Xtracycle Gallery

For the bicycle enthusiast and collector, there are a number of owner-submitted bicycle galleries on the Web — bikes from all walks of life. There’s Fixed Gear Gallery, Cyclofiend, Velospace, Campy Only’s “Retro Gallery” (and other categories), BMX Museum, Old Ten Speed Gallery, even our very own Rate My Bicycle. See, there’s something for just about everyone out there…

And now, from the fertile mind of John Garrish, author of “Grrsh on Bikes, Mostly“, comes my new favorite — Xtracycle Gallery.


In just a few short weeks, John has rounded up over 130 unique and wonderful Xtracycles (mine is #116) to share via photos and brief descriptions. If you’re an Xtracycle fan, you should check it out; it can be a great resource to get ideas for mods. Bravo, John, for putting together this fun collection for the Xtracycle community!

Bicycle Bash by the Bay 2008: A Photographic Tour

The 2008 Bicycle Bash by the Bay was held today at Vinoy Park in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. The weather was gorgeous, the crowds were thick and the enthusiasm for all things bicycle was strong and friendly. Of course, was there to tell folks about our website, meet fellow commuters and give away some goodies provided by our wonderful site sponsors KHS Bicycles and the good folks at Xtracycle. We gave away literally HUNDREDS of flyers, “Gas Sucks” stickers, stickers, KHS and Xtracycle catalogs, Hillsborough County Bike Maps and a variety of other pamphlets, pens and literature, and we spoke to hundreds of bike fans of all types. Great times were had by all!

For those of you unable to attend, I shot a bunch of photos and a couple videos to share so that you can experience this event “virtually”. Let’s proceed, shall we?

My partner for the day was Terry Eagan, fellow librarian and employee of the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission. He was chosen by his agency to represent sister agency Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization. Terry was extremely helpful and friendly and helped get the word out, allowing me to wander the event, schmoozing with friends and strangers alike for most of the day.


Check out some of the crowd — bicycles and bicyclists of all types…recumbents, roadies, fixed-gears, ratrods, choppers, trikes, BMX bikes and mountain bikers galore:


Here’s a wide shot of the enormity of this event — 70+ tents, thousands of visitors (estimated at 3000 or more):


Vendors were varied this year…everything from bike shops to component manufacturers, advocacy groups, regional transportation planning agencies, bike clubs and co-ops. Here we see the lovely ladies of The St. Pete Skirts, fixed gear badasses and incredible vegan bakers:


Right next door we have the Tampa Bike Co-op. The Co-op volunteers did seminars and demos throughout the day, from repairs to loaded bike touring. They were selling really incredible t-shirts to raise funds for the Co-op, and I was happy to add one to my shirt collection. Here they are fixing bikes and telling folks how they can do it themselves:


Here’s another one of the Co-op demos — this one the finer points of loading bicycle touring. This demo drew quite a crowd, and they had a sweet tourer to show off:


Manny Sierra of Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium chatted up passerby and did some bike tuneups of his own. CBE is my absolute favorite bike shop in the Tampa Bay area — they’re super-friendly, talented and knowledgeable. They have a really good understanding of the needs of bicycle commuters, as many of the employees there are out mixin’ it up with traffic every day.


Next to them, we’ve got the cool folks and ultra-badass wheels of American Classic. American Classic’s headquarters is right down the street from my house…too bad they don’t give “good neighbor” discounts!

am classic

Here’s the line for the St. Petersburg Bike Rodeo program. These folks gave away hundreds of bicycle helmets to kids in attendance today…each one with a personalized fitting. Bravo, Bike Rodeo!


The custom-printed jerseys were a gigantic hit at the Bash. We were asked dozens of times if we had any for sale, and were asked to get some made pronto in sizes all the way up to XXL. We’re sitting on a fashion goldmine, folks! Here, the boys from model these awesome jerseys…comfortable on a hot and breezy day — we’re bringin’ sexy back:

(Thanks, Moe, for the wicked “One Speed” socks…another big hit)

Speaking of sexy, my wife and son came over and spent most of the day with us. Leah helped out a bunch, chatting up visitors, fetching lunch for us and passing out stickers and flyers. She’s a dedicated bike commuter, too, so advocating for us came naturally:


I brought the Recycletron 1000 to display — man, the Xtracycle was a HUGE hit with this crowd. We gave away dozens of Xtracycle catalogs and literally hundreds of business cards. Folks had a million questions and most came away convinced to add one of these to their lives. Xtracycles sell themselves, really, but the real thrills came when I took my son out for loops around the park — we were being stopped every 20 feet or so to answer questions and we received lots of smiles and thumbs-up. One of the shops had a Kona Ute under their tent…and it languished all day in the shade. Xtracycle ruled this day! People were truly excited by the prospect of hauling groceries, children and anything else aboard an Xtracycle.


Toward the end of the day, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker made an appearance and spoke to the gathered bike throngs. This guy is SERIOUS about making St. Pete a truly bike-friendly city, and he’s made tremendous progress in getting things done there. I had a chance to speak with him during his tour of the event, and he’s very personable, passionate and dedicated to bicycling as a valid transportation alternative. Kudos, Mayor — you rock!

Mayor Rick Baker

Here’s a Flip video I shot — one quick loop around the park. I’m calling out highlights as I see them, and you’ll be able to see what a huge event this was for the Tampa Bay area:

We’d like to thank site sponsors KHS and Xtracycle for sending goodies our way to distribute (we’ll be giving away some KHS “Gas Sucks” t-shirts and cycling socks soon…stay tuned for details) and Alan Snel and the shops of SWFBUD (Southwest Florida Bicycle United Dealers) for putting on this amazing event for its third year.

I hope you enjoyed this virtual “taste” of the Bicycle Bash. Perhaps we’ll see you next year?

Product feature: Xtracycle’s Magic Carpet

My DiamondBack Xtracycle serves me for 2 purposes; the first one is to do errands and the other one is to ride around with my children. When we saw the Xtracycle’s Magic Carpet at Interbike, I had to take one home. The Magic Carpet is made out of high density, closed-cell foam with a high visibility reflective strip around it.

The Magic Carpet is simple to install, just wrap it over your SnapDeck and you are ready to cruise!

Is it comfortable? Well, I wouldn’t really know since I’m the pilot, so here’s a little video of my 7 yr old briefly describing the Magic Carpet:

The Magic Carpet’s MSRP is $39, for those who carry passengers and don’t have DIY skills like myself, the Magic Carpet is totally worth it.

Bicycle Bash By The Bay — Next Week!

It’s only seven days away…the 2008 Tampa Bicycle Bash by the Bay.


If you’re in the Tampa Bay area, come on by…food, fun and bicycles galore. I’ll have a table with some goodies to give away from our site sponsors — maybe even some stuff to raffle off. I’ll also have the Recycletron 1000 on hand for those of you “on the fence” about getting an Xtracycle. If the mood strikes me or I drink enough beer, I might even offer rides on it…

See you next Sunday from 11:00-4:00. For those of you who won’t be able to make it, I’ll be taking photos and videos throughout the day and I’ll write up a “virtual tour” — it’ll be almost like being there in person!

Commuter Profile: Abhishek “Shek” Mukherjee

Meet Abhishek “Shek” Mukherjee, a faithful reader and commenter of and soon-to-be owner of an Xtracycle (his birthday present to himself — Happy Birthday, Shek!):


How long have you been a bike commuter?

Since 29 May 2008.

Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?

I started riding my bike to work and to other errands for fitness, health and reducing my carbon footprint. After being car-lite for a few weeks, I found a new motivation in being independent from cars. That is what drives me most now. My work commute is 2 miles one way. I come home for lunch, so I get almost 10 miles a day. I commute around 260 miles a month on my bike (and 170 in the car).

How does Bike Commuting help you with your lifestyle (economics, health, relationships)?

Bike commuting saves me $150 a month in gas money alone. (see details here: link ). I have lost some weight. I feel energized and ready-to-go when I get to work. I feel very active now. Overall, my quality of life has definitely gone up.


What do you do for a living and in what city do you bike commute?
I am a Logistics Engineer and work for a contract logistics company (3rd Party Logistics). I am not in IT.

I work and live in Jacksonville FL’s Edge City. It is the part of Jacksonville south of the river built around the JT Butler Blvd. primarily for office complexes. The commute to work is lined by manicured lawns and trees but no bike lanes. Housing in this area is in the form of large sub-divisions with winding roads. This whole part of town is very car-dependent (Walkscore gives it a whopping 28 out of 100). Oh, the joys of having suburbia within city limits!

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

I have a 12+ year old Specialized Rockhopper Comp that I bought from my friend. He bought it when he was a teenager and it has been sitting in his garage since then. The bike was well kept, has no rust and is sturdy as a rock. I have replaced the knobby tires with slick road tires. This bike is the work mule. It has plenty of low gearing to haul groceries in a difficult head wind. Once I sell my car, I may convert this to an Xtracycle or buy a complete long tail. Right now, my Banjo Brothers waterproof panniers do the job. A crate of 12 cans of dog food or a 12 pack of Heineken fits nicely on the bike’s rack. A bag of dry dog food is what I cannot carry yet. I am sure the Xtracycle will solve that. I also use this for my 5+ mile rides.


My other bike is an Amsterdam. It is an old city bike, probably from the 1960’s and 1970’s. It has a French flag on it but I dont know if it is French or Danish. It is an old-school single speed bike with a coaster brake. It is also my primary mode of commute to work. I wear business casuals on Mondays and Fridays and business formals (dress clothes and a tie, no jacket) on the other three days. This one lets me hop on the bike and go. I don’t have to be hunched over the handlebars and fold up my dress pants. I get a lot more respect on the road with this one than on the Specialized. I rarely get honked at. This bike has a generator on the front wheel and it powers the headlight and taillight. It is almost perfect for a short leisurely ride if you are not trying to break the sound barrier.


The 5 way OYB bag switches bikes depending on which one I ride. It holds my extra tubes (2 sizes, one for each bike), an adjustable wrench and a cloth napkin to wipe off sweat. I carry the wrench to fix a flat on the Amsterdam bike though I hope the rear tire does not get a flat. It is a big pain to remove. The panniers are exclusively for the Specialized. They come on only when I have to buy groceries or pick up clothes at the dry cleaners.

I recently bought a Solvit Trackr large dog trailer for my 60 Lb greyhound. Laya has begun to grow fond of it and it will be mostly used for trips to the vet or the dog park. It is a tight fit if she stands and she has not started to lay down in it yet. I recommend it for your pets.

more route

Any funny or interesting commuting story that you may want to share?

The people at the local Panera Bread were very amused to see my “Drink Beer Not Gas” T shirt (designed by my co-worker Matt Martin at Maybe the next time I will get a free souffle!

What do people (coworkers, friends) say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?

They thought I was crazy when I started riding to work. Most didn’t think I would last over a week. They gave me stories about bicycle crashes, motorist negligence and failed bicycle commuting attempts of other people, pretty much every play in the book to dissuade me. I even got a lot of resistance towards riding on the roads as opposed to sidewalks. Some still think that I impede traffic. They got a lot more supportive after the first two weeks of riding. I keep getting offered rides. Even the VP of my department has commended me for it. Motivated by my gas savings, a good friend and coworker got himself a bike and started commuting 3.5 miles on way. He has stopped for a while due to the uncertain rains and storms as he carries a laptop.

Now that I am getting close to going car-free, I get a lot of criticism. Friends and coworkers do not think that is possible. They ask me if I am going to start hunting for my own food too! I have a log ( ) of all the times I drove my car since going car-lite and I can do all of those by car-pooling, xtra-cycling and hiring a taxi.

almost there

How about bicycling advocacy? Are you active in any local or regional advocacy groups?

I participate in Bikejax. It is a blog hosted by Matt Uhrig in promoting bicycle commuting. There aren’t really any bicycle commuting advocacy groups in Jacksonville FL and I am not into racing and mountain biking.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

In my journey to commuting by bicycle, I am surprised to how dependent we have become towards the car. It is a very good convineance but we have made it a necessity. There lies my fundamental problem with cars that they are an expensive depreciating necessity. I hate to lift cars up in the ranks with shelter and electricity.

I recommend everyone to read the book “Divorce your Car” by Katie Alvord (editor’s note: I will be reviewing this book in the coming weeks). It is a fantastic history lesson explaining America’s dependency on oil and cars and suggests a lot of methods for living car-free or car-lite.
I also see a shortage of understanding with the general public that a bicycle can be used for commuting. Most are of the opinion that bicycles are for racing, mountain biking or just plain riding. The majority of people here in Jack-sprawl-ville do not understand that concept of riding your bike for something more meaningful like going to work and groceries and visiting friends! That is a big change in mindset and culture that I hope happens if we are to be truly independent.

We’d like to thank Shek for contributing his profile and his photographs. To get even MORE Shek, spin on over to Shek’s Crib…his own blog, links to his photos and a whole lot more.