Family Cycling Blog:

More and more parents and kids are discovering the recreational, transportation and health benefits of cycling together.

Family Cycling is fun.

And the fun can start young. We discuss the family adventures, the gear that families use, and how to use it safely.

Turn kids from passive, parent-powered passengers into active cyclists themselves as they grow.

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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Art and Son and an Adams Trail-A-Bike

Riding my bike into work yesterday morning, I ran into my friend Art bringing in his 4 & and half year old son to pre-school. His son was riding a trusty Adam’s Trail-A-Bike. Being that we just started carrying Adams at BikeKidShop.com, I was curious how Art was liking this product. Art mentioned that the Adams was helping his son quickly learn the feel of riding a bike. Having already outgrown a balance bike, Art’s son was already moving on to a pedal bike.

I mentioned to Art that we were expecting a baby this coming October. Art warned me that it’s a big change but at that a good one. I said that I was excited to have another test pilot for all the children’s cycling products that we specialize in on the way.

Bike Commuter Line-Up

Ohm Electric Sport Bicycle in the Spring Snow

Last week I was getting familiar with an Ohm Electric Sport Bicycle. As Ted mentioned over at CommuteByBike.com a part of bike commuting often involves finding efficient short cuts. While a light weight/skinny tire commuter bike may be more efficient on smooth roads, in many areas a more off-road capable commuter will end up getting you around quicker.

A shortcut from my house saves me about a quarter of a mile in looping back on the main road. The path is quite rough for about 100 yards and is a great test for the variety of commuter and electric bikes I’ve been testing.

Needless to say, the Ohm Sport XS750 does great off-road with it 26″ wheels, 26″x2″ Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires and comfortable upright handlebar positioning. The Magura Menja MM85XC Fork and Suntour Suspension Seatpost make it a smooth ride down the bumpy trail.

Once on the open road, the Ohm gets me into work quickly with the integrated BionX Electric Assist powering me along. I like the idea of a more rugged commuter bike that offers added confidence and control on-road and off with an electric assist system more than making up for the extra weight and slower tires.

Look for our complete review of the Ohm over at CommuteByBike.com in the coming months.

New Technologies for Bike Shop Hub

While most of the customers of Bike Shop Hub, are interested in hearing about what we are up to in the realm of our expertise in bike touring, bike commuting, family cycling and increasingly with electric bikes, the tools with which we are presenting this expert knowledge with are worth sharing from time to time as well. Recently we’ve been looking at upgrading two critical systems and have been investigating available open source tools as we like to do.

In the realm of our website CMS (content management system), we’ve been debating back and fourth about WordPress versus Drupal. We really like the robustness and extensibility of Drupal, however it does not offer the out of the box usability of WordPress. WordPress also has a thriving community of users that use it in very similar ways to us. Being able to share with this community is a great resource for us. And we are already WordPress users for our blogging here at CommuteByBike.com, UtilityCycling.org and BikeTrailerBlog.com as well as for supporting the womens bike racing community blog, WomensBikeTalk.com.

With WordPress, we’ve discovered a great interactive theme called Headway. This theme is very interesting because it allows for quite a bit of customization with very little experience in HTML or CSS. Of course if you want to go outside of the parameter that the tool offers, html, css and php programming come into play. From what I’ve seen in exploring quite a few themes for WordPress, there is no easier to use tool to build a custom look with on Headway. There is also a decent community using the tool when you are interested in doing more advanced customizations as well that offer up plenty of guides, tips and tricks. If you are WordPress user of any level, I highly recommend checking out what can be done with Headway. We are currently rebuilding this website in Headway working on adding in dynamic content from our 3 shops, adding sections to this blog, bringing in a forum and setting up a section for the products that we manufacture under the Wandertec brand.

Behind the website presentation, an online retail business like Bike Shop Hub requires a solid inventory accounting system. We’ve been pushing Quickbooks to its limits and really have had quite a bit of trouble with integrating its data with the online shops. We’ve decided to plunge into an upgraded system and began exploring the realm of open source ERPs.

xTuple came to the fore front for us as an accounting system that offered usability that seemed familiar with what was working for us in Quickbooks. xTuple really looks promising in its ability to integrate everything about it into our online shops as needed. And if it doesn’t offer tools we need, unlike Quickbooks, we can customize it as needed.

The usability of xTuple seems like it will allow us to get up and running with it fairly quickly. While xTuple is billed as Open Source, it is really a hybrid of commercial and open source. The basic version, Postbooks, is available for free download, while the more advanced Standard and Manufacturing versions come with a decent price tag. I like this aspect of it as the paid versions of it mean that there is good support for implementation and maintenance as we get underway. In the long term, xTuple seems to offer up alot of useful tools that we can grow into.

Were just getting started with these 2 interesting tools, but hopefully you’ll start to see the results of them here soon. I’ll try to post updates here on how things are going with these two new tools in a few months and please post your questions and/or experiences with Headway or xTuple in the comments below.

Spring in Flagstaff

Sparks and Snow Flying

An interesting perspective through the shop window of Stuart grinding a railing, creating a bold plume of sparks.

And our demo A2B Metro E-Bike poised for an electric bike commute in the slushy spring conditions we are having this week in Flagstaff. The A2B Metro handled well in the slippery conditions though with how wet the roads were with slush and the forward position of the pedals, by the time I made it in to work my pants and shoes were soaked. I will need to test this more in regular rain conditions.

The Bar Mitts were definitely appreciated on this wet cold commute. My favorite combo of a commuting specific pannier on one side and a touring pannier on the other side (a RackTime WorkIt and a Lone Peak P-400) worked well on the A2B bike rack.

Out and About on a Bike Friday and a Brompton

We recently got a hold of a couple of folding bikes for our recent travels. I took a Bike Friday to Austin for the North American Handmade Bike Show, while Ted brought a Brompton with him to Washington DC for the National Bike Summit. Ted has been a long time fan of folding bikes having used a Dahon while living in DC.

I’m fairly new to them but quite intrigued by the level of convenience they offer. While Ted and I are working on our reviews of the 2 bikes as well as an overall comparison review of folding bikes at CommuteByBike.com, I thought I would offer up a few of our glamor shots of the bikes.

Kahlkoff E-Bike and the BONGO Bike Trailer

We recently received an electric bike from Kahlkoff USA for use in an upcoming blogging project at Commute By Bike. Getting going with the project I’ve been going through the paces getting to know all of the ebikes on my daily bike commute.

In this photo from last week, I hooked up a Large Wandertec BONGO Bike Trailer, so I could pick up some of the unused end rolls from our local paper the AZ Daily Sun. These end rolls make for excellent, low cost, packing materials that seems relatively low impact.

The Kahlkoff is a great ebike with the motor built into the crank area and the battery located right above. All of the componentry on this bike are top-notch, chosen for long-lasting performance with everything you need for every-day-cycling. Look for our full review over at Commute By Bike. Also our friend Pete Prebus of Electric Bike Report is currently testing out this bike, so look for his upcoming review as well.

Even with the Kahlkoff loaded down with 40 pounds of paper (plus the 16 pound trailer) weight, the Kahlkoff rode very easily. We’re very excited to be getting into electric bikes here at the Bike Shop Hub and really think that they shine in application such as my morning commute and errand, adding an extra boost for transporting heavy loads by bicycle trailer.

Stair Railing Installation

Yesterday Stu, Robin, Robert and Ted got to flex their muscles and install the railing for the staircase up to our showroom.

To get everything lined up for installation, they had to carry the massive unit out the big garage door and then walk it back down the small door up the isle. Fortunately, we’re having some great weather here in Flagstaff during this spring break week, a rare thing.

With the staircase in place, Robin is hard at work putting up all of our products on the displays. This was the last big task for Stu on the inside section and he will be now shifting his efforts to the outside tasks of the sign, extending the awning and building our customer bike rack with sculptural elements.

Everything seems on pace for our Flagstaff Bike-To-Work week launch of our retail space. We’ve signed up as Co-Sponsors of this year’s event with Flagstaff Biking and our excited to be launching our showroom at the end of the week which I’m pretty sure will be May 21st. Our line-up of electric bikes is coming together nicely as well as our retail offering of bicycle parts and accessories outside of the range offered on Bike Trailer, Bag and Kid Shop.

Pedal Powered Skiing

Pedal Powered Skiing

Photo: Seven Days

When the weather is just right, Brian Mohr and Emily Johnson of Vermont use BOB cargo trailers to combine cycling with skiing.

[C]ome March, when Old Man Winter begins to relax his grip, a bike-supported skiing adventure is hard to resist. Its a simple, beautiful concept: We enjoy our first good bike ride of the season, we spend the day skiing, and we leave the car at home.

[Via Seven Days]