I own 4 bikes, which includes the Barcroft recumbent tandem that is co-owned with my wife Kerie. Why own several bikes? You could ask why a golfer carries so many clubs; why not carry just one club? Each bike has a purpose or unique characteristic, and I enjoy being able to choose the right bike for the right conditions. Below is a list of each bike and why I own it.
Rans V-Rex—Kerie originally bought this bike and had a hard time adjusting to the short wheelbase (SWB) position. The cranks are high as is the seat.
|My V-Rex and Kerie's Tour Easy|
on Bike Virginia, 2004
I have a rear rack with large Madden panniers that carry my tools and commuter gear; clothes, food, notebook, etc. It took a while to get the seat properly adjusted, so that I had firm pressure against the back of the seat and still had plenty of leg extension. Without the panniers and most of the tools, it's a lightweight, fast bike; a classic short wheelbase bike.
Bike Friday New World Tourist—This is a folding bike with 20" wheels that fits inside a hard-shell suitcase. I use it for all trips that require airline travel. I also have the trailer attachment. This allows me to assemble the bike at my destination, assemble the trailer, and ride away.
|Bike Friday on Volcanoes Tour, 2003|
I've taken the Friday to Iceland, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and many times to Florida and Vermont to visit family. The bike rides very much like a normal touring bike. Most Bike Friday bikes are custom made and cost more than a production folding bike. Mine was made to match my Bruce Gordon touring bike. The 20" wheels respond more quickly than larger 700c wheels, and they don't absorb the road vibration as well. However, I find that I can climb better with the smaller wheels and accelerate faster. I don't ride it often but when I do I remember how much I like the ride. Plus, it's paid for itself since I don't pay the $50-$75 airline surcharge for boxed full-size bikes.
Barcroft Columbia—The Columbia is a relatively short wheelbase recumbent tandem. It has the shortest wheelbase of any recumbent tandem which makes it much easier to transport than the others. It can be put on a rear car rack or on a roof rack. We use the Tandem Topper rack. We use this bike periodically throughout the year, mostly on flat tours.
on Bike Florida, 2005
We knew this was the bike for us when we took it on the first test ride. We rode from the shop to the W&OD Trail and headed west. Before long we were in one of the larger gears going much faster than we normally ride with our single bikes. We had people tucking in behind us. That was a good sign. The bike is comfortable for both of us. I like the short wheelbase-like riding position, with the cranks higher and a more reclined back. Kerie likes the lower cranks in the stoker position, which is similar to her Tour Easy. It's a well-crafted machine, made by Bill Cook in Falls Church.
Bruce Gordon BLT—This is a classic upright touring bike. I bought it when I rode cross country in 1999. It has a long wheelbase, steel frame. It is not a custom bike like most of the Bruce Gordon's, and it's one of the few that was made in Japan.
|Bruce Gordon BLT|
on Bike Virginia, 2003
I don't ride the bike much. Every once in a while I'll take it out for a ride on the trail. I keep it more for sentimental reasons but will likely sell it one day. It's hard to part with such a functional bike that carried me across the country with almost no mechanical problems.