The Fascinating History of the Strida Bike

strida bike drawing image
Migrated Image

The Strida bicycle is a TreeHugger fixture, the usual ride for TreeHugger founder Graham Hill and me, and the subject of many posts. Now James at Bicycle Design has published its remarkable history. Mark Sanders actually designed the Strida when he was an Industrial Design Engineering graduate student at the Imperial College London/ Royal College of Art 25 years ago, in 1985.

mark sander with early strida photo

Perhaps to celebrate this anniversary, Mark has scanned and uploaded his graduate thesis, and also his business plan has also been released. I transcribed the description:

"The design aims for a minimum number of joints to minimize cost and maximize reliability, and a minimum number of tubes to minimize cost and complexity. Although some components have to be stronger, there is a net saving due to simple construction. The basic frame has only three tubes, compared to 10 in a conventional diamond frame and more than ten on other folding bicycles.
When folded, the bike can be pushed along on its wheels, which come together to form a long thin package. this folded form was chosen after seeing folding baby-buggies in use, as these fold into long, thin package with wheels at one end, and are used in exactly the same way as the bike (put in car boots, taken into shops, etc.) The baby buggy is one of the most successful folding products."

25 years later, Mark Sanders is quoted by James as saying that the design of that first production prototype is "still about 70% of the current Strida."

strida random woman photo

While everything Mark claimed in his business plan about how the bike worked remains true, it is unfortunate that even after 25 years, a design that should be cheaper than more traditional folders is not. But it is still as fresh as the day it was designed and a joy to use.