Oct 18, 2017

New Brand Announcement: Say Hello To Benno Bikes

A little bit about Benno Bikes -

To many designers in the bike industry, the art of making simple casual bikes looks boring and is hardly worth their time. To me, it’s a challenge to inspire people to use their bike more often and incorporate cycling into their everyday life. It’s not about how far and fast you ride or how many calories you burn.  It’s about creating a more efficient and fun way to explore your town. I am just a simple guy that likes to ride his bike for fun and easy transportation. My objections and problems are the same as yours and if I can design a bike that inspires me to ride, I’m pretty sure you’ll like to ride it, too.

The Ballooner range. Upright enough, light enough, fun enough, cute enough to make your bicycle riding habit irresistible.
The Ballooner: Available in either step through or classic step over design with a few different drivetrain configurations - the perfect combo exists for you and your personal style. All models roll on big, "balloon" type tires ensuring an comfortable ride on all urban surfaces and also offering increased puncture resistance. Ballooner has enough room in the cockpit area to accommodate a Thule/Yepp front mounted child seat and fittings are in place to accept a rear rack capable of transporting a rear mounted child seat or your groceries.
Ballooner 24D step through

Carry On: Very affordable mid-tail cargo bike.
Benno's thoughts on the Carry On cargo bike - I love the idea of inspiring people to use their bikes to carry loads — from grocery runs and hauling chairs and a cooler to the beach to dropping off oversized packages at the post office. But looking at most cargo bikes, I wondered if they really had to be so long, cumbersome and hard to store. It seems like a big commitment to ride around on one of those with all the welded on racks and extensions. Do we really need a bike that big to carry a little more?

Instead of making a cargo bike smaller, I decided to make a regular bike slightly longer and stick with a tried-and-true attachable (and interchangeable) rack system. These racks are larger, made of stronger, oversized tubing and attached with extra-large bolts. The front tray is mounted directly to the frame so your steering won’t be affected, even when fully loaded.
The Carry On is a clean utility bike that will carry a baby seat and 4 large grocery bags, or all the gear you need for a fun beach day or a camping trip. Our different rack options let you pick your own configuration, while the 24” wheels keep your center of gravity low. You might be wondering why the tires are so wide. Have you ever seen a truck with skinny tires?

We are really excited to now have a legitimate cargo bike that you can take with you for out of town adventures. Capable of being mounted on a car rack (see photo below) you can expand your cargo bike adventures to wherever your dreams take you. Available in a traditional step over (pictured) with a new step through design also arriving in Spring 2018, the perfect mid-duty cargo bike for your urban lifestyle is waiting for you.

While not available at the time of writing, there is a full compliment of kid-hauling and cargo hauling rear rack options coming in Spring 2018 including heavier-duty racks, "Hooptie" type rails, foot rests, and seat pads. The standard rack is more then capable of hauling your child and or a big load of groceries too.

Sean's personal Boost E electric cargo model with front rack and Benno's bags.
I've (Sean) been riding the Boost E around for a few weeks now and am planning on riding it all winter and can say it is has been a total gas to ride! The best way I can describe it is the bike feels like a big BMX: sturdy, stiff (no frame twisting even with a load), and comfortable. I am sitting very upright but not Dutch-bike-upright, I can still stand on the pedals climbing steep hills and not feel like the handlebars are in my belly button.

The Bosch "Performance" system is so smooth and easy to use and the built-in Supernova lighting system is super-bright and easily operated from the throttle controller.

Winter studded-type tires are limited to the comparably-narrow Schwalbe Marathon Winter 24x1.75 and we have found a knobby non-studded option from Kenda as well (24x2.6 Slant 6) if all year use is part of your plan.

Benno's Carry On and Boost E cargo bikes can be transported on a car rack. Here it is on a Thule T2.
Pop down the shop soon and check out these beautiful, functional bikes. We'd also recommend you read THIS if you are interested in more thoughts on these cool bikes.

Thanks for reading.

Aug 27, 2017

Castlegar -> Penticton on the Columbia Western and Kettle Valley Rail Trails

About to pedal off into the wilderness. From L to R: Jesse, Sean, Cory, and Tom.

A handful of us went on a 6-day rail trail adventure from Castlegar to Penticton on the Columbia Western and Kettle Valley rail lines. We drove a car out to Penticton then shuttled back to Castlegar and left another car there.

Weather conditions were HOT! No rain at all and the smokey air was never an issue - in fact, it seemed to get better as the trip went along. Even crazier: the day after we rolled through the Myra/McCullogh/Kelowna area a huge fire erupted not far from where we had been. That was close.

Please enjoy this photo essay of the adventure. If you have any questions, leave us a comment below.

Jul 4, 2017

The Hidden Costs of BSO's, Also Know As Department Store Bicycles

***This is a repost from our friends at the London Bicycle Cafe.***

So you're in the market for a new bike, something to get around town, visit your friends, go to the market, maybe ride the TVP on weekends. Why should you think about buying from a local bike shop instead of a department store? Canadian Tire, Walmart, Costco etc. sell bikes that come with a smaller initial price tag compared to what you find at our store. The smaller price tag can seem very appealing, especially if you're a price-conscious person. However, what you don't pay upfront at department stores, you'll almost certainly pay in the future. A bike from your local bike shop might last you decades, a bike from a department store is designed to be disposable after a year or two of riding. Here's our guide to why buying a quality bicycle from a local bike shop will result in you having a more fun with your bike, and why it will cost you less in the long run compared to a department store.

Jun 16, 2017

Gorge Creek Bikepacking Overnighter

In the summer of 2016 I had heard about a road that had been damaged by the 2013 floods and subsequently closed to vehicle traffic but still passable on a bicycle. I decided to go check it out and after finding the road, riding a few kilometres of it, studying Google maps, and checking out other info available, a plan was hatched to use it in an overnight loop.

Gorge Creek Road is a connector road between the southern end of Maclean Creek Road to the Sheep River Road (Hwy 536). It is just over 21kms in length but what makes it special is the middle 10kms is now closed to vehicle traffic and is essentially abandoned. Our plan was to start at the Fisher Creek picnic area in Maclean Creek, ride down to Gorge Creek, stay the night somewhere along the Gorge Creek road, then loop out and back to the cars using the Sheep River Road, RR34A, TR202, RR40, TR202A, RR42, then Hwy 549 back into Maclean Creek.

Apr 13, 2017

5 Great City Bikes For Urban Life In Calgary

Urban cycling, errand running, and riding to work or school are some of the easiest ways to develop a new cycling habit and offer their own set of challenges and rewards. As anyone who regularly picks up groceries-by-bike will tell you - there is something truly gratifying about this simple, often mundane task, and running errands by bike can offer door-to-door parking making schlepping things around incredibly fast and easy. Cycling to school or work also have their own set of circumstances, depending on what you need to wear at work and how far you need to go.

Need to be presentable/professional looking at work? Perhaps a bike that has full fenders and a rack. Is where you live too far away from work to cycle the whole way? Maybe a folding bike and a transit pass are in your future. Or is cheap and cheerful, simple and bulletproof more your speed? Options exist.

With those things in mind, here are a handful of bicycles available this season that we feel offer a little something for everyone and every budget.