Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Workcycles Secret Service

Secret Service Men's Bike, via Clever Cycles

Recently, we received an email from Mike, a reader who wondered why we had not mentioned Workcycles from the Netherlands:

"I have a Workcycles Secret Service, with a front rack, 8-speed Nexus (with gears adjusted to the hilly place I live in), front and back hand-operated roller brakes, double parking stand/steering stabilisor," Mike wrote. "It's great and I think it's the kind of bike you're otherwise interested in."


Workcycles makes beautiful, useful bikes. Workcycles stated mission is to "promote everyday cycling amongst individuals, families and enterprises by supplying the most practical, beautiful and affordable bicycles possible and by providing an unmatched level of service." Yes, that's what we're looking for here at Bikes For The Rest Of Us.

Workcycles are not easy to come by in the United States, and not cheap. You can find them at upscale shops like AdelineAdeline in New York City, Dutch Bike in Chicago and Seattle, and Clever Cycles in Portland. At Clever Cycles, the Secret Service retails for $1600. (you can always justify spending that kind of money on a commuter bike - especially if you get rid of a car).

Here are the specs on the Secret Service:

• Lugged steel frame, oversized tubing, powdercoat
• Heavy Duty 28" wheels with double-walled rims
• 3-speed Shimano hub, R coaster/F roller-brakes
• Forged aluminium crankset
• Brooks leather saddle
• Strong rear carrier, elastic
• Hub dynamo, halogen headlamp, LED taillight w/ standlight
• Zinc- and powder-coated mudguards, coat guards, chain-case
• Rear wheel lock, chromed, brass bell


• Single speed or 8-speed
• Roller-brakes F/R
• Double parking stand, steering stabilisor
• Frame-fixed, removable front carrier
• Frame sizes: 49, 53, 57, 61, 65cmcm

Own a Workcycle? Please leave feedback in the comments.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Kona Africabike Three and Bike

If the typical American just mounted a bike instead of climbing into a car everyday there would be many more bikes like Kona's "Bike" and Africabike Three. 

The wide tires and three-speed internal hub gears mean you don't have to worry about dodging potholes (ok, small ones) or remembering to shift before you stop. They both have fenders to keep the grime off of you and backpedal rear brakes. 

Are they fast? No, probably not. Statistics tell us most people are only going a couple miles, so who needs road-bike fast? Did you ever see people in cars circle for that close parking spot in front of the grocery store? The basket on that Africabike Three will fit a gallon of milk or package of diapers and get you there faster.

Africabike Three
The rear rack is integrated into the (new this year) aluminum step-through frame. It comes with a ring lock (aka wheel lock), front basket and a bell. The tires are puncture resistant.

Specs (from Kona):
Frame MaterialKona 7005 Aluminum Butted
ForkKona Project Two
CrankarmsProWheel Z005
ChainringsProWheel 36T
ChainKMC Z410
FreewheelShimano SM-Gear 18T
ShiftersShimano Twist Shifter
Brake CalipersShimano BR-M422 (FR) Coaster (RR)
Brake LeversShimano BL-M421 (front only)
HandlebarKona Riser
StemKona Control
SeatpostKona Thumb
Seat ClampKona Clamp
SaddleKona Plush
Front HubKT
Rear HubShimano Nexus 3spd Internal
SpokesStainless 14g
RimsShining A-6N
Front TireKenda K922, puncture resistant
Rear TireKenda K922, puncture resistant
Paint ColorWhite or Black
ExtrasKickstand, Handlebar Mount Basket, Fenders, Chain Cover, Bell

The simple name will lead to "Who's on First?" conversations, I'm sure. It doesn't have a rack, but you could add one. It's simple and tough. Kona went with a non-quill stem which is too bad, but it would look great if you added riser handlebars anyhow.

Specs (from Kona):
Frame MaterialKona 7005 Aluminum Butted
Sizes14", 16", 18", 20", 22"
ForkKona Project Two
PedalsShimano UN-26
ChainKMC Z610 RB
FreewheelShimano SM-Gear 16T
ShiftersShimano Twist Shifter
Brake CalipersTektro 849 AL (FR) Coaster (RR)
Brake LeversTektro TS-384A
HandlebarKona Aluminum Riser
StemKona Control
SeatpostKona Thumb
Seat ClampKona Clamp
SaddleKona Plush
Front HubKT
Rear HubShimano Nexus 3spd Internal
SpokesStainless 14g
RimsShining MT-20
Front TireKenda Komfort 26 x 1.95
Rear TireKenda Komfort 26 x 1.95
Paint ColorBlack
ExtrasFenders, Kona Bell

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bikesharing: try it.

My dad is 67 years old. He hasn't owned a bike for at least 37 years (that's as long as I've known him). That's him in the photo, on his first Capital Bikeshare ride, a few months back.

I got this note from him today:

On Monday I needed to mail a package. The Cleveland Park Post office had a long line, so I walked down the block to the Capital Bikeshare station at Newark St and Connecticut Ave. I took out a bike, put my package on the rack, and rode downtown, docking the bike at the 18th and M St NW station. The Post Office at 1800 M St NW is only a few hundred feet from the Bikeshare station, and there was no line. Package sent: check.
I got back on a bike and rode down to the station at 21st and Eye Streets, just around the corner from my barber. Haircut: check.
I got back on a bike and rode to the station at 25th St and Pennsylvania Ave NW. I bought lunch at Trader Joe’s, then walked one and a half blocks to my office to eat and do a little work. Check. Check.
I walked back to 25th and Pennsylvania Ave, took out another bike and rode to 19th and L Streets. I bought a few things at Staples, which is across the street from the Bikeshare station on the corner.
Back on the bike, I rode to the Dupont Circle station. I took Metrorail up to Tenleytown to complete my last errand, and I took the train home to Cleveland Park. I didn't know there was a Capital Bikeshare station in Tenleytown--I could have ridden back to Cleveland Park--I wish I'd known... [Ahem, Dad, I think you can see the station from the top of the escalator. -David] Anyway, it was a fabulous day!
Here's a map showing his errands:

View Dad's errands, Jan 3, 2011 in a larger map

I'm excited that my dad is excited about bikesharing. I think we should all be excited about bikesharing.

I know bikesharing doesn't replace personally-owned bicycles, but it can complement them.

And if you're not already a convert to The Way of The Bicycle, bikesharing might just move you down that road, so to speak--a sort of gateway drug, in a good way.