Welcome to the City Bikes clearance bin for all the overstock thoughts, rants, news items, and other idea fragments that we need to turn over. Check back often, as stock is refreshed frequently

Monday, June 2, 2008

The likable folding bicycle

We're as guilty as anybody of trying to play up the stuff that we like that is flying under the radar of the marketplace. But this post has been a long time coming. A bunch of us believe that the folding bike solves a lot of problems associated with biking, living, and working in the city.

Like using mass transit, for example. As you may know, Metro won't let you take a full-sized bike on during peak times. And the MARC and VRE trains won't let you take one on at all. But folding bikes in their folded state (and in a bag for Metro), are allowed any ole time you please on Metro, inside Metrobusses, on the VRE, and on MARC train. I used to Metro from Bethesda to Crystal City almost every day. It took a bit over an hour each way, but I could have trimmed about 15 minutes of walking time off of each leg of my commute with a folding bike. I probably wasn't alone, check out this great map showing the vast swaths of DC that fall outside a short walking distance from a Metro station.

Or maybe you're crammed into a 'cozy' 400 square foot efficiency in Dupont Circle. Which of the following will wedge into that sliver of space between your Murphy bed and your kitchen/bedside table? This...
...or this?Or perhaps you're a bit intimidated by the standover height of a full-sized bike. Not too fond of the sight of that unforgiving metal tube scant inches away from other far less resilient tubes, huh? Well, no worries here.

But they can't be easy or quick to fold, can they?

Neat. But there's so small. They can't be very fun to ride, can they?

I rode the Breezer Zag 8 shown below from our Adams Morgan shop to Clarendon, then to my house in Pentagon City, and back to the shop the next morning. And not only did I make great time, I had a great time. The gear range is fine for most riding, the tires soak up the bumps, and it handles pretty much like a regular bike. Ask our finance guy, Erik, he loves his too.
But come on, they look like clown bikes. Good gravy, if that's a concern, just don your best-fitting tweeds, and you'll turn heads for the right reasons. The line between 'eccentric' and 'individualist' can be as thin as a nicely tailored jacket, or a fresh shine on your shoes. Your bike can't make or break your style, it's just an accessory to the total package. Besides, check out the slightly similar looking and perpetually-coming-soon Smartbikes, you will be in good company really really soon (this month, maybe?). Ahead of the curve, even.

We proudly sell and stock Breezer folding bikes, and can order Dahon folding bikes as well. Like the Batavus Old Dutch city bike I highlighted a few weeks back (still in stock last I checked Friday), we would love to find and stock more models, but we're just not seeing a groundswell of interest yet.


Erik Kugler said...

Bravo Darren, they will soon see that future is folding. I mean really, unless you're caught up in being faster than the next guy or that taxi.

Juantana said...

How do you think these type of bikes would work out for someone who is 6'3"? great article, thanks.

darren said...

thanks... at 6'3", you might be at the outer edge of how high the seatpost can extend, but it might still fit. Also the handlebars aren't adjustable (at least on the Breezer we sell), so you might end up reaching a bit further down than you are comfortable with.

come on in and give it a try, though. I'm 6'0", and can ride it pretty comfortably.