Blog Archives

Folding Bicycles, Part I

The other day I was given a folding bicycle. I have wanted one for some time, because it seemed like it might be a good way to take a bike on buses and light rail trains. When I put my bicycle on the rack at the front of the bus, I always worry that the driver will drive off before I can get it off. OCTA even has a 1-800 number for claiming lost bicycles. On the subway, of course, you walk your bike right onto the train. At rush-hour, though, you get a lot of glares from people who want to stand where your bike is.

Now that I have the folder, I am a little dubious that the bus drivers will let me carry it on. Even folded, it is still sort of a bulky package. For the train, though, I can see that (even unfolded) a 16” wheel bike is going to take up a lot less real estate than my 700cc road bike.

My folder is a vintage Dahon, which was bought new by a pilot acquaintance of mine. (Plane+folding bike, how’s that for a car free mode?). It has a steel frame and weighs about half again what my road bike does, so it will probably be no fun to hump up the stairs on the subway.

After I cleaned it up, I rode it for about 4 miles on the Whittier Greenway. The short cranks are going to take some getting used to, and the brakes are certainly not as strong as I am used to. That being said, I was surprised how fast I could cover ground.

The next step is to take the bike into the city and see how it does. Stay tuned for my conclusions.

Has it Really Been Three Months?

I just realized that this is my first post of 2009. Incredible! It looks like I never finished the last post, either. I meant to put in a few pithy paragraphs about the BART system with its live station attendants and ample bike lockers. Bring lots of change, though. The machines are impossible. I probably would have mentioned something about how busy the historic city buses in SF are and/or posted some pictures from when we rode the antique cable cars. Of course I never got around to any of that, so you will just need to use your imagination.

The simple explanation for my long hiatus is that I have been doing a lot of writing in other (less anonymous) venues. After writing all day, coming home to write the blog just did not seem like much fun. I can not stay quiet for long, however, about the transportation problems that this country faces. I am back, and I am ready to rant, so look for more posts in the near future.

San Leandro BART station
Bike lockers
Historic bus
Cable car