Tuesday, February 13, 2007

No laptop for 2 weeks (ugh)

I had to send my laptop in for service the other day. The AC adapter was overheating and causing charging problems. Fortunately, I did some surfing online before buying a replacement and found out that many other Averatec owners had the same problem.

Good news: Since it's a manufacturing defect, the repair is covered even though the laptop is no longer under warranty. All I have to do was ship the laptop for service at my expense.

Bad news: I will be without a laptop for the next two weeks while I'm back in Hawaii (I leave tomorrow) :-(

So I will post some pictures of the new home when I return end of February. Aloha and Hau`oli Lâ o Lono-i-ke-aweawe-aloha (Happy Valentine's Day)!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Travel Bike Comparison

S&S Coupled Bike

Bike Friday
Air Friday


Bike (BAB)

(click for
larger view)

Wheel Sz
Frame Comp.
Steel, Ti *
Ti seat boom

Carbon Fork
or Steel
Bike Type
Various **
105, Ultegra,
Dura Ace
105, Ultegra
105, Ultegra,
Dura Ace
Frame Sz (cm)
52, 56
50 - 60
Seat Tube
74°, 73°
75° (50-52)
73.5° (53-60)
Yes, exc.
Dahon BAB
Frame Travel
Breaks apart
Folds &
Breaks apart
Breaks apart
Suitcase Sz
(tot. linear in.)
(66") ***
(64") ***
Approx Price
Bike cost +
custom BAB
Dahon BAB
** Bikes with triangulated frames and round or near-round tubes (not most tri bikes)
*** Over 62” is usually oversize but many flyers get away with slightly bigger bags

Above are the various travel bikes options I considered. What I was looking for was a travel bike that could be used for long distance rides and races (half ironmans, centuries and possibly another full ironman someday), which ruled out many of the cheaper travel bikes geared for commuting and recreational touring. The bike had to be easy to pack/unpack (I'm no bike mechanic!) and I also wanted it to ride like my tri bike.

I found two distinct types of travel bikes: (1) those with smaller wheels and frames that fold up and (2) those with full-size wheels and frames that break apart into two pieces (S&S couplers can be added to many conventional bike frames, old and new, to do this). All fit into suitcases that avoid hefty airline oversize fees (even if they are slightly oversize, usually). The suitcase pack/unpack times were 10-20 minutes depending on the skill of the person doing it. The ti/carbon and aluminum bikes were a little lighter than the 20-23 lb steel frame bikes, but all were light enough for me since I would not be winning any races with even a 16 lb bike ...

My first thought was to get a low-end S&S coupled road bike or a Ritchey BAB by Dahon and put a forward seat post, aerobars and a special stem on it. But $1000-$2000 seemed like too much to spend on a bike that might not fit me or function the way I wanted.

So I decided to invest in a BF Air Friday, which could be custom made for me with a petite frame (I need a 46-48 cm frame), Ultegra components, the same aerobars/brakes and bar end shifters as my QR tri bike, and 3 chain rings, since many of my travel destinations have some really big hills. The unique unsupported seat boom allowed for a softer ride and steeper seat tube angle, which I wanted. Bike Friday also offered a 30-day money back guarantee, which I found very comforting. After a couple rides, however, there was no way they were getting it back. I loved my little red bike!

My husband, on the other hand, decided to get a steel Ritchey BAB Ultegra, which he is very happy with. He actually wanted a road bike (not a tri bike) and one with full-size wheels (at 220 lbs, he didn't like the idea of riding on small wheels). Since our LBS, Locomotion Bikes, could special order one and build it for him, he decided to buy one from them rather than ordering an S&S Coupled bike online.

Both travel bikes cost a pretty penny ($3800 for mine, $2800 for his) but will save us money in airline oversize baggage fees and pay for themselves in a couple years. Meanwhile, we can enjoy riding wherever we go, like along the North San Diego County Coast recently ... priceless !!!