Monday, June 27, 2011

Why I ride a folding bike

My Brompton sitting next to me on the bus ride home from Laguna
Bikes come in all shapes and sizes the same way cars do. There are bikes that have knobby tires and multiple gears, assembled to traverse whatever kind of terrain. They're called mountain bikes and have been around since the 90's. There are bikes with slick tires and light components, designed for speed and these are the road bikes. A lot of people are into triathlons nowadays and they use a special kind of this type of bike. Then there are small, single-speed bikes called BMX bikes that have been popular with the teenagers since the early 80's. They're what you see flying over half-pipes on ESPN's X-Games. Mountain bikes, road bikes and BMX bikes are mostly used for sports and fitness, but there are other types of bikes used for utilitarian purposes. There are commuter bikes used by people to go to  the market, school or the office. There are also transport bikes used by others to transfer bigger cargo from point A to point B.   

My bicycle of choice is a folding bike. It falls under the category of commuter bikes. I primarily use it to run errands in places reachable within a short distance. For example, I bike to the grocery, fold my bike, shop, pay the cashier, unfold the bike, then pedal home.

I also use it in multi-modal commutes. To illustrate, I bike to the train station, fold the bike, take the train, unfold the bike, then pedal to the office.

I can even take my folding bike with me in my out-of-town trips. I just fold it, secure it in a bag and check it in at the counter. When I reach destination I can explore the area on my bike!

In terms of sports and fitness, my folding bike has enough gears to travel long distances. But what makes it better is that I can bike as far as my legs can take me and not worry about the return trip.  When I get tired and want to go home, I just fold the bike, flag a bus and bring it with me inside. (see photo)

You can't do any of these things with a full size bike. First, there's the problem of locking your bike outside the supermarket or mall. Then, there's the problem of bringing the bike with you in the airplane, train or the bus. I mean, you probably can, but not after causing you much trouble.

My cousin is convincing me to go back to mountainbiking and join them trek the trails in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, but I told him I'll pass for now. I'm happy and contented with my do-it-all folding bike.

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