In Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, the Avant Cycle Cafe builds community

February 6, 2020 by  
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It all started with a flat tire. A man cycling through Lake Geneva, Wisconsin was charmed by the historic town but really wished it had a bike shop to fix his flat. This cycling mishap has morphed into Avant Cycle Cafe , a community hub that combines a full-service bike shop with excellent coffee and pastries. “Cyclists have a natural inclination to coffee,” managers Ann Esarco and Andrew Gruber told Inhabitat. “When the two worlds came together, it was just a natural fit.” The city of Lake Geneva sits 10 miles north of the Illinois state line in southeastern Wisconsin. Its population of about 7,700 swells in summer, when droves of people from Chicago come for boating and other warm-weather sports. The architecture is another draw. The area saw an upsurge in construction at the end of the 19th century, and many Victorian mansions still stand. This makes the town and environs a compelling place to explore on foot or by bike. Local sourcing at Avant Cycle Cafe The cafe’s menu focuses on hot drinks and treats. Avant Cycle Cafe serves cider made from locally grown apples and has a case full of baked goods. Don’t expect to just order a regular coffee. You can choose from drip, pour over or French press, plus the full range of espresso drinks. You might also be surprised to find that a cafe in a small town in the famous dairy state of Wisconsin offers almond, soy, oat and coconut milk alternatives . Related: San Francisco bike shop lets you trade in car for e-bike This is no ordinary coffee, either. Avant Cycle Cafe sources its beans from Lake Geneva Coffee Roastery . Owner Jeremiah Fox started roasting his own coffee on his stovetop in 2012. Now, the coffee entrepreneur, who is visually impaired, uses his other senses — hearing, taste and smell — to fine-tune his commercial roast profiles. Talking timers and special tactile points on the controls of his machinery allow him to adjust the air flow and temperature for his small-batch coffee. Fox uses electricity for a clean air process, versus roasting with gas, which pollutes both the beans and the air with hydrogen sulfide. According to Fox, his process also makes for coffee that’s easier on customers’ stomachs. Building a cycling community Tourism is seasonal. While some people do visit in winter, summer is high season for Lake Geneva. Avant Cycle Cafe values its summer customers and is happy when they return for more coffee and another bike rental. Both tourists and locals join a series of summer Sunday breakfast rides, where groups pedal together to area restaurants, diners and cafes . The rides are casual with a no-drop policy, meaning nobody gets left behind. Once, the group rode out to see Fox’s coffee roasting operation in the nearby town of Elkhorn. The rides are usually 12 to 15 miles each way. Avant Cycle Cafe believes in cultivating local community year-round, not just when the sun is shining and tourists fill hotel beds. “Our locals are fantastic,” Esarco and Gruber said. They even have one customer who comes in three times a day. In addition to the cafe and bike shop, an upstairs area called The Loft is a rustic, bright and cozy room open to customers for studying and relaxing. It can also be reserved for private events like engagement parties, bridal showers and youth group meetings. This year, Avant Cycle Cafe is hosting a weekly Tuesday night program called 13 Weeks of Winter. “It’s an effort to engage the community in providing entertaining and enriching activities when most people aren’t even thinking of cycling,” Esarco and Gruber explained. While some topics are very on-point, such as a talk by cycling icon Lon Haldeman, an intro to bike maintenance and learning opportunities about the history of coffee, others draw on the community’s wider expertise. Local art gallery ReVive Studio will lead a mosaic pendant class in March. Another night, people can come for Reiki healing. The Chili for Charity contest brought together 10 local restaurants and recently raised more than $1,000 for local organizations. As Esarco and Gruber put it, “Cycling and coffee is just the meeting ground. The community expands out from there.” What’s next for biking in Lake Geneva? Workers at Avant Cycle Cafe are actively making Lake Geneva a better biking town. They’ve begun working with the national Rails to Trails Conservancy, which takes disused railroad tracks and converts them to multi-use trails for hiking and cycling. They are also lobbying elected officials to incorporate bikes into urban planning . “Our aim is to include a marked bike lane on the renovations to Highway 120 from just outside Lake Geneva to the White River State Trail ,” Esarco and Gruber said. This 19-mile trail follows a former rail corridor and is only a few miles from Lake Geneva, so a marked bike lane would greatly improve safe access. Avant Cycle Cafe just started selling and servicing e-bikes , which could give some would-be cyclists an extra boost of confidence. This summer, the cafe will also be offering private, guided tours around the lake. “It’s been wonderful to be in a position to get more people on bikes, having fun and riding around beautiful Lake Geneva,” Esarco and Gruber said. “We want to make Lake Geneva the place to be for cyclists.” + Avant Cycle Cafe Photography by Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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In Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, the Avant Cycle Cafe builds community

In Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, the Avant Cycle Cafe builds community

February 6, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

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It all started with a flat tire. A man cycling through Lake Geneva, Wisconsin was charmed by the historic town but really wished it had a bike shop to fix his flat. This cycling mishap has morphed into Avant Cycle Cafe , a community hub that combines a full-service bike shop with excellent coffee and pastries. “Cyclists have a natural inclination to coffee,” managers Ann Esarco and Andrew Gruber told Inhabitat. “When the two worlds came together, it was just a natural fit.” The city of Lake Geneva sits 10 miles north of the Illinois state line in southeastern Wisconsin. Its population of about 7,700 swells in summer, when droves of people from Chicago come for boating and other warm-weather sports. The architecture is another draw. The area saw an upsurge in construction at the end of the 19th century, and many Victorian mansions still stand. This makes the town and environs a compelling place to explore on foot or by bike. Local sourcing at Avant Cycle Cafe The cafe’s menu focuses on hot drinks and treats. Avant Cycle Cafe serves cider made from locally grown apples and has a case full of baked goods. Don’t expect to just order a regular coffee. You can choose from drip, pour over or French press, plus the full range of espresso drinks. You might also be surprised to find that a cafe in a small town in the famous dairy state of Wisconsin offers almond, soy, oat and coconut milk alternatives . Related: San Francisco bike shop lets you trade in car for e-bike This is no ordinary coffee, either. Avant Cycle Cafe sources its beans from Lake Geneva Coffee Roastery . Owner Jeremiah Fox started roasting his own coffee on his stovetop in 2012. Now, the coffee entrepreneur, who is visually impaired, uses his other senses — hearing, taste and smell — to fine-tune his commercial roast profiles. Talking timers and special tactile points on the controls of his machinery allow him to adjust the air flow and temperature for his small-batch coffee. Fox uses electricity for a clean air process, versus roasting with gas, which pollutes both the beans and the air with hydrogen sulfide. According to Fox, his process also makes for coffee that’s easier on customers’ stomachs. Building a cycling community Tourism is seasonal. While some people do visit in winter, summer is high season for Lake Geneva. Avant Cycle Cafe values its summer customers and is happy when they return for more coffee and another bike rental. Both tourists and locals join a series of summer Sunday breakfast rides, where groups pedal together to area restaurants, diners and cafes . The rides are casual with a no-drop policy, meaning nobody gets left behind. Once, the group rode out to see Fox’s coffee roasting operation in the nearby town of Elkhorn. The rides are usually 12 to 15 miles each way. Avant Cycle Cafe believes in cultivating local community year-round, not just when the sun is shining and tourists fill hotel beds. “Our locals are fantastic,” Esarco and Gruber said. They even have one customer who comes in three times a day. In addition to the cafe and bike shop, an upstairs area called The Loft is a rustic, bright and cozy room open to customers for studying and relaxing. It can also be reserved for private events like engagement parties, bridal showers and youth group meetings. This year, Avant Cycle Cafe is hosting a weekly Tuesday night program called 13 Weeks of Winter. “It’s an effort to engage the community in providing entertaining and enriching activities when most people aren’t even thinking of cycling,” Esarco and Gruber explained. While some topics are very on-point, such as a talk by cycling icon Lon Haldeman, an intro to bike maintenance and learning opportunities about the history of coffee, others draw on the community’s wider expertise. Local art gallery ReVive Studio will lead a mosaic pendant class in March. Another night, people can come for Reiki healing. The Chili for Charity contest brought together 10 local restaurants and recently raised more than $1,000 for local organizations. As Esarco and Gruber put it, “Cycling and coffee is just the meeting ground. The community expands out from there.” What’s next for biking in Lake Geneva? Workers at Avant Cycle Cafe are actively making Lake Geneva a better biking town. They’ve begun working with the national Rails to Trails Conservancy, which takes disused railroad tracks and converts them to multi-use trails for hiking and cycling. They are also lobbying elected officials to incorporate bikes into urban planning . “Our aim is to include a marked bike lane on the renovations to Highway 120 from just outside Lake Geneva to the White River State Trail ,” Esarco and Gruber said. This 19-mile trail follows a former rail corridor and is only a few miles from Lake Geneva, so a marked bike lane would greatly improve safe access. Avant Cycle Cafe just started selling and servicing e-bikes , which could give some would-be cyclists an extra boost of confidence. This summer, the cafe will also be offering private, guided tours around the lake. “It’s been wonderful to be in a position to get more people on bikes, having fun and riding around beautiful Lake Geneva,” Esarco and Gruber said. “We want to make Lake Geneva the place to be for cyclists.” + Avant Cycle Cafe Photography by Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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In Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, the Avant Cycle Cafe builds community

Repurposed shipping containers turned into solar-powered Cycle Hubs

June 4, 2019 by  
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Bustling urban areas around the world are seeing a major increase in bicyclists cruising through their streets, some of them on very expensive electric bikes. To offer extra security for these pricey rides, savvy company Cyclehoop has come up with the an innovative solar-powered bicycle storage center made out of repurposed shipping containers — Cycle Hub. A leader in the world of bicycle parking solutions and infrastructures, London-based Cyclehoop is constantly working to provide cyclists with secure storage and proper infrastructure. They work in a wide range of products, from locks and racks to solar-powered riding paths. Related: An elegant car center in Thailand is made from 8 repurposed shipping containers The company’s most recent addition is the Container Cycle Hub, a repurposed shipping container that safely stores bicycles. The cube-shaped container is small enough that it just takes up a single car parking space, but is still spacious enough to hold 24 bikes. The interior of the bike hub is installed with “gas assisted two tier racks” that pull out so that the bike can be easily wheeled into place before being elevated up to the top rack. The hub’s sliding doors open and close with a mechanical lock for easy, keyless access. The doors are made out of perforated panels and allow natural light to filter through the interior, but are opaque enough to reduce the visibility from the outside. The containers are also equipped with solar-powered motion-sensor lights for added visibility and security. + Cyclehoop Via Treehugger Images via Cyclehoop

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Repurposed shipping containers turned into solar-powered Cycle Hubs

France moves to reshape infrastructure and promote bicycle transportation

September 17, 2018 by  
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France plans to launch a major endeavor to triple the amount of cyclists on its streets within the next seven years. The action will include building better bike lanes, providing financial incentives for commuters to switch to bicycle transportation and cracking down on bike theft. The plan was announced by the French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe at a speech in Nantes, where he revealed that cycling accounts for only 3 percent of transportation in the country. Despite hosting the acclaimed Tour de France competition, France has fallen far behind other EU nations in bicycle transportation. In the Netherlands, cycling accounts for almost a third of all transportation, backed by a strong cycling culture as well as organized routes and laws that make Dutch riders feel safe on the roads. “Fifty million euros per year will not turn France into the Netherlands, but it is a start,” said Olivier Schneider, head of the French Bike Users Federation (FUB). Related: How to make American cities bike-friendly France’s total fund for cycling infrastructure over the next seven years amounts to 350 million euros ($410 million). “We plan to triple the share of cycling to 9 percent by 2024, when we host the Olympics,” Philippe said. “The discontinuity on the bike lane maps creates insecurity and discourages people from cycling.” Currently, bike lanes in French cities only run short distances and are not safely connected to one another at major intersections or heavy traffic zones. In addition to addressing these incomplete routes, the government will restructure one-way streets to include two-way bike routes, saving commuters inconvenience and time. Converters to cycling will be rewarded yearly with 200 euro ($233) tax-free stipends from the French government, and many private companies are looking to double that amount, providing their own 400 ($467) euro tax-free rewards each year for commuters. Companies are also being mandated by the government to allocate proper bicycle parking facilities for their employees, a feature that train hubs around the country will also boast. To deter bike thieves from suspending the country’s progress, new bikes will be subject to a mandatory identification engraving system, which will make it easier for burglars to be apprehended and fined. The French government will also introduce cycling lessons in all secondary schools by 2022 to ensure that future generations embrace the cycling culture and respect for a clean environment. Via Reuters Image via Veroyama

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France moves to reshape infrastructure and promote bicycle transportation

Huge graveyards of abandoned bikes are piling up in China after sharing craze reaches peak

April 2, 2018 by  
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Bike-sharing took off in China , where many city dwellers battle smog and bikes offered a potential clean alternative. Now, without the infrastructure to support them, and an over-saturation in the sharing market, abandoned bikes have piled into massive graveyards in cities like Shanghai and Beijing  – forcing us to ask: are bicycles polluting metropolises they were intended to aid? The Atlantic reported  bike sharing growth surpassed demand and  Deutsche Welle (DW) said  that bikes are piling up into massive graveyards. 16 to 18 million bikes hit streets in China from around 60 companies, TIME said , and most cities weren’t prepared to handle the influx. There aren’t any set docking stations or bike stands, so most bikes are just parked on the side of the road, according to the publication. Back in December, Fortune reported the co-founder of bike-share startup Ofo , Zhang Siding, said, “The bike-sharing phenomenon has grown very quickly in the last few years, but the layout and infrastructure [of] cities in China aren’t something that can be changed as quickly to accommodate this new trend.” Related: China’s largest bike share launches air-purifying bicycles for 20 million citizens Bike graveyards have grown as some bike-sharing companies fold, and their surplus bicycles sprawl in vacant lots. DW said police now have to gather unwanted vehicles from roads and parks, and pile them in fields out of city centers. According to Fortune, last year Ofo launched a credit score system: users would be penalized for antisocial behavior like traffic violations or bike dumping, and rewarded for positive behavior, like reporting damaged or lost bikes. If users’ points were all deducted, they’d be barred from the service. They were also reportedly working with interest groups in cities to come up with new strategies — for example, in Guangzhou, traffic wardens or local groups can send feedback to the company if bikes are accumulating and Zhang said, “we’ll send people down to deal with it.” Health and air quality benefits are still present with bike-sharing, and The Atlantic said the trend is still popular, and bike-sharing will likely keep growing — just maybe at a slightly more sustainable rate. Via The Atlantic , TIME , Deutsche Welle , and Fortune Images via Philip Cohen on Flickr , Chris on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Huge graveyards of abandoned bikes are piling up in China after sharing craze reaches peak

The world’s "most compact folding bike" fits in your carry-on luggage

January 16, 2017 by  
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Imagine a bike that folds down so small you can take it on an airplane in your carry-on luggage. It exists – and it’s called the Kwiggle . The sleek, city-ready vehicle designed by German engineer Karsten Bettin can be folded up and stowed under a subway seat, in a car trunk, or even in an airplane’s overhead compartment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6My3Xd40YI4 The Kwiggle is the “most compact folding bike in the world,” according to the company . The unique vehicle allows riders to speed through cities upright, and it can be folded in a snappy 10 seconds. The bike weighs in at about 19 pounds, and it can hit a top speed of nearly 20 miles per hour. And it folds up small enough to fit into a 55 by 40 by 25 centimeter carry-on bag, or a 1.8 by 1.3 by 0.8 foot carry-on. Related: World’s lightest folding bike weighs less than a watermelon A wrought alloy bike frame makes the Kwiggle stable and tough, and its aluminum wheels are highly corrosion resistant. An adjustable seat allows riders from 4’6 to 6’2 to ride the Kwiggle with ease. The upright riding position has other benefits beyond a higher point of view. According to the company, orthopedic specialists love the Kwiggle. The bike “uniquely supports the mobility of the back and prevents tension in the should and neck area,” the company says on their website . That makes the bike not only a perfect fit for swift urban travel, but for exercising as well. Bettin has developed the Kwiggle over seven years, and he’s now selling the bike on Kickstarter . Backers can snag a one-speed Kwiggle for 1,240 Euros, or around $1,315. Two-speed Kwiggles start at 1,340 Euros or about $1,421. You can check out the campaign here . + Kwiggle Via Treehugger Images via Kwiggle Facebook and screenshot

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The world’s "most compact folding bike" fits in your carry-on luggage

18 Tech-tastic Green Gadget Gifts

November 28, 2016 by  
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With the ubiquity of smartphone technology and tablets, there’s really a little bit of gadget geek in every person on your holiday gift shopping list. Whether your loved ones’ wider interests lie in music, photography, gardening or cycling, we’ve got you covered for green gadget gift ideas for the upcoming season. From a reusable cardboard smartphone amplifier at just $10 — perfect for the office Secret Santa or hard-to-buy-for teenagers — to a splurge on an electric bicycle that will knock somebody’s socks off, there’s something on the list for every budget too. Click through to see them all. GREEN GIFTS FOR GADGET GEEKS >

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18 Tech-tastic Green Gadget Gifts

Tempus launches stylish e-bikes modeled after vintage caf racers

October 14, 2016 by  
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With an aircraft-grade steel frame, leather saddle, and low-slung handlebars, the CR-T1 captures the vintage style perfectly. There’s just one small difference between the e-bike and the motorcycle that inspired it – the “gas tank” on the bike actually houses the electronics that control its 1 kilowatt motor and 48V lithium ion battery. The battery, naturally, can be plugged in and recharged, which takes about four hours. An LCD screen on the handlebars tracks both the speed of the bike and the amount of power left in the battery. Though the bike may look like a racing vehicle, it’s capped at just 20 miles per hour – which is legally required in the US for a vehicle to be classified as an e-bike. (Anything faster requires a driver’s license and insurance.) However, there is a speed override that will allow riders to go up to 30 mph for a trip around a local track. The battery has a range of about 24 miles – however, if the battery dies, it can simply be pedaled like a normal bike, so there’s no need to worry about being stranded. Related: Swap-in wheel converts any bike into an electric within 60 seconds Retailing at $3,000, the bike may be out of reach for some.  However, those who have the funds will also receive a matching vintage-style helmet, and Tempus plans to also offer a rack to allow riders to carry items with them on trips. The company is currently taking orders for Spring 2017 production, with bikes expected to arrive in September 2017. + Tempus Electric Bikes

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Tempus launches stylish e-bikes modeled after vintage caf racers

Why House Hunting By Bike Has Real Curb Appeal

August 5, 2016 by  
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I bought my first house during an incredibly hot real estate market. If we wanted something, we had to decide now because if we waited it would get snapped up quickly by someone else. I remember house hunting and walking inside my new home for the…

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Why House Hunting By Bike Has Real Curb Appeal

Pow! Seattle’s Dark Knight rescues stolen bikes

March 21, 2016 by  
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He’s the hero cyclists need and the hero they deserve. Bike Batman roams the streets of Seattle , Gotham of the Pacific Northwest , in search of bike thieves to confront and stolen bicycles to return. This vigilante does not wear a mask to hide his identity, though he officially remains anonymous as he performs his sacred duty to “reunite people with their bikes.” The Jokers of King County, beware; Bike Batman and those he protects will have the last laugh. An engineer by day, Bike Batman has tracked down and returned 22 bicycles in Seattle in the year since he began his superhero career. “It feels really good to be able to reunite people with their bikes,” says the Dark Knight on Wheels. “There are people that it means so much to. This hunk of steel and paint is worth much more than the price tag.” The Emerald City is in need of his services. The Seattle Police Department received 1,561 reports of bike thefts in 2015, a rate double that of 2010. “If you try to get cops involved, nine times out of 10, they just aren’t available to help,” says Bryan Hance, co-founder of Bike Index , an online bike registration database which allows cyclists to report if their bike is stolen. Related: Brilliant self-filling water bottle pulls moisture from the air while you hike or bike Bike Batman uses Bike Index to cross reference suspicious bikes for sale on Craigslist, then arranges a meeting with the suspected bike thief. To ensure safety, he usually informs the police of his actions. Like Commissioner Gordon’s team in Gotham, the Seattle Police complement Bike Batman’s work. In more than half of the successful attempts to retrieve a stolen bike, the culprit has been arrested by the police. As exciting as his work is, Bike Batman maintains important differences from his namesake. “I’m not out fighting crime and punching people,” he says. “I’m telling people: this is not yours.” Via the Guardian Images via Greg Beach, Bat-Blog , and Flickr/Tiffany Von Arnim

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