Friday, May 30, 2008

RANS Street

I've been interested in crank forward bikes ever since I stumbled upon them on the RANS website. As a bent & DF rider I wasn't sure what to make of them. They sort of look like DFs, but with a big comfy seat and the whole cockpit tilted back. Like many good things in my life it took a while for the idea to bounce around in my brain until I "got it". I've been moving towards more useful forms of cycling which has not only been a practical transformation, but it has had the unexpected side effect of getting many of my casual cycling and non-cycling friends excited about the possibilities of pedal power.

Most of my friends never got particularly excited about my recumbents or my serious performance bikes, but somehow folding bikes and cargo bikes caught their imagination. As I was going through the process of helping them buy bikes or setup their existing bikes to be more useful it became clear that most commonly available bikes are not ideal for folks who don't make riding part of their identity. They just want to hop onto a bike to get stuff done without thinking about it. The ideal bike for them has to be fun, easy to use and comfortable.

It was around this time the light bulb went off for me with regards to where crank forward bikes fit into my cycling universe. With big comfortable seats, being able to sit while flat footed at a stop, upright posture with a great view of the road and easy shoulder checks, big wheels for a fast comfortable ride - they seemed ideally suited to the task of making cycling approachable to people who don't own any lyrca. Being an empiricist at heart I wanted to see for myself what these bikes were all about.

I have to admit as much as I believe in cycling solutions for the common man I'm a bike snob! I love riding a nicely built bike that someone has designed with love and that sports good components. The obvious choice in the crank forward market was RANS. Let's face it these guys make planes as well as bikes that's gotta be a good thing! I spent some time perusing the crank forward section on the RANS website and decided that a Street fit my riding needs best. Being halfway between a DF and RANS more laid back models like the Cruz. Don't believe any rumours you may hear that it was in fact the awesome metallic red paint job that steered me to the Street...=-) Although red bikes are faster aren't they???

RANS was kind enough to provide me with a Street test bike - thanks! When it arrived I was impressed with how well they packed the bike. This had to be the most carefully packed bike I've ever received. I quickly put it together and took it out for a spin. You can read about my first impressions and enjoy some crank forward porn here.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Karen's gone Xtra!

We built up Karen's Xtracycle this weekend. It was nice to have this project to tackle since it was so wet & cold. Click here for more details.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Alan Barnard has a new blog called EcoVelo which is focused on practical cycling solutions. This shift in his interests mirrors my own and reflects a logical evolution from using bikes for sport or recreation to cycling as transportation. I'm looking forward to following Alan's new project and enjoying his beautiful bike photography.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bow Valley Bike Tour

My long weekend bike tour is only one day old and I am already missing the feeling of traveling by bike through the mountains. *sigh* I've actually got quite a lot of bike touring on the books for 2008 so I can't complain. Well I can & I, but I doubt I'll get much sympathy...=-)

If you'd like to read my tour report click here.

Electra Porn

I was down at Bow Cycle today picking up Ursula's Electra Townie 21 and couldn't resist snapping a picture of Electra's Euro-inspired city bikes.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Anna's Bow Valley Tour Report

I'm just too tired to sort through all my photos from the long weekend tour in the Banff Park so have a look at Biker Annie's post...=-) I'll get something together Tuesday.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hauling an Xtracycle

Hauling Karen's Xtracycle home on the Big Dummy...=-)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A false sense of security...

Toronto Star - Icefield's Parkway Article

click on image to enlarge

My mother sent me this Toronto Star article about touring on the Icefield's Parkway. It was quite appropriate timing as I have several piles of gear in my living room ready for this weekend's tour which will entail a portion of the Icefield's Parkway.

I can't wait to get out there and enjoy the early season without hordes of other park users to contend with...=-)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Jumping on...

Kurt perfects the in flight transfer from long board to Big Dummy...=-)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Acting our age...

Try and stop us...

Spinning & Grinning!

Anna takes the bike path fashion scene by storm with her usual European flair...I guess she wanted to look good for the lads at Bow Cycle...=-)


Picking up Kurt's freshly tuned Cannondale Scalpel from Bow Cycle. I checked out a couple new ones, but the price tags were in the $6000.00 range - yikes!

Townie Porn

Ursula rides the Townie

I love bike shopping with friends - lots of smiles and it doesn't cost me a cent...=-)

Friday, May 09, 2008

RANS Street - Touring Edition

Nanda Holz [Spin Cyclz] setup this RANS Street crank forward bike as a touring machine with moustache bars, disc brakes and a rear rack. It looks awesome - I would love to take that baby for a spin around town. I've been intrigued with how these crank forward bikes handle. They look like very practical machines that might be a great solution for the urban cyclist.

Karen's going Xtra...

Karen dropped off her old mountain bike last night so I could check it over and see if it needed any love prior to her Xtracycle arriving next week. I'm excited to see how the Free Radical conversion process goes and I am also looking forward to having another longtail rider in my neighbourhood so we can haul some ass

I'll be posting all the gory details about adding an Xtracycle to Karen's bike on my Big Dummy Blog, but I'll be sure to post a few pics of the finished product here for you.

Karen has already begun scheming about all the car trips she can replace with her Xtracycle rig. Although I think all my bikes are uber cool the Big Dummy/Xtracycle & the Bike Friday Tikit are the ones that are really sparking an interest amongst my friends and associates. I can't blame them - these bikes represent two very different, but equally effective approaches to practical cycling.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Putting the Dummy to the test...

I met up with a Bike Forums member [Graham] after work and we chatted about cargo bikes and the finer points of the Xtracycle concept. It was fun to talk to another avid cyclist. Graham gave the Dummy a spin and had a positive experience. Hopefully I'll have another Xtracyclist to ride with soon..=)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Dos Amigos

Dave and I roaming the bike paths.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Big Dummy Action

Loading up Kurt's C'Dale and taking it to a Bow Cycle for some love.

Kurt pilots the Big Dummy down an icy slope - yeah I live in Canada!!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Little Bike Powerful Kung Fu!

I drive my truck about once a week when I commute to the next town to visit my office. That will drop to zero work related trips per week when I commute on my bike. I think it's funny that my smallest vehicle [Bike Friday Tikit] has become my go to ride for 80% of all my trips and my largest most capable vehicle [Mazda B4000 4x4] sits idle most of the time.

I'm not car free yet and I think I'll keep my truck running as long as I can. Although I don't use it often I do enjoy being able to load up 4 friends + their gear so we can be in the mountains in 90mins. Without a truck a lot of outdoor recreation possibilities would be unfeasible as it's a full day's ride to the mountains on a loaded bike.

Gas prices here are up to $1.26/L [~$4.76/gal] and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. Perhaps I'll change my tune when gas is over $2.00/L and stop driving entirely. The good news is I'm able to take care of all my essential transportation needs on foot, by bike or with public transport. All my driving trips are optional.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I'm a Big Dummy....=)

I've been wanting an Xtracycle for a long time, but when Surly announced the Big Dummy was ready for sale I knew it had my name written all over it - thanks to John F @ Bow Cycle for making it happen. I went whole hog and built up a Big Dummy frame with a Rohloff hub - something I've also wanted to try for ages.

I won't bore you with too many details here, but if you want to know more click here. My long tail adventures have just begun...=)

More Cycle Chic

Although Copenhagen Cycle Chic is still the ultimate in bike chic here are a few more chic-ilicious sites for you:
Do you know of any other chic sites I should be aware of?

Shopping with the Tikit

Touring with the Tikit

I just rec'd a custom 2 pannier front rack for my Tikit from Bike Friday. I'm one step closer to having the ultimate folding bike touring setup ready. Jump here to read more about it.