Paul Dorn Interview

Paul Dorn of “Bike Commuting Tips” fame was featured in today’s Sacramento Bee. From the article:

Over the years, by accident and happenstance, the once-non-cycling Dorn has become an expert, advocate and adviser on all things bicycles, but especially bike commuting.

And it all started when he ditched his car 17 years ago.

“That’s the last time I ever owned a car,” says Dorn, marketing director for campus recreation at the University of California, Davis.

A Boston transplant living in San Francisco at the time, Dorn began riding his bike to work.
“It actually cut down on the time it took to get to my job. I was enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. It was great,” he said.

Read the full article in the Sacramento Bee
Paul Dorn’s Bike Commuting Tips
The Bike to Work Guide, by Paul Dorn

Rack ‘em

If you’re serious about replacing your car with a bike, you’ll need some way to carry stuff. A rear rack and a pair of panniers is a good place to start, but eventually you’ll probably need more carrying capacity. Here are a few ways to increase the carrying capacity of a bike:

  • Handlebar bags, baskets, and rack trunks are simple additions that can increase carrying capacity by 20% or more.
  • Front cargo racks can easily double the carrying capacity of a bike.
  • The ultimate cargo add-on is the Xtracycle Free Radical Kit, though it increases the wheelbase of the host bike which can be problematic for commuters.

Fully dedicated, production cargo bikes like the Big Dummy, Yuba Mundo, and Dutch Bakfiets are able to carry the largest and heaviest loads, though standard bikes with front and rear racks can carry a surprising amount and may be more versatile for everyday use than their cargo-specific counterparts.

The two bikes pictured above are a Civia Loring (right) and a modified Surly LHT. The Civia comes ready-to-go from the factory with a rear rack and a front cargo rack. The LHT is sporting an aftermarket Tubus “Cargo” rear rack and a front cargo rack from Pass & Stow. Both bikes are capable of carrying fairly substantial loads if packed and loaded carefully.

Awww, Portland

Rush hour on the Hawthorne Bridge. Gotta’ love Portland!


Roseville Bike Rally

To kick off “May Is Bike Month“, our hometown of Roseville, CA is hosting their first ever “Roseville Bike Rally” on Friday, May 1st, from 4:00pm-7:00pm at John Piches Park in Roseville. The free event will include a casual, family-oriented bike ride at 4:30 followed by a spaghetti dinner served from 5:00-6:30. There will also be entertainment, prizes, and local bike shops on hand. It looks to be a fun event!

More Information
Roseville Bikeways Website
Map to John Piches Park

Planet Bike Escape Pod

Rack trunks are cool. They’re convenient to get into, they fit almost any rack, and they don’t increase the width of the bike — a nice feature for commuters using transit and storing their bikes in tight quarters. Plus, hard-shell trunks offer the advantage of being water-resistant/waterproof and many are lockable.

I’ve been playing around with Planet Bike’s “Escape Pod” and I really like it. It’s a simple hard-shell trunk with a clasp on each side, a padded internal bottom, and an internal cargo net. It comes with a built-in lock and two keys, and the PB logo on the back is reflective safety material. Installation was easy and took all of about 5 minutes. There are other, more sophisticated hard-shell trunks on the market (at double the price), but the Escape Pod is perfect for daily rides back-and-forth from the office or errands in the neighborhood. Overall, it’s a really nice product at a great price.

Planet Bike Escape Pod

Violet Crown Cycles

I’d like to introduce a new builder out of Austin, Texas, and our latest sponsor, Violet Crown Cycles. Violet Crown builds beautiful, custom city bikes modeled after classic Roadsters and Dutch city bikes, with fenders, chain guards, internally geared hubs, heavy-duty racks, and dynamo lighting systems as standard features. Each lugged-steel frame is hand-built in Austin by Elliott McFadden and is sized to the owner’s physique. A wide variety of colors and options are available. Prices start at $2750.

From the press release:

AUSTIN, TX- Austin based bicycle builder Violet Crown Cycles launched this week accepting orders online for the Ferguson, their line of custom city bikes hand built and tailored to customer’s bodies and tastes.

“With volatility in the fuel prices, global warming, and an economic downturn, people are looking for a lower cost, greener alternative to the automobile,” said Elliott McFadden, the owner and framebuilder at Violet Crown Cycles. “The Ferguson line provides you with an extremely practical choice in a very stylish package.”

Modeled after the classic Dutch city bike and English roadster, the Ferguson is designed from the drawing board with transportation as it primary purpose. Features such as fenders, chain guard, internally geared shifting and brakes, dynamo powered lights, and a heavy duty rack are all standard features on the Ferguson with frame locks and a variety of pannier bags as options.

“In America more often than not racing inspired bikes are equipped with a mishmash of components like fenders and racks and called utility, urban, or commuter,” McFadden continued. “It does not have to be that way. You can have a bike that puts you in a comfortable, visible and dignified seating position and also includes all the features that make riding a bike for transportation practical.”

Currently, Dutch style city bikes are difficult to obtain, only available from a few importers with limited sizes and colors. The Violet Crown Cycles Ferguson line takes all the great features of Dutch style city bikes to the next level with fully customized, hand built frames made in the U.S.A. Higher quality chromoly steel is used in the frames for a lighter, more sprightly ride, and buyers can customize their bike with higher quality components, a wide selection of colors, and color matched parts.

“You can now have a great functioning city bike that matches your body and your style,” McFadden concluded. “The Ferguson is an elegant combination of fashion and function. Consider it the last city bike you’ll ever own!”

Fully custom Ferguson city bikes start at $2750 and can be ordered online. Sample bikes can be seen weekly on Saturday mornings at the Sunset Valley Farmers Market in Austin. Violet Crown Cycles will be holding a launch party open to the public on Sunday, May 31, 4- 6 PM at Mother Egan’s Irish Pub, 715 West 6th Street in Austin with a social ride afterwards starting at 6 PM. There will be sample bikes to view, door prizes, and a free raffle for cycling stuff.

View the full press release [PDF] →
Visit Violet Crown Cycles

Civia Interview at Bike Hugger

Bike Hugger’s latest “Huggacast” features an interview with PJ Ramstack of Civia.

Check it out @ Bike Hugger

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