Depending on the day, Ryan Battle would pedal his bicycle, drive his car or borrow a vehicle from the local car-sharing system.
That all worked quite nicely for the Austin software architect — until he needed to transport his bike in one of those pint-sized Car2Go loaners. (If you’ve ever tried to stuff a bike into a Smart Car, you understand why that was problematic.)
Instead of swapping his mountain bike for a kid’s tricycle, Battle came up with a portable, lightweight bike rack designed to fit on the back of a Smart Car.
The Free2Go rack weighs about as much as a small laptop and fits easily into a bike pannier, messenger bag or backpack. It holds just about any standard-size bicycle and takes just a few minutes to put on or take off, Battle says.
Battle, 47, came up with the idea after Car2Go came to Austin in 2010. "I would see bikes dangling out of the backs of these Smart Cars, and I thought there had to be a better solution," he says.
It’s not that a regular bike rack won’t fit on a Smart Car, Battle says. It will. But most bike racks are designed to stay there even when not in use. Free2Go was designed for portability.
"It means you don’t have to have an ugly bike rack that’s always on the car," Battle says.
Battle launched his project through Kickstarter. The first finished racks rolled off the production line in May. So far he’s sold about 200 of them to buyers in 20 countries. (Italy, it turns out, is a hotspot.)
The rack’s base mount fits into the two tow holes on the rear bumper of a Smart Car, creating a sturdy platform to hold the bike. Straps secure it.
The racks are made in America. They sell for $109 plus $15 shipping at forthesmart.com.
Drink your veggies?
Those bottles of Daily Greens cold-pressed juice in my fridge certainly look like water samples from Barton Springs Pool, where I swam last week as the sun rose.
Trust me, though. They taste much better — at least some of them.
Daily Greens, an Austin-based company founded in 2012 by Shauna Martin, sent over an assortment of samples, and I finally worked up the nerve to taste a few. I love my veggies, but the thought of drinking them makes me cringe a little.
The company is pitching two of its organic juices as an alternative to chocolate milk as a recovery drink. "Enlighten" is made with hemp milk, blue-green algae, coconut nectar, Madagascar vanilla, camu camu (a berry from the Amazon that’s high in vitamin C) and Himalayan pink salt; "Replenish" swirls together hemp seeds, Madagascar vanilla, coconut nectar, camu camu and raw cocoa.
Those two get the thumbs up. They tasted more like vanilla soy milk than 6 pounds of liquefied produce, which is what goes into each 16-ounce bottle.
The other flavors? Meh.
"Vitality," a blend of cucumber, pineapple, celery, kale, cilantro, lime and jalapeno, tasted grassy, like I was a cow chewing its cud. Fresh, yes — but definitely not for me. Same with "Harmony," which contains celery, pear, apple, kale, fennel, ginger and lemon. (My husband liked that one, but he’s from Louisiana.)
The juices contain no added sugar or preservatives. Except for the two hemp milk ones, they’re low in fat and calories. (Darn you, coconut nectar!) The hemp ones, though, do have 8 grams of protein.
They sell for $7.99 a bottle at Whole Foods Market, Central Market, Royal Blue, Natural Grocers and other locations. They’re also available at the company’s juice bar, 979 Springdale Road.
For more information, go to www.drinkdailygreens.com.
Betty’s second chance
Ah, the thrill of a vintage bike.
My husband Chris and I discovered this two-wheeled beauty — we’ll call her Betty — wearing a blanket of dust and leaning forlornly in the corner of my mom’s garage in South Haven, Mich., last month.
A woman in her late 80s had bequeathed it to my aunt in Detroit, who at some point stashed it in my mom’s garage, where it languished, with flattened tires and a broken spirit, for several years. When we found Betty, she seemed sad and neglected. Maybe she missed her former owner and their frequent forays through downtown Motor City.
Chris, who’s so handy around a set of bike tools that I’ve hired him as my personal bicycle mechanic, did what he always does. He pulled out his tools, dusted off the cobwebs and went to work. Amid the clanking of tools and squeal of air being released from a bicycle pump, a brighter, happier Betty emerged.
Betty is gorgeous. I love the curve of her handlebars and creamy white paint. Her seat is broad and cushy, and the riding position is upright, a la Mary Poppins. She proves that the most expensive bike isn’t always the best one.
Betty gleamed as I pedaled her down to the Lake Michigan beach, where she got sand in her tire treads, and past the bakery and ice cream shop around the corner. She carried me to the used bookstore, and down to the marina, where we admired sailboats.