Shawn Kielty is a Software Engineer, Artist, Photographer, and avid outdoor enthusiast, enjoying cycling and other human powered travel. Travel stories from on his blog Flat Tire Paradise amuse, entertain, and encourage readers to get outside and have some fun.
A friend and I went out to Jack London Square in Oakland, California on Saturday to check out the Pedalfest! It is the first-ever Pedalfest event for the East Bay.
I spoke for a few minutes with Renee Rivera, Executive Director of the East Bay Bike Coalition (www.ebbc.org), one of the sponsors and producers of the event. Her message was clear and straightforward: The East Bay has an great bicycling community and Pedalfest was a great opportunity to showcase all things bike in the East Bay and for the cycling community to get out in force.
Walking around the event it was pretty clear that this was true. It was a pretty joyous celebration of bikes. Alongside a few things I’d never seen before, were the regular collection of standard players, the Aids Ride folks, Xtracycle, Dahon, Mike’s Bikes, REI, Fat Tire and the standard assortment of flying, jumping and trick bikes. As always, there were some things I never quite get, like the display bikes, art bikes and oddly dysfunctional bikes.
I am sure you’re wondering what an "oddly dysfunctional bike" is. It’s typically a display or exploratory home made custom bike that defies necessity and reason. Why a bike with several different sized wheels and two disjointed power trains and tires that are hand-made is interesting or useful is just beyond me.
One of the bikes I saw was called a conference bike, where a group of pedalers sit in a circle and cruise around town, while presumably having a meeting. Many people were interested in this bike, but I was left wondering, we need this why, exactly?
So what was interesting?
The Pump-Hub. Basically it’s a pump built into the hub of your wheel, that allows you, the rider, to fill the tire on that wheel by spinning the wheel. It shuts off automatically, so once there’s enough air in the tire to ride on, you can ride the bike until the tire is full.
According to Kevin Manning, owner and designer of the Pump-Hub, this will be a great thing for commuters. Retail price, according to Manning, will be about $300 for a pair of hubs. I suspect the drawbacks will be obvious to everyone. Having to buy or build a wheel set is going to be prohibitive to some folks due to cost or inconvenience.
The folks at My Dutch Bike had some cool bikes, their t-shirts feature a slogan "Light bikes and light beer are for wussies." The had an assortment of cargo, commuter, and passenger bikes, among their personal bikes and their offerings.
I spoke with Josh Boisclair about the company and one of their prototypes. Cool innovations like a bike lock built into the rear and large cargo areas, as well as multiple child carriers on a single bicycle characterize My Dutch Bike.
It will be interesting to watch and see what next interesting bikes My Dutch Bike will be building.
I spoke briefly with Ken Fagut, Director of Sales and Marketing at Dahon.
Their new flagship offering retails at about $900 and features easy folding, alternative function as a stool, an optional carrying bag and stowable pedals. It’s clean and looks, sounds and feels good. Having an entry level model at $299, makes Dahon pretty accessible.
The take away for me was that Pedalfest was a good celebration and reaffirmation of bike community, bike commuting and bike people in general.
Good times all around.