Monday, August 29, 2011

Velomobiles Visit Vienna!

It's taken me a few days (okay almost a week) to write about this, but better late than never, right?

Last Wednesday, the Roll Over America cross-country velomobile tour paused in Vienna for snacks and lemonade on their final leg into DC. The group left Portland, OR, on July 29, and arrived in Washington on August 24th, averaging 125 miles a day.

So what's a velomobile? It's a human powered recumbent tricycle, with a "fairing" or shell which completely or almost completely encloses both rider and machine. Combining lightweight construction and high quality components with an aerodynamic shell produces a remarkably efficient vehicle capable of great speed.

The point of the ride was to raise awareness of alternative forms of transportation, specifically the bicycle. With fuel costs inevitably rising, concerns about our environment and climate change being discussed everywhere, and traffic congestion growing worse by the day, all manner of alternatives are going to be debated and explored. The folks who rode ROAM feel strongly that the bike is an important part of the picture, and their cross-country tour was meant to make folks think about it. I have to imagine the sight of these sleek, unusual vehicles zooming across America prompted some thought.

I've seen a few velomobiles before,  mostly at trade shows, but never have I been surrounded by a large group of them. Nor have I ever been amongst so many riders and fans of them before. They are pretty remarkable machines, ranging pretty widely in complexity and expense. Some were truly custom, one of a kind vehicles, while others were production models, most notably the Quest from BlueVelo. The riders were a genial bunch, and clearly have enjoyed themselves riding across the US. None of them looked at all ragged or tired from their travels, which at 125 miles a day is pretty remarkable.

Check out my Flickr album here:

And also follow these links below for more info:

Monday, August 22, 2011

2011 Brompton World Championshp a Success!

Well, the race is run, the tea has been drunk, the official results are in. Yesterday's Brompton World Championship was a great success.  Check out photos on Brompton's Facebook page here:

And the official press release here:

Watch this space for more news as I post it!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Interesting Blog

Just thought I'd post a link to a blog I like...

It's about one man's experiment in car-free living, specifically in Louisville, KY.  The author is Kirk Kandle, a fellow I met on the National Bike Summit Ride last winter. We talked quite a bit on the ride, and he test rode my Brompton for a bit. You may notice in some of the pictures on his blog, he's got a P6R himself now, purchased here at bikes@vienna.

He's quite the cycling advocate, and an all around good guy.  Check out his blog when you get a chance.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Basic Maintenance and Repair Class August 21st

Hey folks!  We still have some slots open in our next Basic Maintenance and Repair class, which is now scheduled for Sunday, August 21st, from 7 to 9 pm.  Cost is $45, and we ask that you pay in advance to reserve your space. The cost includes a small tool kit, normally selling for $22.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Transporting Tadpoles

No, not THAT kind of tadpole!  We're talking about "tadpole" style trikes... the ones with two wheels in front, one in back.

Folks often ask "How can I carry that on my car? Do I need a special rack?"

Well, there are specially designed racks for these trikes, but for carrying one single trike, there's another solution. Some of you have probably seen this already... it's the back of Al's car with a tadpole perched on the arms of a conventional, strap on style trunk rack.

Note how the frame crossmember rests on the arms of the rack, and the back wheel rests on the rear window of the car.  It's surprisingly stable and secure like this... Al has put a lot of miles on in just this manner, with all manner of tadpole trikes.

So if you're thinking of buying a Catrike, ICE, Greenspeed, Terratrike or other tadpole trike, give this a look. It could answer your "How do I transport it?" question.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Farewell to Robert

Robert, on his last day.
Well, it's that time of year when our summer help, largely college students, are starting to head off to their schools. And this year is most likely the last summer for Robert, who has been with us since the spring of 2008. So I'd like to take this opportunity to say farewell to him, and to wish him well. He's going into his third year at University of Northern Colorado, where he's working towards a bachelor's degree in Recreation and Tourism. If you know Robert at all, you know he loves the outdoors, and has participated in a number of different organized activites, including several NOLS courses. I suspect he will go on to do great things in helping other people learn and grow in the great outdoors.

Robert has learned and grown a lot in the last few years, and it's been a genuine pleasure to know him and work with him. He's become a very skilled mechanic as well as a helpful and informative salesperson. His friendly nature and great sense of humor have really been a delight here at bikes@vienna. He will be sorely missed.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Another use for a Brompton or other folding bike!

Fans at the final act of the festival.
This past weekend, my girlfriend and I attended FloydFest, a big music festival in southwest Virginia. It's an event that draws 10,000 people to farm country, on land that houses 5 or 6 different performance venues and dozens and dozens of booths for vendors of food, crafts and any number of other things. A very fun, exciting event.

Our two Brommies at the car.
What's that have to do with folding bikes? Well, like most such events, the parking available isn't right there where the venues are, it's down the road a few miles. FloydFest provides shuttle buses between the event and the satellite parking. Preparing for the trip though, it occurred to us that having our Bromptons with us might make things easier and give us more flexibility. And looking at the lines of folks waiting for the shuttles, it definitely paid off. We could come and go as we pleased, avoid lines, and enjoy a ride in the Virginia countryside, all at the same time.