Bike Friday

September 29, 2009

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – New Old Fenders for the Bike Friday

The Bike Friday with its new old reused fenders.

The Bike Friday with it's new old reused fenders.

This morning I needed fenders for the Bike Friday in a hurry. I’ve been putting off ordering special fenders for the BF because a) I still don’t really like fenders on a bike (I know, I live in Oregon) and b) they are $60 for the fenders from the manufacturer made to fit my bike. Now, I’m not one to hesitate to spend money on parts I need, but when I don’t like fenders, I just can’t bring myself to dropping that kind of cash for them. But alas, the rain is here today, I needed fenders, so I improvised.

Over the past couple weeks, we’ve been doing some cleaning in the garage, and I’ve contemplated tossing out miscellaneous orphaned parts that seem to have no further use or life left in them. We’re trying to keep the clutter down. At the same time, we’re big fans of recycling so I’m happy to say that today I recycled a couple of mismatched fenders into ‘new’ fenders for the BF, and yes, they are ugly, but functional. Not that it matters, but here’s where they came from.

Front fender off of my Ira Ryan road bike from its rainy commuter days.

Front fender off of my Ira Ryan road bike from it's rainy commuter days.

My front fender came from my used Ira Ryan bike I purchased earlier this year. The previous owner had turned it into a bit of a rainy day commuter bike, and had done some custom fitting to get them to fit just right, but had left the front fender off when I picked it up. Luckily, it more or less fit, but I had to chop about an inch off of the end with the mud flap. My chop job is ugly, but the flap was dragging on the ground, so it had to go.

Rear fender off of a Jamis road bike. Not a perfect fit at all, but functional.

Rear fender off of a Jamis road bike. Not a perfect fit at all, but functional.

The rear fender came off my wife’s Jamis flat bar road bike. They were giving her some fits and she doesn’t do much road biking in the rain, so they came off the bike last year. Numerous times I almost threw them out, but today I took the sliding mount of the front fender, slid it onto the rear fender, and attached it to the BF. You can see that it’s not a very good fit to the shape of the wheel, but it covers enough area of the tire to keep the water off.

I was worried that the size of the fenders made for standard road tires would not provide ample coverage for the wider tires on the Bike Friday, however, most of the water (at least this morning) flies off the center of the tire, and the fenders do fine for that. I did notice however that I’ve created some great skewers by having to reshape the fenders so much. If only I had some marshmallows and a campfire….

On both fenders, I now have skewers that can be used for roasting marshmallows or hot dogs at the drop of a hat.

On both fenders, I now have skewers that can be used for roasting marshmallows or hot dogs at the drop of a hat.

Eventually, I may order some correct fenders if I find a decent deal. I read somewhere that some Dahon fenders might work that sell for $20. Or perhaps I’ll wait until the next election, and just make some fenders out of the coroplast campaign signs in every lawn down the street. In any case, for today, I’m dry, even if I look a little ugly doing it.

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September 9, 2009

Of Clown Shoes and Blown Tubes – Commute Challenge Update

Since Monday was a holiday, yesterday kicked off Week #2 of the Bike Commute Challenge. I had multiple meetings during the day, so I was looking forward to logging some good miles for work. Since my wife calls my Bike Friday folding bike my “Little Clown Bike,” I figured I’d wear my shoes that always feel a little like clown shoes for a perfect match. Still figuring out this whole iPhone video formatting, so this is a little funky with the vertical format.

Clown Shoes On My Clown Bike from nwduffer on Vimeo.

I headed out for a meeting with a business over in the Industrial Parkway area (which is only a couple miles from my office) and all the way in I kept thinking “if I make it out of this without a flat, it will be a miracle.” But, make it there without a flat, I did. Two hours later I was headed back to the office, and just got off Industrial and turned onto Cherry Ave, when I heard that nasty pop and hiss that no cyclist likes to hear, and went flat instantly.

Back at the office, the Bike Friday with its first flat.

Back at the office, the Bike Friday with it's first flat.

It was at this moment that I realized I had broken one of my own rules for the month, and I was not prepared. I had seen my spare tube sitting on my desk at home and thought “I need to put that in my bag,” but of course didn’t. No patch kit on hand, and it wouldn’t have mattered, I didn’t have a pump or Co2 with me, so I started walking. Only about 1.5 miles back to the office, so no big deal…call it cross training. On the way I texted a couple co-workers just in case they happened to be heading to lunch and wanted to swing by my way, but didn’t hear back from either until after lunch, so I just hoofed it back.

I’ve had one of the Torelli’s sitting in my office for months, with a pump attached to the frame, so I pumped up the tires on it, and rode it to my next errand. Snagged a late lunch, grabbed my spare tube, and headed back to the office. If you can’t have a spare tube handy, the next best thing is a spare bike I guess! Of course, as it turns out my Bike Friday wheels are 18″ and my spare tube is 20″! I went ahead and stuffed it in anyway, pumped it up and just kept the pressure to about 65 lbs instead of cranking it up to 100, and made it home fine.

I’m still batting 1000 in the bike commute challenge for the month. I know we’re about to get some rain soon, but I’m determined to make it the whole month, and possibly beyond!

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July 20, 2009

How I Hauled My Bike and Gear Across 23 States This Month

The Suburban with the Stowaway2 on the back.

The Suburban with the Stowaway2 on the back.

Many of you know I was out for three weeks on a cross country trip our family dubbed The Epic Journey. I still have some posts to get up about riding in different states across and back, but I’ve had a bunch of folks ask about traveling with a bike, and wondering how and where the bike was, because they never saw it in the photos we posted. So for everyone who was curious, here’s what I took, and how I took it with me.

In the photo above you can see our Suburban with a large StowAway2 box on the back that our kids lovingly dubbed “the fanny pack.” There were six of us on the trip – 2 adults, 4 kids, (two teenage girls and two younger boys) and each of us were allowed ONE duffel bag, one toiletry bag, and a “carry on bag” of sorts…something you basically kept with you in your seat. In addition, we had some general bags of medical/health stuff, snacks, and pillows and blankets for everyone…all of which filled out the cargo space behind the third row with just enough room to see safely out the back window. We picked up the Stowaway to be able to haul anything additional, which ended up being some auto gear, an additional car seat for our youngest, and then all my bike stuff.

The "fanny pack" with bag of bike gear, additional car seat, assorted big gear, a folded Bike Friday, and some stuff for the Suburban.

The "fanny pack" with bag of bike gear, additional car seat, assorted big gear, a folded Bike Friday, and some stuff for the Suburban.

I considered just throwing a rack on top, and putting one of the bikes up on top, but I didn’t want to be concerned with weather for 22 days, or theft or vandalism everytime we were in a new city, or even forget that I had it up on top and shave it off at some parking garage. The fanny pack seemed like an easier, fairly secure method of being able to take something with me, and it proved to be perfect for our trip.

The Stowaway model we selected had 16 cubic feet of storage, which fit everything you see easily, and could have taken more if I needed to get creative with packing. The swing-away arm allows the entire box to move out of the way of the rear-access to the Suburban with a quick release and lock down mechanism that keep it securely attached during normal operation. It was easy enough for anyone to use, and we got in and out of the back of the Suburban multiple times a day.

For anyone who hasn’t read a previous post about the bike, or seen it folded up, the Bike Friday packs up nicely into a bag that’s not much bigger than a suitcase. Having it ready to go in the fanny pack was much easier than if I’d had it tucked in with all our stuff in the Suburban. Plus, there wouldn’t have been enough room with all our other stuff.

The Bike Friday, folded up in it's carrying case.

The Bike Friday, folded up in it's carrying case.

Folded up, and out of the case.

Folded up, and out of the case.

I carried one bag that had 2 jerseys, 1 pair of shorts, 1 bibshorts, 1 pair of gloves, 3 layers (1 long sleeve, 2 short sleeve,) 3 pairs of socks, 1 pair of shoes, 1 lightweight jacket, 1 rain jacket, 1 front light, 1 blinky light. When I got on the road I realized I had forgotten a pump of any kind! I rode without a pump for the first couple times and finally picked up a full sized pump in Tucson, a spare tube for the BF, and some CO2 and a attachment. Fortunately for me, no problems with flats before then, and nothing afterwards either.

The Bike Friday Sport, assembled and ready for a ride outside of our hotel.

The Bike Friday Sport, assembled and ready for a ride outside of our hotel.

Overall, I really liked having the BF with me as a riding option. It allowed me to keep my legs spinning on a three week trip, rather than return cold after all that time. It was a decent replacement for my normal road bikes, and the bigger tires made it easy to get off of pavement and take a path or gravel road here and there. Halfway through the trip I started picking up some ghost shifting issue that I never really resolved. I tried a few tweaks, but I think I’m just going to let the fellas at Bike Friday give it a look over. Will the BF replace any of my day to day riders? Probably not. Will I take it with me on future camping or vacation trips? Without a doubt, it’s perfect for that.

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June 24, 2009

Riding in San Jose…well, Morgan Hill anyway


On Sunday morning, I got the chance to put the Bike Friday to it’s first out-of-state test early in the morning in Morgan Hill. As I mentioned before, my plan on the trip is to get up on as many mornings as I can, before everyone else gets up, and put in a quick 15 or 20 miles, fold the bike back up and be ready for the day. I won’t get the chance to do any epic rides, but more of the Tour de Area Around Our Hotels. At least I’m getting the chance to keep my legs spinning.

I was ready for some sunny California riding, but that was not to be had on Sunday. It was a chilly sub-50 degrees when I set out. I almost didn’t bring arm warmers or layers, but I’m really glad I packed everything I thought I might need for all weather occassions. The sun eventually came out, but it never really warmed up to the point of taking any layers off.

The majority of my riding was simply road riding, and rough road riding at that. Next time I think that Salem/Keizer has bad roads, I’ll remember the areas I’ve ridden on vacation and be thankful. In fact at one point, the road was so bad I was thankful that there was an access road off to the side and took the chance to take the BF off-road and get a little psuedo-cross training in.


I didn’t get to spend hours out cranking up hills, but there were definitely some decent little climbs as I circled around the community we were staying in. Many of the great looking hillls all had private access roads leading up to them, so I climbed as much as I could on the public roads I could find, and still enjoyed some great views.


For miles along the driving part of the road trip, my wife kept telling the kids to keep their eyes out for palm trees. And sure enough, once we hit north California, we started seeing them. Along my morning ride I also saw plenty of them, including this really driveway to a home out in the middle of nowhere. I figured they wouldn’t mind me posing my BF in front of their house to prove I was out riding in the chilly California morning sun.


Now, I REALLY expected to see some bike folk out and about. We’re in California, right? Nope, in fact, I went almost an hour without seeing ANY bikes. Finally, I saw a dude out on a Trek who looked like he was heading out to do the same route I just did in reverse. As I rode back through Morgan Hill to the hotel, I was impressed with the size of the bike paths in town. Take a look at these babies:


Seriously, you could park a truck on the right side of that bike path, and still have a bike path twice the normal width to the left. Oh wait, a few blocks up the road, it turns out that’s exactly what they do. Still, a very roomy and comfy bike bath for riding through town. On a final note, the BF seems to be holding up well. I’m and idiot and forgot to bring a pump of any kind, and still don’t have a spare tube for this size of tire, so I’m stoping by a shop in Tucson today (my ride report from the Tucson ride will be up in the next couple days) to hopefully pick up a tube and pump.

Two states travelled, and two wheels down in each state so far! Yeehaw!

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June 16, 2009

Putting the Bike Friday Through The Paces In and Around Salem


We have officially rounded the corner and are into the final stretch before our epic 3 week adventure across the country. Yesterday I was having the AC recharged on our travel vehicle, and had the Bike Friday in the back, so when I dropped off the rig at the dealership, I simply unfolded it, grabbed my messenger bag, helmet and glasses, and headed down town. I remember thinking, “I could keep this thing with me all the time!” I rode from Capitol Chevrolet down to the Beanery downtown, did a little remote work for a couple hours, then headed back when the rig was ready for me. Great set up! More on Putting the Bike Friday Through The Paces In and Around Salem

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June 11, 2009

Updated: Test Riding The Bike Friday Pocket Sport

Bike Friday Pocket Sport model, on the bike path in Eugene.

Bike Friday Pocket Sport model, on the bike path in Eugene.

Yesterday, I made a decision to tackle the Impending Three Week Dilema head on. We are heading out with our family for a three week, cross-country road trip, hitting a ton of states from Oregon to Georgia and back. I’ve been dreading the three weeks off without any riding, and had just resigned myself to losing the time, as we really didn’t have a ton of room for me to bring a bunch of bike gear on the trip. However, over the past few weeks, my wife has been saying that she really wanted for me to figure a way to get some riding in, and since she was twisting my arm so much…I finally relented. More on Updated: Test Riding The Bike Friday Pocket Sport

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