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Dahon Bikes Again and New Commuting Crisis



 
 
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  #1  
Old October 20th 04, 05:44 PM
Elisa Francesca Roselli
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Default Dahon Bikes Again and New Commuting Crisis

So, it finally happened. My job has been threatening to transfer to a
new location about 10 km from my home, which is very tricky to get to by
public transport. I have been training up to the possibility of
cyclo-commuting.

This is lovely on fine Spring days but the obligation to do 20kms round
trip every day, in howling weather, in the horrible darkness of
December, through those dark and lonely woods, down that spooky, muddy,
slippery earth path, and through a number of towns with active traffic
and endless lights and intersections, has given me a knot in my stomach
and insomnia from anxiety.

On a completely separate track, I had been thinking of enlarging my bike
family with a small folding bike that I could take easily on trains for
touring in pretty places when the weather is nice. After investigating a
number of possibilities - Birdy, Brompton and Dahon, I decided that the
Dahon Speed TR seemed to offer the most desirable range of features for
the most competitive price.

On a recent trip to London and Cambridge, I finally had the opportunity
to try the Speed TR. I was very impressed with some things about it, but
put off by others. It was extremely rigid - I finally understood why
people say rigidity is so desirable in bikes. It was light and supple,
handled beautifully. I loved the Sram Dual-Drive shifter and the
Thudbuster suspended seat was wonderfully comfortable. On the other
hand, the posture was rather too sporty for me, more Cat in Heat than
Sit Up and Beg. Although the handlebar could be adjusted every which
way, I never actually got to try it raised high enough for my comfort.
The high baggage rack and the adjustable reach on the handlebar made the
folding action very clumsy. It did not have a chain guard, and I have
already lost some favorite skirts to an open chain.

But then this work issue comes up. Suddenly it's not just about having a
bike to play with on rare holidays, but about having something to expand
my commuting options as well. Behemoth, bless her, is so big and heavy
that it's just not convenient to combine bike-and-train, and impossible
to combine bike-and-bus. There will be days when, realistically, it will
not be a good idea to do the whole transit by bike.

In Cambridge, I was able to borrow a 20"-wheeled folding bike, an
adorable little Raleigh Stowaway from 1975 with a Sturmey 3-speed
internal hub. I _loved_ this bike, the lightness and accessibility of
it. I could well see myself with one of these little bikes, not just for
vacations but as a daily thing. The LBS-man who refurbished her for me
told me that such bikes remain very popular and sell well second-hand,
because many elderly people prefer the comfort of low step-through and
weight, and many Asian students are too small for Western frames.

At the International Bike Fair in Islington, I became aware of a new
Dahon bike - the Impulse P21. This costs 100 less than the Speed TR,
does not have that great Thudbuster seat suspension (thought the seat
still has conventional suspension), and lacks the adjustable reach. It
has the great Sram Dual-drive shifter with 21 useable gears, a chain
guard, more upright handle, and a more conventional baggage rack which
allows for easier folding. I was able to sit on an Impulse at the Fair,
but not actually ride it. I was thinking it might be a good compromise,
more Commuter than the Speed TR, but more Tourer than, for example, the
outstanding Vitesse P3 which gets such rave reviews and is so reasonably
priced that I was almost tempted to settle for its mere 3 gears. The
Impulse can even eventually be upgraded with the Thudbuster and a
removeable high rack for touring with panniers, although it then comes
out more expensive than the Speed TR.

There are no raves of the ImpulseP21. This might just be because it's
new. Other bikes in the Impulse range have been praised for
straight-riding stability, a quality I definitely appreciate with my
defective balance. On the other hand, it might be persistently outshined
by the Speed TR which is definitely better value for money.

The upshot is, I'm about to order an Impulse P21. Speak now or forever
hold your peace.

EFR
Ile de France

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  #2  
Old October 20th 04, 07:00 PM
Jym Dyer
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=v= Dahon's Helios SL is pretty sleek-looking:

http://www.times-up.org/gallery/view.php?photoid=232

It's aluminum and carbon fiber, and they've redesigned their
hinges at long last. A nice ride, if you're into aluminum.

In Cambridge, I was able to borrow a 20"-wheeled folding bike,
an adorable little Raleigh Stowaway from 1975 with a Sturmey
3-speed internal hub. I _loved_ this bike, the lightness and
accessibility of it. I could well see myself with one of these
little bikes, not just for vacations but as a daily thing.


=v= A friend of mine in San Francisco cultivated a little fleet
of Raleigh Twenties, so that she and her friends could have a
transit-accessible bike at all times.

=v= I envied this until I saw -- and I hope this doesn't stir
up any nationalistic rivalries -- an Italian folding bike:

http://www.things.org/~jym/bicycles/...nge-folder.jpg

The rear rack is integrated into the frame. Primo! So I
ran out and got me my own fleet:

http://www.things.org/~jym/bicycles/...as-closeup.jpg

(Due to their colors and a certain brand of Italian fizzy water,
I've named them Limonata and Aranciata.)

=v= So between these and my usual high-end folding bike, I've
got no commuting crisis at all!
_Jym_
  #4  
Old October 21st 04, 03:55 AM
cheg
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Default


"Elisa Francesca Roselli" wrote in message
...

In Cambridge, I was able to borrow a 20"-wheeled folding bike, an
adorable little Raleigh Stowaway from 1975 with a Sturmey 3-speed
internal hub. I _loved_ this bike, the lightness and accessibility of
it. I could well see myself with one of these little bikes, not just for
vacations but as a daily thing. The LBS-man who refurbished her for me
told me that such bikes remain very popular and sell well second-hand,
because many elderly people prefer the comfort of low step-through and
weight, and many Asian students are too small for Western frames.



Not only for the old and the small...
http://cheg01.home.comcast.net/r20.html

And I'm not the only one...
http://cheg01.home.comcast.net/20_collage.jpg


  #5  
Old October 21st 04, 09:09 PM
Jacques Moser
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Default

Elisa Francesca Roselli wrote:
So, it finally happened. My job has been threatening to transfer to a
new location about 10 km from my home, which is very tricky to get to by
public transport. I have been training up to the possibility of
cyclo-commuting.

(...)

But then this work issue comes up. Suddenly it's not just about having a
bike to play with on rare holidays, but about having something to expand
my commuting options as well. Behemoth, bless her, is so big and heavy
that it's just not convenient to combine bike-and-train, and impossible
to combine bike-and-bus. There will be days when, realistically, it will
not be a good idea to do the whole transit by bike.


For someone who has wants to commute with a combination of bike and
public transportation, I wonder if it would be an option to have two
inexpensive bikes, one at each end of the trip ?

Jacques
  #6  
Old October 21st 04, 09:34 PM
Darin McGrew
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Jacques Moser wrote:
For someone who has wants to commute with a combination of bike and
public transportation, I wonder if it would be an option to have two
inexpensive bikes, one at each end of the trip ?


That works as long as your commute is consistent, and you have somewhere
secure to store your bikes at each endpoint. If your commute varies, then
you need another inexpensive bike for each potential endpoint. And if you
can't store a bike securely at any endpoint, then you'll be stranded at
that endpoint when the bike is vandalized or stolen.
--
Darin McGrew, , http://www.rahul.net/mcgrew/
Web Design Group, , http://www.HTMLHelp.com/

"The handwriting on the wall may mean you need a notepad by the phone."
  #7  
Old October 22nd 04, 10:27 AM
Elisa Francesca Roselli
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Jacques Moser wrote:

For someone who has wants to commute with a combination of bike and
public transportation, I wonder if it would be an option to have two
inexpensive bikes, one at each end of the trip ?


How would that help? If you can't comfortably get one bike on a train, having
a second in another place isn't going to change anything. If you go one way by
train and walking and then return by bike, you just have two bikes in one
place. Moreover, I already have two bikes. What I want is a third with special
qualities - lightness, transportability, 20" wheels, a wide gear range - that
neither of the others have.

EFR
Ile de France

  #8  
Old October 22nd 04, 10:58 AM
Colin Blackburn
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Default

On Fri, 22 Oct 2004 11:27:24 +0200, Elisa Francesca Roselli
wrote:

Jacques Moser wrote:

For someone who has wants to commute with a combination of bike and
public transportation, I wonder if it would be an option to have two
inexpensive bikes, one at each end of the trip ?


How would that help? If you can't comfortably get one bike on a train,
having
a second in another place isn't going to change anything.


It depends on the nature of your commute. Some people cycle to the railway
station. Lock up their first bike. Get the train. Unlock a second bike.
Cycle to work. Reverse the proces when going home. This means no bike need
to be taken on a train on a normal daily commute. If the journey at one
end is a very short walkable distance then you don't even need two bikes,
though, again, that depends on your commute.

If you go one way by
train and walking and then return by bike, you just have two bikes in one
place.


This is not significantly more or less a problem with a two bike system as
it is with a one bike system. You just need a strategy to 'realign' the
bike or bikes when you've not used them for commuting for one of the
journeys.

Colin
  #9  
Old October 22nd 04, 11:07 AM
Paul Rudin
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Default

Elisa Francesca Roselli writes:

Jacques Moser wrote:

For someone who has wants to commute with a combination of bike and
public transportation, I wonder if it would be an option to have two
inexpensive bikes, one at each end of the trip ?


How would that help? If you can't comfortably get one bike on a train, having
a second in another place isn't going to change anything.


I think you're missing suggestion:

Initial state:
You - at home
Bike 1 - at home
Bike 2 - at desination station.

Then cycle to home station using bike 1, state becomes:

You - at home statiom
Bike 1 - at home station
Bike 2 - at destintion station

Then get the train, state becomes:

You - at destination station
Bike 1 - at home station
Bike 2 - at desintation station

Then cycle to work using bike 2.

You - at work
Bike 1 - at home station
Bike 2 - at work.


.... now follow through your trip home in the same fashion and you'll
find you get back to the initial state, ready to repeat the whole
thing the next day.

If you want the option of sometimes skipping the train ride and
cycling the whole way then you do indeed end up with bikes in the
wrong place - unless you adopt the rule that if you cycle the whole
way for one journey then you must also do so for the next journey.
 




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