a picture of a bicycle.  The Netherlands seems to take a more useful approach: signs featuring destinations, distances and directions—for both transportation (red on white signs) and recreational (green on white) routes. (NL-2011-Transpo)

Sometimes it seems like my recent bicycle history is all about finding ways to make incompatible parts work together: a new Shimano rear derailleur and a 1972 Schwinn Sports Tourer; a fixed-gear drivetrain and vertical dropouts; an 1-1/8-inch threadless handlebar stem and an 1-1/4-inch threaded headset.

The latest challenge? Fitting a Busch & Müller Toplight Flat S Plus taillight to the back of a rack that doesn’t have matching 50mm or 80mm mounting holes. (Solution: I drilled three holes into an unused Pletscher seatstay bridge plate–two holes to receive bolts from the light and a third hole to attach the assembly to the rack’s original single-hole reflector bracket.) Might have saved myself a little trouble if I had done a bit of research on taillight standards. (

Attack of the Snark #1: I was a bit stunned by a recent Bicycling magazine headline: “How to Buy a Bike for $1,000 or Less,” though it does make me think it’s time for me to finally write my magnum opus on “How to Get Breakfast at the Waffle House for Less Than $75.” Nonetheless, the article did have a couple of good tips for people in the market for a new set of wheels: 1) Consider the extras you’ll need, like a helmet, shorts and repair tools, and 2) Buy a bicycle you’ll really enjoy riding so it gets used instead of ignored. (Bicycling)

Attack of the Snark #2: If you want hyperbole, look no further than articles aimed at the racing community. Exhibit A: the idea that racers moving from 23mm-wide tires to 25mm-wide tires is nothing less than reinventing the wheel and a revolution. Wait until they hear about the extra air volume of the tires on, I don’t know, every bicycle I own. (The Inner Ring)

About 16incheswestofpeoria

Former bicycle mechanic, current peruser of books, feeder of birds.
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6 Responses to Bike Friday turns 21; Book Bike propels literacy

  1. Micheal Blue says:

    Hey, regarding Snark # 2. The article mentions riding on 18 mm tires. Man, why not changing it to 3 mm solid rubbers? Imagine what good the racers could do: they could cut pizzas as they ride by (people would just put them on the road); they could create beautiful art ( just make colorful puddles and spread some curtains or bed sheets on the road), or make/cut jigsaw puzzles. I think the bike racer crowd doesn’t do much beneficial for the mankind with their racing, so this would compensate for it.

    On a less serious note, perhaps inspired by your Tikit, I just upgraded the handlebars on mine to Wald Touring bars. I really enjoy the bird wing shape of the bars, but the reason was especially for practical purpose – these bars allow me to sit more upright and that keeps my hands from getting sore during longer rides. Also got nice blue Brooks grips with it. The only not-so-good thing about this setup is that the SRAM grip shift is too long and thus doesn’t allow the right grip
    to be completely pushed on to the handlebar. So the whole setup looks kinda asymmetric. I tried to source a different shifter (trigger), but for an 8-speed basic derailer nothing seems to be available. Oh, well, it still looks cool – like an eagle with leather boots.

    • You know, after I posted the snarks, I wondered whether I had been had. It’s pretty close to April Fools Day, after all.

      Brooks makes at least a couple of grips (and I don’t have any experience with them). I have seen the Slender Grips listed on Brooks’ site as a mixed-length set, probably to accomodate the extra width of a single Grip Shift.

      In my case, I moved to a shifter atop a Paul’s Thumbie. Having gotten rid of the Grip Shift, I moved to equal-length grips. So now I’ve got an mixed-length set of Ergon grips sitting in a parts box.

  2. Micheal Blue says:

    Ah, so you use a friction sifter? How does that work? I used to have a friction shifter on my Surly LHT, but even when very tight it didnt have enough friction to hold the derailer steady in some gears.

  3. Micheal Blue says:

    Almost forgot…I’m aware of the Brooks grips with different lengths – 130 and 100 mm. However, my hands are large, and that 100mm grip would place the cold metal end in my palm. I’d like to caress the leather part 🙂

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