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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.

Garmin Vivoactive review

Hello Bike commuters, roadies, mountain bikers and anyone who found this post via Google. I hope you all had a great labor day weekend, I know I did.

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A little while ago I wrote a post about fitness bands but even though I found the Moov to be the most adequate for cycling, it was not fulfilling all of my cycling and hiking needs. A few friends recommended the Garmin Vivofit Active so I bit the bullet and I plunked $179 for one.

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So what made me spend more than twice than what a fitness bands costs? The Garmin Vivoactive’s features:

-Utra-thin GPS smartwatch with a sunlight-readable, high-resolution color touchscreen.
-Built-in sports apps, including GPS-enabled running, biking and golfing plus swimming and activity tracking¹, let you view your stats even when away from your phone.
-Pairs with your smartphone to gently vibrate and display alerts for incoming calls, texts, emails and calendar items plus notifications from social media and other mobile apps.
-Customizable with free watch face designs, widgets and apps.
-Fast Battery charge lasts through all your activities with up to 3 weeks6 in watch/activity tracking mode or up to 10 hours using GPS
-Easily sends all your ride stats to Strava once your activity has been completed saving your smartphone’s battery.
-Keeps track of your indoor activities such as indoor cycling and running

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I also like Garmin’s app; the amount of data that I can have at my fingertips is quite a bit and I love data:

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I also opted for the heart rate monitor and the handlebar mount:
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Is there anything that I did not like about the Garmin Vivoactive? Yes, it is hard to see indoors unless you use the backlight and some of the faces have very small letters that make it impossible to read if you need reading glasses.

Overall, I do recommend the Garmin Vivoactive for cycling and hiking. I know that there is a newer version that eliminates the use of the HR strap but you will have to shell out $70 to $100 more.

The Bike Geek: Promotion

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Hello everyone, how do you like the new look? BikeCommuters.com needed a little sprucing up and I finally got the green light from the new boss to get it done.

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Yes, BikeCommuters.com has a new boss: Me. Although I was one of the original co-founders of this site, I lost my bike mojo and I stopped bike commuting and bike riding altogether and stepped away from this site for about five years.

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As you can see, my bike mojo is back and I have been given the opportunity to have full control of the site as RL goes in a sabbatical to find out what is better: road cycling or mountain biking. (Although we all know that cyclocross is the answer).

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So what is next? Other than the new look, I will still focus on bike-train commuting but I will include roadie stuff, technology that focuses on cycling and maybe some mountain biking.

Although the costs to run this site are not significant, the site will keep its model of being funded by paid sponsors and affiliates which means no budget for paid writers.

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Want to become a pro bono writer? Just send me an email at thebikegeek at bikecommuters.com. I also welcome guest articles, reviews or counterpoints to some the stuff that I write.

So unless you want for this blog to become part of a bicycle shop, keep visiting us and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Bike Geek: Our little secret

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Welcome back fellow bike commuters, today’s post does not have anything to do with bike commuting, trains nor cyclecross bikes; today’s post is all about my Bianchi Impulso road bike that received quite a few likes on Facebook.

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Although I have ridden Giant bicycles for most of my roadie life, the Bianchi brand and its Celeste color has always captivated me. Yes, the color can be a love it or hate it thing, but that Celeste green is quite iconic and anyone who knows about the Tour de France knows that the great Pantani was a Bianchi rider.

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So back in March I got a hair up my butt and I decided that I wanted a Bianchi bicycle to celebrate losing 30 lbs, so that meant that I had to let go of my Giant TCR SLR 2. I found a buyer and my quest to get the Bianchi began. I must have visited 6 different shops looking for the Bianchi with the right fit and the right components, and yes, it had to be in Celeste color. Believe it or not, the Celeste color is quite desirable and most of the bikes that I wanted were sold out for the year, yes, the year.

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Here is our little secret: My Bianchi Impulso is a chick’s bike. Yes, you read that right, I ride a Dama model. Here’s Bianchi’s little secret: other than the Dama sticker, a women specific saddle and subtle differences on the sticker scheme, this bike is EXACTLY the same as the men’s model. Look it up if you don’t believe me, the geometry specs are the same.

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The bike shop where I got it from were really forthcoming about this bike and even though I kind of hesitated at the beginning, a $100 discount helped me made up my mind. So unless you really know your Bianchi models, you would never guess that I ride a girls bike.

Five reasons why you should go mountain biking in Tenerife

When it comes to mountain biking, Tenerife has a strong claim to the title, ‘King of the Canary Islands.’ The island’s relatively compact geographical area works only to its advantage, as you don’t have to travel far between areas to find all kinds of biking routes. From winding mountain roads to forest trails to coastal tracks, there is plenty of exciting terrain to choose from.

So, whether you’re looking for a fun way to spend a day on your holidays in Tenerife, or you plan to spend the entire trip exploring on two wheels, you won’t be disappointed. Here are five reasons why the biggest Canary Island is a fantastic place to go mountain biking:

1.The weather won’t let you down

With little variation between summer and winter, Tenerife is warm all year round, so you don’t have to worry about encountering foul weather. Even in the winter months, rain is minimal. The south and the west are the warmest regions, but of course, on Mount Teide, you can expect colder weather and even snow in winter. After all, it is 3,555 metres high!

2.Good views are guaranteed

No matter where you go mountain biking on Tenerife, you’ll encounter incredible views. The north, however, is where you will find some of the most breath-taking, rugged mountain scenery.

The Esperanza forest area is one of the most popular amongst mountain bikers. The trails will take you through gorgeous pine forests, and any uphill climb will end in a worthwhile view over the surrounding area.

3.You don’t need to be a pro to enjoy the best routes

For the more recreational cyclist, the forests in the Vilaflor area in the south of the island are a great place to start out. The trails are wide, the terrain good, and there are few steep inclines. Vilaflor is the perfect place to take the family if you want to go biking with the kids.

Less experienced riders can also take advantage of the island’s bike tour operators, if you’d rather travel with a guide. Lavatrax and Bike Point are two of the most popular operators, offering days out on a range of routes, with bike hire included.

4.If you’re seeking a challenge, you’ll find it

You shouldn’t mistake Tenerife for a tourist-only cycling destination. If you’re an experienced mountain biker and you want to challenge yourself, you could take the winding road to La Masca. This tiny village is nestled high on a mountainside, and it is one of the most picturesque locations on the whole island.

You’ll start the route in Santiago del Teide, in the west of the island. The steep, narrow road to the top is not for the feint hearted, but Masca is worth the ascent.

5.You can cycle to the top of Spain’s highest peak

Most levels of cyclist can manage the route to the summit of El Teide. Despite being the highest mountain in Spain, the trail is not too steep. Cycling is a fun alternative to climbing the mountain on foot. If summiting the peak isn’t enough, you can explore the surrounding Teide National Park by bike as well.

Where are your favourite mountain biking holiday destinations? Let us know in the comments below!

Image by cédric used under Creative Commons licence.