The author on board his brand new Bike Friday folding bicycle
The Allure of Folding Bikes Finally Got to Me
Okay, I'll admit it: I am a cycling fanatic. The bicycle is my sole means of transportation, and when I'm not riding from point A to B or hauling furniture by bicycle, I'm on my racing bike training for local races. Lately, as more and more people have gotten into cycling in order to avoid high gas prices, we've heard a lot of talk about the convenience of folding bikes for commuting, especially for people that need to be able to take a bike with them on a train or into their office. What's more, many avid cyclists who travel often find that folding bicycles are the only way to train while on the road. So as both a commuter and a racer, I soon found myself succumbing to the allure of a folding bicycle.As I began researching my options, one thing was abundantly clear: there are a lot of choices, and more players are getting into the field. For instance, there is the striking and rather ingenuously designed Strida Folding Bike; the affordable and convenient Dahon Speed P8; and the space-age, lightweight (and expensive) Pashley-Moulton, to name a few.
What I Was Looking For
However, I had some criteria for the bike that made it easier to choose. It had to: be reasonably light (between 20 and 24 pounds); have a steel frame; fold down small enough to fit into a suitcase that can be checked in at the airport; have a wide enough gear ratio to be used for long training rides and hill climbs; and cost no more than around $1,300.
Many of the folding bikes on the market, such as the Strida and the Citizen, are made for little more than short commutes. What first attracted me to Bike Friday is that most of the bikes they make are designed to be used for long rides. That tells me that they are well made, and that they have the right gearing and geometry for the kind of riding I like to do.
Why I Chose the Bike Friday
I eventually settled on the Bike Friday Pocket Rocket, a $999 dollar bike that comes with a beautiful fire-engine red paint job, drop handlebars, a steel frame, and easy folding capabilities. The 20 inch wheels roll fast enough to make long rides possible, while still being small enough to fit into a suitcase. For another $250 you can purchase a special suitcase designed for the bike; the suitcase can be checked in at the airport as standard luggage (read that: no extra charges). Traveling with a bicycle couldn't be easier.
How the Bike Rides
The bike rides just like a road bike; the only difference is that, due to the smaller wheels, the bike is a little slower up hill and when coasting. Also, the small wheels aren’t as good at absorbing shock, but apart from that the bike rides fantastic. It’s a light, comfortable, fun bike to ride, and enables me to ride anywhere and everywhere. For instance, in New England one cannot take a bike on the trains unless the bike is in a bike box, but with a folding bike they let you carry it on board the train without any problems!
Read on for more photos and descriptions of the bike!