Sep 03

Seattle to Portland with the BikeBok

Will the BikeBok perform up to expectations for the long haul in real life situations? Peter gave his a challenging test in the July 2013 STP.

The Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic is a 200 mile annual bicycle event  in which 10,000 cyclists ride, well, from Seattle to Portland. People of all ages and sizes  pedal their bicycles (and unicycles, tricycles and other human powered devices) along city streets, country roads and bicycle trails.  It’s a fun event.  It’s

Peter, rider # 8729, with his BikeBok mounted on his carbon fiber road race bike with 23 mm tires at 110 psi

Peter, rider # 8729, with his BikeBok mounted on his carbon fiber road race bike with 23 mm tires at 110 psi

an endurance event.  And its successful completion requires proper training and good equipment.  Most participants take 2 days, spending the night camping out at the half way point where their supplies have been delivered by trucks.  The more courageous, including Peter’s South Whidbey-based training group, attempt to do it in one day.


This is the story of that day, beginning on the evening before.












July 12, 8:30 p.m.

The ferry churns across Puget Sound from Clinton to Mukilteo. Matt’s van is full of cyclists and overnight gear, the roof rack full of bikes.

Unload at the church in Mukilteo. Check STP packet, review plans for tomorrow, munch on Beth’s freshly baked bagels. Spread out sleeping bags and try to calm down and get to sleep by 10 p.m. The floor is hard; the ambient light and city noises proclaim we aren’t on Whidbey any more.

July 13, 3:30 a.m.

Someone’s cell phone sounds the alarm. On our feet, yawning. On with shorts, socks, jersey, cycling jacket, STP jacket, arm warmers, leg warmers, gloves. Back in the van, down to Seattle, unload and meet the rest of the group in the Safeway parking lot.  Cycle half a mile to the University of Washington parking lot. One-day riders will be released in waves between 4:45 and 5:15 a.m.

5:05 a.m.

We’re off! It’s still dark and chilly. Hundreds of bike lights shine as we stream through the Seattle streets along with the early motorists.

The BikeBok contains supplies: tool kit, wrenches, spare tires, spare tubes, a little equipment belonging to teammates. Also food: peanut butter sandwiches, bananas, leftover bagels, homemade granola bars. Also empty space: storage for layers of clothes once the day warms up. Altogether, the BikeBok and its contents weigh around 25 pounds.

5:30 a.m.

Sunrise! Clear skies, fresh breeze, Mt. Rainier etched pink in the early daylight.

All day long

On and on, at a brisk and fairly steady pace. Can’t help hitting the occasional pot hole or road crack. The BikeBok takes the jolts securely.


The BikeBok fits snugly behind the rider’s legs, providing significantly less wind drag than standard panniers.


Official food stops are available about every 25 miles along the route, with mini-stops in between. We pause at some for food and bathroom breaks of 15 minutes or less. Midday break of half an hour at Centralia. Rest stops are easy with the BikeBok, which opens while remaining mounted on the bike.














In high speed descent the BikeBok leads another cyclist in the aerodynamic time trial position.



Up hills and down hills; top speed 40 mph.

At 20+ mph, and coasting down hills, the BikeBok appears to give an aerodynamic advantage.


We’ll put the aerodynamics of the BikeBok to scientifically controlled tests sometime in the next few weeks, with help from Phil the aerodynamic engineer.

















The red BikeBok contrasts a modern mobile storage device with the traditional red barn of yesteryear.



Our group of about 10 stays together only loosely throughout the day. Yellow ribbons on our helmets help us identify each other among the multitudes of cyclists.

















Pacelining on a rail trail.


At many points along the trip the Whidbey Island group would form pacelines to reduce energy expenditure. The BikeBok remained agile and maneuverable in these configurations.






On and on, all day long. Perfect weather, clear skies, crisply visible mountain ranges. Our progress toward Portland is measured by mountains: Mount Rainier, Mount Saint Helens, Mount Hood, in their changing angles as the hours go by.







7:30 p.m. 

Across the finish line at Holladay Park in Portland!


Euphoria at the finish!



Fourteen and a half hours and two hundred miles later.  Group reunion at the finish line. No mishaps, injuries, or flat tires among us. No adjustments needed to the BikeBok. A successful conclusion to the day’s challenge for bike, rider, and BikeBok.




Time to start thinking where to take the BikeBok for its next challenge….














A great ride with a great BikeBok

A great ride with a great BikeBok

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