Man's Greatest Invention

When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man's convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man's brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle. - Elizabeth West

Purpose and Mission


To share our experience and to encourage and inspire others to use a bicycle as a form of year round recreation and transportation. To be an example of living car-free and to help others to make the transition to having a car-light or car-free life style.

Our bodies is the engine that moves us.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cafe Racers

I've always loved the cafe racer style of motorcycles; British machinery from the 50's to 70's like the Triumph, Norton and BSA. They were faster and lighter than American motorcycles and they handled much better than Japanese bikes. 



 
BSA A 10


I look at the modern versions of those bikes and my heart soars.  Having owned many motorcycles in the past, I can imagine what it would be like to ride a modern version.

A Modern Retro Styled Triumph, the Thruxton.  A favourite of mine!



A completely modern take on the Cafe Racer Motorcycle:  the Street Triple.



A funny thing happens to me when I fantasize about these bikes.  I want to go fast.  I want to hammer on the engine and give it some "Welly"; hitting the gas and having that sudden burst of excelleration underneath you is awesome and highly addictive.  Feel like winding the machine up?  Let it go and see how fast you can get it going!  Use the power available to you at your will.


Of course, I'm talking about bicycles. You see, everytime I think about riding one of those fast motorcycles, my mind instantly turns to this...

Rocky Mountain Boroughs


All the sensations I felt about the MC are even better on a bicycle.  I am the engine.  Everything I said above was about riding a bicycle.  I find it way more gratifying to be supplying the power.  I'm not fast, but I sometimes like to go as fast as I can!



I have a philosophy that says "I'm either growing or dying".  I can't be doing both at the same time.  Everytime I go out and accellerate my bike so that my heart pounds and races, it feels like I've added a few moments of life to my life.  Everytime I push my ability and stretch myself,  I've added a few moments to my life.  Putting the engine to the test and making it work harder everytime feels like my body is truly alive!
 
Specialized Langster


Much more affordable and far more benefits than a motorcycle.


Single speed bikes tell no lies.  Without the mechanical advantage of a multi-geared drivetrain, the amount of speed you get out of a bicycle is directly related to your physical condition and your ability to provide the driving force.  It feels like a more direct connection to the machine.  Owning a single speed bike is really inexpensive and does not require much in the way of maintainence or parts.

My favourite motorcycle:  the Thruxton Special Edition










Sunday, October 10, 2010

Banff Legacy Trail

We recently made a trip out to Banff to ride the Legacy Trail to Canmore.  It's a 34 km round trip. 

Expect to see all kinds of wildlife on the path. 


Beautiful Scenery with Mountain Vistas.



Smiling Faces!



And, as a reminder that we are in the Wild West:  a Horse and Cowboy at an animal crossing.



Do the Bears, Elk, Deer, Wolves etc. know they are supposed to cross between the white stripes?



Mmmm...Honey Stinger chews!



The perfect pathway for a Single Speed or Fixed Gear bike.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Woman's Liberation Movement and Early Cycling

Here is a cool little video on women and early cycling by Jim Kellett .




The bicycle allowed women to go out on their own as it still does today. Here is an early lady fixed gear rider, another excerpt from Jim Kellet's movie.




In case you did not already know,  these  are the rules.  Rule #1 to #6 seems to have become my personal mantra.  I would like to bring your particular attention to Rule # 4 of the rules. In spite of what some twatwaffle (see rule 4) says, it is indeed about the bike.   I also know this is true because of what Martina experienced this summer by being on the right bike.  She has fallen in love with cycling and with her bike. 

Turning folks onto the pleasures and benefits of cycling is really what Saddle Up Bike is all about.  I achieved this goal at home with my partner.  I have had women come into the shop with  30 year old entry level bikes that were junk originally and were four sizes too big, thinking that they just wanted to try out cycling.  If they liked it, they will come back and buy a more suitable bike.  We don't see them back and that's unfortunate.  Their experience of cycling is simply not the same as it is for someone that tries out a bike that was chosen based on their needs and their environment.   


I knew from the first moment I saw the paint scheme, that this was the perfect bike for Martina.


It's painted like an Asian jewelery box.  I don't think there could have been any other bike for her. The fact that it's a Specialized Langster just made the decision to buy it for her that much easier.  I'm familiar with the quality of construction of their bikes.  And as importantly, I like the geometry of Specialized road bikes.  The Langster offers a single speed or fixed gear bike with Specialized road bike geometry.  I thought that a 49cm bike would be a good size for her considering she is 5' 4 1/2" in height (and yes, the 1/2 inch is important!). 


The set-up we have settled on for now.




She has been able to experience Calgary in a different way travelling by bicycle.



Views of the city not available from the seat of a car.






You don't see this waiting for a red light.



Having a bike that is truly fun to ride has really made a difference in how much Martina enjoys cycling.  I find she is now planning our days around bike rides and it's awesome.  I've watched as she has grown stronger and become more fit.   Most importantly, because we are car-free, I believe that she has found a new sense of freedom very much like those women from the early days.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

Interbike 2010 Part 5 Electra Bikes

There is no denying the popularity of Electra Bikes.  Now with the Ticino line of bikes and accessories they are expanding into the non-cruiser market.  Designed to put a huge smile on your face.

Interbike 2010 Part 5 Electra Bikes





Ticino Components and Accessories