Bicycling

  • Very Clever, Douze!

    This week we received 4 new specimens of what we see as a landmark product: Douze cargo bikes. They're from France (say DOOZE!). Dean's been riding our first Douze as his own near daily since Winter. He's in love.

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    Ever since we brought the Bakfiets.nl Cargobike to Portland in 2007, our best and biggest car-replacement family bike offerings have fallen in the category one reviewer called "land yachts." Upright. Plush. Plain-clothes friendly. Overbuilt, like rolling playground structures, often heavy. We still love these kinds of bikes, in part for how they challenge local sensibilities of what makes a bike good. It's not always about low weight and zip and sporty handling, especially when your family is aboard.

    But sometimes those things are important. Say you live in a hilly area, or are accustomed already to top-end sport bikes. Douze cargo bikes look, feel, and ride like modern high-performance recreational bikes, not Dutch utility bikes. Their novel quad-cable steering mechanism DOUZE_Cycles-CABLE_STEERING provides remarkably stable, consistent, precise handling at both low and high speeds: long an elusive goal for designers of bikes in this format. The cable steering also provides a much tighter turning radius than any other bike in its class, exceptionally easy to manage even walking alongside in tight spaces.

    Douze bikes split into 2 parts, front and rear, very easily in under 5 minutes. DOUZE_Cycles_MESSENGER-STANDARD-SPLIT This makes transporting them in other vehicles not so challenging. It also means they ship more economically. But most of all, it means that we can mix and match front and rear ends freely to assemble just the bike you want. Prefer a step-through to a step-over frame? Both are available. There are long, standard, and short front ends, with a growing assortment of child seating and cargo carriage options for all.

    Electric assist? As you wish. Chain or belt drive? Either. Derailleur or internal hub gearing: uh-huh. Hydraulic disk brakes. Dynamo lighting. All these things are standard options available at modest prices, not special projects to be worked out over months in a flurry of quotations for custom work, or orphaning original parts.

    Test rides are convincing, more than thousands of words. Ride on over with the kids or your sweetie or your dog or all three. Prices for fully-equipped Douzes start around $4,000, with premium electric assist models starting around $6,000.

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  • Emily

    Go read about the awesome Finch family at BikePortland.org:

    Photo by Jonathan Maus, BikePortland.org

  • The Path Less Pedaled

    Somewhere along the way, sometimes, in our insistent harping on the theme that bicycles here at Clever are normal, practical, daily transportation instead of instruments of frivolous leisure, we may distort the truth that they are both. Sure, they save money and haul stuff and have AC and magnet-powered lights and keep you healthy and connected and all, but they are also the most romantic, aspirational, daydreamy escape vehicles ever, spiritual quest chariots, rolling poetry.

    While we’re all living la vida practica, trapped in a bike shop as the sun begins to show itself more, Russ and Laura are holding up the crazy side of our world, vicariously. You’ve surely heard of them if you “like” our Facebook page or follow our Twitter stream, or are otherwise connected to this here internet: they’re well wired. They are leaving soon on lap 2 of their indefinitely long USA bike touring career, this time on Brompton folding bikes and Amtrak, in a bid to “re-imagine the All-American Road Trip.” We’re proud to help sponsor them.

    Join us Friday, 29 April, 6-8 pm here for a presentation by Russ and Laura about their unfolding adventure.

  • Fiets of Parenthood: how we roll

    After a long, cool, wet Spring, finally the sun came out in all her fierce blazing glory to bless the first inaugural Fiets of Parenthood Pedalpalooza event Saturday, along with everybody else on a bike this weekend in Portland.

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    sarah gilbert and boyAll during Pedalpalooza, there are multiple bike events going on at almost all hours, light and dark. Conflicts are inevitable. The problems we have, right? The fact that FoP conflicted with the the established family ride portion of Cirque du Cycling disappointed a few. This was an accidental oversight. But if it wasn’t, FoP would differ from other events in its tight focus on Portland’s growing everyday normality of raising children on bicycles, for all the ordinary, non-freakish tasks of getting from A to B as a family, hauling stuff, without a car. As a shop, as parents and citizens, this cuts close to who we are. That’s why we were especially proud to host this event. Lots of people contributed to the realization of Totcycle’s vision, but everybody knows that our customer Sarah Gilbert did more than anybody else — maybe everybody else combined — to make it happen. Thanks Sarah!

    There are several great Flickr sets up documenting the event. I made a gallery of my favorite shots from three of them:

    This, too, from Team CarFreeDays, in which no children or animals were harmed (do note evidence of training at 1:24):

  • Flow

    I’ve only ever been to Amsterdam in the cold, gray months. Seeing this clip a few days ago of the utter normalcy of biking there made me remember, and smile. The man behind the camera is William Hsu, from My Dutch Bike in San Francisco, there to immerse himself in the supply side. Via Amsterdamize.

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