Jun 23, 2015

One Night Out On A Bike

Often, when people talk about bicycle touring the image that come to mind more often then not is something that looks like this - - -



- - - and conjures up images of long, multiple days in the saddle, riding across Canada or some such "crazy" adventure requiring quitting your job, growing dreadlocks, and not having a shower for weeks at a time.

Truth is, touring by bike can be just like that. Or it can be so much simpler and still offer the feeling of being away from civilization - even if it's only for a single night.

Sun setting over our bandit hideout along the Elbow River August 2014

Bikeovernights, or S24O's (single 24hrs overnight) are a great option for getting your camping fix without having to quit your job. Since the distances covered are usually not very far, you can bring more "comforts" along if you like (including wine!) or containers of prepared gourmet food without them feeling like a drag on your tour. Your choice of bike options also opens up allowing the use of bikes not traditionally considered good for touring, including your road bike, fixed gear bike, or even a cargobike. The format is really simple -

- after work, ride out of town to a campground or your favorite bandit hideout
- solo trips are fun, but friends always make it better!
- setup camp, make a simple supper (or a true culinary masterpiece)
- make a small fire if your location is suitable and chat into the night
- bed down for the evening
- wake up early, make breakfast, break camp, and roll back into town before many are even at work


Fixie overnighter setup. Custom frame/seat/handlebar bags from Porcelain Rocket and a Wald rack out front.

Any bike will do, so long as it is sturdy enough to carry your gear. Above is my fixie overnighter setup which can carry enough gear for 1-2 nights out. For longer trips, I prefer a bike that has rack mounts so I can carry a little bit more.

Here is the gear list in the photo above -

- 1-person tent with fly
- sleeping bag
- sleeping pad
- stove with fuel bottle
- 3-litres of water
- bag of charcoal (for the evening fire)
- 2 rain jackets
- sleeping clothes
- change of clothes
- oatmeal and coffee for breakfast
- kettle
- cup
- spork
- first aid kit
- bike repair kit (tube, pump, tire lever, allen key set)

What I was wearing for the trip -

- cycling shorts under regular knickers
- cycling shoes
- wool socks
- cotton tshirt
- wool long sleeve hoodie
- cycling cap
- tiny, collapsible backpack with another bag of charcoal

Coffee always tastes better outside for some reason.
Planning a trip, short or long? Looking for bike touring products like racks and bags? Maybe you just need some advice...we're Calgary's touring experts and are here to help.

Hate the idea of bike camping? You could always buy one of these...

Now get outside and enjoy the possibilities!

Jun 11, 2015

Larry Vs Harry Cargobikes Are Here!

We love cargobikes, no secret there. They are powerful, transformative machines that make our individual lives better (freedom of utility and from debt), they make our communities better (quieter and more friendly then cars), and they make our cities better (less congestion, less pollution, safer roads).

There are a myriad of options available on the market these days and it seems like there is a new design popping up almost monthly - but sometimes sticking close to tradition and instead improving upon tried-and-true designs isn't always a bad idea.

Enter Larry Vs Harry and their renowned Bullitt "long john" styled cargobike.
At rest in one of Calgary's brand new cycletracks.
If there is one complaint we might have about most of the "bakfiets" or "long john" style cargobikes we've sold, ridden, and serviced is their usually very heavy weight and often narrow gear range that makes navigating the hilly terrain of Calgary a struggle for some, and impossible for others.

As a result, our shop sells a good number of "longtail" styled cargobikes from manufacturers like Yuba and Xtracycle because they offer both lower overall weight and much wider (think MTB-type gear range) gearing making getting uphill with a load of groceries or children or both much more comfortable.

Side panel kit with cover installed.

When the principles at Larry Vs Harry decided to design a new cargobike, one of their primary aims was to take what is normally a slow handling/heavy bike and instead keep all the utility that the "long john" style offers but make it more sporty, lighter, and quicker handling - all of which have been realized on the Bullitt.

Another great option about the Bullitt is the ability to have it spec'd out the way uou want. You choose your colour, your parts kit, and any accessories you'd like - in many ways, the customization is similar to what Brompton offers. Come to think of it, you could tote your custom Brompton around on your custom Bullitt!

Bankview gang members on patrol.
Bullitt's are also a great option for entrepreneurs looking for a cargobike to use as a bike-based business. Fast and light - just add your own custom box to carry your goods and you're set. We have a connection to a friend of ours who is a cabinet maker and could fabricate a box out of marine-grade wood in the style you need to carry your goods. Looking for inspiration? Check out the Bullitt Flickr Group and this Google Image link.

Our first shipment of these amazing bikes have landed at the shop and we do have a demo unit available for test ride. All 4 bikes are spec'd with the 3x9 mtb-style gearing, hydraulic disc brakes, and the honeycomb deck (go to the builder here).

Come on by and check them out!

Jun 9, 2015

New Brand Announcement - XTRACYCLE Cargobikes

My personal journey into the world of cargobikes (and subsequent tumble down the rabbit hole towards creating BikeBike) started in a rather humble way - purchasing a relatively unknown product called the "Freeradical" from a local shop that was going out of business back in 2007.

This humble little add-on that basically transforms a standard bicycle into a "longtail" cargobike completely changed my life and opened doors to worlds I hadn't really dreamed of.

Car-free living in Calgary?! Now totally possible. 

Fostering of a deeper connection to my city? I totally get it. 

Choosing to spend more locally instead of driving halfway across the city to get a "deal" at Costco? Way more satisfying!

And the list goes on to this day.

Tankbike was a revelation that eventually lead me to research the phenomena of cargobikes of all kinds and who/where/why/what were offering them across North America. It didn't take long to see that there were quite a few shops who were focusing on city/cargo/family bikes and before I knew it I was in the midst of an "entrepreneurial seizure" that eventually lead to the birth of BikeBike in 2010.

Tankbike at rest in North Glenmore Park

Easily the heaviest bike I'd ever owned and easily the funnest bike I ever built.
Xtracycle has always had a special place in my heart and now we're finally offering them for sale at the shop!

Things have changed a lot since those early days and so has the products available from Xtracycle. The Freeradical is no longer available (although, there is a new design in the works) but in its place, a complete bike has emerged called the Edgerunner which in our view is the best longtail design available on the market today.

2016 Edgerunner/Bosch mid-drive electric version

Xtracycle has always been a little cheeky :)
There are a few Edgerunner models available, starting with the 24D at the bottom of the range and going all the way up to the Bosch-equipped electric model. One thing that makes these bikes so nice for use in Calgary is they all come with MTB-style gearing and disc brakes out of the box. Super-low gear range for crawling up the many hills in this city and powerful disc-brakes to slow you - and your precious cargo -  down no matter where your travels take you.

We've got a demo model available to try out and/or rent out for a few days if you're interested in a longer-term test.

Bikes are now starting to arrive and more models will be available as they trickle into Canada.

You'll be blown away by how fun these bikes are to ride - loaded or unloaded!