Folding Bikes | Places To Ride | Reviews | Sitemap

Cycling news & info with a special focus on notable bike tours, bike trails, bikeways, lanes and bicycle routes as well as innovative bicycling products like space saving & easy to transport folding bikes.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bike News - BigFish Coming; Strida SX Going

by Larry Lagarde

BigFish Available In North America Within Weeks
I received confirmation today that the BigFish folding bike will be in stock in the USA by mid to late July. MSRP will be $799 but the bike will be launched initially at the promotional price of $549.

A micro folder, the BigFish has 16" wheels; yet, the ride geometry is equal to that of a full size bike. The BigFish rolls when folded and folds narrow like a CarryMe, Mobiky or Strida. The big difference is that the BigFish folds without folding the frame (the wheels swivel into and nest within the frame), resulting in a bike that folds shorter than a CarryMe or Strida. This combination of features should make the BigFish a formidable competitor to other brands.

Strida SX Soon Sold Out Until Fall
Sales of the Strida SX folding bike have been stronger than anticipated, leaving the American distributor (Areaware) almost out of stock before the end of June (which is distressing because I only have a few left). According to Areaware, they can't get more of the SX until the Fall.

If you are a tall guy (over 6' 2") in search of a micro folder, the SX is about the only game in town (and they definitely cruise faster than the Strida 5.0) so act soon before they're gone.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cycling in Vegas Via Folding Bike

by Larry Lagarde

Note: This is one of a series of posts concerning InterBike 2008. Read the preceding story about carrying a CarryMe on Southwest.

Click this overview map to get full GPS dataLast month when I attended InterBike, I flew to Las Vegas with a CarryMe DS folding bike as carry on luggage. The bike served as my transportation in Vegas; here's a recap of the ride from the airport in Vegas to my hotel.

Once the plane reached the gate at Mccarran International Airport, I removed my bag from the overhead and exited the plane. Since my clothing was packed in the carry bag with the folding bike, there was no need to go to baggage claim. I simply walked out of the airport, unfolded my bike and began cycling to the hotel.

Rather than ride amidst the heavy mix of taxis, limo's, airport shuttle vans and cars, I biked along a sidewalk that I had seen the night before when I Google mapped the ride. As the sidewalk arced away from the airport terminal, it entered a beautifully green and peaceful oasis of trees and shrubs - a pocket park. What a contrast it was to ride there. Unlike the vehicle chocked, multi-lane airport access road, there was not another soul on that sidewalk path.

The park gave way to the colors that prevail in Vegas - various shades of desert sand. Paradise Rd. was crowded with traffic and there was no shoulder so I stuck to the sidewalk. Smooth and relatively free of debris, this was a wise choice. Traffic on Flamingo was heavy and fast moving; I was grateful that the stoplight there had a button actuated pedestrian crosswalk.

According to my Garmin 305 GPS, it took a total of 25 minutes to bike just under 3 miles from the airport to the hotel. This includes a stop to readjust the bag on the rear carry rack, walking around a section of sidewalk that was under construction and no less than 10 stops at intersections (mostly for traffic lights). Had I waited for a taxi or airport shuttle, I don't think I could have made it much faster, particularly since I biked right out of the airport and rode right up to the front door of the hotel.

Though rush hour traffic in Las Vegas was heavier than I anticipated, it was a breeze getting around on the folding bike. Other than a speeding taxi and a tourist bus, drivers gave me plenty of space but riding on the sidewalk was safer. In fact, here's a video of one of my rides between the expo center where InterBike was held and my hotel...

Other than when at InterBike or the Outdoor Demo, I pretty much had the CarryMe DS folding bike at my side wherever I went. Due to the bike's compact size when folded and it's light weight, never did I feel burdened by having the bike with me. I took the folder into casinos and restaurants; neither management nor security stopped me or asked that I leave the bike outside. When out of the carry bag, everyone seemed bemused by this unique little folding bike.

Kudos to Southwest
In an age when airlines are making it more expensive to take bicycles aboard their commercial flights, it's nice to know that at least one airline will let you take your folding bike aboard as a carry on. Kudos to Southwest for their reasonable baggage policies towards folding bikes as well as their great, friendly staff.

Learn more about the Carry Me DS folding bike

About Larry Lagarde Larry is a dad and folding bike enthusiast that lives in New Orleans. Whenever he travels, a folding bike always goes along.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, June 29, 2008

6 Miles Via CarryMe Folding Bike

by Larry Lagarde

Recently, I was sent a CarryMe DS to review. From the moment I unpacked the bike I have been impressed; however, I finally got to ride this folding bike a decent distance today and I was blown away!

This morning, I took the dual speed CarryMe DS for a ride on the levee along the Mississippi River. The performance from this bike is simply amazing. The bike accellerates quickly and is responsive; yet, sure footed. Average cruising speed was about 14 mph, making it faster than the E-Z Pack or the Superlite. The Schlumpf 2 speed drive train is so simple to use (kick the crank arm to switch gears) that I'm amazed no one thought of this sooner - no cables, derailleur or shifter to wear out.

Riders of moderate ability will be able to cruise on the CarryMe DS at speeds from 11-16 mph in a level riding environment on smooth pavement. The high pressure 8" pneumatic tires offer low rolling resistance and some cushion from bumps; however, this is definitely a street machine. Avoid riding off road and watch out for potholes!

The CarryMe DS comes with both front & rear carry racks, fenders, kickstand & carry bag. There's enough room on the rear rack for a briefcase or a milk carton carrier (for holding groceries etc); the front rack can easily hold a 6 pack. And yes, when folded, the bike really does roll on the teeny rollers on the rear rack; just pull behind you by grasping the handlebars.

Current price on the CarryMe DS is $695 but I was informed this week that the price will be increasing to @ $900 sometime next month (ouch!).


Friday, June 20, 2008

Update: CarryMe Folding Bike

by Larry Lagarde

This month, with my wife recovering from surgery, every day has presented new challenges. Time has been so tight that I've only been able to focus on the most urgent tasks. I did manage to sneak away yesterday for a brief ride on the CarryMe folding bike from Pacific-Cycles. And I do mean brief (5-10 minutes).

Alternate Vehicles, the USA distributor for Pacific-Cycles, sent me a CarryMe DS (dual speed) to review. I received it last week and was able to shoot some photos and ride the folding bike in the driveway but I didn't have time to install the rear carry rack extension and fenders until yesterday.

Ken at Alternate Vehicles warned me that installing the rear rack extension could be tough. He was right.

Installing the rack extension requires removal of the rack's tiny roller wheels that are used when trolleying the bike folded. Each of the 2 roller wheels are bolted on a long screw. To install the extension, a bushing must be slid over the screws, through the rack extension and into the threaded holes on the rack. It should be a pretty straight forward operation but the powder coating reduces the tolerances inside the threaded hole, making it impossible to do install the extension without tools.

Using a Dremel, I carefully removed the powder coating from inside the 2 holes on the portion of the rear rack already on the bike. With a 4mm allen wrench, I carefully screwed the combo rack extension & roller wheels to the rack, spinning the roller wheels to determine tension. Once tightening caused the wheels to slow noticeably, I tightened the screws on the inner side of each wheel, drawing the bushing inward. This was a delicate process that required using the allen wrench, then using a regular wrench, then allen wrench, etc.

After I had installed the rack, I installed the rain fenders onto the brake assemblies. This was much easier but also required careful attention to the orientation of the brake caliper arms.

With everything installed and brakes tested for proper functioning, I rode over to the Mississippi River and onto the bike path on the levee crown. The road up the levee is very steep. I was able to pedal up in first gear but had to weave my way up to stay in the saddle.

Once atop the levee crown, I accelerated rapidly and switched into high gear. With the tires pumped up to the correct pressure (90 psi), this bike cruises. I'll have to place the Garmin GPS on the bike to see just how fast but I was amazed. The speed is roughly equal to riding the Mobiky in 3rd gear. The 8" wheels make steering very responsive; I could track in a straight line but I found myself weaving slightly when not paying attention.

By the way, Ken did share with me that the next shipment of CarryMe folding bikes (due next month) will come with the rack extension already installed. That is a very wise decision because the average purchaser would need a variety of tools to do the somewhat frustrating extension installation. The extension does make the rear rack more functional though so I'm glad it's on.

More to come...


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Arrived: CarryMe DS Folding Bike

by Larry Lagarde

Great news! The CarryMe Dual Speed micro folding bike has arrived and it is awesome.

First Impressions:

That's a small box for an adult bicycle.
But when I opened the box, I found a folding bike that was 95% assembled. All I had to do was remove the packing material, slip the seat post into the seat tube, install the pedals & front carry rack, lock down all the quick releases and pump up the tires (there are also a rear carry rack extension and rain fenders to install but I wanted to go for a quickie before it got dark so I'll add those later).

Sweet SpeedDrive.
The Schlumpf SpeedDrive has received rave reviews for its simplicity and durability. While it's too early to tell regarding the durability, the simplicity is stunning. No cables or levers are required to shift into either gear; just kick the base of the crank arm with your heel. You'll hear a slight click as the SpeedDrive switches gears.

High quality.
This bike exudes sophistication everywhere you look - rims machined from a solid block of aluminum, 80 psi tires, high quality quick releases, folding handlebars with cables routed through the centers (to prevent the handlebars from getting lost), extension stem for an efficient riding position, comfort handlebar grips, plush saddle, carry racks front and rear, nifty fenders front & rear, custom kickstand, velcro retaining straps to prevent the carry racks from getting scratched or opening prematurely, touch up paint and - yes - a carry bag.

I went for a very short ride and laughed out loud because it was so much fun. I can see already; I'm going to enjoy riding this bike.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

Micro Lite Multi Speed Folding Bike

A Practical Sub 20 Lb Bike That Folds
by Larry Lagarde

Lately, it seems like gas prices are inching up daily. As fuel costs continue to rise, more commuters are looking for ways to decrease their fuel consumption by working bicycles into their commutes (I know this from the growing volume of inquiries from commuters). Naturally, folding bikes are great for commuting; however, what is a commuter to do when the average folding bike is too impractical for their specific commute?

The answer might be the CarryMe DS from Pacific-Cycles, a Taiwanese bike company that specializes in the manufacture of high quality folding bikes.

Last October, I noted that the CarryMe series of folding bikes is among the lightest of production model adult bikes that fold (see Lightweight Folding Bikes - Top 5). Like the Strida 5, the Carry Me also has small wheels, folds quickly and rolls when folded; however, unlike the Strida 5, the Carry Me DS is not limited to just 1 speed.

Equipped with a low and high gear, front & rear carry racks and 80 psi tires, the CarryMe DS could be a real winner for urban commutes. But how do they ride? Can they hold up to multi mile, real world commuting? Are they worth 15 tanks of gas? To help me answer these questions, the US distributor (Alternate Vehicles) has agreed to send me one to review. In about a week, I should have it on hand and will report what I find. I must admit - it looks interesting.


Folding Bikes | Places To Ride | Reviews | Sitemap

Cycling for fun, fitness & practicality.

PO Box 9025, Bridge City, LA. 70094
Ph: 504-324-2492
Email Us

© 2005-2010 Areafocus.com. All rights reserved. Website Terms & Conditions