Rock The Bike

Why don’t ‘they’ make more stylish clothing for commuters? ‘They’ do.

Do you wonder why they don’t make clothes for bike commuters with more subtle style, less spandex, and fewer bright logos?

They do. Sometimes you just have to wait until ‘they’ come by your workshop community looking for welding help on a clothing rack.

Joyrider Clothing rain coat

Nan Eastep heads up Joyrider Clothing — a custom line of clothing and bags for city riders. This is the front of her new bike bag, which features a really spacious roll-down bag, some nice front pockets for phone and wallet, and a structure that hugs your sides to support the weight as you rock back and forth on climbs.

Our commute home.

When your new assembly and shipping employee has a hernia, and he’s carrying a heavy messenger style backpack with the used mountain bike frame you gave him strapped on it, and he’s on the cell phone with his father as you ride home to West Oakland BART together, telling his dad he has back pain that shoots down his left leg, and you know he doesn’t have health insurance and is fighting the system to schedule his surgery, you don’t just keep riding. You stop, take his pack, and strap it to your Xtracycle, even though you’re already carrying your own stuffed messenger bag, 8 DLG‘s, and a box of Schwalbe tires that the Ginger Ninjas need for their tour. Because you can.

And then, when you take a few pedal strokes, you ‘re surprised how good it feels, not the good samaritan act of helping your employee at the end of a long day, but riding the bike itself, and you say out loud, “Whoah, it’s even easier than before; I think the load is more balanced now. I must have been fighting it a little before.” When those types of this things happen to you, on a regular basis, you’re riding an Xtracycle.

OK, here’s another one. I was literally in the BART the other night and an attractive grad student pulled her face out of her text book to say “Nice bike. What do you carry on that?” And it’s not the first time it has happened.

I urge bike people who haven’t seriously considered getting themselves a long bike to let these anecdotes sink in. It’s only by experiencing magic scenes like these that you understand how transformative it can be to have a dependable, nimble, fun cargo hauling ride like the Xtracycle or the Mundo.

We bid adieu to Mike Cobb: welder, seamster, bike mechanic, bicycle customizer.

Mike’s been a member of our West Berkeley workshop community since 2001. His devotion to bicycle advocacy and mechanics, and high quality worksmanship has been a great example to the rest of us.

I don’t always agree with Mike on every subject. For example, he refuses to make eye contact with drivers at a 4-way stop, because he doesn’t want them to get in the habit of always letting cyclists go first. It’s not that he doesn’t want to give them the satisfaction of letting the bike through. It’s that he doesn’t want fellow cyclists to get accustomed to cars letting them through — the cyclist might get hit if the car driver doesn’t feel like waiting.

Like I said, Mike’s got some strong opinions, but you got to admire a guy who lives by his principles. He walks the walk and he bikes the bike. The picture you see above is Mike riding a little commuter he built up for an ex-girlfriend who is recovering from Carpal Tunnel syndrome. Hence the upright stem, and the basket mount welded to the head tube instead of attached to the handlebars (less load on the hands).

Within the Rock the Bike world, you might know Mike as the guy who invented and makes our ‘Second Wind Bicycle Cog Wind Chimes‘, which by the way, make a fabulous bike gift around Christmas time.

He’s also helped me build up bikes for custom jobs like the Soul Cycle Slim. I’m proud to be riding wheels Mike built on my Choprical Fish.

We wish Mike the best of luck as he brings his sewing machines, metalworking tools, and tremendous talent and spirit to Portland, to fulfill his long term wish of returning to the Pacific Northwest. If you’re in need of a caring, creative, affordable, and resourceful bicycle customizer in the Portland area, give Mike a shout.

Does that thing fit on the bike shuttle?

We often get this question from peope who use BART and the bike shuttle. And I’m happy to say, yes. An Xtracycle fits on both BART elevators (tipped up) and on the bike shuttle. It takes a little finesse to go on Caltrain with an Xtracycle, because it exceeds the 80 inch length limit, and many conductors are strict. City buses can work if you remove the front wheel, and place the hook over the top tube of the bike.