Get Married, Quit Your Job, & Bicycle the World!

Erck.org is a a blog about how James and Sara Welle, “got married, quit our jobs, and bicycled around the world.” Sounds good to me! Well, we’re already married, but have cycled parts of the world and have lots more to ride.

Erck.org was outfitted by Elliott Bay Bicycles, one of our sponsors, and started their journey earlier this year. Inspired by the book, Miles from Nowhere they’re riding New Zealand, Australia, Southeast Asia, China, Russia, Eastern Europe, and South America.

They’re somewhere in Cambodia now, are not divorced, and like our trip to Beijing, are seeing a totally different world.

erck.jpg



Over 2,000 comments and counting

The deadline for the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan has been extended until 5 pm, May 18th, 2007. Get your comments in now; especially in light of the pressure the plan is under from Stone Way businesses.



NY Times on Electric Bikes

Not nearly as surprising as seeing a Biomega in Design Within Reach, but today the New York Times ran a story on electric bikes. While good (any mainsteam coverage of bike commuting is good), the article missed the sport-utility bike market being built by companies like Clever Cycles, Xtracycle, Surly, and custom builders like Sycip and Vanilla.

We agree that cyclists are finding that bikes are, “a viable option for commuting, shopping and other local trips” especially with a long tail, rack, and motor assist.

As I noted in my Bettie Delivers post, if the attention the Bike Hugger Bettie gets is any indication of a national trend, we expect more cyclists to use their cars a lot less, if at all.

For more on electric bikes, check Electric Bikes Northwest ebikes.ca, a bike v. Prius, and Todd’s thougts on motors and bikes.



Friday afternoon read: Little 500 edition

Starting line

ESPN.com: Page 2 : Nothing little about IU’s Little 500 ESPN’s Jim Caple offers a feature story on Indiana University’s Little 500, the race that features in 1979’s Oscar-nominated Breaking Away.

This year’s edition went off April 21st, and was won in a photo finish by the Cutters team, their 8th overall victory.

Also:

Gallery from gfisk.com

Flickr photoset by spence_sir



Bike Hugger Bettie Delivers

Running the kids around, errands, dates, and mostly delivering the goods is what we’ve been doing with Bettie. I’ve got suggestions for Stokemonkey, observations, and a movie after the jump.

Bettie

Long Term Bettie

Reporting on a long-term relationship with our sport utility bike, it’s mostly good, with a few improvements we can eventually roll into a Bettie 2.0:

  • Stand Over Height – Fully loaded, with kids, a spouse, or Clip-n-Seals, the stand-over height of Bettie is always a concern and difficult. You’re balancing a hundred pounds or so, then stepping up, and over to get onto Bettie. The top tube of a cargo Bettie would need to be as low as possible or made like a factory worker’s cruiser bike with a basket in front or back.
  • Whippiness – Bettie is a whip machine. Some cyclist may like that sensation, I most certainly do not. While I understand why Bettie whips under load and deal with it, standing up is scary, and a Bettie 2.0, Surly, or custom frame should address that problem.
  • ShroudMonkey – even after being extra careful, I had a nice pair of track pants instantly sucked up into the Stokemonkey gear and ripped right off my leg. A shroud should cover the Stokemonkey drive gear to protect your pants and leg.
  • MonkeyThumb – Riding Bettie with the power on eventually strains your thumb. Don’t mean to sound like a wuss, but it does. It’s the pressure on the trigger. It doesn’t help the MonkeyThumb that I bling the bell everywhere I go. I’m just so happy to ride Bettie, that I declare it with a bling, bling, bling when I pass anyone (embarrassing my children the whole time)
  • MonkeyMusic – It’s the harmonic music the Stokemonkey makes that alarms dogs. Todd described it as, “there are eight distinct tones in that hum . . I can hear five of them … My wife can hear seven.” One of those eight tones dogs hear as “bark!” MonkeyMusic could sell as cosmic, carbon-reducing ringtones.
  • MonkeyMeter – Even if it wasn’t accurate at all, I’d really like a MonkeyMeter that’d tell me where I was at on power supply.
  • StopMonkey – After several tries, working with XtraCycle, and a trip to a downhill bike shop (I was totally out of place in that joint!) for an alignment, we still couldn’t get the rear disc to work right on Bettie because of the tolerances between the mounts. We had to settle for the Magura Gustav in the front and the crappy Shimano disc in the back. That means, I’m slowly stopping from the rear, then suddenly stopping on the front. Note that your needs may differ, but with the loads we carry on Bettie and the hills, we needed full on stopping ability. I don’t know what Shimano’s deal is with their disc brakes, but stopping power ain’t it.

Slow Ride

Over time with Bettie, I learned to just slow down. There’s an exhilaration with the power from the Stokemonkey and cyclists are genetically programmed for speed. So, I was always pushing it faster, running right of out battery, and blowing up my legs. It’s best to just let the Stokemonkey torque get you up the hill, at a leisure speed, instead of attempting to go 35 mph with traffic (blinging the bell at motorists …).

Slowing down on Bettie also lets you talk more to the people that want to know what the deal is with that red (Stokemonkey’s motor is bright red) thing on your big bike. Take Bettie out for coffee, park it, and watch they crowds gather, debate, talk and try to figure it out. A viral marketing plan for a longtail bike is to just ride it around and talk to people about it.

Bettie Delivers

Check the Bettie Delivers movie. The clip shows me delivering 100 pound of Clip-n-Seals on the Bettie to Alki Mail and Dispatch for shipment to the Netherlands.



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