More things seem possible when Cris Rothfuss is in the room. She is smart, as most who are successful in life are, but there is more. There is a personal warmth, an empathy and vulnerability right there in her eyes, in her facial expressions, that draws people in, that let’s them know she cares.
She is Executive Director of Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS) and winner of one of the university’s 2016 Hero Awards, specifically for her ability to forge partnerships in diverse groups.
We are proud to call her a friend and a Seven rider and were honored to be asked to sponsor her latest project, The Real Ride, which aims to raise money and awareness for off-track high school students. Slated to begin in Seattle, Washington in the summer of 2017, The REAL Ride is a 3-month, 5,000 mile, off-road cycling event ending in Boston.
We know that the bike can be much more than transport, that riding has the power to change us, make us better in myriad ways. Rothfuss, as a passionate cyclist, knows too, and The Real Ride is an attempt to harness the bike’s power to change for a cause she believes in ardently.
Providing a good education to all of our country’s students isn’t just about education policy and budgeting. It’s also about catching students who wander from school’s path and bringing them back into a dynamic learning environment that works for them, and that’s what The Real Ride is about.
Follow along here.
There is a difference between a fad and a trend. A fad is an idea that pops up, becomes popular and then disappears after folks figure out it’s not as great as it first seemed. A trend is a gradual change in the way things are done. It can be hard to distinguish fads from trends. We struggle with this all the time. As builders of our own bikes, we can’t just be concerned with whether something is popular at the moment, we have to think through how to produce it, whether the resulting product is more valuable to our riders than the ones we already make, and whether developing the fixturing will be worthwhile over a period of years.
Recent seasons have produced some interesting trends, for example the growing interest in mixed-terrain (or “gravel”) bikes and on the mountain side of things, the emergence of the 650b (or 27.5) wheel size. These are both good trends for us, because, as custom builders, we already have all the capabilities we need to produce them. What looks like fragmentation in the market, the splintering of categories, actually looks to us like a convergence of our skills with what the market wants.
So, while other bike companies scramble to bring new products to market and add pages to their brochures to cover the latest trends, we’re actually seeing a lot of our products merging together as riders get better and better at knowing exactly what they want from their bike and their riding.
Of course, we’re still building straight ahead road and mountain bikes, but we’re also building an awful lot of bikes that blur the lines between pure road and pure mountain, as riders seek one bike to meet a lot of different needs. These can be road-oriented bikes (read: drop bars) with medium-reach road calipers to fit wider tires and/or fenders, so the resulting bike can spend some time off pavement and also work as an effective commuter in bad weather, or they can be more trail oriented bikes with cyclocross forks, wide tire clearance and disc brakes. Some will take flat bars, like a traditional mountain bikes, and some will have commuter type bars, flat or sweeping, but with multiple hand positions.
Over and over we see riders working on that single solution , and the bikes that come out are not only some of the most everyday useful we have produced, but also some of the most ingeniously multi-functional. They take advantage of all the things we are able to add to a frame design, all the component compatibility, to do more cool stuff on two wheels. Watch this space for two upcoming projects that will feature exactly this sort of do-everything bike.
We are excited to invite you to a special event at 7:00 this Friday evening, August 22nd, at the Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington, MA. Headlining the night is Patrick Brady, renowned blogger and founder of Red Kite Prayer, author, cyclist, and our long time friend, who will be on hand to read from his new book, “Why We Ride.” If you have ever wondered the same, you’ll find yourself engulfed in this book in no time. The only thing preventing you from turning the pages is the overwhelming inspiration to get out and ride.
There will be plenty of time to mingle and share stories of your own, so please join us!
Patrick has also been busy collaborating with us on a travel bike, in fact a new series of bikes designed from the ground up to make transport as easy as possible. He travels around the globe, and the added expense of bringing a full-sized bike on a plane adds up. Together, we set out to develop the ultimate travel bike. Four of these bikes will debut at the event as well, including Patrick’s very own, a bike he’ll be riding for the Franklin Land Trust’s Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee (D2R2) this Saturday.
We’d love to see you, and introduce you to our good friend. Food, drinks, and story telling will all be provided. Additional details can be seen here: https://www.facebook.com/
For sneak peaks of Patrick’s new travel bike, follow us on Instagram, (http://instagram.com/
Spread out in the corner of the baggage claim, the challenge of bike assembly is never more apparent. Hundreds of eyes watch as you unzip the case to see how your bike fared in transit. “What is it?” travelers ask as they see what looks to be a bike in ruins. Your case, small enough to avoid the airline’s bike fees of up to $400 round trip, is just big enough to hold your S&S coupled Seven after some minor disassembly. Just hours ago, and in the calm of your workshop, you packed the bike like a three dimensional jig saw puzzle. But now, in the wide open airport, curious eyes upon you, building your bike back up is all that stands in the way of you and your adventure.
How long will it take?
One of the main objectives of our collaboration with Patrick Brady, founder of Red Kite Prayer, is to create a bike that is as fast to break down and build up, without sacrificing performance, as possible. There are three main facets, other than the pressure of people watching, that can affect the speed of breaking down and building up of a coupled bike:
- Case: Not only do cases come in different sizes, but they also come in different materials. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each.
- Frame and Fork: The size and shape of the frame and fork can simplify packing. By designing your frame to fit you, and a travel case, Seven can ensure the best fit, on both fronts.
- Components: Cables, brakes, bars, and a variety of other components will have to be removed or adjusted before the bike can be packed into a case. Selecting parts based on ease of installation can save hours. We’ll discuss components that have proven to be quick to assemble, and a snap to adjust.
Let’s look at the easiest of decisions first, the case. In determining which case to get, we look at a variety of topics, including bike protection, ease of packing, ease of toting, and how easy the case is to manage after the bike is removed. There are three styles to choose from:
- Hard cases: The most durable option, hard cases do the very best job of protecting your bike. S&S Machining, the same folks who make the couplers for our travel frames, offers hard cases that have a handle on the edge or on the side, that come with two wheels or four, and an array of other options. Many of these options are useful, but especially for transporting the cumbersome case in and out of the airport. Another unforeseen benefit is that they tend to stay a little cleaner than the soft cases. The only drawbacks to the hard cases are that they are heavier, more expensive, and more difficult to pack. The walls of the hard cases are, well, hard and require you to be creative in order to get all of your bike’s contents in the case as they won’t give an inch.
- Soft cases: More or less just a heavy duty bag, soft cases are the lightest, most affordable, break down the smallest after use, and are easiest to pack. However, they offer very little protection for your frame, and do not keep their shape during transit, exposing your bike to just as many dangers in the bag as out. Great for packing your bike in the trunk of your car, these cases are more or less just a convenient way to tote everything together, but not a great option for airlines.
- Hybrid cases: These cases are made of rugged nylon, and have reinforced corners to give the case structure and help protect its contents. They are less expensive than the hard case, but are also less clunky. They are more expensive than the soft case, but far more rugged. One major advantage to the hybrid case is that the walls are flexible which makes packing something as oddly shaped as a bike a little easier. Dirt has a way of sticking to the nylon material so the bag loses it’s new feel after a trip or two, but really, there isn’t much to nit pick here.
Each material has it merits, but we feel the Hybrid case offers the right blend of frame protection, value, and ease of packing. We’ll address the frame and fork, as well as component options soon.
As always, if you have any questions about travel bikes, this collaboration with Patrick Brady, or anything else for that matter, feel free to call us at 617-923-7774 or email us at [email protected] Thanks for reading.