We left Vancouver and headed back to the US for our next destination, Seattle, Washington. Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest region of North America and the fastest-growing major city in the United States. This city is full of character with it’s vibrant city-center and is home to Pike’s Place Market, the Space Needle, fresh, locally-sourced raw oysters, and a Ferris wheel at Pier 57.
Pike’s Place Market is an open market with everything from seafood to fresh fruit to dried flowers. The market opened in 1907 and is one of the oldest continually operating public farmer’s markets in the country. Thousands of tourists swarm the market daily to purchase fresh food and goods, steps away from one of the country’s most iconic coffee shop.
The iglide® car in front of the famous wall of gum in down town Seattle
There is an observation deck from which to view the whole city of Seattle. Just like the Eiffel Tower, it was built for a world’s fair in 1962. When it first opened, nearly 20,000 people a day were taking elevators to get to the top to see the entire Seattle metropolis.
We were able to visit a fitness machinery design company that integrated our bearings in their top of the line equipment. We were able to tour their test room and see the bearings used first hand. iglide® bearings can significantly reduce noise and maintenance in fitness equipment. Their low-friction, self-lubricating operation keeps operation quiet, and eliminates the mess of oil leaking onto the machines. Smooth operation of the iglide plastics makes machines move smoothly, making customer workouts their best. Because they do not require external lubrication, maintenance is also unnecessary.
Our bearings inside this piece of fitness equipment
iglide L280® bearings are a great solution for exercise equipment, possessing a low coefficient of friction, and high wear resistance. It’s also ideal for use with rough shafts or in abrasive environments, so manufacturers can use less expensive shafts in their equipment as well.
After leaving Seattle it was time to head to Portland. Portland is a very unique city, famous for their food carts which celebrate food from almost every ethnicity you could imagine. The carts line over two blocks of the city and made picking what to eat for lunch very difficult. Some of us chose coffee from one cart, a salad from another, and desert from a third just to sample the incredible and unparalleled variety of food.
Next we visited Powell’s Books, a bookstore chain located in Portland. We headed to the headquarters, dubbed Powell’s City of Books, which claims to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world. Besides boasting multiple buildings, inside the store each section has a color to indicate what genre the room is, because otherwise finding a book would be close to impossible.
The car going over the Hawthorne Bridge, the most well known of the multiple bridges in Portland
Our next stop is San Francisco where the car will get to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge.
We will keep you posted,
Sascha and Kayla
As we were approaching Vancouver we drove through Fraser Canyon which is an 52 mile landform of the Fraser River that descends rapidly through narrow rock gorges in the Coast Mountains en route from the Interior Plateau of British Columbia to the Fraser Valley.
This is the only region in Canada that is home to poisonous snakes. We were also lucky enough to see rams jumping into the cliffs! As we drove through the canyon the landscape quickly changed from forests to mountainous desert.
One of the main attractions in Fraser Canyon is Hell’s Gate.
Hells Gate is an abrupt narrowing of British Columbia’s Faser River, located immediately downstream of Boston Bar in the southern Fraser Canyon. The towering rock walls of the Fraser River plunge toward each other forcing the waters through a passage only 115 ft wide.
The name Hells Gate was derived from the journal of explorer Simon Fraser, who in 1808 described this narrow passage as “a place where no human should venture, for surely these are the gates of Hell.” Long before the arrival of Simon Fraser, and as early as the end of the last ice age, Hells Gate was a First Nation’s congregation ground for settlement and salmon fishing.
Once we arrived in Vancouver it was time for some site seeing. We took a bike tour along the sea wall and saw the Olympic Torch from the 2010 winter Olympics. When the flame is lit it stretches about 30 feet into the sky. It is only lit for special occasions because it uses so much fuel. There are four separate torches that surround one larger one in the middle.
Our last stop was to an award winning Gelato shop, Bella Gelateria, owned by one guy who frequently is in the shop giving out his recipe for people to try at home. The city itself is extremely clean, not overly crowded and feels very calm compared to other cities such as New York, Los Angeles or even Boston.
On our second day in the beautiful city of Vancouver it was time for customer visits. Jeff, the iglide® sales representative for the Vancouver region led the visits. The first stop was a local gelato shop offering over 253 flavors of Gelato including various exotic flavors such as curry, aged balsamic vinegar and garlic.
This gelato shop uses igus® bearings in various parts of their waffle cone makers.
They were looking for an alternative to regular bearings because lubrication was messy and expensive for the food industry. This solution helped them perfect the waffle by not burning or under cooking it. It also saved them money by not wasting ingredients. Their waffles became so popular that they created their own business that primarily sells waffle makers because they make the perfect waffles. The owner Raffaele spoke about igus® bearings saying, “it was really the saving grace for our machines.”
Our second visit was with a bicycle manufacturer. They use our bushings in three different locations. To the bike industry, lightweight is very important, iglide® bearings are about seven times lighter than metal bearings. igus® bearings are also stiffer making the bike more durable when being used in high intensity circumstances such as down hill mountain biking which is very popular in the north west.
Joanne, the Research Technology Program Manager said she loves working with igus® because when they are working on a new bike and have new ideas igus® send them test products within the month and works closely with them on what bearing is best.
Check out this video from iglide® on tour in Taiwan, to get to know how you can improve your bike by using igus® bearings:
After the two customer visits it was time to head off to Seattle.
Look for us on the road,
Kayla and Sascha
Today, the car took a drive to one of igus’ customers in the bicycle industry. With all their advanced characteristics, iglide plastic bearings are a perfect choice for use in all sorts of bicycle applications, including in pedals, shocks, and suspensions.
Because of their light weight, bikers love plastic bearings, as they don’t weigh their bikes down the way metal components can. Because of their special features, like vibration dampening properties and resistance to dirt, chemicals and water, bike manufacturers choose igus in their designs as well.
igus’ original iglide bearing material, iglide G300, is widely used by bicycle manufacturers, in bike shocks and pedals, because it helps alleviate the company’s long term costs, as well as maintenance by their customers. The G300 material is able to absorb high shock loads that occur when biking across mountainous, uneven terrain, and while traveling at high speeds. The G300 bearings are also able to handle very high loads, perfect in a bike’s pedals, absorbing the shock of the rider pedaling. This vibration dampening and load-absorption makes for a more comfortable ride for the customer.
iglide plastics bearings are also self-lubricating, meaning there is no need for maintenance from the manufacturer or the customer. Without grease or oil, there is also a lower chance of bearing seizure and rider injury, as lubricant can be washed away or compromised in extremely wet or dirty riding conditions. With self-lubricating plastic, dirt and water does not affect the coefficient of friction.
Even Olympic level cyclists use igus bearings in their bikes! Olympians including Sabine Spitz, who took the gold in Beijing in 2008, use igus in their bicycles’ suspensions (Sabine’s bike used iglide plastic bearings in the suspension fork). At the Athens Olympics in 2004, mountain bikers using bikes with lightweight igus plastic bearings took the gold, silver, and bronze medals. You can’t compete with that!
We have started our journey into the Yukon, driving along the famous Alcan Highway, the only road for 3,000 miles. The Yukon is known for its miles and miles of undisturbed wilderness, which includes many species of animals, countless lakes, creeks, and other unexpected surprises along the way.
The Yukon Territory is the shape of a right triangle, bordering the state of Alaska. There are very small towns and villages along the way, with hours of driving in between. We spoke with some local people, one man told us that he was sick and had to drive over two hours to the closest hospital. There is also very limited internet and cell phone reception in these towns, so if anything were to happen, you have to use your resources – a survival of the fittest lifestyle is important when living in an area like this.
The iglide car has traveled miles and miles through rocky, muddy, winding roads. Many other vehicles many have broken down, but the iglide car has had no problem traveling through these conditions. Surely this is because of the iglide bearings we had retrofit into the car, like iglide G300 in the brake pedal. iglide G300 is the all-around (the world!) performer, excellent for most applications. It is maintenance-free, self-lubricating, wear-resistant, and cost-effective. It is resistant to dirt and dust, which is all the car has seen since it arrived in Alaska!
We’ve made a few stops in Whitehorse and Watson Lake over the 3 days it took us to drive through the Yukon. Along the way, we were able to see a mother black bear and her 3 cubs, a heard of antelope, wild horses and bison, a porcupine, multiple moose, and a reindeer! It was amazing to be able to see these animals completely surrounded by their natural habitat.
There are so many hidden gems in the Yukon. One of the highlights for us was the hot springs in Liard, which is the second largest hot spring in Canada. This hot spring is unique, as the hot springs are on one side, so on that side, the water is extremely hot, but cools down as you move further away. We swam in the hot spring for over an hour – just the relaxation we needed after 3 longs days of driving.
As we headed out of the Yukon and into the Rocky Mountains, we left behind the gravel roads and found ourselves surrounded by turquoise rivers winding for miles along massive mountains. But, as usual, this was no challenge for our iglide car as it continued cruising through winding, twisting roads up into the cliffs. While the car is still running great without any problems, the exterior is looking a little rough. What started out as a bright orange on arrival in Alaska has now turned a light brown!