Started out this morning teaching 3 hours of the LAB TS101 bike education course. Due to rain and other issues we postponed the parking lot drills & road test until next month. I’m holding the class again on Saturday March 20th, 10am – 3pm, mark your calendars! After class I had the opportunity to ride the Kona UTE cargo bike that I mentioned in an earlier post. I also put down a mile or so on a Kona Dew Drop bike. As I mentioned in my road bike dilemma post I like the “ride anywhere” possibilities of a mountain bike but sometimes want the fast road bike experience. The Dew Drop seems to be an interesting compromise. Kona categorizes it under their “Asphalt” bike category but to me it looks very road bike-ish with a few differences. a) Disc Brakes, I love disc brakes. b) Clearance for very wide 700c tires, upwards of 45mm likely. It’s also built very sturdy, so I assume could take a good amount of abuse. Not so light compared to a road or cross bike, but maybe… I don’t really have the $ to spend on it right now.
Anyway, now that I own a cargo bike, I feel like I need to come up with any reason to use it. If you have one, please share it! It’s got a big ass pvc laminated cargo bag on one side and a fairly large wooden deck. I’m definitely riding it to kickball next Friday and loading some ice & beverages into the cargo bag as I’m pretty sure it can double as a cooler!
A new community based bicycle service center is opening in Mesa on Sunday February 21st. They’re located at 714 E. Brown Road #103 in the warehouse behind Buchanan’s Music Store. Bob, the founder, has been running the operation out of his garage for awhile now, but he’s recently secured a space and applied for 501c3 non profit status. Congrats to Bob & We-Cycle. I wish them well. It’s good to have another co-op in the valley. Bob doesn’t have his shop hours worked out quite yet, so best to call him if you’re interested in visiting after Sunday (his # is below). Here’s a quick rundown of the co-op type operations in the valley that I know off the top of my head:
Bike Saviours in Tempe
601 W. University in the back warehouse of Sunset Clothing Exchange
Rusty Spoke in Phoenix
1301 NW Grand Avenue at Fractal
Karmaracer in Mesa
Located on Baseline Road east of Arizona Avenue (Call them for exact location)
We-Cycle in Mesa (website forthcoming)
714 E Brown Road #103 at Brown & Horne
Contact Bob at 602-516-0002 for more information
Prior to pulling a pedicab, I was a slow cadence pedal-er, probably in the 60 rpm range. I was lucky to average 16mph over 5+ miles if I pushed myself. I preferred to spin slowly in a higher gear in a more anaerobic fashion. This probably stemmed from my riding a 6 speed beach cruiser for many years. Since I’ve begun pedicabbing, my cadence has increased. I now prefer an 80+ rpm cadence and I can ride 1-2mph faster on average with no additional effort. It also seems that I find myself riding with more intensity and I certainly don’t coast as much as I used to, it’s given me some drive to just keep pedaling, that’s for sure.
Moral? If you want to become a better bicyclist, become a pedicabber. And if you happen to be interested in training with a loaded pedicab, get in touch, I can make it happen.
I pedaled around Papago Park today a bit, man am I out of shape, not muscularly, but cardiovascularly. It’s amazing how quickly one’s lung capacity (Vo2?) can increase or decrease with regular exercise or lack thereof. I’m assuming most know, but for those who dont, I own and operate a pedicab company with my business partner, Mike. We’re pedicabbing the Phoenix Open from Feb 22nd to Feb 28th. Should be a unique and fun experience, but it’s been a month or so since I’ve been on the pedicab regularly and I need to whip my lungs into shape, fast! Pedicabbing is definitely more aerobic than anaerobic, it requires good lung capacity and endurance. I’m going to try and ride Papago 3 times next week in the afternoons. Hopefully by the 22nd my chest doesn’t feel like there’s a 16lb bowling ball sitting on it when I’m sucking in air.
P.S. Is anyone other than those getting paid to do so, really going to call it the “Waste Management” open?
Can you really ever own too many bikes? I don’t think so. I actually didn’t purchase a whole bike, just 1/3 of it. The Bicycle Cellar, fellow TBAG board member Joe Perez and I each went in 33.3% on a 2009 Kona UTE cargo bike . I’ve always wanted a cargo bike, but I just couldn’t justify the cost to purchase one. Sharing ownership of a cargo bike with a few other folks makes perfect sense. We’ll primarily be storing the bike at The Bicycle Cellar and here’s hoping our plans for using the bike don’t conflict. The other cool thing we’re doing, is making the bike available for rent! So if you’re looking to rent a cargo bike, you’ll soon be able to do so at The Bicycle Cellar.
I’m really looking forward to riding this bike when it arrives. It will be the first long wheelbase bike I’ve ridden, except for stretch cruisers. I’m very curious how the gearing will feel. I found it interesting that Kona chose to outfit the bike with double instead of a triple up front, opting for a bashguard instead of a 3rd chain ring. Do they suspect that someone will be log jumping a cargo bike? Their choice of gearing up front is also interesting, a 26/36 instead of a more common 22/32 or 24/34 mountain gearing. The rear cassette is an 8 speed 11 – 32. I’ll post a review of the bike after I’ve spent some time with it. I plan on taking it to the Phoenix Public Market one Wednesday to pick up some produce after it arrives.
I really need to use my mountain bike for it’s intended purpose more often. Earlier last week I was posting details about the Traffic Skills 101 class I’m teaching on various local Facebook bicycling groups. While doing so, I came across a photographer looking for a bicyclist to photograph in various action shots for a photography class project. I offered to be a subject in exchange for taking some staged photos for the p0werpoint I’m putting together for the TS101 class. After throwing down some quick turns, quick stops and rock dodge maneuvers in ASU’s lot 59, we headed over to Papago Park. Said photographer was looking to do some shutter speed experiments. I scouted Papago for some spots which included fast downhills and a place to catch some air. We pulled off some decent shots, and while I wouldn’t say I’m unskilled on off-road terrain, I’m certainly not as comfortable as I’d like to be. There are some fun singletrack trails around the buttes of Papago, which if ridden smoothly, can offer quite a roller coaster type ride. I should really make an effort to ride some off-road terrain once a week.
Last night my GF and I biked to the light rail stop at Apache & 101, rode it to Central & Van Buren and then biked 1/4 mile to the Phoenix Public Market’s open air market on Central and Pierce. The open air market is open Wednesdays from 4pm – 8pm and Saturday’s from 8am – 1pm. Picked up some great veggies including some heirloom cherry size tomatoes which are tasty enough to eat by themselves. Also made a stop at BreadFruit for some authentic Jamaican food, very tasty. They make the spiciest Jerk chicken I’ve ever had. If you like hibiscus tea, try the Sorrel drink made with hibiscus and ginger.
Two side notes, you can use a credit/debit card at the market, very handy for someone who rarely deals in cash. Also, I still think the bike rack situation on METRO light rail is less than optimal, it’s just not very user friendly and is difficult for the average person to load & unload their bike. I can’t imagine using it when the rail cars are at half capacity or greater.