This is not Starbucks

From 15 feet away and more this looked like Starbucks, but no, it wasn’t. Not even close. I travel with my own coffee, and Senor Muggy, but when needed I’ve found that Starbucks works. Zeldman told me that once. He said Starbucks was a trusted, known source, of mediocre coffee – consistently mediocre. I was like whatever, but that’s totally true in Taiwan. While the Taiwanese do buffets right, corporate coffee is bad just like everywhere else.

starbucks_not.jpg

In Taipei, they also have a thing for outlets with funny names.

Update

A comment and revised sentence above clarifying that Taipei’s corporate-chain coffee was bad, just like anywhere else (v. Starbucks that’s mediocre everywhere).

We did have good coffee in a stand during our ride.



Bikes for Africa

Taxi Stand

One of the focused stories at Interbike was bikes for Africa. There were a number of groups represented including SRAM and their World Bicycle Relief, and Tom Ritchey and his Project Rwanda<a/>. There is plenty of good literature on the sites, but if you can help - you can donate here or here.

I heard that there’s a Project Rwanda<a/> bike at a local coffee roaster. I’m going to check it out and see what else I can dig up on this great initiative.

[UPDATE - Another local group is sending bikes as well:]

The Village Bicycle Project provides sustainable and affordable transportation for Africans. Owning a bike promotes poverty reduction, rural development and personal empowerment. Millions of Africans do not have basic, reliable transportation. 99% of Africans cannot afford cars. Public transportation is expensive and unreliable. Contact bikeschangelives@gmail.com if you can help.



Keiko Bike: Strong Femininity

During our visit to Dahon’s offices, the Keiko Bike stood out: we admired, discussed, photographed, and after much deliberation described it as having a strong femininity. Matthew Davis, Manager – Global Sales and Marketing, gave us the backstory of the bike

Keiko Itakura approached us, and we decided to collaborate on this bike. It has been in the works for a little over a year, but the results were well worth it. They exceeded everyone’s expectations and we are now trying to figure out what kind of limited production run makes sense. If demand is strong we’ll definitely take that into account. It definitely gives off the “Strong Femininity” vibe, much in the way filigree does with the extremely delicate details taking form from intricately worked metals.We’re working with Keiko now to figure out how to execute the launch and final announcement properly, but we’re happy to have given Bike Hugger reader’s a sneak peak at this special bike.

keiko_bike.jpg

Whatever the final version of the bike is, it’s going to further establish the connection between artists, designers, urban mobility, and bikes.



Taipei Cyclists

They’re were just riding around on the bike paths and so were we …

taipei_cyclists.jpg



Helmet Land

I don’t have the exact numbers, but heard that Taipei makes lots of helmets and spotted this helmet store during our ride.

helmet_land.jpg



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