Friday, May 28, 2010

The 16" debate continues

Pics courtesy of Soyokaze-sakky, Japan

There is no question in my mind that the best 16" folders are the Bike Friday Tikit and the Brompton. Which one is better has been a source of endless debates (warning - click only if you lots of time to spare).

The better one really depends on what your priorities are. If having the absolutely most compact package is critical, eg you drive a Smart car and the boot can only fit the Brompton, then choose the Brompton. But if this is not that important and you much prefer a better ride and performance, and perhaps even light touring, choose the Tikit.
Anatoly did a pretty objective comparision review and is worth a read. He chose a Brompton because of his requirements. I choose both!
ps: Sean Luke's excellent review is also a must read.

So much for the Theory of Probability...

Mathematicians have since the 16th century tried to calculate randomness and predict statistically when events occur favourably or unfavourably. I wonder if they have come out for a formula for bike punctures.

My son has been riding the XO5 faithfully for 16 months with no incident and in a span of a week, had 2 flat tires, both front. Actually, these are the first occurences of flats on the XO5's 17 year life span.

The first flat was unexplained and mysterious but the second one, Jem carelessly ran over some thorny bush on his way back from school. Guilty as charged! He had to push his bike all the way home, twice. This resulted in me using a tweezer to pull out 8 small but nasty spikes. I also learned that a 700c tube here in Australia costs US$8 compared to Singapore at US$4.5!

So whatever probability theory can tell you about your chances of having a flat, one way of making 100% sure that you don't get stranded is to carry at least one spare tube, tire levers and a pump.

ps 1: My friend Mike Khor of Wheelsopher went on a long ride recently on his Surly in Malaysia and had 3 punctures in one day! No need for applied probability theory here as it was due to a very explanable "technical failure".
ps2: 1 June - Front tire punctured again!!! Arrgh. Closer inspection revealed a pinched flat, careless of me during installation. Please remember to pump the tube a little when fitting into tire/rim. Hope this 3rd tube will last for some time. Silly me!
ps3: 17 June - This time the rear tire had a thorn go through it. Another new tube needed in such a short span of time. When it rains, it pours! I now have 3 tubes to patch. Sigh...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Foldies - fashionable for now

Seems to be fashionable to be riding bikes again, judging from this article of The Times. In the world of fashion, the author does not see bikes strictly for functionality but it is in a sense, an expression of style. I particularly like his choice of word "empowering" and "glide" where he writes about the Brompton...

And what of William with his folding Brompton? If you are what you ride, what does this piece of kit say about him? Well, to my mind these portable cycles are the preserve of the unhurried, sharp man about town. Like the big, majestic Pashleys that look like something on which Sebastian Flyte might have wobbled around Oxford with Aloysius sitting on the handlebars, Bromptons are not about speed but about empowering you to glide from A to B in a stylish, unflustered way.

Never knew riding our foldies can be viewed as stylish. Superfluosly eccentric is what comes to my mind and I much prefer that image. Anyway, you know what they say about fashion - they come and they go!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Scientist vs Bohemian

I have met many riders in my rides. Most like to have the obligatory cyclo computer, a few must ride with their GPS while the bohemians prefer to focus solely on the pleasure and freedom of cycling unencumbered.

Those familiar with Carl Jung and the Meyer Briggs Personality Profiling will quickly recognised that the ones who love to measure and monitor while riding will fall into the S (sensing) dominant type. S types love to absorb data in a linear and objective way as compared to N (intuition) where data is at best viewed as indicators of possibilities.
Furthermore, how a person makes decision can also affect the importance of the cyclometer to him. Those who are T (thinking) compared to F (feeling) make their decision based on logic and reasons and thus, have a high dependence on their cyclometer . The Fs on the other hand, decide subjectively based on a case to case basis, in the context of their values and empathy. They have little need for any measurement.

While this theory is very helpful, I am an NF personality with the occasional need to know how fast, how far and how much time I have ridden. I use a Cateye Wireless on my Speed Pro and a Cateye Mitty on the Surly LHT Tourer. The rest of my foldies are "Bohemian" style. Which explains why only 2 out of my 8 bikes have cyclometers...

Do the test here and see which one you are. Yes, even the cartoon characters of Simpsons have done this test! It will be interesting to see if you are a Scientist or Bohemian type of cyclist.