Gene’s Brompton Commute

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Thanks to Gene who wrote us this great email describing his commutes on the Brompton bike. I say email, but really it’s more of a beautifully written piece of prose packed with great information. Check it out below:

Gene's Brompton Bike Commute“G’day, Peter.

Thanks for the opportunity for being a sort for ambassador for NYCeWheels. I’m out there in the city everyday with the Brompton and I’ve given away plenty of NYCeWheels cards within the past few months of knowing you. I’m that happy a customer and I’d be proud to represent you.

It amazes me how well a folding bicycle has integrated into my particular NJ-NY commute. I’m a multi-modal commuter who makes the daily journey from suburbia to Port Authority to work and back again. The bus knocks out 26 miles from my day stress-free, but still leaves me 5 miles to manage by other means. I’ve traversed it initially with subway, later by walking, and eventually using my old mountain bike, but the best solution I’ve found was a Brompton introduced to and sold to me by NYCeWheels.

Now there’s no more need for pick-ups and drop-offs at the bus stop. No more throwing the bike in the underfloor compartment of the bus. No more stifling subways cars or congested sidewalks. No more daily contributions to the MTA.

Taking a Brompton on Public Transit

 

Infusing pleasure into travel

Brompton bikes storageWhat can be said about cycling everywhere is that it infuses pleasure into the travel. What I enjoy most out of all this is that the commute is now a highlight of my day. In contrast, walking or taking the subway was something I had to get over with. I used to be upset if I walked into work with sweat on my back. These days I’m rolling into work a little out of breath and sweating beads of pure satisfaction. I’ve gone beyond needing to cover those miles to wanting to cover those miles, and I admit I occasionally jump off the bus a few stops early so I have more miles to bike home.

A bicycle is liberating, but a folding bicycle grants me even more access than I thought possible. It’s been by my side in the supermarket, at the bank, at the convenience store, at the barber shop, in a packed subway car heading into Chinatown, and at my desk at work.

Accomplish more with a folding bike!

Commuter folding bikeOften discreet and always quick, it deserves the title of “sidekick”. I can accomplish more things in the day than if I were limited to public transportation and walking, and I can accomplish surprisingly more with my folding bicycle than I can with the limitations of a fixed bicycle.

I have yet to be denied my folding bicycle in an establishment. Sitting in a fully packed bus during rush hour with my brompton bike, my bag, and my helmet all on my lap makes me smile with a sense of satisfaction.

Thanks again.”

Montague Paratrooper Pro

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by Turbo Bob

Montague Paratrooper Pro Folding Mountain Bike—Solid Performance

Montague Paratrooper Pro

Montague Paratrooper Pro

Working with NYCeWheels always makes for a good ride. When they offered me some time with this Paratrooper Pro, it took me back to memories of my days in the 82nd Airborne. No, I didn’t ride bikes for them, but I did fix and jump out of helicopters and airplanes. I even jumped out of jet planes, but this is a story about a high-end folding mountain bike, so I’ll go with that instead.

The Montague came to me in a small double-walled box so it was in perfect shape after the shipping. It didn’t take but a few minutes before I was giving it its first rides on my street. After some fun curb jumping and the such, I put it on my stand to check-out the fastener security and the tune-up. As they advertise, everything was ship-shape.

Testing out a folding mountain bike

I’ve been putting off this post until I could get some fun shots of me getting air on the Paratrooper Pro. It still hasn’t happened, but not because I haven’t done some jumping, just that I haven’t been able to line up someone to hold the camera. It handles well in the air and you would never be able to tell it is a folder during the ride. So far though, all the jumps have been on pavement as I really don’t like getting my test bikes dirty.

The crew at NYCeWheels don’t seem to mind if I get it all mussed-up, so I will do some dirt trailing when I get a chance. I will get someone to take some shots as the dust and dirt-clods fly. I do expect it will be great fun as this mountain bike has some strong features and a fairly plush front suspension fork. The drivetrain has the guts for the dirt and the disc brakes will be able to handle it too.

Paratrooper Pro on the trails

It has all the good stuff it will take to hit some rough trails. The Kenda tires aren’t too aggressive, but they appear to be up to the task. With 27 speeds of quick shifting, thanks to the Shimano trigger shifters and parts, I fully expect the best from this Montague. When the bike is all dirty and muddy, I will be able to report on this part of the ride better.

So far most of my riding has been on the city streets and bike paths. I have been enjoying the nice ride and solid feel it delivers. There are some stairways and curbs I’ve banged up and down on. Nothing too radical, but enough to get a feel of what it will be like when I get it off-road. I can tell the bike wants way more than I’ve given it so far.

Montague  Paratrooper Pro

Montague Paratrooper Pro

The Promax disc brakes have been working great. They grip good and have nice modulation at the brake levers. Disc brakes and mountain bikes go together well. So far I haven’t been able to do anything they don’t like, including some pretty steep down hills at the far end of town. Once I get them all muddy and ugly we’ll see if they still like me.

I am really digging the looks of the Montague Paratrooper Pro. In stealthy matte black from head-to-toe, it shows its style well. Just about every piece on it is black too, and that adds to a color scheme I can get behind. Montague offers some of their bikes in military green if that is your preference. Once you start riding the colors disappear anyway, so it really doesn’t matter that much. Still, stealth is cool.

A tough full sized folding bike frame

Aluminum is the main ingredient for the build-up of the Paratrooper Pro. This folding bike is made extra beefy to handle anything you can dish out so it isn’t quite as light as a racing mountain bike. In the high 20’s, it is still one light-weight bike for the kind of riding it is designed for. To me it feels very agile and robust. I have given it a pretty good workout so far, but I will be better versed in its strength when I hit the dirt.

It folds fast and gets down to a small package for a full-sized bike. The front tire comes off quick and Velcros to the frame. The strap of Velcro is tied to the handlebars so you won’t lose it. If you search on-line you can find some videos of it parachuting though the air and being ready to ride after a rough landing. That’s something you can’t do with too many mountain bikes.

So keep an eye out for my off-road report soon. I can’t wait to get some air-time with this bad boy, Turbo Bob.
“Spectators were running for cover during my run. When that happens you know you’re going fast.”—Elke Brutsaert.

Click here to buy a Paratrooper Pro.

Brompton bike travel – Love at first sight

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Well, this is it. The Brompton has arrived and I am excited. I can hardly wait to open the box and I can’t believe how small it is. Can there seriously be an entire bicycle in this small box? I guess that is one advantage I see to a folding bike before I even get the box open, it truly is compact.

First Impressions on my Brompton

My first reaction after unpacking the Brompton, will I ever figure out how to fold and unfold this bike? I was thinking to myself, how can this folding bicycle perform like my full size bike. First things first, I need to see how to unfold it and then we will put it to the test. The instructions were great and as it turns out, unfolding the bike wasn’t that difficult, you just need to get all the steps in the right order and it is effortless. I would also discover that even if you get the steps in the wrong order, Bromptons are so well made that it would be tough to mess anything up. Great to know if you are not so mechanically inclined.

As I unfolded the bike I realized just how fine the craftsmanship is on a Brompton folding bike. You can tell that they are handcrafted by people who take pride in what they do. On to the important stuff, the comfort, the ride, and how does it handle.

The Brompton Folding bike is very comfortable

I received the M6R which has 6 gears, front and back fenders and a rear rack as well as a front cargo block. I love the lines of this folding bike, it is very sleek and almost, dare I say, sexy looking. The Brompton was surprisingly comfortable from the first moment I sat on it. I actually think it is more comfortable than my full size bike. The M-style handlebars give me a more upright position in the saddle and that will make for more comfort on a longer ride.

Use the Brompton to charge your gadgets!

This particular Brompton came equipped with a Shimano dyno hub and some really awesome lighting. For those of you that don’t know what that means, this awesome technology lets me turn my pedaling into power for the lights and for the Biologic ReeCharge as well. The ReeCharge will allow me to charge my iPhone as I pedal down the road. Both of these things can be done simply by plugging in to the front hub and off I go. I like the idea of leaving no carbon footprint and using the effort I put into pedaling this new folding bike to power my phone and lights.

My Brompton goes the distance

How does it ride and handle, well to be honest, I haven’t taken any great distance yet. I have ridden it mostly around the neighborhood and I love it. Not only does it feel like I am riding a full size bike but I think the folding bike actually handles better. Shifting on the Brompton is a bit different but actually in a good way. I don’t need to worry about pedaling to shift to the next gear. I am interested to see how that plays out on the hills. I am currently in some pretty flat country so I will let you know when I get to test it out on my first climb.

The best part is still the compact size of a folding bike, the Brompton being, what I believe is, the most compact model. I’m excited to see where this bike will take me! Already I have had a great time on my Brompton folding bike and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a great bike that provides a great ride!

 

Dahon Ciao D5 – First Look Review

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If you’re looking to get into cycling, but have felt comfortable swinging your leg over the seat of a bike, the Dahon Ciao D5 might be the perfect bike for you. It has all the portability and functionality of a Dahon folding bike, but with a unique frame design that makes getting on the bike a lot easier, and a whole lot more comfortable.

Dahon Ciao folding bicycle

Dahon Ciao folding bicycle

To start, the Dahon Ciao D5 is built around sturdy 20” wheels, which keeps the bike nice and low to the ground, but also gives a smooth and comfortable ride compared to similar folding bikes with smaller wheels.

Ciao D5 has a reliable Sturmey Archer hub

For climbing hills and zipping around town, the Dahon Ciao D5 has a lightweight 5 speed Sturmey-Archer internal hub, which makes the shifting system virtually maintenance free. The range of gearing is large enough to get you up most any hill during your commute, or when you’re just out riding on the board walk or bike paths through the park.

The comfort you feel when riding a Dahon Ciao D5 is the same as you would expect form any other Dahon folding bike. You get a rock solid aluminum frame, just like other models, and even with the the low-hinge design, this bike can handle city streets and cracked pavement with ease. You’ll feel very comfortable on this bike with the BioLogic Ergo grips and BioLogic Como saddle.

Dahon Ciao is fully loaded

The Dahon Ciao D5 comes with lots of extras, as well. An included rear rack is perfect for hauling a small bag of groceries from the corner market, or a small stack of books from the library. The front and rear fenders will keep you dry if you happen to get caught in a rain shower or splash through some puddles. The chain guard will keep your pant legs clean, and the Dahon Double stand kickstand makes for easy parking when you arrive at your destination.

When you’re doing riding, you can fold the Dahon Ciao D5 in less than 20 seconds. With the bike fully folded, it is a compact 13.3 inches deep, 28.9 inches tall, and 25.7 inches wide. At that size you’ll be able to stow it in your back seat or trunk with ease, or just pick it up and take it on the subway, train or bus with hardly any fuss at all.

Ciao folding bike perfect for leisure

In all, the Dahon Ciao D5 is the perfect folding bike if you’re looking for the ultimate in comfort when riding along the boardwalk, the bike paths and leisurely trips to the market. With the equipped rear rack and fenders you’ve got a bike that is made for everyday riding, and with the low, step-through design of the frame, this is a great folding bike that you’ll be comfortable riding for years to come.

Ready for the ride of your dreams, then check out this awesome folding bike: the Ciao D5!

Dahon Bullhead: On the trail in Columbia, Missouri

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I have always thought of myself as a road cyclist. And the reason is pretty simple: if you want to ride a bicycle from your front door to the store, bike shop, work, wherever, you use a road to get there. And since I didn’t own a car until I was 29, I spent a lot of time pedaling on the road, developing favorite routes and hoping for better street design and maintenance.

It would have been nice to have a Midtown Mini folding bike like the Dahon Bullhead back then: a bike with a wide tire but a responsive ride, a bike easily stashed inside a friend’s Subaru DL at the end of a long day, a bike that would have fit behind the couch I slept on during those magic days when Don Johnson’s two-day stubble was in style.

Folding bikes make riding a bike so much more convenient

Folding bike on the MKT trail

Folding bike on the MKT trail

If the this folding bike had existed 30 years ago, it would have been a great bicycle for transportation riding. It certainly is today. Relatively lightweight yet wide-tired, it’s perfect for spending more time watching traffic and less time actively negotiating the road surface. And because the Dahon bikes fold, you can easily park one in the best parking spot there is: your living quarters.

So it surprised me how much I liked riding the Dahon Bullhead on the MKT Trail in Columbia, Missouri. After all, the crushed limestone surface would seem to reward somewhat taller wheels. Until you take those 20-inchers out for a spin and find, surprise, that they spin quite well.

Before pedaling off, I raised the my folding bicycle‘s handlebars. This was, after all, a pleasure cruise, not a fight through high headwinds. A 5mm wrench lets you angle the quill of the Bullhead’s stem upwards; a 4mm lets you rotate the handlebars within the stem so the brake levers and shifters are at the proper angle. Takes just a few seconds.

A beautiful trail to cruise on my folding bike

The city maintains the first 4.7 miles of the MKT; Boone County takes care of an additional 4.2 miles before the MKT meets the state’s crown jewel, the KATY Trail, which follows the Missouri River through the center of the state, from St. Charles (near St. Louis) to Sedalia in the west. I read recently that the trail may, after 30 years, finally be extended to nearly reach Kansas City.

Unlike many recreational trails, you can actually use the KATY to get to towns dozens of miles away, as long as your destination is somewhere along the Missouri River. In both width and length, it is a superhighway of a trail and, because of geography, relatively free of road intersections. I especially like the eastern part of the KATY, in part due to its proximity to several wineries, including my favorite, Montelle. I didn’t have any time for the big trail during my visit, but I’ve ridden it many times in the past, usually on a tandem. Despite its shorter length, the MKT looks and feels just like the KATY.

Short rides are easy with a folding bicycle

Dahon Bullhead, folding bike meets falling rocks

Dahon Bullhead, folding bike meets falling rocks

But this weekend the folding bicycle wasn’t the focus of the trip, and so I was riding solo. One reason I went for a short ride was simply because the Dahon Bullhead made it so convenient to do so. No rack on the car, no taking wheels on and off—I didn’t even feel like I had to dress the part, except for a helmet. The nice thing about a solo ride, on a folding bike or any transportation-oriented bicycle, is being able to start and stop whenever you want to.

And I stopped quite often to take pictures. And said hello to every rider who apologized for riding into the shot of them I intended to take. Which was virtually every other picture I took.

Friendly folks. Nice trail. Great day. And no need to hitch a ride in that old Subaru. I headed back into town under my own power, smiling.

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