J.O.Y.B.A.G. Bike

JOYBAG: Jump On Your Bike And Go

J.O.Y.B.A.G.â„¢ bike is a way we have been thinking about bicycles recently. It stands for Jump On Your Bike And Go!

In bicycle advocacy and marketing, there has been a long pursuit for the holy grail of bicycles for mass consumption, what Ted dubbed the O-Bike.   It seems that if a bike were to achieve O-Bike status it needs to offer the convenience and reliability that is expected in today’s car.   With this in mind, we are going to begin asking the question, what does it take to make a bike ready for Jumping On Your Bike And Going?

If you can’t view this video from your country, try watching this version instead.

As a concept, we want J.O.Y.B.A.G.â„¢ to become a way to talk about bicycles to the bike industry, bike designers, bike philosophers and bike enthusiasts of all stripes.

J.O.Y.B.A.G.â„¢ Bikes and TestersConsider the experience of waking up in the morning and thinking about the choice of riding a bicycle or driving the car to work. What is it that makes the car so appealing given this choice? Why do people who have gone so far as to purchase a bicycle for commuting still end up driving into work? If the bicycle industry can’t provide a bicycle that is more appealing than a car most of the time to many consumers who have purchased a bicycle, how can we hope to reach out to other commuters who are even less inspired by the idea of bike commuting?

We need a bike that calls out to cyclists, that is always ready to Jump On Your Bike And Go.

What is a J.O.Y.B.A.G.â„¢ bike?

This is a wide open question at the moment and the truth is that any bike can be a J.O.Y.B.A.G.â„¢ bike–if it is setup in a way that makes it as easy to use and as reliable as possible.

The Urbana Current
The Urbana Current

So while we aren’t exactly yet sure what are the best ways for making a bike a J.O.Y.B.A.G.â„¢ bike, it is easy for us to describe bikes that are not ready to jump on and go.   Bikes that require special equipment, do not have easy ways to carry your stuff, are not outfitted with user-friendly add-ons like fenders and lights, and bikes that are difficult to lock are all definitely not J.O.Y.B.A.G.â„¢ bikes.

Up for debate are the level to which features are integrated, the exact setup and style of accessories, the inclusion of electric assist, and specifics on the frames and components. These are all aspects we are interested in looking at as we move forward with this project.

To sum up, J.O.Y.B.A.G.â„¢ bike is the pursuit of an ideal bicycle that offers as much convenience, reliability and ease of use, all within a package that is affordable and attractive to a wide spectrum of users.

A2B Metro
A2B Metro

Launching into a pursuit of this ideal in bicycles, we have gathered up a fleet of electric bicycles that represent some angle or direction of the J.O.Y.B.A.G.â„¢ concept.   The five electric bikes that we are testing are the Hebb ElectroCruiser 700, the A2B Metro, the Ohm XS750, the Urbana Current, and the Kahlkoff Pro Connect.

Ohm SX750
Ohm SX750

These five bikes are all built with the intention of being reliable and convenient to use right out of the box.   These bikes are great examples of the forward thinking into usability in the bike industry.   We will be looking at these bikes both from the perspective of explaining how they offer much toward the ideal in bicycles that we seek.   We will also be looking at them from the perspective of discussing how much more they could offer, and focus this type of critique in the direction of the bicycle industry as a whole.

Our goal for this project are as follows:

  • Compare and review our five examples of electric bikes as excellent examples of bicycles designed for easy use out-of-the box.
  • Come up with a variety of accessory configurations that would make these bicycle as usable as possible.
  • Acquire and setup these various accessory configurations on each of these bikes and compare and contrast them.
  • Craft up some concept level accessories–if we find that there is nothing available for some of the accessory configurations that we have in mind.
  • After we have thoroughly tested all of the electric bikes and accessory configurations, attempt to express the best of what we find by building on “best of” J.O.Y.B.A.G.â„¢.
  • Take this one step further by working with a custom builder to build a J.O.Y.B.A.G.â„¢ bike with as many of the desired features integrated into the build of the bicycle.
  • Use all of these various experiences to think and write about bicycle’s designed for maximum, long term usability
  • Inspire plenty of interesting discussion along the way.
JOYBAG Group Shot
L-R: Ohm, A2B, Kalkoff, Urbana, Hebb

The J.O.Y.B.A.G.â„¢ bike ideal is at the moment a notion.   It is a collection of thoughts that are yet to be hashed out, tested and proved.   I invite you to join us in hashing out this ideal. I’ve got a list of burning questions I want to answer myself, and that I’m guessing that you, our readers, already have answers for.

  • Is your bike already ready to Jump On and Go?
  • Does the idea of a J.O.Y.B.A.G.â„¢ bike offer possibilities for expanding your use of a bicycle?
  • What type of accessories would make a bike J.O.Y.B.A.G.â„¢ ready for you?
  • What is the best frame design for J.O.Y.B.A.G.â„¢?

Follow Commute by Bike on Twitter. If you see a bike design, accessory, or concept use the hash tag #joybag to talk about it.

Creative Commons License New York City (Instrumental) by spinningmerkaba is licensed under a Attribution (3.0).

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12 thoughts on “J.O.Y.B.A.G. Bike”

  1. Great start. Too bad no mention of recumbents. They have a bit of a learning curve, but I’m seeing more folks giving them a try: no possibility of a header, no need for lycra or padding on the seat, really fun and safe downhill, easy on the knees, shoulders, wrists and arms, and, from my experience, totally grin-inducing among those you ride by.

  2. MarioC says:

    Way off the mark here guys, why are we turning to electric bicycles for the J.O.Y.B.A.G. bike? A lot of cyclists are trying to reduce their carbon footprint, not trade one emission for another. So we don’t burn gasoline but we will use electricity provided by burning coal or nuclear plants? No thanks.

    My bicycle is already J.O.Y.B.A.G. bike certified and it’s so simple. I’ll share the secret.

    No name POS track frame.
    3-speed Sturmey Archer Hub
    Wald Giant Delivery Basket.
    No name stem, seatpost, saddle, etc.
    Planet Bike lights..with plans to move to a dyno hub to ditch the batteries.

    The beauty is in the simplicity, it gets me anywhere I need to be and it provides me with a comfortable level of exercise daily. I win, the environment wins, and I don’t look like a weirdo while riding it, e.g. Electric Assist Bicycle riders.

  3. mimbresman says:

    My 1996 Merlin mtb is my J.O.Y.B.A.G.
    Titanium frame (corrosion proof, light, lively, beautiful to look at,…)
    1×9 gearing (Deore LX w/ XT shifter)
    Rigid carbon fiber fork

    To haul stuff, its been fitted (not presently) with a rack and panniers. Right now using a messenger bag to carry stuff.

    I’ve had this bike since new and it still makes me smile every time I ride it.

  4. Chrehn says:

    I like the idea, acronym and video. The #1 issue for me on a JOYBAG is Flat-Free tires. I have repaired enough bicycle tires. I have Specialized Armadillo bicycle tires on all of our bicycles. Yes, they seem expensive, but, we have ridden many years and many miles without flats and we live in puncture-vine country. My #2 issue is a somewhat comfortable bicycle. My racing bike days are way over. I no longer like the feeling of being a monkey humped over a football. I prefer my JOYBAG to be more upright and with 26 inch tires. Remember, if I was in a big rush I would use my gasoline-powered box.
    Thanks for the thought provoking idea and keep up the Good Work.

  5. Mark says:

    Bikes for everyone must be more like 90% cars, ie do NOT focus on speed & racing – but convenience like Dutch bikes.

    The bike industry, and most of (us) nerdy enthusiasts focus on speed, efficiency and, dare I say, smugness of ‘doing the right thing’ for the planet.

    Like racing car and street racing car enthusiasts, we can be seen by the other 90% of the population as totally un-cool !

    I think the key tipping point is when we see equal demographics using bikes for everyday transport, men, women, old and young – as in Holland, Cambridge (UK), and a few other CIVILISED cities.

    [Guilty secret – Yes I too like going fast on bikes and in cars – I have raced both – BUT, just like the car analogy, I don’t think this is attractive or appropriate for 90% population getting from AtoB .. the Bike industry as a whole don’t seem to get this].

    Mark Sanders aka: @77A aka: human_amplifier [geddit 🙂 ]

  6. Heather Crombie says:

    I’ve been living the JOYBAG quest for decades. This is my latest configuration:
    1. E+ electric bike, comes with many different types of frames. I currently use their original mountain bike frame. I’m looking at the Bria for a step through upright for the next time I buy a new bike. I’ve used this bike to commute to 2 different jobs, one requiring a 40 mile round trip for two years. My current is a 34 mile round trip for the past 1.7 years.
    2. You could call me a bag lady as I’ve tried so many different ones. I would always accidentally kick off even the best of them at one time or another during my commute. This spring I bought a Burley Travoy trailer & have been pleasantly surprised by it’s versatility & ease-of-use.
    3. Black burn light system with a button for adjusting the strength of the beam on both lights simultaneously while on the trail.
    4. Old fashioned barrell bell that allows me to give a short ding when I’m passing a pedestrian without scaring the bejesus out of them. When I need to escalate the warning it will also give a loud trill with a more confident push of the metal lever.
    5. Although my electric bike has a very effective electronic lock, I also still use a 20 year old Kryptonite D lock so thieves don’t mess with it because they think it’s an easy target.

  7. Patrick Walker says:

    I hate to say that I think this misses the issue completely. The reason that most people choose to drive their car rather than ride their bike is because of the road, not the car. Look at all the P.O.S. cars on the road and look you can drive that P.O.S. car anywhere you want to.

    Now look at all the bikes on the road, not many in relation to the car. It’s not because there is something wrong with the bike it’s because there is something wrong with the road. No lanes, no safe route, no signal actuation, no secure bike parking, and most of all no respect for those who choose to ride a bike. If you don’t fix all those things first it won’t matter if the O bike takes off.

    I really like the J.O.Y.B.A.G. acronym, but it should be more focused on the real problem that prevents most people from choosing to ride a bike and that is the road itself.

  8. Johnthenonstopbicyclist says:

    My bike is set up for jumping on and going. I have all the things I need. Mainly, I am set up for hauling my things, repairing the bike while on route, and for bad weather.

    A motor may be nice, especially when I keep going further and further to get all the things I need, but so far, the lack of one hasn’t been a problem for me.

    I will admit that dyno lights would be ideal, but I am getting by using rechargeable batteries in my lights for now.

    We need racks, lights, fenders, comfortable angles, and easy to repair, especially tires.

  9. BluesCat says:

    Phyllis has a terrific point about recumbents: no other bicycle saddle approaches the comfort of an automobile seat; none of ’em even come close. A recumbent is simply the ultimate J.O.Y.B.A.G.â„¢ bike. Of course I ride one, but don’t simply take my word for it, go try one.

    I think the best point is made by Patrick Walker. The biggest roadblocks to jumping on a bike and going are ENVIRONMENTAL factors. Slice it any way you want, only the most hardy, dedicated individuals will put up with the challenges of unfriendly roads, unfriendly drivers and severe weather.

  10. Josh Lipton says:

    Thanks for all of the thoughts as we get underway with this project. Bringing up the issue of focusing on the road rather than the bike is very insightful.

    Our focus on bikes for this project, is in many ways because that’s what is reachable for us. In a quest for a bike that offers the convenience and reliability of a car, we certainly will keep our minds open to the aspect of the potential futility of this quest.

    Perhaps when we’ve put together a fleet of J.O.Y.B.A.G. bikes, it’ll be clearer that this may be only a small piece of the puzzle. Or maybe we’ll feel we’ve solved a big piece of the puzzle.

    Either way, we are determined to give it a go, but certainly with open minds. And of course your thoughts and critiques on our direction are crucial as we push ahead.

  11. Ben says:

    Too right! This is and has always been the main issue for cycling. Drivers have feelings of ownership over the road and that cyclists don’t belong. This is the real problem. On a side note I don’t think that the electric assist should be a selling point for riding. We need to change what is valued in our society. Instead of promoting sloth and apathy, perhaps a shift towards health and self empowerment is in order. I know not everyone can pedal themselves around and is necessary for some. Not to mention the earlier post about trading one fossil fuel for another. Maybe I’m asking too much.

  12. Niki says:

    My bike is definitely ready to go. I ride a Specialized HRXC. It is pretty basic but I use it to get to and from school and the back rack carries most of my art supplies, including my art box and canvas. I get a lot of strange looks from drivers and have even been mistaken for a homeless person with all the odd things I end up carrying on it but I think that being on the road helps.
    I really think any bike that a person is comfortable riding on is a great bike. Where I live I see all sorts of bikes on the road (and unfortunately the sidewalk).
    While there is a car in my household I prefer to be on my bike than driving and use it for all the short trips around my house. If I can avoid being in the car I do.

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