Eugene and Bike Friday


I pulled up to Bike Friday headquarters Monday morning, June 21st.  Ian Scholz, the maker of my trailer, and Walter Lapchynski, whose Bike Friday message-server posts I read religiously, came out to greet me right away.  Keep in mind, these people didn't know me from Adam!

They looked over my set-up, disconnected my trailer, and took it inside to weigh it.  It took both of them to lift it onto the hanging scale they keep in the showroom.  63 lbs!  I'll have to mail another package home before I try to crest the Cascades, that's for sure.

I was glad I started my factory visit by amusing the locals, even if it was at my own expense.

At Bike Friday with  Ruthy Kanagy and  Nakashiwa, who will ride his new Bike Friday across Canada this summer.


I wheeled my bike inside, where I met Tom Veljic, who mans the showroom, and Markus Bethel, the service manager.  Markus gave my bike a once-over, and made some recommendations to make my trip easier.  He gave me a large cog to add to the rear gears to make climbing easier, and I put it on and went for a spin.

It didn't quite work.  Markus gave my bike a closer look, and came up with a modification that would let me use lower gears.  Upon further inspection, he and Steve from the factory floor discovered some other minor problems.  To make a long story short, since I would be marking time until July 1st to go to the Vail Shootout lacrosse tournament as part of my indoctrination into my new lacrosse training position, they decided to do a complete overhaul on the bike.

Markus Bethel, Customer Service Manager


While Steve stripped the parts from my bike, Tom gave me a complete tour of the factory.  The place is amazing.  There are custom jigs set up everywhere, so the welders and braziers can fabricate frames of any size.  There is a paint shop, complete with a curing oven to bake on the powder-coat finishes.  They even have a bicycle garage, so the employees, most of whom commute by bike, have a place to park.

Tom grabbed one of the bikes from the showroom floor and set it up as a loaner, so I could get around town until I headed to Vail on Friday.  Everyone there treated me like I was a honored member of their club.  Somehow, I got the feeling that they treat all of their customers like that.


The Bike Friday Lunch Ride

(Photo courtesy of Bike Friday)


I spent the next few days tooling around Eugene, a very progressive town with bike paths everywhere, and lots of leftover hippies.

On Wednesday, I went on Bike Friday's noon ride; an everyday event led by Hanz Scholz, the youngest of the three Scholz brothers involved in the company.  Hanz is usually joined by his oldest brother Alan (the co-founder of the company with Hanz), several employees, and other riders from the area.  Hanz is also a competitive racer.

Once I got dropped, I completed the ride with Ruthy Kanagy, Bike Friday's Japanese marketing director.  Ruthy, formerly a professor of Japanese, got her PhD in linguistics at Penn.  She took me on some beautiful roads through the Willamette Valley, and back to Bike Friday, which I never would have found without her.



Walter rolls out Heinz's new bike.

On Thursday, Heinz Stücke, the Guinness Book of World Records "Most Traveled Man", arrived to pick up his new Bike Friday.  Heinz has been traveling by bicycle for the last 42 years!  He's planning a new round the world trip to stop at every country he hasn't yet visited, most of which are small islands.

He is an absolutely fascinating person.  The photographs from his travels are amazing!  When I met him, he said, "You're the one riding your Bike Friday across the country.  I've heard about you."  Heinz Stücke heard about me!  That's certainly the funniest thing I've heard in a very long time.

You can read more about Heinz on the Bike Friday site, or on the Bike China site.

Heinz's inspecting the bike during his first ride.

I spent some time watching Heinz, Walter, and Lynette Chiang (Bike Friday's "Customer Evangelist", whom I had met in Philadelphia just before I left), go over Heinz's new bike. 

Unfortunately, I had to leave before Bike Friday held a celebration for Heinz the next evening.  So, leaving my bike and most of my gear in the capable hands of Markus and the rest of the Bike Friday team, I headed to Colorado.


Walter and Lynette


As part of the Vail tournament, John Hill, whose US Lacrosse officials training position I am taking over effective January '05, conducts a LAREDO clinic (Lacrosse Referee Development).  Since I will be taking over the operation of these clinics, I agreed to take time from my trip to travel to Vail to work with John and Rob Wyman, the Vice President of the US Lacrosse Men's Division Officials Council.

The experience was certainly worth the sacrificed riding time.  And, I got a close-up look at the mountains I would be climbing in the not-too-distant future.

Rainbow over Vail lacrosse action.

(Photo by Andy Sharp)


Wednesday evening, June 30th, found me back in the Portland train station, waiting for a train back to Eugene.  I had arrived there not quite 3 weeks earlier.  I could feel my wheels spinning.  It was time to get back on the bike.

It was ready to go when I arrived back at Bike Friday on Thursday morning.  (Or was it Bike Thursday on Friday morning?)

I was headed east first thing the next day.  Before leaving town, I sent home a 27 pound package!  Some of it was stuff purchased at Vail that I never meant to carry on the bike.  More of it was gear I had replaced with lighter stuff.  I think I reduced my load by about 15 pounds.

One day later, I would have to crest the Cascade Mountains at McKenzie Pass, over a mile high.


Gretta und Hanz Scholz mit Heinz Stücke.  (Oy!)

Next Dispatch: Eugene to Baker City