Mezzo Bikes Take to the Air
It is commonplace for folding bikes to be collapsed origami-like, so they can be carried aboard planes, but this might be the first time they've been folded for recreational paragliding.
A thirty year veteran paraglider, Mike Hibbit, thought at age 60 why not teach an old dog new tricks, so he set out to invent 'parabiking.' In short he slung the 10 kg nine speed Mezzo bike (plus padded storage bag) under his legs and flew off across the British countryside for about 15 km. Landed, packed up his paraglider, unfolded the bike, and once fortified with an ale from a nearby pub cycled back to his take-off point. Very impressive. The Mezzo is designed by Jon Whyte, an ex-Formula 1 engineer. It is a small wheeled (16") folder that uses self locking catches rather than hinges. A reviewer on the Folding Society website said he can get his folded in 30 seconds and unfolded in 15 and more generally liked his Mezzo. The AtoB guys seem less charitable in their assessment, though we understand some improvements have been made since they first appeared a couple of years ago.
There are two models of Mezzo (Italian for 'half'), with the other being a four speed internal hub (no deraillieur version). Both come replete with mudguards (fenders), rear rack, folding pedals, dual pivot brakes and puncture resistant tyres. Sold in the UK and Ireland as Mezzo, and elsewhere under the name Ori, due a licencing agreement with the Taiwan manufacturer. ::Mezzo.
See also our Green Buying Guide: Small Wheel Folding Bikes