Friday, December 30, 2005


This is the bikes@vienna mission, as stated on our home page: “We want people to use a bike to have fun, to exercise for good health, to save money, and to protect the environment” In order to accomplish that mission, people need safe, convenient facilities where they can ride their bikes. We have joined with a group of people in Fairfax County to press for better bicycling conditions in the county. We call ourselves Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB), and we are affiliated with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA).

FABB has been meeting with county supervisors and staff to discuss several specific measures that are needed to improve cycling conditions: 1) a bicycle coordinator position in the county; someone who is responsible for ensuring that all transportation projects accommodate cyclists. 2) a bicycle map; showing the locations of roads that are bicycle-friendly and showing paved trails, and 3) a network of on-road bike routes; either dedicated bike lanes or signed bike routes where roads have wide curb lanes or paved shoulders.

Our work is paying off. At the December 5 Board of Supervisors meeting “Chairman Connolly moved that the Board direct staff from the Department of Transportation and the Department of Planning and Zoning to report with a list of recommendations to better incorporate bicycle facilities as part of the transportation infrastructure”. You can read the summary of the motion on the county Web site (search for “bicycle”), or read the article in the Washington Post (Supervisors Seek Bike Policy Update, Cross County Trail to Open Dec. 17, By Jacqueline L. Salmon, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, December 8, 2005; Page VA03).

During our meeting with Chairman Connolly, he invited FABB to attend the opening of the Cross County Trail on Dec. 17. Several FABB members were able to attend. John, Kerie Hitt, Hunter McCleary, and I rode from bikes@vienna. Douglas Stewart, the FABB chairman, and his family joined us there. John showed us a great route from Vienna on Cottage St. to right on Gallows Rd., past the Dunn Loring Metro station, down Gallows Rd. to right on Woodburn Rd. near the Beltway. We took Woodburn south then turned left on Guinevere Dr., then right on Saxony Dr. to Camelot Dr. where the trail head was located for the ribbon cutting. Gallows Rd. was not bad at 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday. I've heard that several cyclists use Gallows to ride north from the Springfield area.

I'm compiling a map of routes that cyclists use and will add some of those roads to the map. Three of the Board supervisors were present at the ribbon-cutting. Most of us were able to speak to one or more of them, to let them know we were there and to thank them for their support. All of the supervisors said that they appreciated the many the letters that cyclists had sent thanking them for their recent Board action.

This is a very optimistic time for cyclists in the county. However, our work is really just beginning. We’ll need to show up at budget hearings to ask for funds to implement the new policy, and we’ll need to work closely with the Board and with staff to ensure that the goals we’ve set are accomplished. If you want to help, let us know (b r u c e (at) b i k e s a t v i e n n a .com).

Monday, December 26, 2005

John, The Red Nosed?

JohnTheRedNosed, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

Rodney Dangerfield complained in his act that he could not get any respect. This is that kind of story.

I rode my bike to work last Friday morning. Ces bought some blinking, Rudolf noses and I thought it would be fun to wear one to see if anyone would notice. The nose had the proper effect with people smiling and waving or doing double takes.

Matt is back from college and working at bikes@vienna during his break. He has been painting up a storm. He is a darn good mechanic, but he just keeps working and before you know it he has covered a large area as a painter. He arrives in front of the store, walks across the parking lot, says good morning and acts like I'm not wearing this big red, blinking nose on my naturally large nose. We're wheeling bakes outside and we pass a couple of times. Matt says nothing about the nose, but he does ask why my glasses don't have any lenses.

He doesn't say a word about a blinking, big red nose, but he inquires about the missing lenses from my sunglasses? It tells me that Matt is used to me doing outlandish things, but he's still trying to figure out my small idiosyncrasies.

I like to wear a mirror on my sunglasses and sometimes I remove the dark lenses as I go out the door in the evening. I left the lenses at the store so that morning I was still without the lenses. The red nose......I wore it Saturday evening as we rode to see the wonderful display of luminaries in the neighborhood northeast of Westwood Country Club. As I'm sure you know, luminaries are objects that give off light. In this case it was thousands of medium sized paper sacks with sand in the bottom of the sack and a lit candle. The streets in that area were lined by the sacks. It was special to see.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

We wish you Good Yule!

foolish2, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

I have laughed and giggled and giggled and laughed since Ces came to get me this evening and show me this photo. You may recognize my grandson, Cyrus, but you won't be familiar with his accomplices, Daisy (elf) and Eidel (reindeer). I get extra laughs because I took care of those two last February when Jacob and Katie (my son and daughter-in-law) went to Seattle. Daisy is headstrong and Eidel is afraid of his shadow so getting them to do anything is a chore.

Jacob's note which accompanied the photo said it took an hour of "tickling, singing, and mugging plus a whole lot of dog biscuits". It was worth it. I hope it brings a smile to you. Good Yule to ever you celebrate this holiday season, I wish you good health and safe travel.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Look For bikes@vienna at NBC4 Expo

H&F06 logo, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

The new year is rushing towards me and just beyond the New Year is the NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo at the Washington Convention Center. You will find bikes@vienna in the Marketplace section and we'll be displaying bikes and raffling off a Dahon Boardwalk 7. Now the chance to win a new Dahon is an incentive to visit the expo, but there is so much more. There will be health screening, information sessions, demonstrations, and 80,000 other health conscious humans. Mark your calendar for Saturday and Sunday, January 14-15. Unless you can ride your bike there......The Metro is the best form of transportation. The hours are 9AM to 5 PM.

More details are available at

Friday, December 09, 2005

What happens when it snows?

Snowpeople, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

Snowguy, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

Many times people ask what we do during the winter months. We're open and many winters there are opportunities to ride a bike in Virginia's moderate winters. We also participate in exhibits like the NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo at the Washington Convention Center (January 14-15).

Yet there are mornings like today when there is snow and not much business. We are a creative lot so........we revert to our inner child and build snowpeople. Yes, we use bike components for eyes, nose, and mouth. We now have two sentries on the alley which will bring smiles to people we hope. Drive by and take a look.

Happy Holidays.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A cyclist's view of his commute

This morning's Washington Post contained an item dealing with "Commuter Survival Skills". I sat up and read more carefully when I saw that one of the items was from John Pickett, a customer who purchased his Tour Easy from bikes@vienna. Here is the lead in to the item from the Post and then my favorite item, "Two-Wheeler":

Commuter Survival Skills

 Last month, we asked readers to submit tried and true methods for dealing with the headaches of their daily commutes. Wow, did you ever respond. Who knew there were so many survival strategies being employed? Maybe all that time stuck in traffic really gets the creative juices flowing.

From a highway poet and lottery fantasist to a masochistic traffic jam seeker, legions of bikers and even one woman who takes out her Beltway frustration at a Rockville shooting range, we heard some intriguing methods for coping with the commuting grind. Here are just some of our favorites:


Sixteen years ago, I moved to Mount Vernon fully aware of the 15 mile/30 minute car commute to my job at L'Enfant Plaza. Day after day, I sat in traffic; year after year, the traffic worsened. No more.

For the last 10 years I have ridden a bicycle to work along the Mount Vernon Trail. I started this rebellion with a small backpack and a road racing bike. The racer gave way to a commuter model, outfitted with fenders, generator light system and a rear rack. In 2003, I acquired a Tour Easy recumbent bicycle (with windshield no less).

In the last five years, I have averaged about 130 bicycle commutes per year. I don't save a dime in gas and parking since my wife, who works in the same office building, still drives. Why bother, you ask? I watch in fascination as the new Wilson Bridge rises from design concept to near completion in slow motion. I substitute egrets, herons, fish hawks, bald eagles, deer, turtles and bunnies for cars and buses. I smell the seasons instead of exhaust fumes. I hear the birds of spring instead of Idiot in the Morning on the radio.

-- John Pickett, Mount Vernon

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Another Pat Kraker "Art Object"

eye 004, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

If you have visited bikes@vienna then you probably have seen Pat Kraker's artwork in the flashing I Ching Cube mounted high on the center column in the store. It is a continuing topic of conversation as people look up and then wonder what the cube with the flashing lights represents. At an earlier time when John Ashcroft was Attorney General and the ink was still damp on the Patriot Act, I would crack that the cube was monitoring activity in the store. "You know how subversive cyclists can be", might be my comment before sharing the true story of the cube.

Pat Kraker has moved to Denver. We used to get first hand looks at his art work and his creative efforts with his solar powered trike. Now we have to be satisfied with photos. This photo shows his recent creation which he called "The Eye". I hope you can see that it uses Pat's woodworking skills and a new creative twist.....beads. He sent me several photos and I like this contrast of nature to "The Eye".

Imagine how "The Eye" would look staring down from the center column in the store. Got to watch those bicyclists.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Guilt Reduction Ride

ReducedGuiltRide 004, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

Geoff Steele provided me with a photo that he took of the Guilt Reduction Ride group in front of the Herndon Station. I tried to fiddle with the photo to get a closer look at the group, but I was not successful.'s the best I've got.

You can tell from the photo that we had a nice sized group. We had trikes, tandems, recumbents, and uprights. It was a beautiful morning and we had a good time. About half the group went to Anita's, which is just acrossed the street from the station in Herndon, and had breakfast.

Thank you to the folks that participated in the ride. I appreciate the foodstuffs that you donated to the CHO Food Drive.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Zipcar & bikes@vienna/An attempt to reduce congestion

ziplogo_369_425_w_tag-1, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

The information on our home page quickly tells you that we're doing something special with Zipcar, a car sharing company with a growing presence in the metropolitan Washington area. It's a partnership which provides Zipcar members with a membership benefit (discounts of Dahon folding bikes) and bikes@vienna the opportunity to be presented to the growing Zipcar membership.

Yet there is something more here worth noting ---car sharing is a step to reduced traffic and parking congestion. Zipcar touts each of their vehicles as replacing 7 to 10 privately owned cars. I hope that by promoting the Dahon folding bikes we can expand the distance from a Zipcar that people will travel to participate in car sharing. Just the use of a bicycle can reduce car traffic and the need for parking. An intermodal effort of a bike and car sharing should hold potential and we're going to find out how much.

I anticipate that we'll be asked by people if they can have the Zipcar Member Benefit price. The answer is YES!.....if they will join Zipcar and become part of the effort to reduce the traffic and congestion that is diminishing the quality of life we have in this region.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Too Little Fun Today/Let's Look at Sunday

Good Morning,

I've been out in my flannel robe checking the current conditions. The pavement isn't bad. The cold and the rising wind are my reasons for calling the ride for today. I feel guilty about it so I'd like to suggest we try to ride on Sunday morning. We can go a bit later in the morning let's say 9:30 AM. I'll start serving hot cider at 9 AM.

I hope you have a joyous holiday.

John Brunow

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The "Guilt Reduction Ride" is looking iffy

us_dca_closeradar_medium_usen, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna

The weather map presents some concerns this evening. The snow out west of us is moving slower than originally predicted. An earlier forecast called for rain to follow the snow flurries, but the temperatures seem to be lower now. I'm afraid of the result for the Guilt Reduction Ride.

I'll check the weather first thing tomorrow morning and put a message on this blog and on the bikes@vienna voice mail (703-938-8900) I'm in this for the fun and companionship. Cold and wet weather reduces the fun and the number of people willing to ride. I'll let you know the plan early in the morning.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

BIKE FRIDAY CLUB OF WASHINGTON DC Chapter --- Dec 3 Ride with new club leader Charmaine!

This information comes from Lynette Chiang of Bike Friday.

You're invited to the Bike Friday Club of DC Dec 3 ride!  

Please join the club message board to be informed of future rides:

A bit about Charmaine:

I'm an avid bicycle commuter and touring cyclist.
I live within a few miles of the Mt. Vernon Trail,
which I ride often, but there are also tons of other
great places to ride in the area, urban and country roads.
I prefer a stop and smell the roses, appreciate the
scenery rides, and also to explore new restaurants,
while getting to know my fellow bikers. I am a legal
secretary (I "swim with the sharks!") and love to be
outdoors any chance I can.

WHO'S INVITED: All cyclists, all wheel sizes, but
especially Bike Friday owners and those interested
in getting a closer look at the Bike Friday.

WHEN: Let's meet 11am on Saturday, December 3, 2005,
at Mt. Vernon, at the gift store entrance, for a short
and easy 10-mile ride into Old Towne Alexandria for a
bite to eat and socializing. We can do monthly rides
in the future!

RIDE LEADER: Charmaine Ruppolt,,
phone  703-780-3607

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Cooler weather and slick surfaces. Be careful out there.

Temperatures dipped last night. I received this message this morning from a customer who commutes to work on the Mount Vernon Trail:

"Hi John:

It's that time of year again. Myself included, I saw five crashes on the Mount Vernon Trail this morning.  All were on iced over boardwalks.  I am thankful that my Tour Easy keeps me close to the ground so that I had only a scraped elbow to show for my troubles.  (I'll bet my slide to a stop would have made Luis Aparicio envious!)  

I thought I'd pass along the news so that you could remind your other customers to be extra careful, expecially on those wooden bridges."

Many of us ride with tires that have little tread and a high pressure. Wet leaves and frosty conditions can result in slippery surfaces and a need for extra caution. Consider riding on tires with more tread. Consider releasing air from your tires to give you more stable contact. Reduce your speed.

When you do take a fall resist the human tendency to jump right back on your bike and take off. Get your bike off to one side and do an inventory of yourself and of the bicycle. Double check the wheels, brakes, and straightness of the seat and handlebars. Take a couple of deep breaths and regain your composure.

Riding a bicycle is a skill. On a cool, beautiful autumn morning use your skill with care.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

On the Boardwalk We're Having Fun

EZontheboardwalk059, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

This couple purchased two EZ-1 recumbents from us in early September. They told us that they planned to purchase the kit which connects the EZ-1s and creates a side by side. I received this photo today and obviously they have been successful in their effort. They are also obviously having a good time.

Our customers are very kind and thoughtful to share photos of their cycling experiences.. If you have a photo that you'd be willing to share, please send to my attention at bikes@vienna.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Oooooooo! Dahon Trunk Bag at a Terrific Price....$49

P1010001, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

I tripped upon this wonderful Dahon trunk bag at a delightful price. I had sold them for $69 a couple of years ago and now I offer you the same bag for $49. It has lots of room, plenty of pockets, and a great attachment system. Notice the bottom of the bag in the photo. That"s a base that connects to the rack on your bike. The bag bottom slides into the base and then clicks in place with a little tab.

Most trunk bags connect with velcro straps that weaken with time and with age many bags lose shape. This bag shouldn't have those issues. The connection system should help this bag give years of service. At this price you might like to buy serveral and give them to your cycling friends as holiday gifts.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ribbon Winning at the Halloween Parade

RibbonWinner, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

Monday night I attended the Award Ceremony for the 59th Annual Vienna Halloween Parade. bikes@vienna received a third place ribbon for our group of recumbent riders in the parade. I want to thank all the riders who helped us achieve this award. I had a great time and I hope that the other riders did also.

The Red Hatters took first in the same category. What a vibrant, fun group of people they are. I'm going to have to work to best them next year.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Now Appearing: Tim Fricker

TimFricker, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

I'm pleased to announce that now appearing at bikes@vienna is Tim Fricker in the role of Bikesmith. Why the theatrical introduction of Tim????? Tim comes to us after a long career in theatre technology. He helped this summer on a part time basis and it is wonderful that he is joining us full time.

Tim is a native of this area. He's an avid cyclist and he's been a mechanic for over twenty-five years. At one time Tim worked as the assistant manager for The Community Cycling Center in Portland, OR. Recently Tim was certified as a League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor.

You may see Tim riding on the W&OD Trail. He's commuting to work on the trail which is perfect for an individual who loves touring, commuting, and recreational riding. Come in and meet Tim or greet him on the trail.

A Postcard With This Image

bikesatviennabg1, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

I'm starting on a project today to send postcards to the people that have purchased bikes since March 1. The postcard will feature the photo above of the store. The message carries news about "Continuing Care" and offers some discounts on accessories if action is taken before December 15th. We are anxious to have people visit us this fall to get their bike adjusted or repaired.

Tour de Lee and sunglasses

John Brunow1, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

Last Sunday we helped with the Tour de Lee which we've done for four years now. It is a multi-level ride staged by Fairfax County Supervisor Dana Kauffman and his staff which highlights cycling opportunities in the Lee District which Kauffman represents.

Whoever was in charge of the weather should be given a raise. It was a day of bright sunshine which was nearly perfect. There were lots on riders. People were in an upbeat mood. They rode the new bike lanes on Beulah while being escorted by members of the Fairfax County Police cycling unit.

From the photo you can see that Reed Hopwood and I needed sunglasses on this glorious day.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Beautiful Fall cycling weather

I hope everyone is taking advantage of these beautiful, mild Fall days to get out on the roads and trails with your bikes. These are some of the best times of the year for riding; the trails are not crowded and the temperature is ideal. I've found that the best days to ride are on football Sundays, when many people are inside watching tv, the trails are nearly empty.

Now is also the best time to bring your bike in for a late season tune-up. Our service work has slowed and there is a very short wait time for your repairs. Why not get your bike ready now for these Fall rides and for next Spring.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Searching for a "kid's" recumbent trike

kmx k3-2, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

For several years I have kept an eye out for a recumbent that could be marketed to young people. It would be, in my opinion, a possible option for chidren with physical challenges. The problem I've encountered is cost. We are able to fit older children on our EZ-3 trikes ($875), but the cost is not practical for many families. So we've continued to look for a solution.

The photo above is for a KMX Kart ($550, yes their website says $500, but that model is being updated in features and price). It is a three wheeler for young people in the 6-10 age category. We're testing it out. We'll have one in the Vienna Halloween Parade.

When you go to the website ( for the product you'll see a pitch for "extreme" sports use. It has riding the trike on two of three wheels and jumping off of ramps. My interest is for a more practical use.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Used Bikes

Several used bikes and used bike racks have recently become available. See the Used Bikes blog for pictures and details.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Marin's Belvedere Commuter Model

06_CM_Belvedere, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

Marin has announced the availability of their Belvedere commuter model. We should have these bikes in the store within a week. Here's Marin's description of the Belvedere:

"Developed on feedback from the popular and successful URBAN and CITY bike line, the COMMUTER models cater specifically to the cyclist that uses their bicycle as a primary or secondary mode of transportation.  All models feature color matched heavy-duty aluminum fenders, an integrated LED safety light in the saddle, a full compliment of rear rack and fender mounts, a robust gusseted frameset, and an adjustable stem for a perfect fit for every rider.  Suspension seatposts have been added to help smooth out the bumps and potholes encountered on every commuters’ daily journey.

Built on triple butted 7005 aluminum alloy frames with slightly taller headtubes, these bikes put the rider in a more upright position for improved visibility in traffic.  The puncture resistant 28cm wide tires provide steadfast traction in all weather conditions, and the matched alloy fenders keep the wet stuff out of the rider’s eyes and off the back.  Exclusive to this line is Marin’s integrated LED saddle featuring a steady-on and intermittent-blinking settings, bright enough to see through darkness, rain, and fog for year round visibility, day or night."

Mira & Me

MiraMe, originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

Yes, Mira is a sweet babe. She and I need about the same amount of sleep and we were snoozing in this photo. The girl is taking long naps. She is taking in lots of mother's milk. She's being held by grandmothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I think we will keep her.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Mira, Mira in the Fall/CLOSED October 3-4-5

bikes@vienna will be closed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday --- October 3, 4, and 5. Because...............

Mira Holloway arrived on Wednesday, September 28th. She is the daughter of our eldest child, Jessica, and her husband Drew. Mira weighed 7 lbs and 4 oz. She has reddish brown hair and her parents report that she is in good health.

We are packing our bags and going to Seattle Sunday evening to meet Mira. You can understand the excitement that this new family member brings to us. I hope you will not be inconvenienced by the store being closed for the three days.

Yes, there will soon be photos around the store. Life is good.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The new Bike Friday Recumbent

Here's the latest from Bike Friday:

The new Bike Friday Recumbent, dubbed Next Sat R Day, is finally out of the bag!

Nearly every day for the last year customers and others have called asking "when can I order one?" Finally after many challenges (we have been so busy that finding time to design a new bike was like squeezing grape juice out of a turnip) we are ready to say "you can order one now".

Hanz's goal with this bike was to make it lighter, faster, easier to fold and pack as well as have more tire choices. There are 2 models - touring and sport.

New Sat R Day General Features:

· Custom fit the rider with up to 6" of seat travel, and 5 boom lengths.
· Fits into the new Bike Friday F'lite case.
· European Optima fiber matrix seat (in 3 sizes) with thick foam padding.
· Quick folds with seat intact.
· Adjustable seat back angle.

Special features of the Sport model (for people interested in fast riding)

· 451 mm rim seat diameter, 20" wheels.
· Weighs from as little as 26.5 lbs (weight of the finished prototype).
· 10 tire choices ranging from 20x1" to 20x1-3/8".
· Price ranges from $2750 to over $4000.

Special features of the Touring model (for people who want comfort touring).

· 406 mm rim seat diameter, 20" wheels.
· Adjustable boom (the Sport model will not have an adjustable boom).
· 17 tire choices ranging from 20x1.125" to 20x2.1".
· Price ranges from $2675 to over $3000.
The bike is so new that there is almost no information on the Bike Friday Web site. Once we have more info we'll pass it on.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Bike Friday will Travel

I'm anxiously awaiting news of the new Bike Friday folding recumbent said to be nearing production (as mentioned below in the Aug. 25 entry). In the meantime, I'll have to settle for trips with my New World Tourist. It's an older bike, that was purchased in 1997. It still rides well, and I'm always impressed with the ride each time I ride it on a longer trip. Between trips it doesn't get much use, but I've paid for it at least once by not having to pay the airline's bicycle surcharge.

Last week I used it on a trip to Vermont to visit my mother. I was able to complete the entire trip using the bike and Amtrak. I left the house early on Tuesday morning hauling the suitcase/trailer behind me. It contained my luggage, a soft canvas bag. The Vermonter leaves Union Station at 8:05. It takes about 20 minutes to properly pack the Friday, which meant that I should plan on arriving at around 7:15. The trip from home to the station by bike with the trailer takes me about 2 hours. To leave a little time to allow for problems along the way, I planned to leave at 5am.

It's dark at 5am and I hadn't installed my lights on the Friday. By the time I had the lights in place (NiteRider Trail Rat and Cateye rear light) it was already 5:20 am. I made it to the station a little after 7 and proceeded to pack the bike, rack, and trailer frame. I have to take the wheels in a separate bag inside my luggage. I changed into my traveling clothes and had plenty of time to catch the train.

The trip to White River Junction takes about 11 hours, a little longer than by car, but the trip is so much more pleasant. It gives one a chance to get caught up on reading and to watch the world go by. At White River Junction I reversed the process, unpacking the bike, assembling the trailer frame, and riding off. The trip to the cabin where my mother stays takes about 3 hours, which meant another dark ride. I have plenty of reflective gear and a neon lime green shirt that I purchased from Alert Shirts for a very reasonable $10 each.

The stars were incredibly bright, a factor of the clean air and lack of night lights. Vermonters tend not to venture out much after dark, so the ride was very pleasant with very little traffic. The only downside were the few cars who insisted on using their bright lights, nearly blinding me as they passed. I made it to the cabin a little after 10 pm, tired and ready for bed.

View some photos from that trip.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The 50 States & 13 Colony Ride on 10/15

Originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

I have this quiet little inventory that I keep in my head of the states in which I have ridden a bike for five miles. So it will not surprise you that WABA's 50 States Ride is oh so intriguing to me. On one day, with only sixty miles of riding you can say that you have ridden your bike on all fifty states (streets). Here is the information for your consideration:

The Fifty States Tour, a 60-plus mile route where participants will ride on every state-named street in DC, takes place on Saturday, October 15th. The tour is part of WABA’s mission to promote cycling for fun, fitness, and transportation throughout the year.  From Alabama to Wyoming, all 50 state-named streets in the Nation’s Capital will be covered by the riders on the Fifty States Tour. 

The 50 States Tour is for more experienced urban cyclists used to riding in city traffic and WABA encourages all participants to bring tools, extra tools and a pump on their ride.

Can't do the full 60 miles?  Then ride the 13 Colony Tour. Similar to the 50 States Tour, this is a cue sheet only ride that hits all of the original 13 colonies.  The approximate distance is 30 miles.

Start Location:  WABA office at 733 15th Street NW
Start Times:  50 States Tour begins at 8am
                     13 Colony Ride begins at 9am

Fees: cue sheets for both routes are $10

Payment for the tours will occur on the day of the event.  Please RSVP by sending us an email at or call us at 202-628-2500.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Prototype Bike Friday Recumbent

Here's a recent shot of the prototype replacement for the Bike Friday folding recumbent, the SatRDay. The bike has been in the design stage for quite some time. Production of the 16-inch wheel SatRDay stopped a while back and there has been no replacement. According to an earlier Friday Web page, the design was supposed to be completed in Spring 2005, so it's exciting to finally see this rather fuzzy picture of the new 20-inch wheel design. The Bike Friday team hope to have the bike in production by October. Tip of the hat to one of our customers who mentioned seeing the photo on the Friday site.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Boys in the Blue Shirts

Originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

It has been six weeks since I shared that I have a new grandson and posted the photo on the blog. Many people have asked if I have new photos of Cyrus. Of course, I do. Here is a photo of my son, Jacob, and my grandson, Cyrus, in a photo that we call "The Boys in the Blue Shirts". As any grandparent, I'm certain that Cyrus is extrordinary in every way. He'll probably be riding a bike before Christmas.

More appropriately, he is prospering and as babies do, he is giving all of his relatives someone to ooooh and aaaah over.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

DC Bike Map

The Washington DC Bicycle and Pedestrian Program recently published the District of Columbia Bicycle Map. The best part is that it's free. It's printed on water-resistent paper. The roads are color-coded according to their bike friendliness, and off-road trails are shown in bold patterned and colored lines. The map is available online, or stop by the store and pick up your very own version while they last. Maybe one day we'll have such a map for Fairfax County.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Vienna cyclist killed in collision with truck

By Jerry Schanke

David Marsden, 36, of the 200 block of Elm Street in the Town of Vienna, was killed at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17, when his bicycle collided with a truck at the intersection of Maple Avenue and Mill Street, according to Town of Vienna spokesman Marie Kisner.

Marsden was reportedly traveling west on Maple Avenue and turning from the sidewalk onto Mill Street when the collision occurred. At about the same time, a truck owned by Capitol Building Supply, also traveling west on Maple Avenue, turned onto Mill Street where the two collided.

Kisner said no charges have been filed, and neither speed nor alcohol appear to have been involved. An investigation, however, is continuing.

The story above is taken from the Times Community Newspapers website.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Levi Leipheimer leads the Tour of Germany

Levi is now leading the Tour of Germany, mostly due to his win of stage 4, the most difficult stage of the tour where he gained 50 seconds on Jan Ullrich. He leads Georg Totschnig, his teammate, by 18 seconds.

On the other side of the world

The headline is "Its Tanks Running Low, China Tries to Refuel". Peter Wonacott wrote a story for the Wall Street Journal which appeared in this morning's Washington Post. The opening paragraph is:

"China showed signs of alleviating a politically sensitive gasoline crunch, as emergency deliveries arrived in wealthy southern cities to placate private car owners angry over long lines for fuel."

The story provides a view of the demand created in a nation which has a consumption of 6.7 million barrels daily and a production of 3.5 million barrells daily. There are a couple of sentences that I reread several times: "But refineries have been partly to blame for the shortages too, as they have exported precious stock aboard, where they can command higher prices than they could get at home. Over the past months, Beijing has been bumping government-controlled fuel prices higher to keep a lid on inflation."

The closing paragraph quoted a spokeperson for a Economic and Trade Commission, "The situation is getting better every day," he said, adding that most of the police who had been keeping order at the gas stations have left".

Price controls? Release of oil reserves? What do you suppose that our government will do to respond to the outcry about the price of fuel? There's only one way that I can influence this effectively, I have to use less. What are you going to do?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug

From my title lines you can tell that music plays in my mind frequently. There is a Roger Miller song about drinking that prompts this title:

Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug
Make you want to holler hi-de-ho
Burns your tummy, don'tcha know
Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug.

I have been trying to drive less. I've been somewhat successful. The Great White Whale of a van that is used for deliveries and shuttling stuff has been sitting more this summer. I had gone weeks without putting in gas. Then it was time to fill up. It's a thirty gallon tank so there was a new cash outlay record set when it passed $70. The news has been filled with stories about the rising price of oil, but I had not experienced the sensation. It made me want to holler and it created a burning sensation.

The good news is that I've obviously been saving money with my bike riding. The bad news is that growing amounts of personal income and business costs are going into fuel costs. The ripple effect is going to impact how money is spent by all of us. We are going to have to act resourcefully or experience rapid erosion of our buying power.

Think about it. If you're reading this blog then you have some interest in bicycles. How can you shift your transportation needs to use a bike or walk more? It's the short trips that give us the poorest gas mileage. Can you drive to an area with your bike in the vehicle or on a rack and then do your short hop errands on bike? Have you thought recently about riding your bike to work or to Metro to get to work?

Small steps can begin long journeys. What small steps can you take? How can we help you? It's time to cut back on this chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug.........while it can be fun to holler hi-de-ho..........the burning sensation can be unpleasant.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Lepus and Kettwiesel

We recently received two trikes from Hase Bikes, the Lepus and the Kettwiesel. The Lepus is a foldable trike with underseat steering, a rear suspension, and a large rear cargo area. It comes equipped with Magura disc brakes and the Nexus 9-speed internal hub. The adjustable seat allows a very wide range of rider heights, from 3 ft 7" to 6 ft 4".

The Kettwiesel is one of the best handling trikes around. The seating position is higher than most sport trikes and lower than the more upright trikes like the EZ-3. It comes equipped with fenders, disc brakes and the 9-speed Nexus hub. It's also one of the most comfortable trikes made. Why not come in and test ride the Lepus or the Kettwiesel.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Bikes for the World - Mid-year 2005 Report

Many of our customers bring us bicycles that are no longer wanted. They may be old and the repairs will be very costly, or the bikes may just need a good home. For several years we have worked with the group Bikes for the World (formerly Pedals for Progress) that collects these and many other bicycles and sends them at low cost to community development programs assisting the poor in developing countries. We also collect a $10 fee that covers the handling and shipping costs incurred by Bikes for the World. The following is an extract from their mid-year 2005 report:

With your help, Bikes for the World has “hit the ground running”. We have developed an excellent relationship with our sponsor (Washington Area Bicyclist Association), established two highly-functional storage and shipping sites, completed an unprecedentedly successful spring and summer collection and shipping season, and established working relationships with local, regional, and international partners.

Spring-summer collection and shipping — Bikes for the World supported an unprecedented 47 collections with 42 community service organizations and jurisdictions beginning March 13 with REI and ending July 17 with the Herndon Friends Meeting. These generated the bulk of the bicycles collected during the season. In addition, BfW concluded an agreement with Montgomery County to pick-up usable bicycles discarded by County residents, receiving a $5/bike payment. In all, we appear to have received more than 3,700 bicycles to date.

Of these bikes, Bikes for the World has donated an unprecedented 3,180 bicycles (and additional parts and accessories) to eight organizations in eight countries.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Crank Forward Bikes

The new Rans relaxed-geometry bikes, the Fusion, Cruz, Dynamik, and Zenetik, have proven to be very popular with our customers. They are designed so that the cranks (the arms that hold the pedals) are more forward than on a regular upright bike, but not as far forward as a recumbent. The rider sits very upright and with the relaxed geometry, the feet are very close to the ground. The following is a recent article by Randy Schlitter of Rans on the advantages of these new bikes:

[Update 9/1/2005 - The article below is now being hosted on the Rans site, with an additonal photo.]

Advantages of Crank Forward Bikes
By Randy Schlitter

With our four models of crank forward bikes we have enjoyed many positive responses from owners. After exposing them to the general public it has been interesting to note how many "get it". It seems the world is filled with people not happy with conventional bikes. The seat on our CF bikes just beckons to them, and many are disappointed to learn simply installing the seat will not work. Because the seat tube on a conventional bike is steeper, the angle of the seat would be too vertical, causing the rider to slip off. The frame is the key that ties it all together. The frame geometry results in the following advantages:

The Seat—Perhaps the most outstanding sign that this bike differs is the seat. It is what attracts people to the bike. The seat is actually a spin off from our recumbent seat, only it is less wide, and fitted with a dense foam cushion. The cushion and fabric are designed to allow the rider some grip, to feel more attached to the bike. It is not an ordinary bike seat pumped up in size, like on many flat-footer comfy bikes, this is a purpose built seat that actually dictated the frame geometry. Other non-standard attributes of the seat are tilt and height adjustment. Both are through quick release levers, so it is easy to dial in the fit. The seat tube is large in diameter because of the low angle it projects off the frame. A groove is machined into the seat post, and a key on the seat clamp. This key and groove keep the seat from rotating and make it simple to adjust since it is always lined up level.

One Size fits Most—Because of the dramatically slanted seat tube the frame grows in length as the seat is raised. This is a win-win feature for all since dealers need only stock one size, and owners can share the bike among many sized riders.

Of course sizing has it limits and riders less than 5' may need to consider the more laid back of the four models, the Fusion and Cruz. These two models seem to favor the shorter riders since the seat tube angle is more laid back, allowing flat-footed stance at proper seat height.


No Learning Curve—Looking mostly "normal" the CF bike attracts the timid, those not wanting to make the jump to recumbents. They are welcomed by a bike that rides without the checkout ride. You simply set the height and tilt and ride. No learning curve is prominent since the handling is standard. In fact the handling is more than likely to impress as easier. The lower CG and flat-footed stance contribute to the fine riding qualities.

Great Climbers—The first ride on a CF will instantly reveal the power stroke. With the crank forward it creates an automatic "dig in" effect when pulling on the bars. In fact you can apply more than your own weight to the pedals, making standing to climb optional. To get the best effect the handlebars need to be adjusted to just 1" or 2" above the highest point of the knee.

Swift Bikes—"Comfort bikes are not supposed to be this fast" is a common comment when expressed by new owners of our CF bikes. It was an intended design aspect, and why not? Bikes that are efficient are more fun to ride, and just as easy to ride as ones that dog along. We call it zoom factor and all of our CF bikes have ample amounts.

Flat Footed Stance—With the seat in the proper position the rider can stay seated and reach the ground with both feet. This has been a big winner with the less tall crowd. It also brings a great safety aspect to the bike in way of a lower center of gravity. The low stance offers a secure feeling inspiring confidence. This is crucial for those who have experienced mis-adventure groping for the ground with tippy-toes.

Little to No Palm Pressure—The number of riders or would be riders who suffer from numb palms is outstanding. Conventional bikes simply place too much weight on the arms and hands. The laid back seat post design places the upper body more vertical thus removing the pressure. The price you pay for this feature is aerodynamic drag. Yet riders have shown ways around this potential performance robber by tucking, or hanging low on the bars. Such a riding position is not comfortable for all, but on the downhill it is a blast to tuck and let the bike fly! Riding while tucked is OK for some, but most find in high winds that the semi-tucked position will offer relief from drag.

Relief from Neck and Back Pressure—Without the torso laid almost flat between bar and seat, the back and neck are now happy. For some this is the only option for riding. A standard road bike with flat bars still does not offer the ideal position of a CF.

The Future of CF

We are very pleased with the response to our line of CF bikes. No doubt copies of our bikes will appear, as this market is way bigger than us. However we will strive to maintain the leading edge in quality, developments, and service. We enjoy the bikes on a personal level and a business level. This project has been rewarding from the aspect of creating many new riders, who are now doing extended rides, and getting into cycling. Without the CF design many would have not re-entered the world of cycling. Many have expressed interest in trying a recumbent, and others are actually coming away from bents. What the bikes do is bring people to cycling in a way that is enjoyable to the point of holding interest. In our minds at RANS we say "mission accomplished!"

What lies directly ahead for 06 is some real excitement in the form of pushing the CF envelope. Until next month stayed tuned and stay into the ride! -RJS

Friday, July 29, 2005

Tour of Hope: Ride with Lance

Lance Armstrong will once again be riding cross country with the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope Team in support of cancer research. The team of 24 cyclists will start in San Diego on September 29 and ride nonstop until they reach Washington, D.C. on October 8. During the final ride into DC, cyclists are invited to join the DC Fundraising Ride, lead by Lance.
This year, riders can register for either a 50-mile ride beginning in rural Maryland or a 10-mile ride starting in Glen Echo, MD. Both rides will merge near Glen Echo for the Tour of Hope Grand Finale on the Ellipse, which will feature the triumphant arrival of Lance Armstrong and the Tour of Hope Team, along with special guests, live music, a health fair, and activities for the entire family.

The rides will take place rain or shine Saturday, October 8th. The 50-mile ride, which will be led by Lance, will start at 7 a.m. The 10 mile ride will start approximately at 9 a.m. from Glen Echo area, Glen Echo, MD.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

BikeAID is coming together

Originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.
Over five years ago I began tinkering with a project that is illustrated by the red vending machine on the right. I call it BikeAid. You's first aid for your bike. It's been something that has gotten pushed to the back as other issues arose. Yesterday I bought the vending machine and the credit card reader. About the first of August you'll find the machine in front of the store with tubes, cables, brake pads, and accessories for sale. You'll be able to insert a credit card and make a purchase at 5:00 AM or 10:00 PM. Going for an early morning ride? Don't have a spare tube to carry with you? You'll be able to buy one from BikeAID.

Is it an idea with potential? I think so........I'll let you know how and where its going.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The News Is Out.........Vienna is a wonderful place

The Washington Post had a story yesterday on the front page of the Metro section so I guess I can share the news. About four weeks ago I had a reporter from Money Magazine come to the store. She told me that she was doing a story about Vienna being a wonderful place to live. We talked for a bit which allowed me to tell her that it is the sense of community that I like about Vienna. Later that week a freelance photographer appeared and took pictures at the store for the story.

The story is in the August issue of Money Magazine. The news is that Vienna ranked fourth in the top 25 best places to live. The photographer had told me second, but whether it be second, third, fourth, or fifth. It is a good thing for Vienna. It could be nice for bikes@vienna if a photo of the store appears in the article.

Look for the August issue of Money Magazine.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Adjusting what we offer

bikes@vienna is changing. Faced with limited store space and trying to focus on business for which we are a unique alternative, we're going to phase out of selling children's bicycles, trail-a-bikes, and trailers. We will continue to repair children's cycling equipment. We will continue to provide the "Continuing Care" on bikes we've sold. We will not have in the store "for sale" children's bikes in 12", 16", and 20" wheel sizes. We will not have in the store "for sale" trail-a-bikes and trailers.

We plan to have a sale on our existing bikes and trailers on Monday, July 18 and Tuesday, July 19. We'll have a listing of equipment, number of items in each model, and prices posted on the website beginning Thursday, July 14. This is a sale of in stock items.

Please watch the website for more information.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

It happens so fast

Yesterday's news carried the story of Governor Warner's fall while on Bike Virginia and the broken bones in his hand. The description of the accident had me thinking of the accidents that I've seen or in which I've been involved.

When we ride a bicycle we need to be careful and alert. It takes but a moment for situations to arise which necessitate good decisions and quick reaction. No matter what age and no matter what level of experience we need to anticipate dangerous situations and take action to reduce the opportunity for an accident.

The joy and exhilaration of riding a bike is wonderful. We need to be careful while we're riding.

I hope you ride your bike today. I hope Governor Warner has a speedy recovery.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

A New generation

Originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

Yesterday Cyrus arrived with the race to the hospital and lots of good family stories for the future. I closed up early so Ces and I could drive to Richmond to meet him. The photo shows Cyrus and I getting acquainted. I'd donned my glasses to count fingers and toes. I was also trying to figure out which features came from which sides of his families.

There is joy in the birth of a baby. There is perspective to be gained. I hope to enjoy many hours with Cyrus.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

Originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

The Washington Consumer Checkbook (Summer/Fall 2005) has a detailed article on buying and maintaining a bicycle. We did well in the ratings. They rated forty establishments in the greater Washington area and in all categories bikes@vienna was a leader in the number of customers who rated us "superior". That earned us Checkbook's top rating for "sales service quality" and "repair quality".

I want to thank all our customers who provided information for this rating process. I was gratified by the higher number of bikes@vienna customers who submitted ratings. It takes time to participate and I was thrilled to see how many people took the time to rate us.

My heartfelt thank you.......

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Bike Friday Cross Country Ride - Last State

For those of you who have not been following her progress, the Queen of the Road has nearly completed her cross-country bike ride on the Air Glide Bike Friday that she purchased from us a few months ago. She's had an interesting trip, as does everyone who takes on this challenge, which for many is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We wish her well on her last days of riding across Florida.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Offers Worth Considering

Originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

We received this flyer and I wanted to make certain that you were able to consider the possibilities. The offer is for free guided bike rides along the C&O Canal. There are actually ten or eleven rides during the course of the summer. The rides range from two hour trips to riding the whole canal. I think these would be wonderful. Please click on the flyer and you will get a larger version and then a click on the magnifying glass get a bigger look.

Just in case, the flyer asked you to call 202.653.5190 for more information.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Ah Ha, Oh No, Don't Let the Rain Come Down

Originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

Bike To Work Day brought back lots of those old songs that relate to rain, floods, and the strength of the human spirit. At the Vienna Pit Stop we had a steady flow of both riders and rain. People had a wonderful attitude and most had smiles. It again re-affirmed what I admire in the character of people who ride bicycles.

Our registration at the Vienna Pit Stop was at 263 which is a new "high water" mark. If you were not able to stop at the Pit Stop we have extra t-shirts, water bottles, and drawing items. If you were registered at the Vienna Pit Stop, please come passed bikes@vienna and we'll provide you with the t-shirt and water bottle while they last. I would ask that you stop by during the week because our weekends are wild and crazy enough.

I want to express my personal thanks to Ann and Peggy at Whole Foods for their participation in Bike To Work Day. The support that they give this event is wonderful.

Monday, May 16, 2005

A clean chain is a happy chain

I've recently discovered the benefits of using a wax-based chain lube. In the past I've always used a conventional oil lube like Phil Tenacious Oil or a synthetic lube like Pedro's SynLube. They worked well and when I would consistently wipe the chain with an oily rag and re-lube, the chain stayed relatively clean. When I didn't spend the time to keep it clean, it became a black, oily mess. Anything that touched the chain would likewise become a black, oily mess.

We mostly use White Lightning at the shop. In the past when I've used it, I would see large chunks of a black, waxy substance on the chain, derailleur pulleys, cassette, and chainrings. This didn't seem like much of an improvement over the oil, so I stopped using it.

What I didn't realize, is that when one changes from an oil-based lube to the wax-based lube, there is an initial cleaning process that occurs. All the grit and dirt that is embedded in the chain works it's way to the surface and adheres to the wax, even with a “clean” chain. This dirt/wax mix must be cleaned off and the White Lightning re-applied. After a few applications, the chain becomes purged of most of this embedded grit and only periodic applications of White Lightning are needed.

I decided to make the switch a while back and after this initial cleaning period, my chain has remained surprisingly clean. I apply the White Lightning regularly, more frequently than the oil-based lubes of the past. It probably costs more, but the cost is minor compared to the benefits of having a clean drivechain. And a clean chain is a happy chain. It works more efficiently, and there is less buildup of gunk on the derailleur pulleys, cassette, and chainrings, a common cause of shifting problems.

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Diva's Day

Originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

Last Saturday, Sara graduated from Shenandoah University. You may know her as the young woman at the front counter of bikes@vienna. You may know her as an actress. She is our youngest and we are proud of her and her graduation with honors. She's going to work at bikes@vienna for a couple of weeks and then go to Richmond to work for the summer. She auditioned earlier this week in New York. She's looking for opportunities in the world of musical theater.

Six years ago Sara participated in the "Powder Puff" football game during James Madison High School's Homecoming events. The young women personalized their football jerseys with nicknames. Sara had "Mad Diva" printed on the back of her jersey because of her participation in the drama department at Madison. So I started calling her Diva.

This clear, beautiful day was the Diva's Day. Once again she made her mother and I very proud.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Okay, let's get this over with now.

I took bikes out to Kinkos at Tyson's to ship them Fedex this afternoon. I finished that task and looked at the Route 7 parking lot and pondered what other errands I should run in that strip mall. I thought of a customer's comment about me getting tanned along with Ces' concern about me wearing sunscreen. Bruce had also made the point that I'm out in the sun a good part of the day. So I walked to Ranger Surplus to see if they had any straw hats. A ball cap doesn't do much for the ears and back of the neck.

Ranger Surplus had a number of choices. I looked silly in virtually all of them. There were pith helmets which brought a smile because growing up our neighbor Dewey Bear had worn a pith helmet as he worked in the yard (well I never went in his house so I suppose he took it off in the house). Years after Dewey passed to his reward I bought my dad a pith helmet and he still wears it (or a successor) during his outdoor projects. Sooooooooo, I tried on a pith helmet. It looked silly, but no worse than the other straw hats.

I took the pith helmet to the cash register. The young man looked at the pith helmet and asked, "Planning on bagging some big game this evening sir?" To which I replied, "No, just battling a family history of skin cancer". He nodded and took my money.

Okay, I know I look silly. There will probably be some funny "big game" jokes. Bring your best one and come see us. I laugh better as someone is buying a bike.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Fingerprinting A Bike

Warm weather has escalated our traffic. It was not unusual to have two men visit the store looking for a scooter for a daughter. What was unusual was the way that they moved around the store and kept trying to get us away from the front counter. They left and I turned to Bruce to share the thought that they'd been "checking us out". Within ten minutes one of our customers, who is a Vienna police officer, brought in a bike for repair. I recounted the story to him and he jotted down information. He was on his way to work.

In a very short time we learned that another Vienna business had been robbed. The description of the robbers was the same as the one we'd given for our visitors. The police dispatcher called to ask if we have video in the store. No, but one of the visitors had ridden a bike. So the bike was fingerprinted. I'll let you know how this story ends.

Catrike Increases Prices June 1

Big Cat HPV announced yesterday that they will increase their prices on the Pocket, Road, and Speed as of June 1. The revision of their pricing is the result of escalating costs for the aluminum stock used for their trikes. The new prices will be:

Pocket $1750

Road $2350

Speed $2750

bikes@vienna has two Speeds in the store. The price on these trikes is $2350 until June 1. We have two Roads on order and the price of those bikes will depend on the date of their delivery.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Day 05 - 7 Directions in Mazara

Bill Perlman and Pat Shooltz recently returned from an adventure in Sicily. Bill brought me a CD of photos and this photo captured my attention. It is a mix of the contrasts in the photo which endears it to me. Bill is shown on his recumbent consulting with a local cyclist on a conventional bike. The photo is shades of gray and earthtones except Bill's helmet and some red on this shirt and bike.

Pat, you took an award winner in my opinion.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Thule Days May 6 - 15

bikes@vienna will be participating in Thule Days. We have trunk mount and hitch mount racks on sale with substantial savings (-20%). We also have some Thule stock from last year at even better savings. We do not have any roof mount kits as part of the sale.

In preparation for taking advantage of the sale you might like to go to Thule has a good interactive site that will let you know which of their products will work with your vehicle. You just let the software know the make, model, and year of your vehicle. You'll then get to express your preference for the roof, hitch, or trunk mount rack. From this exercise you'll know what models interest you.

At bikes@vienna we help you install the rack and explain how to effectively use the rack.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Whole Foods and bikes@vienna Team Up in May

Peggy Williams
Originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

May is Bicycle Month. You knew that. We work with Whole Foods in Vienna in staging the Pit Stop for Bike To Work Day (Friday, May 20). Many years we both help with the Vienna Bike Rodeo (which this year is Saturday, May 21). This year we'll also be teaming up to give away a 2005 Dahon Boardwalk D7. The adjacent photo shows my Whole Foods partner in these efforts, Peggy Williams, sitting on the Boardwalk before it gets suspended from the rafters for display at Whole Foods. Stop by Whole Foods and you'll be able to enter a drawing to win the Boardwalk. Look for the Boardwalk as you enter the store and you 'll find the registration area right underneath the bicycle.

If you can't wait until the end of May to find out if you've won this Boardwalk then come see us. Yep, we'll be happy to sell you one.

Reston Bike to Work Day

For the fourth year in a row, Bike to Work Day will also be celebrated in Reston, at the Town Center Pavilion. There will be bread rolls available along with peanut butter & jelly, bananas, juice, coffee, raffles for bike accessories on the half hour, and information displays from several groups. It's a great way to show your support for bike commuting and to talk to others about how you can make Fairfax County a better place to ride. Supervisor Hudgins will be there at 8:00 along with other invited dignitaries. Maybe this will be the year that Supervisor Hudgins takes us up on our offer to provide her a bicycle for the event.

Sponsors include the Reston Bike Club, Whole Foods, Great Harvest Bread, A-1 Cycling, Greenberry's Coffee & Tea, VDOT, Equity Office, LINK, Fairfax County, Reston Association, and the Friends of the W&OD Trail.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

If 1 is good then 22 is spectacular. Think $240.

Originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

Adam always kidded me because in ordering things I followed a thought process that if 1 is good then 2 is twice as good. Now take that a little farther. If 1 is good then 22 is spectacular. We will soon receive 22 Marin Pioneer Trails in a 15" women's frame in preparation for Mother's Day. The bikes are 2004 models which I noticed on the Marin inventory sheet. The adjacent photo is of the 2005 model, but think a white frame and that's what 18 of the 22 will look like. We'll have them on sale for $240 which is a good value. We'll have a package to add a basket (it clicks off the handbars to go into a store), a mirror (you've got to see what coming up from behind you), a bell, and a water bottle cage with a bikes@vienna water bottle. The package adds $50 to the transaction. These will be nice bikes for a mom or for a young person in need of a new bike.

If you think this sounds crazy then one of these times I'll tell you about the time I bought 103 bikes from Marin on close out. We made some cyclists very happy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Reason for a folding bike at the office?

Originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

Beginning this week there will be advertising for folding bikes from bikes@vienna in the Washington Post's Express which gets handed out at the Metro stations. You see the ad on the right.

My wonderful wife works in the American History Museum. On September 11th as we communicated back and forth we decided that I might need to ride a tandem to the city to get her if Metro was not a practical way for her to get home. I supposed that traffic would be so difficult that my old bike cummuting route of the W&OD to the Custis Trail might be the quickest in and out of Washington.

That discussion and others led us to the idea that she needed to have a folding bike at her office. It was an idea that other people must have examined because bikes@vienna had more calls about folders. We've continued to expand our folding bikes not as a response to terror, but a practical answer to how to store, transport, and get more enjoyment from a bike.

In Northern Virginia the traffic makes people consider interesting solutions. Women come to the store shopping for a bike and when presented with the idea of a folder they see opportunities for excercise and enjoyment while their children are at a piano lesson or ball practice. It is not practical to return home and then come back for their child so why not go for a bike ride? Parking can be a challenge so why not zip from one errand to the other on your folding bike when the locations are close, but not quite close enough to walk?

Metro allows folding bikes on trains anytime in a bag. Commuters can ride a mile or two to the station, bag their folder, and take it to the office. Let's see......not getting as hot and sweaty going to the Metro without a car, saving money on parking, or just the thrill of a ride on a beautiful day. Which concept appeals most to you?

You can see where the idea comes from for the folders ad in the Express. The joy of being alive on a sunny, beautiful day with the experience of a breeze in your face and the smell of blossoms sweetening your experience. The glory of riding a bicycle. That's the number one reason for having a folding bike at the office or in the back of the vehicle.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Fairfax County Trail Maps

Several people have asked about the Fairfax County Existing Trail Maps that are on display at the store. They were produced by the Fairfax County Trails Coordinator, Sheng Leu, with input from the Non-motorized Transportation Committee. Committee members took parcel maps and walked, biked and drove around the 9 supervisor districts to determine where the major trails and sidewalks were located. Sheng Leu and an intern used those maps and aerial photos to then draw the maps on the computer using a geographic information system. This data was then used to create the existing trails maps.

The maps were divided into four quadrants. The NW and NE quadrants make up the Northern Portion map, and the SW and SE are the Southern Portion. The maps are available on the committee website at They are large PDF files, so a broadband connection is recommended for downloading and viewing.

The maps are undergoing revision. On the current maps, the symbol for sidewalks and trails are the same, regardless of width or type of material (concrete vs. asphalt). Since most cyclists do not ride on sidewalks, it is important to indicate the difference on the map. On the updated maps, different symbols will be used for 4- and 5-foot sidewalks vs. 8-10-foot paved trails. The new maps will also include many segments that were omitted or built since the publication of the existing map. Publication is expected by the end of this year.

Paper copies of the trails maps are available from the Publications Center located at 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 156, Fairfax, Va. 22035. Hours: 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Monday through Friday. Phone: (703) 324-2974.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


After nearly nine years of making innovative consumer bike racks, including the original Quick-load bike rack, Sportworks has sold the consumer bike rack division to Thule.  I received this news by email this morning. As with any vendor change I blink and wonder what it will mean to bikes@vienna.
The email included this information:

"This news may come as a great shock to many of you who have been our ardent supporters and pioneers over the years.  The reasons for the sale are many, including a very competitive market and the challenges of competing with the larger manufacturers.  Sportworks will continue to make and sell bike racks for transit vehicles as well as perform contract manufacturing for a variety of customers."

I just got in a shipment of Sportworks racks. I have more back ordered. bikes@vienna has been a Thule dealer since I opened in 1998. I believe you'll continue to find the Quick-load racks here without regard to the name that appears on the sticker.


Saturday, April 02, 2005

Off She Goes

This week I received a phone call from a customer who is starting a grand adventure. She is cycling from San Diego to St. Augustine, FL and she flew to San Diego this week to get started. She is riding a Bike Friday Air Glide equipped with fenders and racks plus the travel case set up as a trailer. All of which she purchased at bikes@vienna.

She plans to let us know about her adventure by visiting public libraries and posting information on a blog. Are you ready? Her blog is named "queen of the road". I checked this morning and there is no information there other than her tests, but soon I hope to track her travels by going to Queen of the Road. Join in the fun and read about her travels.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I have finally accomplished this --- bikes@vienna Used

For too long I have said that I need to get information out on the website about our used bikes and equipment. I'm on my way. You can go to bikes@vienna Used and find photos, prices and information about many of the used or consigned bikes that we have in the store. It is progress.

You'll notice that at the top of the blog I've suggested that you call to determine if we still have the item before you travel to the store. I know that during the spring I can get behind in updating information. I don't want someone making the trip to the store only to find that we have already sold the item of interest.

The other point which I attempt to stress in the listings is that I prefer people to come to the store and make their purchase after testing the bike. Over and over again we find that what people believe they want when they come into the store and what they go home with can be very different.

Please visit bikes@vienna Used

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A photo of a nice family

Originally uploaded by bikes@vienna.

Last Wednesday I was working in the store and this nice family came to the door. They wanted to go for a bike ride. The store was closed, but I was there....they were we made it happen.

I took this photo and I was to email it to them, but when they returned the phone was ringing and I did not get an email address. So this is my effort to get this photo to them. I hope they see it because this was a Kodak moment.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Easter Bike Roll

bikes@vienna will be closed next Sunday, March 27. This will allow the staff to observe the day.

We will be having our Sunday morning bike ride departing the store at 9:00 AM. Yes, an Easter Bike Roll will be taking place of the W&OD Trail. We had our first bike ride yesterday and it was Ces, Bill Cook, and I. It was threatening rain although we only had a few drops find us. The three of us had fun and we invite you to join us next Sunday or on succeeding Sundays.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Kryptonite locks

It took several months, but we finally received our replacement Kryptonite U-locks. As some of you may know, it was discovered that the older locks with round keys could be easily picked using the end of a Bic pen. Kryptonite did the right thing and offered to replace any lock with a round key. The new keys are flat and easier to use than the old round keys. If you have a round key Kryptonite lock, go to the Kryptonite Web site for information about the recall and an online registration form.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A Ticket To Ride --- Starting Sunday, March 20

Starting on Sunday, March 20th we'll have a weekly Sunday morning ride departing from the store at 9:00 AM. Everyone is welcome, but admittedly you'll see a higher percentage of recumbent bikes on these journeys. I hope that the second Sunday of a month you'll see more tandems and tandem recumbents. The third Sunday of a month we should see more recumbent trikes if this all develops as hoped.

In times of wet weather a call to the store phone (703.938.8900) before 8:00 AM will tell you if the ride is still going out. We'll alternate our route and turnaround to give a bit of variety. There will always be an opportunity to stop at a local eatery for a late breakfast. The start time may move to an earlier time in the heat of the summer to reduce riding in the heat. The idea is to have fun, get some exercise, meet nice people, and provide a touch of motivation for people to get out riding.

Consider yourself as having "a ticket to ride". We do care.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Our local hero

We at the shop see the charitable work that John Brunow does on a daily basis. I guess we get a little jaded about some of his good deeds. We might complain about the bikes that he collects to be donated to various organizations, wondering where we'll store them all until they are picked up. We aren't surprised when he asks some of us to work on our day off to help inspect bikes that will be donated to Head Start children. The list of his charitable activities could go on and on. He believes in giving back to the community, that a healthy, liveable community requires hard work by those living and working there.

It looks like others have noticed John's good deeds as well, as evidenced by the essay about him entitled "A Local Hero" in the Vienna Connection newspaper. Unfortunately they didn't have access to the above photo.

See Adam Progress

For the last six and one half years I have enjoyed the skill, the personality, and the counsel of an exceptional individual. I hope to continue to enjoy his personality and counsel, but my opportunity to use his skill will be diminished. Tuesday Adam began work full time at Spot (French commercial imaging satellite system). As a graduate of George Mason University with a degree in Geography and credentials working for Northrup Grumman his career path has widened with this move to his chosen field.

There are lots of stories from these six and one half years. Good years. My grandfather used a phrase as a high compliment that I still hear used once in a while.......a gentleman and a scholar. Adam Ward is a gentleman and a scholar.

His new employer, Spot, makes me think of the Dick and Jane books which were so popular in my youth. Dick and Jane had a dog named Spot. The text would say "See Spot. See Spot run. Run Spot run".

I am pleased to "See Adam Progress".

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Continuing Care: A reason to buy a bike at bikes@vienna

Soon after I opened bikes@vienna my lovely mother-in-law, Sara, sent me an article from the Seattle newspaper. The article featured a Seattle bike store which provided continuing service on the bikes they sold. I do not remember all the details, but it was the inspiration for what is called Continuing Care at bikes@vienna.

When you buy a new bike from bikes@vienna I promise that we will provide small repairs and adjustment for as long as your family owns the bike. As long as the cost of labor is under $20 then you will only be charged for the parts. A flat tube under Continuing Care is a good example; we will replace the bad tube and only charge you for the cost of the tube. You have saved $8 (our charge for switching a tube). We will adjust a derailleur or adjust a brake and because the labor is under $20 you’ll pay nothing. Our idea is for you to keep your bike in good condition so riding is fun and you ride more.

The question gets asked whether we give free or annual tune-ups? We do not. A brake and gear tune-up costs $40 so that is beyond the threshold. We do much better in my opinion. We work to keep your bike in better condition all year. Our effort is for you to visit us more than once a year. While you’re here might I try to sell you a new pump or basket or helmet? Yup, but I am low key.

Continuing Care is a reason for you to consider making your bike purchase at bikes@vienna.

Friday, February 25, 2005

The Bike Info Expo

Last Sunday bikes@vienna held the Bike Info Expo at the Vienna Community Center. We took recumbents, trikes, tandems, folders, and even some upright bikes over to display. We enjoyed the company of several groups who had tables of information. PPTC and Bikes For The World joined the fun. Bruce Wright brought maps of the Fairfax County Trails. Pat Kraker set up the display of rider generated electricity. Becky Strode brought her highly acclaimed guide to bike rides on the back roads of Virginia and Maryland titled "Burn The Quads Feed The Brain".

I appreciate all the people that joined us. I was disappointed in the number of people that attended. We had almost 300 people attend the event last year and this year we didn't make it close to 100. I may not have done as good a job of publicity. Perhaps it was a mistake to schedule it during the President's Day weekend. Maybe the forecast of lousy weather played a part. Whatever the reason or reasons I have lots of work to get the event back on track for next year.

The event reaffirmed what I already know about bikes@vienna. There is too much in the store. The gym at the Community Center was filled with bikes and there were still lots at the store. I have to make changes. I'll tell you what I'm considering in a near future entry.

Happy Trails to you and my thanks to all the people that participated in the Bike Info Expo.