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Old 06-21-09, 06:28 PM   #1
yangmusa
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Weekend tour on a Birdy

Finally, last weekend I did my first tour on the Birdy!



I took the ferry from San Francisco to Vallejo, then rode up to Napa, over to Sonoma, and spent the night at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. All told, about 50 miles. The next day, biked in to Santa Rosa and took the bus back. Oh yeah - and of course I folded the bike and brought it on the bus! The bus had a front rack, but I read it's for 20" wheels and up. The drivers said I had to use the rack if one was fitted, but I explained my wheels were too small - she shrugged and asked me to keep it out of everyone's way. Maybe I should bring a slip cover next time. It was quite awkward to board the bus with the bike, two panniers, tent, sleeping mat... It might be an idea to bring a lightweight duffle or something to hold everything together.

Overall, a great trip and made me want to do more. I broke a rear spoke and was afraid that I would have trouble getting such a short replacement. But the first shop I went to cut one to fit - no problem! There were some non-folder specific problems - thoughtlessly designed roads with no space for bikes and homicidal car drivers. Nothing to do about that, sadly. The US is seriously lagging the rest of the world in good infrastructure, and US drivers have an incredible sense of entitlement. But I digress..

The Birdy handled the load well. I had my clothes and food in small front panniers and tent, sleeping bag and mattress on the rear carrier. The handling was fine, even at high speed down hills. I have the 9 speed Capreo version, and the gear range is a little marginal for loaded touring. The campsite was at the top of a 4 mile, 6-15% hill, and I had to get off and push in places. Mind you, it was at the end of a long day and more gears might not necessarily have helped me much

More pictures here. Sadly, I completely forgot to get a picture of the Birdy loaded up. Having too much fun, I suppose
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Old 06-21-09, 06:43 PM   #2
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Very cool. I've done some bike camping on my NWT, but never with a grade like you described, much less for 4 miles!
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Old 06-21-09, 07:48 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by yangmusa View Post



The US is seriously lagging the rest of the world in good infrastructure, and US drivers have an incredible sense of entitlement. But I digress..
if by "rest of the world" you mean the Netherlands, then yes. Sadly, most of the countries I have lived in around Latin America (Mexico, Brazil, Colombia), and places I have visited in southeast Asia (Indonesia and Malaysia, but not Singapore), are far, far, behind the US in cycling infrastructure, and most drivers in these places do not even seem to see cyclist on the road. The same would apply to Africa, the Middle East, and most "developing" nations.
I think California is really not such a bad place to ride a bike, if you avoid freeways, of course.

Congrats on your maiden voyage, I like to do multi-modal touring with my folder too
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Old 06-21-09, 11:30 PM   #4
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I think California is really not such a bad place to ride a bike, if you avoid freeways, of course.
Yes, it's mostly ok. But there are some drivers that didn't learn to share nicely as children.. And on this ride there some long stretches where Caltrans had closed the hard shoulder, making it very unpleasant.

More places should be like the Netherlands and Denmark. Copenhagenize the planet!
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Old 06-22-09, 07:23 AM   #5
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very nice trip! Congrats.
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Old 06-22-09, 02:22 PM   #6
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Way uncool. No pics of the birdy?
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Old 06-22-09, 02:33 PM   #7
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Way uncool. No pics of the birdy?
I know, I know... I promise to do better next time!

If you were curious about what luggage works, etc., here's what I used:
  • On the front: Nashbar small waterproof panniers, about 18 liters? Cheap and cheerful, they've lasted much longer than I'd expected and just keep on going..
  • On the back: ancient Thermarest sleeping mat, North Face Harrier 2 person 4 season tent (waaaay overkill and unnecessarily heavy for this trip!)
  • A very large REI brand handlebar bag, members only sale for $10! Well, it needed the Klickfix bracket, but I had one lying around. More than big enough, and with a convenient clear map pocket.
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Old 06-26-09, 02:10 AM   #8
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I know, I know... I promise to do better next time![*]A very large REI brand handlebar bag, members only sale for $10! Well, it needed the Klickfix bracket, but I had one lying around. More than big enough, and with a convenient clear map pocket. [/LIST]
Handlebar bag? Where did you put it? On my birdy there isn't room because of all the cabling for the brakes etc. Do you have something besides the standard straight bars?
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Old 06-26-09, 09:23 AM   #9
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I just have the standard Klickfix mount, and as far as I know the standard straight handlebars too. The bag ends up sitting in front of and over the cables. I'll try to take a picture sometime sooner than the next tour
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Old 07-06-09, 12:46 AM   #10
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Where did you buy the Birdy? I'd like to know a reputable vendor. I live in Los Angeles County.
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Old 07-06-09, 11:01 PM   #11
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Where did you buy the Birdy? I'd like to know a reputable vendor. I live in Los Angeles County.
I test rode Birdys several times at various dealers in London before moving to the US. Then I found a decent deal on eBay. Thought "sight unseen" was ok, since I'd test ridden previously.

I don't know any dealers in the LA area. It doesn't look like there are any (http://www.birdybike.com/Dealers/dealers.html) but maybe there are some others on the list that might be convenient on a trip...?
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