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Riding the Bike Friday Family Tandem

Happy Monday Tuesday Bike Commuters! I tried finishing this post yesterday but I had a crazy Monday so here is your Monday post on a Tuesday.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my purchasing experience of a Bike Friday Family Tandem. Today’s post is about my first impression of how it rides (something that a few of you have asked), how it collapses and the overall experience of riding a tandem bicycle.

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So far the wife and I have ridden the tandem 3 times for a total of 34 miles. Yeah, that is chump change for most of us but remember that my significant other does not know how to ride a bike and this is a totally new experience for her. What is the first thing we all complain when we started riding or when we start riding again from not having ridden in a bit? Your ass gets sore. My wife’s main complaint was her rear end being sore and after 3 saddles and multiple adjustments, we found a sweet spot for her butt.

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Twenty inch folding bikes tend to be a little twitchy when you ride them due to their short wheelbase, riding a 20″ inch tandem is no different; any little input from either myself or my wife will make the bike a little unstable. I just have to make sure that I am in constant communication with my wife to avoid any sudden movements when we are about to turn or when we are riding downhill fast.

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I was a little concerned about the bike’s frame’s flex, yes, there is some due to the couplers but nothing too extreme, in fact, the frame’s flex makes the ride really comfortable. So how fast is it? Not fast, but I have to keep telling myself that I’m not in any type of competition and it is all about enjoying the ride with my wife. How well does it climb? Surprisingly good. The gearing allowed us to tackle a short 5% ascent with ease.

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One biggest reason why I bought this particular bike was because it can be “collapsed” into something that can easily be transported in my 4 door sedan. I must admit that this part kind of sucks since it takes about 10-15 minutes to assemble/dis-assemble the bike but paying the extra grand for the folding feature was not in my budget. Other than that, the bike fits in perfectly inside my car with the seats folded down since I don’t take the bike fully apart.

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Here is my favorite part of owning and riding the Bike Friday Family Tandem: I spend quality time doing something I love with someone I love. I does not matter if I’m not beating my Strava speed records or if I am not riding 50 milers, it is the fact that I get to ride to some of my favorite breakfast spots with my wife.

Showers Pass Gravel Shorts Review

Hello Bike Commuters!!! This week we have the full review of the Showers Pass Gravel shorts that I featured a couple of months ago. These shorts have pretty much become my “go-to” shorts for mountain biking, bike commuting, train riding, tandem riding, cyclocross riding, hiking and drinking beer.

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Disclaimer: Showers Pass sent us the shorts free of charge so we can give you an honest and unbiased review. You can also read our FTC Disclaimer here.

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I’d mentioned that these shorts did not come with a chamois liner, turns out that this was actually a good thing because I was able use the shorts for other activities besides cycling. Cool thing about these shorts is that then don’t really look like your typical baggy mountain biking shorts and they are not as tight as lycra so they look cool on and off the bike.

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The shorts are made of breathable stretch fabric with additional cooling vents at the thighs which came in handy on hot days. Another favorite feature of mine are the pockets which are secured with velcro, I don’t have to worry about my cellphone or keys flying out when I am riding.

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Do I have any complaints about these shorts? None whatsoever, I highly recommend them.

Buying a Bike Friday Family Tandem Traveler

Hello and welcome to The Bike Geek’s weekly cycling post. This week I am going to share my experience of purchasing a Tandem bicycle sight unseen and making my decision based on the manufacturer’s reputation. But before I start, I want to make it clear that Bike Friday did not in any way compensated me nor gave me a “pro deal” on this tandem.

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So how do you share your passion for cycling with a significant other who does not even know how to ride a bike? You purchase a tandem! You may have noticed that tandem bicycles are usually classified as “specialty” bikes so there are not many choices out there. Full size tandems are also bulky, heavy, take a lot of room and not easy to transport so that is why I went with the Bike Friday Family Tandem traveler. The Family Tandem has 20″ wheels, it is rather light and it can be quickly disassembled for storage and transportation.

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Bike Friday has two choices when it comes to tandems; the cheaper Bike Friday Family Tandem which “collapses” with the use of an Allen wrench and the Bike Friday Tandem Two’sDay. The latter being a folding tandem and about a grand more.

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Ordering my Bike Friday Family Tandem was easy; I simply visited Bike Friday’s website, clicked on the “Build this bike” button, chose my components and clicked on “Reserve Date”. A day later I received an email from Bike Friday and I got in contact with one of their sales persons who went over my order, took my payment and placed the order. A quick note about the payment: The payment is made in full, you don’t put a “down payment” and then pay the rest when the bike ships. This was aI little unnerving but again, I was relying on Bike Friday’s reputation as a bike maker.

I placed my order on July 21st and my bike did ship on the “Reserve Date” of September 2nd, meanwhile, there were no updates in between and I did have to email Bike Friday to confirm that my bike was indeed being shipped on promised date. They quickly replied confirming that my bike was going to ship and a Fedex Tracking number was going to be provided which I did receive via email. I do understand that Bike Friday is busy making bikes, but I would have felt better if a couple updates would have been communicated to me regarding the progress of my bike.

Here is a tip if you are thinking of purchasing a Bike Friday: Get on their email list. As my bike was being built, I received a couple of emails with “special offers” if you buy a Bike Friday, none of these “special offers” were retroactive to when I purchased my bike which was a bit of a bummer. Also, it does not hurt to ask your salesperson if they have any special offers.

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My Bike Friday Family Tandem arrived 3 days after it shipped since California is right underneath Oregon, I was really excited when it arrived so I opened the box to inspect the bike which was really well packed and protected.

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Overall, I am very satisfied with the purchase, my wife and I took the Tandem on its maiden voyage and it did not disappoint.

The Bike Geek: Stuff that works

Greetings fellow bike people! I am back with my weekly post, yes I know, I skipped last week’s post but with a good reason: My post sucked. After reading it a few times, I didn’t think my post was good enough for this wonderful blog. Yes, even BikeCommuters.com has standards.

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It has been nearly 5 months since I re-started riding to work after a few years of making excuses on why I could not ride my bike to work. The bike-train solution has been working OK for me, I just wish I had more biking time and the train service would be more reliable.

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When I first started my comeback, I was looking for all kinds of bike commuter stuff such as a bike, clothing, accessories and gadgets. I started with a Devinci Caribou 2 touring bike that serve me well. The bike was comfortable, agile and very versatile. Did I mention that I only paid $250 for it? Yup, only $250. As luck may have it, I found a rare Spicer Cycles CX for even cheaper at $200, this was a price that I just could not pass up. You are probably tired of reading that Cyclocross are my favorite type of commuter bikes, they still are 🙂

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I also had the good fortune that BikeCommuters.com has an excellent relationship with 2Wheel Gear and they just happened to release their new Pannier Backpack convertible. I still use this Pannier/Backpack and I still believe that it is a great pannier/backpack for multi modal commuting and the price is really hard to beat.

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I also bought a few “bike commuter” specific jerseys and a bunch of “high performance” jerseys from a big box retailer. These high performance jerseys were a fourth of the price and they have exceeded my expectations by being durable, fashionable and very breathable. I am also able to use these jerseys in the office with a pair of Jeans, a total win-win.

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To compliment the “look”, the DZR Minna shoes that I just received from DZR will also do double duty. I had a pair of DZR shoes before and they worked rather well with my clipless pedals and they look like “regular” shoes.

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Some of the stuff that did not quite work were the fitness bands, the Axiom DLX Streamliner rack, my smartphone doubling as bike computer and the hi-viz jacket.

I am pretty happy with all of my commuter stuff but I’m still missing something: A bag/pannier that will keep my lunch cool. I think I’m gonna turn this into a DIY project, stay tuned for that.

The Bike Geek: Regrets, I had a few

Hello Bike Commuters, welcome to your weekly FREE post from The Bike Geek, yes, I said FREE!!! Unlike NetZero, your weekly post will remain free forever with a few shout outs to our friends from 2WheelGear, Burley, NiteRider, Shower Pass and Wabi Cycles. These companies are awesome, so check out their stuff whenever you have a chance.

So by now you should have an idea that I love to change bikes like I change underwear, in fact, I change bikes more often that I change underwear! Long gone is the Davinci Caribou 2 and the Giant TCR SLR2 and now I have the Spicer Cycles CX and a Bianchi Impulso. Why do I change bikes so much? Because I love to experience riding all sorts of bikes; each bike has its own characteristics and personality.

However, there are times that I’ve said to myself “Self, you are a dumbass, you should not have gotten rid of that bike”. Here are few of the bikes that I regret getting rid of:

My Ibex X-Ray Cyclocross bike. This was my first ever cyclocross bicycle that I used for commuting back in 2008. This bike was unique, it was comfortable, it was agile and I configured it as a single speed and then later as a 1X9.

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I still keep kicking myself in the ass for getting rid of this bike. This is a KHS F20-R Folding bicycle. Don’t judge this bike by its size, I used to be able to keep up with the “big boys” on this little bike. It was also very versatile and lightweight at 22lbs. I really wished I had this bike now; it would be perfect for my bike-train commute.

The Ibex B27-RSR, yup, another Ibex. Check out that frame, not very common, it was great for commuting as well as a mountain biking. My Ibex B27-RSR also featured the first version of the DaVinci Hub and wild SweetSkinz tires.

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One thing that sucks about living in a condo is the lack of storage space. The DiamondBack Transporter with the Xtracycle Freeradical was truly one of my favorite bikes. I used it for commuting, mountain biking, grocery shopping and to haul my kids around on Halloween. I was sad to see it go, but the person who got it from me had a little boy who really loved the thrill of riding in the back of this thing.

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And lastly, the KHS DH200 from back in the days when I used to race downhill. This bike was built like an effing tank and I used to plow through rock gardens like nothing. I used to joke that when I raced thru the gnarly stuff I closed my eyes, said a prayer and let the bike do its thing, this bike did not let me down. Too bad I had to retire from downhill racing so it was hard to justify having a bike that would get used once a year.

How about you? Any bikes you regret getting rid of?