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The Globetrotting Cyclist – Biking Overseas

Category: Pro Tips, Uncategorized

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Are you one who craves adventure? Interested in a long-distance cycling trip, or even one overseas? Cycling is one of the best ways to see a country – to quote a time-worn cliche, it turns the journey itself into the destination. Not for you the plane, harbinger of cold and flu, sausage-stuffed with passengers; the bus, with leaking lavatories, innumerable stops, and air conditioning always too hot or too cold; expensive car rental, with navigation of foreign insurance and road customs. On a bike, you’re never far away from a beautiful stop, and you never have to worry about parking.

However, there are a few things which will help maximize the fun in your overseas cycling adventure.

First, whether you’re taking a bus, train, or airplane, you are likely to have to pack your bike. Baggage handling can be hard on your bike, so make sure you pack it up well! Specialized bike containers are available for frequent travellers, but a low-cost option is often to purchase a used bicycle box from your local bike store and pack it up in that. Of course, your friendly local bike mechanic can do this for you, too! One of the myths surrounding shipping your bicycle by airplane is that your tires might explode as the pressure in the airplane’s cargo hold decreases. Since pressure at sea level is 14.7 psi, the maximum relative change in tire pressure is this – unless you’re running your tires at or higher than the maximum inflation for your tires, it’s unlikely that you’ll have any issues.

Other countries may also have different standards for bicycle components. A great example of this is tires – go to any bike store, and there are a dizzying array of different tire sizes available for differing standards over the years. Make sure you are aware of what components will be on offer in your destination country(ies), and carry spares if you are worried about availability of compatible parts, or if you’re going to be far away from places you can get your bike repaired!

Similarly, a good toolkit is very useful to have, along with some of the basic skills required to fix common bike issues. Good things to know how to do are to replace or repair tires and tubes, true wheels, replace brake and shifter cables and adjust the same, and replace chains. Of course, you can make it less likely that you’ll encounter some of these issues by having your bike tuned up and travel-prepped by a competent local mechanic. A suggested toolkit to take would be chain oil, a set of allen keys, tire levers, patches, spare tubes and/or tires, a pump, spare spokes, spoke wrenches, and standard wrenches as needed – of course, a multitool can substitute for many of these.

Aside from a toolkit, make sure your bike is kitted out with the equipment appropriate for your trip. A good helmet, lock, and lights are a must, as well as bags for carrying luggage. Ortlieb bags are one of the most well-regarded brands of bicycle luggage in the world, and we stock their full product line at Denman Bikes.

Finally, if you’re interested in doing a bicycle vacation over just a regular vacation, consider that many countries have a rich cycling heritage and may have better cycling infrastructure or a better attitude towards cycle tourists. That being said, locals are often happy to see cycle tourists wherever you might go!

I hope that this helps inspire your next bike trip, or to open your mind to the possibilities of overseas cycling. Happy riding!

Bikepacking, Bike Camping: Skip the Parking, Double the Fun

Category: Uncategorized

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Canadians like to camp, it’s no secret. From cottages to camping-oriented comedy to cottages to canoes, venturing into the great outdoors is a Canadian tradition. However, our love for camping as a nation can lead to problems – in the summer, many popular camping sites fill up, reserved and unreservable for the majority of the summer months. The only alternative is often to drive endlessly further afield, or to give up and go to city parks and beaches for the day.

There is, however, an alternative – bike camping. Unlike car camping, bike camping is possible at numerous campsites throughout BC as most walk-in campsites are also bikeable and also usually less full than reservable campsites with parking spots. Also, unlike car camping, the journey is as much an enjoyable part of the experience as the destination – bike trips allow a slower pace, and full engagement with the sights, sounds, and smells of the beautiful outdoors.

There are many interesting, worthwhile, and accessible bikepacking and bike-camping sites and routes near Vancouver, a few of which will be mentioned here to help you dip your toes into bikepacking, or to inspire seasoned veterans this upcoming summer.

Saltspring Island

Saltspring Island is a beautiful Gulf Island a short ferry ride from Tsawwassen, which is easily accessible by bus and/or Skytrain. As a cyclist, the ferry ride is affordable, and you don’t have to wait in line with the other cars! You can ride through the picturesque landscape of rolling hills and Douglas firs, enjoy Saltspring’s bustling downtown near Fulford Harbour, dip into the many cultural experiences on offer, and enjoy the many hiking trails on the island. Saltspring Island has many beautiful B&Bs, if you prefer more of a bike glamping experience – however, some of the best summer accommodation on the island can be found at Ruckle Provincial Park, a beautiful waterfront park at the south end of Saltspring, 23 km from the Tsawwassen-Saltspring ferry ramp.

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Summer views from Ruckle Park

This park features many walk-in campsites and only a smattering of vehicle campsites, making it a good bet for summer availability. If you’d rather not bike all the way across Saltspring Island to get there, BC Transit even runs a bus service which will get you much of the way there, or you can combine a stay at Ruckle Park with a longer trip to Vancouver Island and ride from the closer Victoria-Saltspring ferry terminal.

Sooke, Leechtown, and the Galloping Goose Trail

The Galloping Goose and Lochside trails in and around Victoria, on Vancouver Island, are terrific bits of cycling infrastructure. The Galloping Goose trail itself is particularly fine – built on an old rail right-of-way, it is flat enough for trains, smooth, and is even paved for a good amount of its interurban length. If you cycle its full 55km length, there are quite a few sights to see.

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For much of its length, the Galloping Goose is a beautiful multi-use trail

From downtown Victoria, easily accessibly by bus from the Tsawwassen-Victoria ferry, it’s a short 15km ride to Langford, where there are many options to stop for a quick bite or a drink. After Langford, the trail riding starts in earnest – winding through forests, past beautiful ocean views, all the way to sleepy Sooke. if you don’t feel like riding the full length of the trail, there are many beautiful parks at a closer distance – Witty’s Lagoon and Matheson Lake are both particularly beautiful places to have a picnic or spend the day.

Once you are in Sooke, you can spend the day shopping, exploring the beach, or getting lunch, before heading back to Victoria by bike or by double-decker bus. For a longer trip, the Galloping Goose trail continues to the Sooke Potholes Park, a beautiful waterside park next to the Sooke River, which features innumerable places to swim.

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Who wouldn’t fancy a swim at the Sooke Potholes?

Sooke Potholes Park has an excellent campground, with walk-in, non-reservable campsites which are perfect for bike campers. From here, you can continue further along the Galloping Goose trail to its terminus, where you’ll find Leechtown, an abandoned gold-mining town.

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Ghostly thrills from the past in Leechtown

Kettle Valley Rail Trail

For a trip a bit farther afield, the Kettle Valley Rail Trail is part of a 650 km series of rail trails in BC’s interior. Much like the Galloping Goose, their heritage as railways make them easy rides, going through beautiful countryside away from busy roads and excessive hills. Go in the summer for some beautiful day trips or multi-day rides with easy access to delicious refreshments such as wine and summer fruits! Since these trails are so extensive and developed, there are also many tour operators who can guide you through a curated, well thought-out cycling experience.

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The Kettle Valley Rail Trail

Galiano Island

Galiano Island is another gulf island easily accessible from Vancouver, perfect for an overnight trip or longer. There are numerous camping options on Galiano – Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park is close to the ferry, and features reserveable and non-reserveable campsites, while Dionisio Point Provincial Park, at the extreme north end of the island, is walk-in only, and only accessible by boat or trail – perfect for a bike camping trip.

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Beach riding at Montague Harbour

And of course, how could any discussion of a bike mechanic’s trip be complete without talking about his bike and gear? Kyle rides a beautiful green cyclocross/touring bike, kitted out for overnight camping with Ortlieb Front Roller panniers secured with ROK straps, various frame bags, a dynamo lighting system, and Panaracer Gravel King tires for good performance on and off-road

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Kyle’s bike, set up for overnight bikepacking

If you’re interested in learning more, come down to Denman Bikes today! We’re always happy to share our bikepacking experience, or to help you outfit your bike to be your dream bikepacking machine!

Carry More Comfortably with Racks and Bags

Category: Pro Tips, Uncategorized

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One of the major perceived drawbacks of biking over automobile transportation is the lack of cargo carrying capacity. However, with the right setup, most would be surprised at how much a bicycle can help you carry.

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Of course, not all of us can be the hero in the above picture, but luckily, there are all sorts of bicycle accessories that can help you carry what you need to where you need it to be.

A backpack is a useful cargo tool but the physical exertion inherent to cycling often leaves you sweaty, which in combination with wearing a backpack is sticky and uncomfortable. A key item in freeing yourself from the tyranny of the backpack is a rear rack, often colloquially known as a “rat-trap”.

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Axiom Journey Rear Rack

These can have cargo strapped on them directly, with bungee cords, rope, or whatever is at hand, but are better combined with rack-mounted pannier bags or rack top bags. Pannier bags attach securely to a pannier, but can be removed and carried with a convenient handle. These are among the highest-capacity bicycle luggage items available, many featuring separate pockets. Some are even fully weatherproof to keep your stuff dry in the Vancouver wet. These range from the rugged to the urban chic.

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Blackburn Wayside Backpack Pannier (L) and Basil Urban Fold Messenger Bag (R)

Rack top bags also attach to a rear rack, but to the top, rather than the side, of the rack. These generally have a lower capacity than pannier bags, but are less bulky.

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Blackburn Barrier Rack Top Bag

Beyond this, many other options for hardcore bicycle storage exist – smaller handlebar bags which mount to your bars, seatpost bags which mount to your seatpost below your saddle, frame bags which mount within the main triangle of your frame, front panniers designed to mount onto a pannier rack attached to your bicycle’s front fork, and even specialized cargo bikes for carrying extremely heavy loads.

If you’re thinking of getting geared up for serious cargo carrying, come down to Denman Bikes and our experienced mechanics and salespeople will be happy to help you get set up with the best bicycle cargo system for your needs!

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This could be you… adventure awaits

 

Everything You Ever Need to Know About Wheels and Tires

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Wheels and tires are an often overlooked part of a bicycle. It’s common practice among bicycle manufacturers to offer better shifting and brakes on a bike at the expense of their bikes’ wheels; similarly, it’s all too easy to throw on the cheapest tires that fit, but the performance of your wheels and tires can greatly affect your ride and safety.

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Wheels and tires in action

The most obvious aspect of tire performance is grip. In scientific terms, friction force between two surfaces depends on how the material of each of the surfaces interact and the force applied between the surfaces. Surprisingly, this leads to the conclusion that on a solid surface, that the width of the tire doesn’t affect grip! However, real-world conditions dictate that wide tires will generally grip better – surfaces such as sand, loose gravel, or dirt, which aren’t solid, require larger tires run at lower pressures to maintain grip as the force is applied over a larger area, leading to less potential for loss of grip.

Another important aspect of tire pressure is energy loss from tires. As many racers might point out, aerodynamic forces on tires provides drag – however, this is negligible in comparison to the drag from the rider and bicycle itself and also involves a number of complex interactions between the passing air and the system of bicycle components. In short, putting skinny tires on your bike to go faster may not give you the results you expect. The other way that tires absorb energy is by interactions with the road – as tires deform to go over bumps and recover their shape afterwards, energy is converted to heat and lost. Supple, wider tires run at lower pressure can help to reduce this type of energy loss. More on this subject, including empirical test results, can be found in the magazine Bicycle Quarterly.

Tire and wheel weight are also important aspects of bicycle performance. In comparison to the rest of the bicycle’s components, which resist forward motion with largely linear inertia, tires and wheels also have rotational inertia. In layman’s terms, wheel and tire weight have an outsized effect on how easy it is to accelerate your bike. Light tires and wheels will make your bike faster to accelerate, but this consideration must be balanced with the strength of wheels and the amount of flat protection you need.

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Schwalbe Marathon Plus puncture protection – flat resistance comes at the cost of weight

The weight and inflation pressure of your tires are also important for other reasons – though it may not seem obvious, your tires are part of your suspension system. Heavier tires lead to worse suspension performance, especially with off-road, suspended bikes.

Finally, wheel size has important consequences for the performance of your bike. Broadly speaking, larger wheels will roll faster as they can pass over bumps and road irregularities more easily, but all things being equal, they are heavier, weaker, slower to accelerate, and offer worse handling. The opposite is true for smaller wheels.

So, what should you know about tires and wheels? They are a hugely important part of your bike’s performance, and are often overlooked. Wide, light, supple tires run at lower pressures and pumped up often will offer the best performance in real-world conditions for most people.

PUT A LID ON IT: THE DENMAN HELMET GUIDE

Category: DBS Community, Pro Tips, Uncategorized

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Helmets: Why Wear One? It’s the Law!

Bike helmets are one of your most important bicycle accessories, for safety as well as style. Besides, in Vancouver, it’s the law!

The VPD is making sure Vancouver cyclists are wearing these helmets these days, and tickets for not wearing a helmet while riding are on the rise. With more great-looking options than ever before, it’s a great time to get a helmet.

Industry recommends that you replace your helmet every 3 to 5 years, depending on how often you use it. For children, this replacement can occur every 1 to 2 years as their head grows.

The synthetic materials in the helmet degrade with time, and if you’ve ever had an accident while wearing your helmet, you need to replace it immediately.

How Should it Fit?

Worried about getting it right? Don’t sweat it! It’s not rocket science. Try a few helmets on – different companies will have different sizing ratios. Once you find something that feels snug, you’re on the right track.

If it’s too small or tight, you’ll be able to tell because it will ride high on your head or just feel really uncomfortable. Don’t put your head in a vice – comfort is key!

You won’t wear a helmet that doesn’t feel good, and that defeats the purpose.

3 STEP FIT:

  1. Sit approximately two fingers above your eyebrow. This is the ideal position for your helmet; too far back or too far forward, and you’re actually creating a hazard.
  2. Check the straps around your ears – if they need adjusting, ask for help. You want a triangular opening that you can measure roughly with your peace fingers.
  3. Now check the chin strap. It should fit snugly under your chin without causing irritation.

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Still not sure about the size?  Undo the clasp and bend forward at the waist. Does it stay on? It fits!

What Kind Should I Get?

Helmets can often be divided in two broad styles: bucket and sport.

Bucket helmets are great for casual riders and commuters, with the cool factor and protection in one. At Denman Bike Shop, we are proud to offer models in this style by Electra, Bern and Giro.

 

ELECTRA

Electra helmets are sized S-M-L for everyone, and come in an amazing array of colours and patterns. They are a Denman favourite!

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BERN

Bern is an industry helmet superstar. They make helmets for many sports other than cycling and they know their business well!

Most Bern cycling helmets are adaptable to other seasons and sports with convenient, removable liners. Their helmet lines are gendered, but rules were made to be broken: size range and style preferences are the deciding factor here.

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 The Bern Men’s “Allston” and Bern Women’s “Melrose”

 

GIRO

The Giro Reverb is a helmet that bridges the sport and bucket styles in one sleek, low-profile lid. Another popular option!

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Come on in and find your perfect fit at either of our locations today!

KONA BIKES NOW IN STOCK!!!

Category: Bike Trends, Featured Items, News, Uncategorized

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We’re now carrying Kona bikes at Denman Bike Shop!

We’re beyond stoked to be offering a great new 2017 line-up of Kona bicycles. Kona is an industry legend designed by, for and in Vancouver City! Kona is based right out of beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, and has an excellent reputation around the world.

Kona is known everywhere for its cool bikes, and has earned a reputation for creating consistently well-designed rides at a seriously competitive value. Kona has an excellent reputation for a reason: nothing they make is below the high standard of quality everyone has come to expect from this home-grown, West Coast, Vancouver-based bike company!

We’ve got an array of solid 2017 flat bar commuters and even a couple drop-bar road options that look great and feel even better. These bikes are ready for the city and the trail, and for whatever adventure you’re about to take next.

Come test ride our brand new 2017 models and feel the Kona experience for yourself!

 

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PRO TIPS: INTERNAL VS EXTERNAL GEARS

Category: Uncategorized

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INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL GEARS: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

When shopping for a bike, you may notice that they are advertised as having either  “derailleur” or “ internal” gear systems. Ever wondered what the difference was?

The simplest explanation  is that derailleur systems are external, while internal are – you guessed it – on the inside.

But first, let’s get our terms straight. What are gears?

Gears and Speeds

It’s helpful to think of gears as “speeds” – a bike with 7 gears is a 7-speed bike.

Lower numbered gears are the low gears (slower/easier), and higher numbered ones are the high gears (for going faster/harder).

“Shifting” means going from one gear to another.

Derailleur (External) Gears

Ever noticed that thing that hangs down at your rear wheel? That’s a derailleur. It’s a french term referring to the literal derailment of the chain.

In an external gear system, the rear derailleur literally “de-rails” the chain, moving it to different sized rings to achieve different gear ratios, or speeds.  Because it’s on the outside, it is important to keep it clean and properly cared for.

Rear derailleur system

Pictured above: A rear derailleur system

 

Internal Hub Gears

In a Hub Gear system, the gears are enclosed within the bicycle’s rear hub. You’ll notice that the rear wheel hub on an internal system is much larger than usual.

In general, an internal gear hub is less maintenance because it is a sealed system. You can also shift gears while stationary, which is great for gearing down at a light before heading off again.

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Pictured above: An internal hub system

 

Which System is Best for Me?

Take a bicycle with each system for a test ride. Find out what you prefer. Generally, it will come down to your personal preference, the system availability of different bike models, your maintenance expectations, and your budget.

Some find that an internal system is a smoother shifting experience, and prefer the low maintenance of the hub. Others are happy with the cost effectiveness and tried-and-true derailleur.

If you’re in the market for a low-maintenance city bike to ride to and from the grocery store or the occasional Sea Wall cruise, an internal system would be a great choice: say a Loft 7i.

If you’re after a light, fast and easy-to-customize commuter with an ample gear range for tackling hills on your way around town, an external system would be a great way to go – like with our Brooklyn Lorimer or Opus Orpheo models.

At the end of the day, they are both great systems – the fun part is choosing your bike.

So get out there and get riding!

Linus Bikes and Accessories SALE!

Category: Featured Items, Uncategorized

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Love Linus Bikes?  Well how about getting $100 in Linus Accessories FOR FREE* with the purchase of your new Linus Bike.

For a limited time, Linus Bikes in select colours are ON SALE, up to $190 OFF!   Check our bike catalogue

We also have 10% Off Linus accessories In-store only, for everyone regardless if you own a Linus or not. They’re a real shop favourite, with stylish bike bags, baskets lights and bells.  See our selection online.

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*Promotion is for up to $100 off the Regular Price of Linus accessories purchased with new Linus Bike from DBS, no other discounts appliable

SALE ENDS August 21st, 2016, while supplies last!

 

Retiring Your Car? SCRAP-IT ® with Denman Bike Shop!

Category: News, Uncategorized

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About the Program

 

Have you heard of the BC SCRAP-IT® Program? It’s a provincial “voluntary early retirement vehicle program” that offers an array of incentives to help British Columbians replace their higher-poluting, older cars with cleaner forms of transportation – like a brand new bicycle!

We’re so excited to get you riding we’ve become and approved BC SCRAP-IT Bike Shop.  That means we’ll give you 10% off (up to a $100 value) of your bike purchase. Keep your receipt and fill out the BC SCRAP-IT New Bike Claim Form and they’ll give you a rebate of 300$!

Here’s how:

 

4 Easy Steps

 

1. APPLY!

Complete the Program’s Online Application Form. Then call ICBC toll free at 1-800-663-3051 or locally at (604) 661-2800 and have them email your proof of insurance to the SCRAP-IT offices.

2. GET APPROVED!

Wait an average of 2 business days to receive your approval letter via email.

3. SCRAP YOUR CAR!

Bring in your approval letter and your old vehicle to an approved drop off location.

4. GET YOUR BRAND NEW BICYCLE!

Claim your incentive and select option #5 for your deep-discounted new bicycle from either of our 2 Vancouver Denman Bike Shop locations!

 

My Other Car is… a Townie® Go! E-Bike!

Category: Bike Trends, Uncategorized

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Does your family have more than one car? Scrap the surplus and make your second vehicle the Townie® Go!

Everyone can use the Go! Whether you’re a bicycle commuter looking to extend their potential, a new cyclist considering a longer commuting route, a parent hauling kids in the trailer or a” seasoned” cyclist whose joints need a little boost on those tougher climbs, the Townie® Go! is guaranteed to take your commuting to the next level. This is the perfect bike for handling grocery runs or a quick trip up to Mom’s house, all while getting exercise and barely breaking a sweat.

Patented and Award-Winning Comfort

Enthusiasts of the Go! know full well why the Townie is one of the best selling bikes in North America: it features Electra’s patented Flat Foot Technology , a unique upright-riding frame geometry that allows you to plant both feet firmly on the ground, any time you want! Never feel off-balance again. With the Go! you can stabilize, stop and straddle your bicycle at any point during your ride, without tipping over. Feel confident mounting and dismounting, experiencing complete stability despite the extra weight of the bike and whatever else you happen to be hauling.

While in traffic or enjoying the countryside view, the upright Townie riding position gives you superior visibility to navigate with confidence. The upright ergonomics mean no more numb buns, sore wrists or neck and upper-back pain.

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Unsurpassed German Engineering

At the touch of a button, the newly upgraded and ultra-quiet  Bosch motor offers a battery powered, pedal-assisted riding experience with more glide and less effort. On a really hot day, a quick ride to Mom’s for supper won’t have you showing up sweaty in your spandex – leave the technical gear and your worries behind.  Activated only while pedaling, the frame-mounted motor enhances your natural momentum up to 25 km/h, ensuring your safety with a smooth distribution of power that lets you adjust your rhythm based on speed.  The 2016 edition comes with 8 gears in a low-maintenance internal hub that performs consistently in any weather, rain or shine. Shift easily from gear to gear with twist style shifting on the handlebar.

4 Riding Modes, Plus One More!

Hill and headwinds just don’t matter anymore. The new Townie® Go! is equipped with 4 riding modes to fit your ride as it changes from day to day: Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo. Eco is the slowest speed on the spectrum, saving the most battery life, with Turbo providing the maximum push to get you to your destination well in time.  Sport mode is the perfect choice for off-road adventures and the stop-and-go nature of heavy city traffic, while Tour mode offers consistent support for longer, steady trips. With the Go!, you can ride at nearly 30 kph with an average heart rate of 120, which is a very healthy, low-risk rate for anyone not used to heavy exercise. In the heat, cruise at 20 kph without heating up yourself – let the breeze be your air conditioning. Up for a challenge? You can always turn the motor off, and just ride it like a bike!

Hauling Power on the “Go”

This is the perfect bike for getting a boost for extra weight.  Never think twice about that 4-gallon of milk on your way home – fill up your panniers and let the Go! do the rest. Parents love the pedal-assist when packing kids into a rear trailer, and younger riders can actually keep up with the pack when you lend them your Go! for a family ride around the sea wall.

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Dependable Specs and Warranty!

Now for the technical details: Featuring a 2 year warranty, the Go!’s  36 volt Lithium-ion battery has an average 3 ½ hour complete charge time (1 ½ hours for 50%) and up to 120 km of ride time depending on your mode and terrain. The Bosch Performance electric-assist system is located mid-frame and packs a 250 watt punch. Other specs include a lightweight aluminum frame, Schwalbe Fat Frank Tires for a luxuriously soft ride and low-maintenance Shimano eBike-approved roller brakes. Sweet extras include a Bosch battery charger, alloy rear rack, LED front and rear lighting set, matching rims and fenders, anti-rust hardware and an ABUS frame lock.

Come in for a Test Ride, we have them in Stock!

With so many features loaded into one bike, the Townie® Go is one of the most intuitive and luxurious rides on the market. If you aren’t curious yet, you should be. Check them out on our website. Better yet, come in and take a rest ride at either of our 2 Vancouver shop Locations and feel the difference for yourself. Ditch the car, and ride!