Tandems have been bringing together the mighty cycling power of two since the late 1800s, and Bike Friday has been building tandems since the co-founders’ very first in 1987.
As a mom of two kids, functionality and reusability are often paramount when I look for new products. I had been on the hunt for a tandem that could accommodate my 11-year-old daughter, Darby, as a stoker over the next few years, then have the honor be passed down to her younger brother. Bike Friday’s Traveler XL seemed like a good choice, as it is designed to fit a captain’s height range of 5-foot-8 to 6-foot-5, and a stoker height range of 3 feet to 6-foot-5. Not only could my kids join forces with me on adventures, but my hubby and I could also ride together.Tweet Print
One my favorite things to do when long distance riding or bikepacking is consuming mass amounts of food. Tara Alan, author of “Bike. Camp. Cook” and I have this in common. While Tara and her husband spent two years traveling on bike from Scotland to Southeast Asia, she was determined to cook from scratch and she put all her tips, tricks and recipes into this book.
My husband and I try our best to travel as light as possible. This means often sacrificing my husbands healthy, home cooked meals to eat from freeze dried packs, gel packets or gas station junk food. I was excited to get my hands on this book in hopes to school myself on a little from-scratch, camp cooking.Tweet Print
Raise your hand if you have a bag obsession. Me! Me! Backpacks are great for my shorter rides and I’ll take a two-strap pack over a briefcase for work any day.
The Port in the name refers to a clear window under the main flap, designed for accessing a tablet’s screen without removing it. This could be a great feature for folks who use public transit or need to find directions around town; either way, not having to take out your electronic device during a rushed time period is very cool. For me, the front window was useful for displaying my “to do” lists everyday. Open the bag and—BAM!—list of things I should have done yesterday.Tweet Print
By Trina Haynes
As a bike lover and advocate, I enjoy showing off my love for bicycles anywhere and everywhere. I can’t walk into a shindig with my bike as a hat, so I indulge in bicycle related jewelry and accessories. There is a plethora of companies big and small offering cycling-related jewelry these days. You can find recycled inner tube jewelry, stainless steel and glass pendants, blinged-out chain bracelets, upcycled headset necklaces and much, much more.
Today I want to share a few of my favorite and most frequently worn bicycle-related jewelry items. Almost everything handmade I’m a fan of, and if you involve a bike or bike-related product in the design and I will have a hard time controlling the urge to spend.
Elizabeth Klevens makes handmade fused glass, bike mosaic and sterling silver pendants in a multiple of styles. One of my favorites is the circular “Ride Like a Girl ” necklace that goes for $35. You can add in a satin cord with a stainless steel clasp for $10 more. If you’re into mountain biking she has a “Singletrack Mind” in the same cut, just for you. Her gorgeous, handmade necklace pendants range from $35-$75. You can find them here.
Another one of my favorites is Becky Tesch’s handmade, recycled innertube cuff bracelet. This one is cut into a flower design and I have taken such a liking to it, I wear everyday. Dress it up or dress it down, either way it looks pretty swank. She also makes innertube necklaces and earrings, as well as a variety of colored chain bracelets. You can find her wares here.
Last on the list, earrings! I used to only wear earrings on special occasions, but when a friend sent me these innertube earrings cut to look like feathers, I started wearing earrings again just so I could wear these a couple times a week. Unlike real feather earrings, these inner tube ones will, hopefully, not be attacked or eaten by your cat. They are also sturdy enough to handle a helmet strap and not fall apart. I do not know where he got them, only that they are mine now. (Thanks Andrew!) Here is a link to the ones that looks the most similar to mine.
Have a few of your own favorites?!
By Trina Haynes
Some kids pick up a bike at a young age and it’s instant kismet, and others… well… not so much.
My 11-year-old daughter has shown minimal interest in bicycles since her first introduction at age three. As soon as we sat her on her little plastic scoot-style bike, with joyous faces “she’s going to be a little ripper!”… Nope. Screaming and clamoring to get off this evil, vampiric contraption followed suit.
We tried just letting the toddler bike sit there and maybe she would become interested. Nope.
We tried “Look, Mommy and Daddy ride bikes. Wheeee!”. Nope.
This went on for years. She eventually gave into some enjoyment in her bike trailer. Then she graduated to a tag-along, but would never sit on her own training-wheeled bike. Finally, I think at age eight, she started to cruise around on a 10-inch with training wheels, but only in the house and of course it was way to small for her.
By age nine she loved going on rides, as long as it was she was attached to someone else, trail-a-bike style.
At that point we bought her a fancy new bike, which she picked out. She loved it and agreed to practice gliding on it. We dropped the seat, took the pedals off and she was off. Once she understood the concept of balance and gliding on a bike, with a few glide crashes under her belt, we made the decision that the pedals must go on regardless of her refusal.
If you’re a parent, you probably have a good idea of the repercussions. Boycott the bike! Sigh… Eventually (talking at least a month or two) she gave in to just gliding with the pedals on. Her little brother, gliding around, happy as can be, definitely helped.
This went on for months, refusing to touch or put her feet on or near the pedals while gliding. I take full blame for the stubborn gene she has. Then, last weekend, the hubby and I couldn’t take it anymore. The parental foot went down! “We are going to learn to pedal today! And it’s going to be amazing! (Dammit!)”
A few hours of crying, attitude and excuses occured…. Then, tears running down her cheeks and puffy-eyed, she got on her bike.
First we practiced getting the feet up on the pedals while gliding, not even pedaling just sitting them there. Then brakes and feet down, means you stop. Continuing to remind her, “you control the bike, it’s not going to do a back-flip on you, or bust out some kung-fu action to knock you off.” That little step was mastered quickly. Phew, step 1 done!
Then, running along side her, encouraging her to do a pedal stroke. This took hours, one pedal stroke (yeah!), then three (heck yeah!). We continued with this for two days, a good majority of the day, taking breaks, drinking, eating, and trying again and again. Until this…
Of course, I was wiping away motherly proud tears and doing the happy dance in my head. My point is every kid will enjoy riding a bike, no matter how intimidated and afraid they might be and sometimes it is good to let kids take riding a bike at their own pace. And sometimes they need a big push.
It makes me very sad to see reports that children riding bikes in the United States is dropping substantially every year. School districts are not allowing kids to ride bikes to and from school anymore. It infuriates me that adults who as children rode and played in the streets now yell at kids from cars for doing it. Why?!
People tell me, “Times have changed, Trina.” Yes, we changed the times. Let’s change them back! I want my kids to be able to ride up and down the sidewalk and not be panicked about the cars doing 40mph in a 25mph zone, or be able to send them to an empty parking lot and not be worried a car is going to come flying through there to take a shortcut. It wouldn’t just be terrible if we all slowed down, just a little, would it?
Get out there and get your son or daughter, niece or nephew, a grandchild, your godchild or some young human being, and get them to ride at least twice a week. This is your mission for a better bike tomorrow.
By Trina Haynes
Balance bikes are a great way to introduce your toddler to two wheels. Basically, your child can throw a leg over the frame and start walking/gliding along, taking “baby steps” on learning how to ride a bike, eventually going straight to pedals. I will be finding out very soon if this method was effective with my four-year-old, Odin, when he upgrades to his “big boy” pedal bike.
Odin has had experience on balance bikes and quickly took to the First Bike Big Apple, calling it his “race bike.” With reflective stickers and an ego boosting #1 sticker on the front, I could see why. This is his first experience on pneumatic tires—the smooth-rolling Schwalbe Big Apple tires gave him the confidence to push the limits of speed and terrain with great success.
The 8lb. Big Apple includes a steering inhibitor, which stops the handlebars from being turned too far inward. The saddle is ergonomic rubber and the bike includes front and rear mini-fenders, which deterred a bit of backsplash when he decided mud puddles were worth going through. A rear drum brake with a hand lever came in handy a few times when too much speed resulted in Dukes of Hazard-like skids.
At $205, the Big Apple is a bit pricier than other balance bikes on the market, but it’s the only one to have the combination of a hand brake, pneumatic tires, fenders, a lifetime warranty, and a cool-looking truss style frame made from unbreakable nylon composite. FirstBike offers no-brake models for a lower price, as well as several wheel and tire options to hone in on what type of cycling you hope your little one favors. All models accommodate riders from two to five years of age; the seat can be adjusted from 13.8–17.8 inches and the bike supports up to 50lbs. Made in Taiwan.
More balance bikesTweet Print
Schwinn has been designing and building bicycles since 1895. Being pioneers and innovators throughout the company’s history, Schwinn continues to innovate with its environmentally-friendly flax-fiber bike, the Vestige.
The Vestige frame is made with 90 percent flax fiber and 10 percent carbon. Flax fiber is a biodegradable material derived from the same plant that linen is made from. The paint used on the Vestige is water based, which is environmentally friendly, and the fenders and grips are made from bamboo. Schwinn says the flax material has performance characteristics similar to carbon fiber, but with a much lower carbon footprint in the manufacturing process.
The Vestige is designed for commuters and casual cyclists with rear rack mounts for some mild utility riding. I’ve used the bike for cruising around town and have done a few lightweight grocery jaunts. The 1×9 drivetrain is plenty for most occasions and the full fenders and chain guard have kept water and grit off me.
On the front wheel is a Shimano Dynamo hub that powers an LED light system. The flax frame is translucent so the top and down tube of the frame let off a spectral glow when riding. While not bright enough to act as a stand-alone light, the concept is novel and elicits double takes as you make your way about town.
We’re pushing on through the winter aboard the Vestige, so look for full review in an upcoming issue of Bicycle Times. Subscribe now and never miss an issue.Tweet Print
By Trina Haynes, illustrations by Stephen Haynes.
Pissing off the Edge of the World.
Ok, so maybe not off the edge but at least off of Mount Rainer if I wanted.
I love riding and hiking into the woods where there are no sounds of civilization. But I despise that moment where I have to wander off the trail into the trees and bushes to find a somewhat concealed place to squat. Nature was not incorporated in my childhood, so the statement “EW! NATURE! Get it off!” slips out more often than I’d like.
As the notion arises, visions of snakes, ticks, spider’s, mosquito’s and rabid squirrels pop into my head. I think both sexes can agree that squatting in the woods to do our business is not on the top ten list of favorite things.
In comes the GoGirl, a funnel like apparatus that lets a lady pee while standing.
Since I started using it I envision a sort of super hero power: “Take that vicious wildlife creatures!” BANG! POW! ZAP! As so:
But let’s get a little serious.
Before I ventured out into the snow-filled woods, I did a few trial runs in the home latrine. The last thing I wanted was to be wet, cold and smelly while out on a ride. I highly recommend this practice before whipping out your GoGirl outside.
It only took me two trial runs in the safety of our home bathroom to master the art of peeing while standing. I also figured out how to avoid dropping my pants all the way to the ground while doing my business (as practiced by my five-year-old son) . Now I can simply undo my fly and (ahem) "engage" the GoGirl while keeping my arse covered.
The GoGirl is made of silicone and doesn’t take up very much room, so it’s easy to bring with you on just about any outing. When using the GoGirl, it’s also a good idea to bring your water bottle along to give it a quick rinse when you’re done.
A fun fact: Female Urination Devices have been around since the first patent in 1922. They are popular in Europe and at some festivals where you can find female-friendly urinals.
Bring on all the doodle envy comments! As long as I can lower the percent of time my bum is out in the cold, insect, and animal-filled woods I’m going to use my GoGirl.
“You think you’re so cool ’cause you can pee with your penis.” – Rob Schneider in "Hot Chick".
By Trina Haynes
I’m not talking about that slab of the delicious pig that I haven’t indulged in since grade school—I’m talking about Timbuk2’s belt and shoulder bag. I received a Porkchop as a gift from the hubby 10 years ago and it has been my go-to bag for anything that doesn’t require me to bring a backpack. My girly squeal of excitement when I heard Timbuk2 was bringing it back at NAHBS this year was only a fraction of the jumping up and down with an even higher pitch squeal when it was actually in my hands.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t need a new bag. My original Porkchop is still in great condition. A little dirty perhaps, but no popped seams and no tears. When the word “improved” is uttered I must know about and fondle all of the upgrades.
The Velcro closure has been updated, replacing the vertical strip with a horizontal one. This makes for a more confident closure, and lends a bit of security for those larger objects on your travels. Timbuk2 also kept seaworthiness a priority with the Porkchop 2.0 by using a waterproof TPU liner.
On the older model there was a pocket on the rear of the bag. This has been eliminated. Though handy for shoving small stuff, it caused serious sag factor when worn on your belt, but no longer. Buh bye Sag Factor.
The removable straps have been upgraded with metal D-rings and stronger and easier to use clips. They have also reduced the adjustments straps to one side, (rather than two on the older model). Sweet simplicity.
An added bonus is the faux fur pocket to protect your smart phone. Yes, I do pet this pocket more than occasionally and no, I am not a “furry”.
At $35 this bag is a steal considering it can last up to 10+ years.Tweet Print
By Trina Haynes
In 1996 women were banned from cycling in North Korea. The late Kim Jong II had decreed the ban of women on bicycles after hearing about the death of the daughter of the vice-chair of the National Defense Commission. She was victim to a hit and run while riding a bike in Pyongyang. Riding a bike was also not feminine and at the time women were not allowed to wear trousers.
A public order was put into effect immediately. Bicycles lanes were established and a system of bicycle registration that included a required number plate displayed on each registered bike was issued.
The enforcement of this law varied from region to region. When an officer would appear, women would get off their bicycles and walk alongside their bike. Getting caught riding could result in fines and repeated violation could have resulted in bicycle confiscation.
The ownership of a bicycle in North Korea is seen in the same way as ownership of a car in the developed world and 70% of households use bikes daily as a source of transportation.
North Korean woman cannot only ride bikes legally again, they also obtained the right to wear pants, platform shoes and earrings. Under Kim Jong-Un’s leadership the wheels of change are definitely happening.Tweet Print