Archive for May, 2006

Bring Back the Bikes

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006
Great escape   This photo is doctored but it’s indicative of the kind of riotous fun that will occur during the Bring Back the Bikes event at Revival Bar (783 College Street, Toronto) on Friday June 2nd. I met Matt Morrish at the Toronto Group Commute yesterday and he was so taken by the Coker penny-farthing that he’s arranged to use it in the active wear clothing fashion show for the Canadian Children’s Cycling Foundation.

The CCCF’s mandate is to raise money to purchase and distribute new and used bikes to inner city youth who cannot afford to do so.

Come out and support this worthwhile cause!

Group Commute and Pancake Breakfast

Monday, May 29th, 2006

This morning, Toronto celebrated Bike to Work Week with a group commute and pancake breakfast. The Community Cycling Organiser for the City of Toronto had contacted me about having some of my bikes involved.  Originally, it wasn’t clear who would be lined up to ride the bikes, but there was talk of various celebrities and politicians.

Shortly before the day, it was proposed that a three piece drag queen act called the B-Girlz would ride the couchbike and that we would commence the ride from the corner of Church and Alexander as part of a sub group called the Pride Ride. Aside from some mild anxiety about how this might impact my chances with the single ladies, I agreed that this sounded like fun.

Because of the transit strike, the B-Girlz were a little late in arriving, but eventually they emerged from a taxi in all their pink, lime and turquoise glory.

B-Girlz on the Couchbike

The start of the ride was mostly uphill.  I was concerned about how the girls would fair in climbing the steep slope, especially with their crazy high heels and the weight of the third one sitting in the middle, but they seemed to manage it with great ease.On the downhill section on Yonge Street, the girls were surrounded by vehicles from the media.  I was pretty nervous because there is a definite art to braking on the couchbike.  I knew from experience that if anything went wrong, we could have a really ugly situation on our hands.  In the video you can hear my nervous laugh as one of the B-Girlz suggests, “Let’s see how fast we can make this thing go”.  Fortunately, the B-Girlz once again impressed me with their skilled couch handling.  The video ends with a short photo op with Jack Layton and Olivia Chow.  

B-Girlz on the Couchbike with Olivia Chow and Jack Layton

The Bicycle Forest :: Pimp My Rhoades Car

The Bicycle Forest had grown to the point where we felt it was time to invest in a vehicle that we could use to get the message out about our BikeCAD bicycle design software and the wide array of specialty bicycles that we have available for rent.

Although we don't believe in psychoanalyzing people based on what vehicles they may or may not drive, we do believe that when a corporation selects a car or truck for promotional purposes, it is vital that it select a vehicle that captures the personality and spirit of the company.

Of course, the first vehicle that came to mind for us was the Hummer by General Motors. The enormous body panels would serve as moving billboards, brandishing the Bicycle Forest logo wherever we go. We found the possibility of winning customer support through vehicular intimidation particularly alluring. Furthermore, the opportunity to associate ourselves with the military industrial complex made the Hummer an obvious choice for the Bicycle Forest.

Admittedly, the 16" of ground clearance and the Hummer's water fording capabilities had us wondering if we'd be paying for features that we don't really need. Then, we learned that the Hummer has a curb weight of 8114 lbs. "Who were we kidding?" we thought. Obviously, we'd be paying for thousands of pounds more than we'd ever need. Clearly, our decision to purchase a Hummer would not be based on practicality. It would be to make a statement about our dominance in the bicycle design software and bicycle rental industries. It only seemed fitting that we should dominate the highways and byways of North America with the same might that we exert in our own business.

Vehicular intimidation

Unfortunately, once we learned of the Hummer's abysmal fuel economy, we simply could not reconcile owning such a vehicle with our concern for the environment.

We examined several other options. Some had exhaust that smelled like french fries, others had no emissions at all. We particularly liked the idea of a zero emissions vehicle, until we found that most of these cars ran on electricity or hydrogen. Although we applaud the development of all forms of alternative energy vehicles, and we are happy to see electricity being generated by more environmentally friendly means, we weren't thrilled about the idea of creating even more demand for electricity with the purchase of our Bicycle Forest promotional vehicle.

Rhoades Car The zero emissions vehicle that most impressed us was the Rhoades Car. Equipped with a butterfly steering wheel, marine grade vinyl seats and molded black mag wheels, the Rhoades Car is the most well appointed car in its class.

By eliminating the engine, the automotive engineers at Rhoades Car have created the most fuel efficient car in America. The only drawback is the top end speed. The Rhoades Car is not fast enough for freeway travel. We've come to accept this limitation. At the Bicycle Forest, we believe that in addition to making our existing modes of transportation more environmentally friendly, we must also strive to change our transportation patterns by driving less and using more public transportation. By adopting the Rhoades Car as our official company vehicle, we feel that we are doing our part by not only driving an environmentally friendly vehicle, but also by scaling back on driving in general.

Pimped out Rhoades Car If there was anything about the Rhoades Car that didn't entirely suit our corporate image it may be its lack of rugged styling. Although we are not farmers, or heavy machinery maintenance workers, we very much wanted to associate our image with that of these hard working people. That's why we decided to Pimp our Rhoades Car.

To supe up our two passenger, long frame Rhoades Car, we started by welding together a chromoly steel frame in the style of a pickup truck and wrapping it with 30 gauge galvanized steel. We painted it John Deere yellow and mounted a plexiglass windshield, 55W head lights, LED tail lights and rear view mirrors. The finishing touch was a set of aftermarket hubcaps. The pimp job added an extra 138 lbs to the car, but it was definitely worth it because now we can send the same message that other corporations have sent with their promotional Hummers. "We're the Bicycle Forest, and nobody messes with us!"

Here is a public service announcement featuring the converted Rhoades Car.