Jenny Boylan: “Riding grew harder as I grew older. Then I got an electric bicycle.”

Longtime cyclist Jenny Boylan rode less as she got older. She tells a riveting story of the ways an e-bike changed her riding and that of many others in her NY Times opinion piece. Read it here. Boylan’s story humanizes several trends that are propelling e-bike growth in the US and worldwide. Perhaps most important, she conveys the emotion and great feelings we experience from e-bike riding.

Five years ago I demo’d an e-bike from one of my client’s bike partners at the Oregon Handmade Bike Show. Everyone trying that Klaxon Hartmann 29er returned with a smile or said something really nice. Here’re a few examples from that time:

  1. The late Larry Baggett, a builder and owner of Competitive Instincts (Bend OR).
  2. Father of special needs child interested in e-bike to take his kid around.
  3. Interest peaks in e-bike after a test ride.
  4. Better Bicycle Company founder talks about serving the needs of people who “want to get around” but “not buy into the culture.”

These clips anticipate the points Boylan eloquently makes, but she brings them out from under the enthusiast’s tent into the cycling sunshine for the broader public. My hunch is that many of her readers will start musing about e-bikes, a wonderful thing.

Focusing on E-bikes From Now On

After a long hiatus from posting on this blog, formerly at http://useyourbike.wordpress.com, I’m restarting with a focus on e-bikes. My theme remains the same: enjoy the many pleasures of cycling. I ride for health, fitness, peace of mind, advocacy, and fun, and it’s from this perspective that I write. My admiration runs deep for racers, their training, competitive drive, and performances, but I’ve never raced or desired to do so. Except for the occasional comment, I’ll leave the racing, intense training, or things related to the specialist publications.

I got into e-bikes about 7 years ago when a client, an Asian manufacturer of e-bike motors sold to European and Asian manufacturers , thought about entering the US market. They assigned me to analyze the market, establish the size of the opportunity, and to recommend companies and people who would run the business end: importing, reselling, distributing, marketing, and technical support.

Doing that was tons of fun. I went to NAHBS and Interbike, where I met many companies and, most importantly, the bike-building legends whose personalities, craftsmanship, innovative ideas, and vision shape the industry and our joy and expand our ideas of what bikes are capable of. Craig Calfee, Steve Bilenky, David Levy are just three of this group.

Eventually, the company decided against North American expansion, not because the market wasn’t taking shape, but for internal reasons. I was hooked and wanted to get more deeply involved with e-bikes. Little did I know then that future events would shift my cycling from road biking to e-biking for good.

Impact Mouth Guards – Won’t Ride Without Them Anymore

Impact MouthguardI bought a couple of Impact Mouthguards a few months ago. The roads I ride are pretty chopped up and there’s always a few times during a ride that I hit a bump or some washboard that makes my teeth clonk. Mouthguards are always recommended for people participating in collision sports, but I hadn’t heard of them used for cycling.

Owing to a coincidence where I was on a project researching mouthguards, I stumbled upon Impact Mouthguards and decided to give them a try. I have a bridge and don’t want to replace it due to an avoidable sports injury. I was drawn by their impression kit which promised a truly custom fit.

The kit came and was easy to use. It came with two trays, a small and a large. I test fit them to see which one was best. Then I kneaded together the impression material, fit it to the tray, and bit down for a couple of minutes. Afterwards, you put the impression, still in its tray,  along with the unused tray, and send them in via the provided box and shipping label.

My mouth guards arrived a couple of weeks later – I took advantage of the 2nd mouthguard discount. They didn’t fit quite right. I emailed the company over a weekend. The owner – a cyclist himself, replied, instructing me to take a picture of my mouth, mail that in with the guards, and they would adjust. That’s what happened.

Now the guards fit right and they’ve won me over. I breathe easier on climbs, and hitting a bump or getting an unexpected jolt doesn’t risk an oral problem.

I won’t ride anymore without the guard.

Note: I’m just a happy customer. I have no relationship with Impact Mouthguards.

Bianchi Volpe – Ideal Winter Bike for Northeast

2012 BIanchi Volpe

2012 BIanchi Volpe

Purchased this bike for winter riding here in CT at bike shop’s recommendation—Smart Cycles. Planned originally to buy a lower-end bike, but boy did they steer me right. I wanted a bike with dropped bars, wider tires and compliant ride for the cruddy roads and ability to take it onto trails.

The bike is decked out with a compact 3×10 (50-39-30, 12-30), strong wheels, 700×32, double-butted cromoly frame, and Wellgo spd pedals. Eyelets galore. An entry-level race-worthy cross bike, this steed can be set up for touring, commuting, or randonneuring. Volpe offers a plush ride: there’s no chatter like I get from my carbon road bike. But it’s responsive, not sluggish. A total joy.

Smart Cycles in Norwalk Blowout Sale of 2013 Items – Till Oct 31, 2013

smart cycles logoSmart Cycles launched its 20%-30% sale of nearly everything today, ending on Halloween. Located on Strawberry Hill, just off Rt. 1 and across from Marshall’s, this fantastic shop is offering 20-30% off on most of their bike, frame, and accessory inventory.

20%-30% OFF just about EVERYTHING IN STOCK!
NO matter what you need to get ready for the great fall riding season that approaches, you can save big during this event. Road bikes, mountain bikes, kids bikes, FAMILY BIKES, clothing, accessories, car racks, and MUCH MORE all on sale! But hurry…things are going to move fast!

THE Details:
20% or 30% Off items paid with cash or check ONLY. Off our regular price.
In Stock Items ONLY!
All Sales FINAL. No refunds or exchanges.
2 Weeks ONLY! No Retroactive Credits.
Phone and Email Orders Accepted. We do not ship Santa Cruz products.
This email MUST BE PRESENTED at ringout for discount!
IL MASSIMO FRAMES, Labor, Workorders & Early Intro 2014 Bikes Excluded.
*There are some in stock items that do not qualify, see list in store before you shop.

email: info@smartcycles.com
voice: 888-711-BIKE
web: http://www.smartcycles.com

Master Lock Force 5 Standard U-Lock – Saves My Commuter Bike “Mountie”

When I went to retrieve my bike yesterday (August 8) at the train station I noticed that it was not how I left it. Sometimes people move bikes a bit. But as I took out the key to unlock it I realized a thief had tried to steal it. Fortunately the lock held, thwarting the thief’s efforts, and I still have Mountie. Due to the thief’s exertions, the front derailleur got messed up badly which prevented me from riding home. I’ll take it to my LBS for repairs and ride a little further to a station with better security and safety.

I’ve had the lock for about 4 years. This was the first time anyone tried to defeat it. I’m really happy that it worked when it needed to, and it increased my confidence in the Master Lock.

Serfas Dual Density Gel Saddle, Mens, DDM-200

Update:

This saddle was comfortable but it was a little too bouncy for my taste on Mountie. Continental Town & Country tires wrap Mountie’s wheels; these offer enough suspension so that the Serfas cushioning wasn’t needed. Being a road rider for decades I’m accustomed to road saddles so I swapped this out for a Selle Q-Bik sitting in my bike box that worked just fine.

Original Post:

I just put this saddle on Mountie, my commuting bike, and I’ll report back on it in a couple of weeks. I had been using an old Trek sprung saddle because I wanted the comfort and shock absorption for the roads I take since I don’t have a suspension post. I bought this one at REI after reading the specs and the reviews. The Trek worked well, but I found that the short nose and its width caused chafing on longer rides. I’m hoping this one’s construction and shape makes for more enjoyable riding at all distances.

Bell Night Shield Seat Post Light Battery Replacement

Bell Night Shield

I’ve been using this seat post light for a couple of years now and it works day after day. I usually save all my manuals but for some reason misplaced this one and I had to spend a little time figuring out how to change the dying batteries. It just required a penny that fits into a slot at the base, a twist, fresh AAA batteries and then replacement of the cover. The light has a yellow gasket that runs around the perimeter of the light; make sure you don’t lose it when you take the cover off and make sure it’s in place when putting the cover back on. After I completed the change I found this post on eHow.

Trikes

Desoto Trike

When my mother, 83, told me she was in the market for a trike, I was happy. While she walks unassisted, her hip hurts, but she wants to get in a little more daily exercise. She heard that a basic trike was available from mass merchandisers like Walmart, but I felt that there must be a better selection available. After some research I found Industrial Bicycles which carries a variety of industrial trikes for use in warehouses and specialized applications, tandem trikes, trikes for carrying kids, recumbents, and a special line for seniors. We haven’t finalized the decision yet, but I hope to within the next couple of weeks. I was really struck by their affordability – a few hundred dollars, and they encourage customers to call so that they can assess their needs and recommend the right model. Trikes are delivered fully assembled, taking out the need for a handyman or bike shop to be involved. They come with baskets, which makes them convenient for light shopping and running errands, a variety of seats, and wheel sizes. Definitely worth checking out, if only for curiousity.