24 July 2008

Men on folders

Yesterday I saw a gorgeous girl on an darling orange folding bike, riding up to MIT. The bike was so cute that I smiled and I think she was startled and happy and smiled back. She is just the second girl I've seen on a folder in all of Boston.

Where are you girls on folders? Will you send a photo of your 'look'?

Why is this type of bike so much more popular with the men?

Man on a folding bike
Man on a folding bike
Man on a folding bike
Man on a folding bike
Man on a folding bike


Anonymous said...

Maybe because they tend to look pretty sci-fi? I think they're adorable, but that's just me. And an orange one?! That would be extra fun.

Charlotte said...

It was! It was darling. When she saw me admire it she had the hugest grin - just lovely.

These folders can be so cute and practical, I should think there would be women who appreciate that.

Anonymous said...

OK, "cute" I won't dispute but here's the "practical" side.

They're not comfortable to ride because of being so close-coupled in a short wheelbase, because they have such small wheels, and because the rider is sitting atop what is essentially an inverted pendulum always trying to rock the bike.

They will always have a loosey-goosey feel to their ride because they are built around those getting-worse-with-use hinging and locking demechanisms. Eventually, the mechanisms will wear to the point of being unable to tighten adequately at all.

They're not easy or pleasant to haul/carry/store when folded. Imagine if you will, trying to carry around two or three upright vacuum cleaners which have been tied together because that is how I'd characterize a folded folder.

At my most charitable I'd say they are a novelty. The trouble with novelties is that they quickly lose their appeal and become wasted investments.

That's my story and I'll stand on it and look the crowd in the eye.

Tom said...

Do females like the sci-fi look. I am always surprised when I see someone riding a folder and they don't have a beard, wear wire rimmed glasses, and smoke a pipe. Wait a minute.... that sounds like me (i started my beard during my recent vacation).

Charlotte said...

Uh oh Alf, my husband's going to disagree with you for the very first time!

Did you see our stairway post?

burrito said...

I totally disagree with Alf... I wonder if he's only familiar with the oldskool folding bikes or cheap knockoffs.

- mine is far more comfortable than any full size bike I've ever had. For reference I'm 5'6", so pretty average. Riding on small wheels has no effect on the comfort level except to make me feel more in control and much more agile and responsive.

- my folder has no loosey goosey to it whatsoever. Feels as solid as a rock.

- my folder is certainly more pleasant to carry than a full size bike (which, actually, I can't carry at all). I live on the 3rd floor and take my folder up and down every time. That wouldn't be possible with any other bike.

- folding bikes are often the only bikes allowed on rapid transit trains during peak hours so people with multi-modal commutes love them.

- I saw a TON of folding bikes in London - mostly Bromptons. They definately are not a novelty over there.

- I bought my folder BECAUSE it was so practical (why get a full size bike if I can do all the same stuff on something that folds up and fits in my fireplace??). It just so happens that it's ridiculously cute too.

Pics of my ride here:

2whls3spds said...

Possibly because of the "fiddly" nature of them? I know my wife doesn't like having to use more than one shifter (she is definitely an IGH girl!) I know a couple of women with folders but they are both engineers...


Anonymous said...

Burrito asked, " I wonder if he's [alf's] only familiar with the oldskool folding bikes or cheap knockoffs."

Admittedly yes. My low opinion was formed when I was a neighbor-lady's "bike mechanic" for one that she had bought back in 96-98 or so out of some general merchandise mail-order catalog.

Charlotte said...

Well, I can add that my husband's Brompton is not a toy, it is remarkably well made.

However I told him about Alf's objections and he said decisively that if he didn't have to carry the bike up our stairs, and if he didn't have to put the bike under his desk, he would not be riding a folder.

It's the perfect tool for his current needs. It will always have a (very small!) place in our household because it can be so useful. Just last week we rented a car to go visit family and he rode to the rental place, put the bike in the trunk, and drove off. The Brompton was truly made for that.

Anonymous said...

I'm a girl (well, 46) with a folder and I love it! I'm not in Boston, I'm in the outer, outer suburbs of Minneapolis. I use my standard bike for errands locally, but I keep the folder in the car with me for the days I have to drive in to the Twin Cities (45 miles one way) for work. Typically, I work at various locations throughout the day, which makes bike commuting a little tough. But when I have some assignments near by each other, I bike from place to place on what I call my "bendy bike." It's a gray-blue Dahon -- quite cute! It folds up quite easily and is really light!

m e l i g r o s a said...

this is a great set! cute riders also.

rb said...

i have 2 dahons, and sometimes my gf will ride one of them. here in Chi folders are required if you want to use the train as they dont allow full size bikes on the train most of the time. more and more folders are showing up here, but I would have to agree that they are usually men.