Off The Front

Laura Crawford, Caren Hartley

Caren Hartley
Caren Hartley

Bike Tourism, Adventure Cycling and Bespoke Bicycles and why it’s important for cyclists to treat people like family

Off the Front is presented by Elizabeth Emery

Podcast length: 58′ 37″

Elizabeth’s guests this month are Laura Crawford from Adventure Cycling Association and Caren Hartley of Hartley Cycles. Coincidentally, both are former jewelers and both talk about our relationship with objects. Laura, an expert and pro in bike tourism, has been the U.S. Bicycle Route System Coordinator at Adventure Cycling Association for only a couple months but is already deep into the work. They chat about her short term and long term goals. In 2009, Laura and her partner Russ founded The Path Less Pedaled, when they sold everything to travel by bike. Laura shares what she learned during the three years on the road, what it was like to get rid of everything, how cycling can positively impact small and rural communities, and how cyclists, as they are riding, can be good neighbors. In a past life, Laura was a jeweler and is now a fly-fisher.

Laura Crawford

Laura Crawford

I’m all for riding side by side if you’re out on a rural road with no traffic in the middle of nowhere, but pay attention to when there are cars and just move over so that they can pass easily. And then just wave to people that are passing. Again, it’s that friendliness, you know even if there are thousands of cyclists coming through an area that you are a representative for all of bicycle travel because it is so easy for people to make snap judgements about people that’s very different from themselves. So I think it’s just about remembering to be a good neighbor. Treat people like family. Be respectful.” – Laura Crawford

Caren Hartley founded award-winning Hartley Cycles as the only female UK bike builder and is still one of the few. One of her primary interests is making bikes that fit all people – short and tall. She tells Elizabeth how she makes that happen. She was trained as a jeweler, then made sculpture and large-scale public art before turning to bike building. Her bespoke bikes are beautiful works of art in themselves. She now has a new line, ISEN, of more affordable and more available off-the-peg bikes made in a wide range of sizes for both women and men. They discussed her transition from fine art to making something functional, being a business woman, the appeal of 650 wheels, and of course, building bikes.



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