A rear rack that can has a 200lb load capacity

Since I published the article for the Vigurvant, we were then approached by the folks from Companion Bike Seats to see about testing their rear rack/bike seat.

Here’s a short description:

A Companion Bike Seat gives your bike many of the same features of expensive cargo bikes and utility bikes, but is easy to install and works on most existing bikes, and some ebikes and motorized bicycles as well!

Not only is there a locking stash-box for your belongings, but Companion Bike Seats support passengers up to 200 pounds. Start a daily bike commuter “bike-pool.” Pick your kids up from school on your bike. Ride your bike to the bar instead of taking a cab, and you can still bring someone home with you!

companion bike seat

After checking out their site, I was really intrigued by the whole idea of being able to carry full grown adult and a sandwich in the storage compartment. So after a few email exchanges, Paul O’Leary agreed to send a test unit over. I’ll most likely use it with the Vigurvant pedals. It would actually make sense for both of of these companies to work together and see if they can do a combo deal.Anyhow, I’m looking forward to the Companion and we’ll report back to you on our findings.

Why should you cycle to work?

 

The number of commuters leaving cars and public transport behind for their commute to work and turning to cycling to work, and with so many benefits it is easy to see why. Here are some of the reasons why you should make the switch to cycling around London rather than driving:

Cost

Cycling is undeniably cheaper than public transport and especially driving, the money saved, even with just one less car journey per week will quickly add up which of course you can spend better elsewhere.

Skipping the Gym

Why go to the gym to use an exercise bike before your commute to work when you can kill two birds with one stone and spend your time wisely, both commuting and exercising at the same time. If you only use the gym for cardio such as this you could even cancel your membership, making more potential savings each month! Those who mix resistance training with cardio workouts at the gym will find they don’t need to spend as much time on the cardio and get a more effective muscle building workout in in the time instead.

Health

Fresh air and some cardiovascular activity twice per day will quickly pay off health wise. The increased activity can result in weight loss, even without the dieting which can reduce the risks of health problems in later life.

Productivity

The charity Sustrans conducted a study in 2013 and they found that those that cycle to work not only have far fewer sick days than those that don’t but they are also more productive during working hours. Further to this there have been countless studies which found that using public transport is more likely to make you catch bugs and sickness compared to those who travel in cars, walk or cycle.

Cycle to Work Schemes

Even if you do not currently own a bicycle it can be a worthy investment to make. Lots of businesses run the Cycle to Work initiative which gives employers the opportunity to save money and tax on the cost of purchasing a bicycle that they are going to use in order to commute to work. If you are unsure about this, ask your employer for further information. With more and more people beginning to turn to cycling it will also have a knock on effect on the facilities such as bike sheds, cycle paths and other initiatives that are available in order to encourage more to cycle instead of driving.

If cycling everyday isn’t for you, you could always consider incorporating it into your routine gradually. Cycling in London one to two times per week, rather than driving will give you the opportunity to see how these benefits will positively affect you, you may just find you end up hooked!

 

Gone A-Cycling — How to Plan a Cycling Trip

 

It’s easy to get a little bored riding the same routes and roads all the time. Sure you can mix things up every now and again and set yourself personal best targets, but sometimes the only option is to go on a cycling road trip.

However, the logistics of planning and preparing for a pedal-powered expedition are complicated. You need to find a destination and a way of transporting all your equipment. Once you’ve taken care of all that, though, the fun and satisfaction of hitting the open road and racking up the miles cannot be beaten.

Planning Ahead

Unless you’ve got a utilitarian 4×4 or spacious SUV, you’re going to need some vehicle accessories to transport all that gear. In an ideal world, you’d have a vehicle like a Nissan Pathfinder with enough room for multiple bikes and all your friends.

If you don’t have the good fortune to have such a vehicle, you’re going to require a few alternative transport solutions. Thankfully, you can get all kinds of bike racks and roof top cargo carriers — a testament to the popularity of the pursuit — to fit any vehicle. You may even want to hire a bigger car or trailer to tow along. Just make sure that you secure all bikes and equipment that are fitted to the exterior of your vehicle firmly. Oh, and stick to the local rules of the road!

Choosing a Destination

From steep hills to rough and rugged terrain, the choice of cycling destination is up to you. Mountain bikers should have a great deal of specialist parks and courses at their disposal, while road cycling enthusiasts can go online and research popular routes nearby.

If you’re looking further afield or considering a trip abroad, think about the characteristics of each destination. These will include local attractions, culture, language, amenities, climate, terrain and scenery. Road trips in the summer are obviously more appealing due to the lack of wind or rain, but staying hydrated is of the utmost importance.

Getting Onto the Road

Fit your bike with a rear rack and panniers that hang down either side of the frame. These are great for carrying repair tools, food supplies, maps and spare clothing for all weather conditions. If you’re mountain biking, a backpack might be more appropriate.

Bear in mind that all this equipment will probably slow you down and could also affect your projected itinerary. With a clear day ahead of you, though, plenty of time to rest and recuperate, and an inspired mind (and body), though, anything will seem possible.

The aforementioned tips and advice will help you embark upon an exhilarating cycling road trip. Okay, so you’ll have to spend a few hours planning and making sure you have everything you need for the trip, but once you’ve taken care of it, it’s all behind you and it’s just the road ahead of you. Are you ready to roll?

Vigurvant, tandem bicycle extension pedal-Preview

We received this product a few months ago for testing. But it’s one of those things that we can’t just start using. Well, technically we could. But there’s a few things I needed to get done on the bike that we’d use for the test before we even started reviewing this product.

Let me explain what it is. See the photo above? Notice how there’s a passenger in the back with her feet on the pedals? Well that’s what this is for. You can carry a passenger on your bike and it instantly become as a tandem.
vigurvant

Like I mentioned I needed to do something to the test bike we’re using for this review. I basically had to make it comfortable for the passenger, so I decided to build a rear seat board. Here’s some things you need: Upholstery material (left over from the sidecar project), Saw (oscillating power tool), measuring tape, composite wood (or regular wood), foam pad (not pictured) and a smoking pipe.
vigurvant on bikecommuters.com

After measuring the composite board, I cut it down to size and drilled some holes for the zip ties to keep it securely mounted on the rear rack.

I left the zip ties in the holes while I did the upholstery.

Installed pedals. The Park PW1 pedal wrench was either too thick or the pedals didn’t have enough clearance to allow the tool to work. I had to find a 15mm cone wrench to snug the pedal in.

Voila! New rear seat and Vigurvant pedals on the Torker CargoT.

Notice the Vigurvant pedals, all you have to do is flip out that aluminum piece. It acts as an extension on the pedal to allow your rear passenger to place their feet on it.

Now I’m waiting for a volunteer to be my stoker and see how this all works out. Stay tuned!

30 Days of Biking and Banjo Brothers

We love our friends at Banjo Brothers. So when they sent us a press release of some good things they were doing, were happy to share that info with our readers.

Proceeds From Merchandise Sales Will Help 30 Days of Biking Support Their Free Bikes 4 Kidz Initiative. One Free Bike to a Child in Need for Every 30 Pledges.

Minneapolis, MN, March 19, 2014–The bicycle advocacy organization 30 Days of Biking has chosen Banjo Brothers, a cycling bag company from Minneapolis to globally distribute its official 30 Days of Biking merchandise. The merchandise will include t-shirts, cycling jerseys, backpacks, phone wallets and messenger bags. Proceeds from the sales will be used by 30 Days of Biking to fund a bike giveaway program for needy children.

For those not familiar with 30 Days of Biking, their mission is simple, but effective. In its fifth year, 30 Days of Biking encourages people to pledge to bike somewhere every day during April, whether it’s around the block or to work, and then to share their adventures online on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and other social media. 30 days of Biking was founded in Minneapolis by Patrick Stephenson and Zachariah Schaap. Schaap has since stepped aside, but Stephenson continues to shepherd and grow the organization.

Strong social media participation have propelled the participation from 500 to and expected 5000 pledges in 2014. Though the event started in Minneapolis, participants from Somalia, Greece, England, Wales, New Zealand, and the Netherlands made the pledge.

“We couldn’t be happier to work with the 30 Days group again, “said Mike Vanderscheuren, founding Partner of Banjo Brothers. “ For the past four years this simple challenge, ride your bike 30 days in a row in April, has united cyclists across the globe. Banjo Brothers’ role is to provide critical infrastructure for the 30 Days group. Rather than monetize demand for 30 Days merchandise, they’ve decided to leverage the demand to a worthy cause – kids who might not otherwise get the chance to own their own bike.”
banjo brothers
The free bike initiative was spearheaded by 30 Days’ co-founder Patrick Stephenson and business development expert Pete Basgen and is a partnership with the Minneapolis non-profit Free Bikes 4 Kidz (http://fb4k.com). Since 2008 Free Bikes 4 Kidz has donated over 20,000 free bicycles to children in need.

The simple arrangement the 30 Days group has worked out is to provide the money to fund one free bike for every 30 pledges. Cyclists can make the pledge to ride on the 30 days of Biking Website (http://30daysofbiking.com/pledge). 30

Day of Biking management expects to help fund 160 or more free bikes in 2014. “There are many worthy causes, but allowing a needy child to experience the joy of biking we feel is a worthwhile extension of our core mission to create a large community of joyful cyclists,” said Patrick Stephenson, founder and
Managing Director of 30 days of Biking. The funds for the free bike donations will come from a variety of sources including rider donations, sponsorships and sales of 30 Days Branded merchandise. 2014 is the first year merchandise has been offered. Merchandise will be available for ordering on the Banjo Brothers website. (banjobrothers.com)

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Mike Vanderscheuren at 612-310-7795 or email at mvander@banjobrothers.com.