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Monday, February 16, 2009

Effective Commuting Tools: Folding Bikes

by Larry Lagarde

The week before last, I flew to Los Angeles to attend and speak at a transit symposium. Organized by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA), the point of the symposium was to "open the floor" to new ideas that offer commuters a realistic alternative to driving single occupancy motor vehicles. Demonstrating several folding bikes, I focused on the effectiveness of combining micro folding bikes with mass transit as a practical transportation alternative available now.

CarryMe folding bikeI had 2 minutes to make my point so I kept it short and sweet. Holding a folded CarryMe folding bike over my head, I said...
Here's an alternative transportation idea that's ready now. It requires no outlays of taxpayer dollars to implement or years of bureaucratic discussion to approve. It's an adult bicycle that weighs 18 lbs, unfolds in seconds, cruises at about 15 mph and costs just $495.

Transit studies show that most people will only walk half a mile or 15 minutes to get to a transit stop. With this bike, a person can cover over 2 miles in the same time span, making mass transit practical to users in an area 3 times larger. For people with difficulty balancing on a bike, there's even a 3 wheeled version that weighs just 20 lbs. Both versions are small enough to take aboard any transit vehicle and in 2 months, I'll be shipping a micro folding bike that weighs just 16 lbs and costs only $199.

No matter how light and compact they become, folding bikes are only part of the solution. Yet, a multi-modal approach combining folding bikes with mass transit can rival driving a car over even the longest of commutes.
By the way, while 55% of commuters in New York City use public transit, just 11% of Angelenos do the same in L.A. Hopefully, events such as LACMTA's transit symposium will help Angelenos discover that multi-modal commuting via mass transit and bikes that fold is a viable transportation solution now.



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