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.

commuting Riding

It’s Officially Fall – Pics and Vid from Chilly Breakfast on Bikes

Bike commuters in Salem gathering for some breakfast near downtown.
Bike commuters in Salem gathering for some breakfast near downtown.

Apparently I’m still living in summer land as I rode down to the Breakfast on Bikes in sandals, shorts and short sleeve short. I’m not alone though, as my buddy Conrad was thinking the same thing. Most other folks were smart enough to at least put on longer sleeves, if not jackets and something on their legs. The sun should be out for the commute home.

Conrad, sporting the still feels like summer to me look.
Conrad, sporting the "still feels like summer to me" look.

I wasn’t able to get to the breakfast until after 8:30, but when I arrived there were probably 20 commuters or so, partaking of the coffee, pastries and fruit (no pizza this month…sorry Tessa!) before heading off to work.

More of the smarter commuters, properly dressed for the chilly commute this morning.
More of the smarter commuters, properly dressed for the chilly commute this morning.

This morning’s breakfast was a good wrap up morning for the Bike Commute Challenge. I’ll take this time to do a quick update for our team. As of today, everyone (all 3 riders) have done at least 50% of their work day commutes on a bike, and we have 221 miles total. Again ,we’re all close, so we’re not going to set any records, but I haven’t been filling up the car very much this month!

Robert provides the morning entertainment with his battery powered sound system.
Robert provides the morning entertainment with his battery powered sound system.

Next week we wrap up the commute challenge, but I’m hoping to still log some decent days of commuting. Eric mentioned there will possibly be a local wrap up party, and I also got this note from Stephanie at the BTA:

When will the winners be announced? We’re thrilled to unveil the news that our official Bike Commute Challenge Awards Party will be held Thursday, October 8, at Portland City Hall! Everyone who has logged at least one trip this September is welcome to join us for free Hot Lips pizza, Widmer beer, a final prize drawing, and celebration between 5:30- 7:30.  If you’re in the Portland area, make it a team field trip and ride over together!  Our awards ceremony will begin at 6:15.  Results will be posted on the website by the following day.

Here’s a short little clip of the bikes and folks at the breakfast this morning (iphone video quality not the greatest this morning):

commuting News

Breakfast On Bikes This Friday, September 25

Several bike commuters stopped in at last months Breakfast on Bikes.
Several bike commuters stopped in at last month's Breakfast on Bikes.

This Friday, September 25th, Breakfast On Bikes be at the North Office Mall Building on Winter street NE from 7am to 9am with coffee, pastries, and fruit for you. Anyone riding their bikes to work is welcome to stop in for some fuel for the morning. Last month was a great time, with a few folks giving the ol’ Bike Friday a spin. I’ll be sure to bring it down again in case anyone else wants to take a turn on a folding bike.

This will be a great way to celebrate all the efforts this month on the Bike Commute Challenge (4 flats for me on the Bike Friday this month!) Hope to see you then!

commuting Misc News

Road Rage: The Car Review Heard Round The World


You’d think we could all get along on the road, but there’s always someone willing to ruin the party, and this week, it’s UK Celebrity Chef James Martin (yeah, I know…I haven’t heard of him either) writing an automobile review with some downright uncool and scary verbiage:

God, I hate those cyclists.” This was the first of his tirade that later ended with him retelling how he snuck up on a group of cyclists in the electrick review car in order to blast the horn and scare them off the road. The review of the Tesla Roadster actually has some great information about the car itself, comparing it to a Ferrari for it’s acceleration. However, it quickly turns ugly when Martin explains how he used it to take out his frustration on the cyclists he apparently hates.

Knowing they wouldn’t hear me coming, I stepped on the gas, waited until the split second before I overtook them, then gave them an almighty blast on the horn at the exact same time I passed them at speed.

“The look of sheer terror as they tottered into the hedge was the best thing I’ve ever seen in my rear-view mirror. I think this could be the car for me.”

The Daily Mail site has since removed the part of the review with this verbiage as blogs, websites, twitterers, and facebook users around the world have been in a fury since it’s release, but the text is available on many sites around the interwebs. On a positive note, Tesla has come out and condemned the review themselves. “Tesla is cyclist-friendly,” says Rachel Konrad, senior communications manager.

As a cyclist out on our local roads, I’ve seen plenty of folks in cars going out of their way to mess with those on two wheels, or just plain ignore the fact that they are sharing the road with something other than cars, and making for dangerous travels. At the same time, I’ve seen plenty of idiots on bikes as well.

Just a couple days ago, a car was stopped at a stop sign, waiting for traffic to pass so he could make a right turn. I was on my bike, behind a cyclist coming up on the car at the stop sign, and watched as he pulled up along the left side of the car, and turned in front of the stopped car in order to get into the bike lane, going the same direction the car was turning. Fortunately, the car didn’t see a clearing, take off and mow the guy down, but it’s this kind of stuff that just incites the fury of many a motorist.

Be a safe, and predictable cyclist on the roads….stop giving guys like James Martin a reason to be so angry.

Update: It’s the week for apologies. First Kanye, now Martin:

Bikes commuting

Bike Commute Challenge – Midway Update


Today marks the halfway mark of the September Bike Commute Challenge, so time for some updates to how our office challenge is going. We will not break any world records with a small office of 5 people, and 2 of whom live out of town (Silverton and Tualatin,) and 2 of the 3 doing the challenge don’t work in the office every day of the week. Also, the three of us riding all live fairly close to work, 5-8 miles round trip. That being said, we are still doing a great job of knocking down some commutes. Here are some numbers for you since the start of the challenge….

3 out of 5 office folks riding as many days as they can.
18 team commutes so far the first 14 days of the challenge.
128 miles logged commuting so far.
75 – 100% commuting ratio for each participant.
3 flat tires last week alone commuting!
5000+ calories burned.
100 lbs CO2 saved.
3-4 bikes in the office on any given day!

I’m sure there are tons of other numbers we could squeeze out of the statistics so far, but the great thing is that we’ve got people riding to work, feeling good, and having fun! I think I figured out my flat issue last week. I had one legitimate flat from road hazards, and then discovered that the spare tubes I was sold in Arizona on my cross country trip, were the wrong size for my Bike Friday funky tire size. Just barely, but enough to cause two bursts after only a day or so of riding. I found the right tube size, and now have my spares a-plenty!

Bikes commuting

Brushing Up On The Rules Of The Road For Cyclists

An illustration from the Oregon DMV Bike Manual....worth a read if you haven't ever looked at it, or haven't looked at it lately.
An illustration from the Oregon DMV Bike Manual....worth a read if you haven't ever looked at it, or haven't looked at it lately.

My commute to work is fairly short…about 5 miles round trip, and mostly through residential until a short section which I call the gauntlet, but that’s fodder for another post. Yesterday I had to head just South of town to Bush Park, and realized I would have to cross a section of Commercial street I hate, down at Mission Street. There are 3-4 lanes down there, leading to a blind spot hill with a stop light right over the hill. In addition to the blind spot hill just before the light, the road bends a bit, and then traffic can go straight, left, or right at that intersection. It’s nasty and if you ask other cyclists, has a reputation for being dangerous.

As I headed up Commercial I decided I would turn left one street earlier, on Leslie, so I checked traffic, which was clear and started crossing lanes. Before you get to Leslie, a left turn lane appears and 3 lanes become 4, and I was just about to move into that last lane from the 3 lane on the left hand side, when a car came along side me in the lane and went by at a slower speed and gave me some helpful advice.

The gentleman in the sedan slowed down so he could squeeze by me on the right (I had already started shifting left in my lane and was on the left edge, so I could get one more lane over) and as he went by, and a little close for comfort I might add, he shot his arm out and pointed over the roof of his car as if to say “get over on the right side of the road buddy.” I wanted to yell out something, even a sarcastic “thank you” or something, but then for a minute questioned my own understanding of bicycle rules of the road. So I got home and looked it up. Turns out, I was doing everything fine.

Take a look at the photo above…that’s me in the illustration above, well not really me, but that’s what I was doing. Now, it might have seemed, because I was moving over yet one more lane, that I was hanging to the left of the lane I was in, but I was actually headed toward the last lane in the road. At any rate, I’ll be sure to ‘take the lane’ more obviously next time, and yet, I’m sure I’ll still have plenty of folks trying to help me understand my place in the world as a bike commuter.

Need the skinny on the rules of the road? Download the Oregon DMV Bike manual from their site.

Bikes commuting

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!

commuting Tips

Day 1 – Bike Commute Challenge and Some Tips

Conrad's front wheel...flat on his first day of commuting.
Conrad's front wheel...flat on his first day of commuting.

I won’t update every day this month about the Bike Commute Challenge, but wanted to post about the happenings of the first day, and encourage as many folks to get out and ride this month, but also to help others ride where you can. My commute is not that long, just about 5 miles round trip, but I tend to talk myself out of riding because of other meetings, or gear that I need or like to take with me. I figuring out ways to make all that happen this month on my bike…perhaps even beyond the month. At any rate, the first day of the challenge left me with three things I thought would be worth noting in helping others to ride to work.

1. Let The Information Flow! – A friend of mine was considering riding a bike to work, but had no idea what he needed. “I guess I need a commuter bike, tell me about what I need.” Turns out, he had a perfectly good commuter bike already – my old Trek Navigator, (my full review here) which has a rear rack and everything. Only problem is that his wife has decided she loves riding it, and so it’s not available for his everyday use. After a lengthy email about good options for a commuter, and how I would ditch the shock for a rigid fork anyway, he ended up at the local shop, picking up another Navigator, in a different color.

Although he chose a bike that wasn’t on my top list for a commuter bike, I was happy to go round and round with the information on what could or would make a good commuter bike. I started out by telling him that he already had a great commuter bike in the Trek, BUT if he was going to look at a new bike (and who doesn’t love looking at new bikes!) I could give him some options. Turns out, that while I prefer the efficiency of a rigid fork for commuting, his back prefers the softer ride of the shock. Makes sense to me. At any rate, share as much info as you have with other people interested in riding!

2. Be Prepared to Help Out! – I typically take just enough to save my butt on the road because I hate carrying around a ton of stuff. A tube, a patch, some air of some sort, my cell phone. I’m good to go. I was just headed out the door to a 9 am meeting when my buddy Conrad called and said he had a flat tire on his bike, on his first day of the Challenge. Conrad lives further away from work than I do, and has hills and busy bridge to get across, so I’m stoked that he’s giving bike commuting a shot. I tried to remember what he was riding and thought he was on a mountain bike, so I grabbed a spare tube from my supply rack, some additional air, and tire tools, and threw them in my bag for the ride in. Turns out that he was on 26″ wheels, but using more of a road tire than the ginormous tube I had, but my office was just a block from the coffee shop where we met. I had a patch kit in my office, so we walked back there, found the hole in the tube, patched it up, and sent him on his way.

Later that day Conrad posted this picture with the caption, "Off to lunch at Ventis." Warms my heart.
Later that day Conrad posted this picture with the caption, "Off to lunch at Ventis." Warms my heart.

I also sent him out the door with some CO2 and an inflator just in case the patch didn’t hold. Although I can’t carry a tube for every occasion, it made me think I should try to carry some extras, especially during this month when there could be more folks needing a hand.

3. If You Can, Loan Out a Bike! – Nearly everyone I know that really gets into cycling, has more than one bike hanging in the garage. I’ve actually been thinking about clearing house a little, but am kind of glad that I haven’t quite yet because as it turns out, I think they’ll come in handy this month. In fact, one of my buddies at work said “I’d ride, but my brother took back the bike I was using. If you had one to loan me, I’d do the challenge.” DONE!

So today I’ll be dusting off the old Redline 925, and making sure it’s in tip top shape so he can ride to work this month! Do what you can to provide information, help out where you can, and even loan someone a bike if it will help them get out and ride! See you on the road!

Bikes commuting News Racing Tips

July Breakfast on Bikes and Much More In and Around Salem

It is HOT out this week. Could be 109 today, make sure you're drinking plenty of water if you are out and about!
It is HOT out this week. Could be 109 today, make sure you're drinking plenty of water if you are out and about!

I love getting my monthly update from the Man Who Know Everything About Bikes in Salem, Eric Lundgren. Not only does it inform and remind me of what’s going on, but it allows me to pass along his nuggets of knowledge to everyone out there visiting From Eric’s latest email:

The big story in July is the Commercial Street Restriping Plan. The
plan offers the prospect of substantial progress on making downtown
more bike-friendly.   It’s scheduled to go to City Council in August.
Make sure August 10th is on your calendar!

(It’s hot, too – so stay hydrated & cool!)

Breakfast on Bikes – Friday, July 31
Commercial Street Striping – Monday, August 10th
Short Track Racing at Fairgrounds – Mondays
Bike Commute Challenge Kick-off – Thursday, August 27th
Kick-off Bike Parade for State Fair – Friday, August 28th
Road Work
Bike Counts
Free Bike Parking at Salem Saturday Market
Salem Bicycle Club introductory Rides

Breakfast on Bikes – Friday, July 31
We’ll be at Mission & Winter, just north of Bush Park, between 7am and
9am.  Thanks to Cascade Baking, Coffee House Cafe, and LifeSource
Natural Foods!
For map and full details, see –

City Council considers Commercial Street Striping – Monday, August 10th
At 6:30 City Council will meet and consider endorsing the staff plan
to restripe Commercial Street downtown.  Part of the plan is a bike
lane and sharrows to accomodate bicycle traffic.  See a summary of
progress, road blocks, and debate here –

Short Track Racing at Fairgrounds – Mondays, August 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st
Buy Local Racing is organizing the Salem Short Track Series at the
Fairgrounds.  Check out the note at Pacific Pedaling –

Bike Commute Challenge Kick-off – Thursday, August 27th
Save the Date!  Don’t have all the details confirmed yet, but we plan
on having beer and pizza for bicyclists.  Get the BCC posters, other
workplace materials, and meet your fellow commuters!  Look for
information on the Breakfast blog and for a special email later in

Kick-off Bike Parade for State Fair – Friday, August 28th
Free parade!  Costumes and decoration encouraged.  Meet at the State
Fairgrounds in front of the Pavilion off of Sunnyview Rd. at 5:30,
parade starts at 6.  The bike drill team will be participating.
Additional practices to be announced.  Here’s a brief bit about their
first outing, the Monmouth-Independence Fourth of July Parade –

Road Work – on-going
Between the ARRA/Stimulus package, the “Keep Salem Moving” road bond,
and other improvement projects, there’s lots of construction that
impacts bikes.  Here’s some of the stories.
Windsor Island Road –
Keizer Rapids Park –
Commercial bike lanes –
In August, look for bike lane delays on Lancaster.

The summer bike counts are going strong, and some counts are already
If you are interested in volunteering, please let me know!  There
are still some sites available, and in doing counts we’ve identified
some needs for additional counts.  Here’s a story on one count at
Liberty S and Commercial SE, where we learned the intersection was
even more difficult than we thought.  If you have a work-around you
particularly like, drop it in the comments!

Free Bike Parking at Salem Saturday Market – Every Saturday
Don’t forget about biking to the market!  Friends of Salem Saturday
Market offer free, secure, and monitored bike parking.  Consider
biking instead of driving!

Salem Bicycle Club introductory Rides – Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons
The Keizer Family Ride leaves Cummings Elementary School at 6:30 pm on
Thursday evenings, and the Sunday afternoon High Wheeler ride leaves
the red lot at 1:30pm on Sunday afternoons.  For more information see

commuting Misc Riding

Commuting By Bike Through Monsoons and Tornados

Editors Note: Yesterday as I was driving just South of town, with disco-ball style lightning in the sky, and wind and rain buffeting my vehicle, the thought occurred to me…”what if I was on my bike right now?” Well, contributer Tina Brubaker was, of course. And lived to tell about it.

I am 100% certain that the world would be 40% happier if 20% more people rode a bike to work. These figures cannot be substantiated with anything other than smiles and are base solely on my personal observations.

I’ve been ruminating over a commuting piece for some time now, but have lacked that ONE thing that has been able to push me from thinking about it, to typing it. Yesterday, while at work, I heard the push. SEVERE WEATHER WARNING. It was on the radio, the internet, coming out of customers mouths. While the masses are in a panic about this, I’m am slipping into my Sidi’s and helmet in great anticipation of my ride home.

Tina on a normal, non-monsoon work day.
Tina on a normal, non-monsoon work day.

My love for the forces of nature are deep and I’ve always had a John Muir-like love for the elements, much like you can read about here,  so the very utterance of the words ‘Extreme Weather Conditions’ elevates my blood pressure and puts a wry smile on my face. The sky goes from sunny to dark grey in a matter of minutes as I start to pedal home.

It’s hot out and sprinkling and smells like rain. The sky is black to the north were I’m headed, this makes my already ear to ear smile even bigger. About a mile out of downtown it hits. The wind is all over the place, but mostly at my back. The rain comes down hard, and loud. I hit stop lights and notice people in cars are staring at me in my soaked tank top and skirt and smiling or laughing. I keep pedaling to the next stop light, all the while feeling pretty euphoric about my current state of affairs. At this point, the streets are like rivers and the rain is pouring out of the sky like that of a hose nozzle being sprayed in your face from about 10 feet away. And it’s so WARM, it’s crazy!

I’m cautiously manuevering through the flooded streets and smiling, all the while casually watching the people, in their cars, watching me. Besides a lot of smiles, I got a few thumbs ups, a couple “Yeah’s” and an “awesome” from some teen-ager in a truck, but the best of all was a comment made by a well dressed woman driving a mini-van. She drove up next to me as we were both going about 10mph and rolled her passenger window down and yelled “I’m so jealous!”…and I knew she was. I also know for sure, based on the smiles I saw in that storm, that she wasn’t the only driver who felt that way.

The Veloforma as an all-season, tornado-tackling commuter bike.
The Veloforma as an all-season, tornado-tackling commuter bike. Yep, that's standing water, darn near up to the hub.

I finally made it to the bike route, out of traffic, where I was able to think about how great it was that I was soaked to the bone, on my bike and smiling about it! And this is where it occured to me, as it always does at some point on any ride, that going anywhere by bike IS awesome! And this in only ONE of the endless commuting stories of Epic adventure I am sharing. Calm, beautiful night rides home, taking the ‘long way’ on those perfect sunny days, tailwinds that make you feel like you’re not even pedaling. Even the completely average, uneventful rides still leave you feeling good. Every day offers something unique and different, but there is still the comfort and familiarity of the bike – you get to feel it ALL from behind the handlebars and I wouldn’t trade them for a steering wheel anyday*.

It’s raining quietly this morning as I get ready to head out and it seems almost negligible after yesterday’s monsoon, but I still think I’m gonna wear a raincoat today.

(*see me about this statement in January, after a few months of typical Oregon ’34 deg and rain’ days. I might just be eating my words)
If you haven’t commuted by bike yet, you’re missing out! Tina also sent along these other photos of the great things she typically gets to see on a ride into work. Part of the beauty of getting to work on two wheels is just that….seeing the beauty:
A nice wide open field in North Keizer.
A nice wide open field in North Keizer.
Another shot on a peaceful morning ride to work.
Another shot on a peaceful morning ride to work.
And the beauty of Robert Fox! Robert is involved with the Willamette Valley Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Breakfast on Bikes, Salem Bicycle Club, and too many bike-centric things to mention. He's a dang fast rider too!
And the beauty of Robert Fox! Robert is involved with the Willamette Valley Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Breakfast on Bikes, Salem Bicycle Club, and too many bike-centric things to mention. He's a dang fast rider too!

To learn more about cycling in Salem, commuting by bike, bike safety or just about anything else, checkout the BTA’s website, or hop over to the Breakfast on Bikes blog, which provides so much local information, it’s scary!