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