Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Planning for some Carry Me fun @ at Church Conference

Will be heading up to Malacca for a Church Conference from 28 Nov - 2 Dec. I've been to Malacca twice with folding bikes and love riding around the historical quaint city. This time, some of my friends going up will be bringing up their foldies too.

It should be great morning fun as we do a spot of riding before the morning sessions. I have bought another Pacific Carry Me mini-bike for my wife (red) so that she too has one. Space in our car is always a premium for such conferences. We have 5 people plus luggage, and the brilliant compact fold of the CM makes it possible for me to bring along 2 bikes.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sold on the Fold!

My first foldie - A Brompton (Pic courtesy of Foldablebikes.com)

I live in Singapore - a very congested modern city in a smallish island measuring 40km x 22km with 4.2 million people in South East Asia. It is blessed with one of the best public transport system of trains and buses in the world. Car ownership is discouraged through high taxation (US$40,000 for a Toyota Corolla) to ensure that traffic congestion is "manageable". Even so, it can be trying to get around the island especially during peak hours.

In my opinion, the best way of taking advantage of the excellent Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train system is with a bicycle. It will get you to your destination to/from the nearest train station quickest and cheapest, emission free. Problem is where do you park your bicycle? And will it be safe at the public parking areas?

Introducing the solution - The folding bicycle! It redefines personal mobility. You can bring it along with you in the trains (yes, its legal!), on buses and even in taxis with ease. It takes very little space in the office or at home, under a desk or behind your closet - hidden and unseen until you need it. But doesn't it ride funny with such small wheels? Believe it or not, a good folding bike rides as well and as fast as a full size bicycle. Found on the Bike Friday website...
Tests have shown that up to 16 mp/h, the small wheel is more efficient that a big wheel. Between 16 and 33 mp/h there is little difference. Over 33 mp/h the gyroscopic effect of the big wheel makes it more effective. Most folks do not go over 33 mp/h. - Source: 1984 Olympic Men's Road Race Gold Medal winner, Alexi Grewal during a conversation with Jeff Linder.
After putting over 2000km on various small wheels, I can concur with Jeff's findings !
I saw my first folding bike - a British Brompton, in action when vacationing in crowded Hanoi, Vietnam. While sipping excellent Ngyuen Trang coffee in a cafe watching the unending traffic whizz by, a big guy on a small wheeled bicycle pulled in front of me. He got off his bike and folded it into the smallest package. He then made it disappear under the table while enjoying his caffeine fix. When it was time to go, he unfurled the package like magic to become a bicycle once more. Merged into the thick traffic, gone - never to be seen again!

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A Bike Friday tikit to explore...

Ever since then, I've been sold on folding bicycles and have just acquired my 8th one (sold off 2) since Feb 2006. May I invite you to join me in the continuing adventures with my foldies here in Singapore, and overseas (more about this later) ...

And if you are a fellow foldie, may I welcome you not just to read, but to share your experience as well.