Archive for the ‘Folding bikes’ Category

My Tikit has found a new owner. I posted it for sale on the Bike Friday Yak list, and I got a quick response from someone who was very interested. We worked out a deal to meet up in Buffalo. Here is the Tikit. It looks like it is trying to escape, but I was putting it together for a demo ride.



One  last ride.


This bit of the Buffalo lakefront is very nice.


According to my records, I logged 129 rides on the bike, for a total of about 1600 km. This was also the ride that I used for STP in 2016.


I was very happy that the buyer, Marti, was already a Tikit owner, so she was familiar with all the quirks of the design. Here she is with her other Tikit that also has a belt drive and a NuVinci hub as well. Sounds like my bike has found a happy home.


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The bike friday Haul a Day comes with an integral centre stand that is quite sturdy.


However, last week I suddenly noticed that one of the legs had dropped off. How it happened without me hearing it is beyond me, but I improvised a quick replacement, using 5/8″ threaded rod, which was the only thing available at the local hardware of the appropriate diameter.


By the way, the M6 allen screws that secure the legs have special heads that have a reduced diameter, so it was not easy to find replacements. I ended up reducing the diameter of regular socket head screws with a belt sander. Bike Friday should up the price of each bike by $20 and use all stainless hardware.


After looking for a more suitable replacement, I found 12″ long SS tubing on Amazon. Here’s a picture of the tubing, along with the one remaining kickstand foot.


After a few minutes with a tubing bender:


and here is the final product.


Note that the 0.065″ wall tubing I ordered was definitely overkill. I would have been better of with the 0.049″ wall tubing instead. It would have certainly been easier to bend.



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One of my favourite things to do is to have a family bike ride to Toronto Island. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve done this, and we took advantage of the fact that the California branch of the family was in town to do this again. The first logistical problem that we faced was to get eight peoples’ worth of bikes downtown with one car. Here is what five bikes looks like with the six who will ride them. (you can’t see the Brompton that is tucked away in the van, and two will ride the tandem)


(In addition, two of us rode down to the lake.)

And off we go to the ferry terminal.



Just a reminder that at busy times, you should buy your ferry tickets online. Here we were in the left hand express lane, which we cleared in less than five minutes.


Biking towards Centre Island from Hanlan’s Point.

DSC02995Well at least I’m all smiles.


Compare this picture:


to this one taken three years ago, the last time the daughters were on the island.


The skyline from Algonquin Island.


Over the bridge to Centreville.


Our fleet parked at Centreville.


On a crowded ferry at the end of a busy day.


Three of us rode home through downtown. It was interesting to hear their perspective on the bike infrastructure. They were quite impressed, saying that it was much better than San Francisco. Of course, I led them through the very best of what we have downtown including sections of the Simcoe, Richmond and Bloor bike lanes.


I hope everyone gets a chance to ride this long August weekend!

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Spurcycle Bell

I’ve been wanting a Spurcycle bell for a while, given that it is a high quality product that is made in North America by a small company. Although I’d been burned by fancy looking bells before, I had seen and heard this bell on other people’s bikes.

Recently I dropped by Curbside Cycle and saw that they had them in stock. The perfect accessory for my Brompton, whose bell integrated into the brakelever/shifter combination is quiet enough to be useless, at least in the rough and tumble of Toronto traffic.

Here is the bell mounted on the Brompton.


Here is a video comparing the two bells.

There is some kind of fancy sound level processing on the iPhone that seems to muffle the initial “ding” of the spurcycle, so it is difficult to fully appreciate how much louder it is.

The only thing remaining is to see how well it does in the rain, but for the moment, I’m very happy with it.

Update: Here is a review that compares the Spurcycle bell (good) and the Knog Oi (looks nice).

Update #2: It works just fine in the rain!

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Two years ago, I caught a brief glimpse of a Ti folding bike on STP.


This was the Burke 20 by Seattle Cycles. I finally got a chance to see it up close and personal at Montlake Bicycle Shop.


This particular build is their lowest end spec, and retails for $5500 US.

They very kindly let me take it down and to test the fold. What was very handy was that they were also a Brompton dealer. Here are the two bikes side by side.



You can see that the Burke is considerably less compact when folded, but to be fair, part of this has do with the larger wheel size.

There are elements of the fold that are similar to the Brompton, such as the hook on the front fork that goes over a member of the rear triangle, and the fact that the lowered seat tube keeps the frame in the folded position.


Here are some more close ups of the bike when unfolded.


Frame welded in the US by Lynskey.


Nice touches such as the front bag mount, and fender mounting points as well.


My impression is that it is a beautifully made bike, in particular the welds on the frame, but I found the folding process to be quite fiddly, and the clamps themselves were particularly hard to deal with. The website claims that you can fold it in 15 seconds, so perhaps with practice……

Going for a very short test ride, I found the frame and stem to be very stiff, comparable to the Brompton, and the gearing and braking to be as good as on a regular bike.

For my needs, I’d say it would not be as practical as the Brompton for city use, given the nature of the fold. For traveling with a higher performance bike in a suitcase, there are certainly less expensive options out there, and the price point gets perilously close to what a regular road bike with S&S couplers would be.

Nevertheless, it is an interesting option for those in want of the ultimate folding bike.

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This past weekend, I rode Seattle to Portland, a ride I also did in 2016. Two differences this time, leading up to the ride: the forecast was for beastly hot weather, and I decided to ride on my Brompton.

Here is Steve and I leaving his house at 5:45 am.


Riding down the Burke Gilman trail towards the start.


As we approach Husky stadium, we see more and more cyclists with luggage.


One last picture just before we start.


Off we go.


Skirting Lake Washington, it’s still nice and cool.


At the first rest stop in Kent, Kaiser Permanente were handing out cooling towels. They turned out to be really great on Sunday.


A sign pointing out the obvious.


Leading up to the major climb of the day in Puyallup. It was different hill than usual due to a road closure.


At the top of the hill, I see a group from the Major Taylor project, a program run by the Cascade Bicycle Club to introduce diverse youth to cycling. They were all over the course during the first day.


Lunch on the first day. It tasted better than it looked.


Right after lunch, we are in heavy traffic.


However, once we cross into Joint Base Lewis-McChord, we don’t have to deal with car traffic for 10 blessed kilometres.


Very peaceful riding, if you ignore the sounds of distant gunfire.


Coming out of the base, we hit an informal rest stop at Roy.


I took this same picture the last time: first sign showing the mileage to Centralia.


The city of Yelm put on a great rest stop where they were giving out free root beer floats and Gatorade. Just past the rest stop, I saw these Major Taylor riders on a Counterpoint Opus tandem that was towing a spare bike for good measure.


One of the things that makes the first half of STP really pleasant is a 14 mile multiuse trail from Yelm to Tenino.


After Tennino, there is this stretch along a railroad. It was very hard last time due to a strong headwind, but this year, no problem.


Just a little further along, we come upon this unfortunate scene. Several cyclists called 911. No one was hurt, but the car was still in flames as we left.


Arriving at Centralia College, the overnight stop for two day riders. The mist station was appreciated.


Fueling up for the next day.


This year we elected to stay in an Air BNB in town. It was a very scenic spot on top of Seminary Hill, which unfortunately entailed an additional climb of about 100m. The apartment itself was cute with many quirky details. Being a cyclist, I liked this toilet paper holder.


Getting ready to descend Seminary Hill at first light. The only things up at this hour were some roosters jumping the gun by crowing, and many bats having their last flight of the night.


Riding out of town during the golden hour.


This kid in the Weehoo trailer was playing tag with us all day.


Rolling hills between Napavine and Vader.


This time we had to stop at the world’s largest egg in Winlock


which was accompanied by one of the longer potty lineups for the day.


At Vader, I heard a kid say “this is the stop with the potatoes!” so I had to try some.


The short, steep climb out of Vader.


This is probably the slowest anyone has gone wearing an HPVDT jersey.


Medical riders wearing red jerseys were happy to supply pain meds on the road.


Lunch the second day.


It was getting pretty hot, so I decided to deploy the cooling towel.


This fellow had one of the more interesting bikes I saw all weekend, a Rawland Sogn. It had high volume 26″ tires from Compass, and a very nicely fitted Honjo fenders.


Approaching the Lewis and Clark bridge.


Our timing was perfect. If you look closely, you’ll see that a group of bikes is just starting a crossing as we arrive, and we managed to get in on the tail end.


Steve passing slower cyclists during the climb.


Crossing the mighty Columbia.


48 miles to go.


A very welcome mist station at St. Helens. This was during the hottest part of the ride, with the sun beating down, and no shade. We passed a gas station whose sign flashed 101°F, but I didn’t want to stop to take a picture. This would have involved waiting for the sign to cycle through about four ads.


Entering Portland! (still about 20 km to go, though).


Some additional verbiage on the sign.


One last climb up to the bridge access.


Crossing the St, John’s bridge. There was some hesitation among riders to take the lane. Some wanted to take the sidewalk. There should have been a volunteer here.



At this point we were running a bit late and were rushing to beat the deadline for bike drop-off and the buses back to Seattle.


The bus ride back was smooth and uneventful. However, they did not allow me to load the Brompton as luggage, and it had to come back with the regular bikes, which was a bummer.

We picked up our bikes on Monday morning.



Thanks to Cascade Bike Club and the army of volunteers for running a very smooth event. Thanks to buddy Steve who provided riding company and inspiration the whole weekend.

Just a few additional notes (more for my own use)

  • My Bikes and Beer jersey from Henderson’s Brewing got lots of comments.
  • The Brompton did fine. Many people commented whenever I did the quick fold as a built in kickstand. I also got a few comments when I passed people on one downhill at about 50 kph.
  • All the mods to the bike worked well aside from:
  • The only quibble was that I shouldn’t have switched to a new saddle a few weeks before the ride. I’m going to put my Selle Anatomica on this bike for the future.
  • We were slower than last time, but that was probably partially due to the punishing heat, and the fact that neither of us had trained as hard. We spent more than 12 hours on the road each day, and this event is really not geared to riders that are that slow. We barely made the 7 pm cutoff on Sunday, arriving around 6:30, and were not able to grab any food before boarding the buses.
  • One of these days I’m going to take the opportunity to spend a little time in Portland.



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I’m in Vancouver doing some last minute tuning up of the Brompton, with less than a week to go before STP. This is analogous to my post about the Tikit from two years ago.

This was also the first time I’ve suitcased the Brompton.

Unpacking it was a breeze.


I ended up removing the saddle, which made packing a lot easier. Unpacking: I put on the pedals and saddle, and readjusted the handlebar and bar end positions (which I had to alter to reduce the total width of the folded bike). Much less work compared to either my tikit or PBW.


I’ve figured out a position for my Garmin mount that still allows the bike to be folded.



The water bottle holder is from Randi Jo fabrications, works great, and does not affect the fold. I tried the Monkii cage, but it does not allow the bottle to be removed and reinserted on the fly.

I also took a brief ride out to JV bike to get an extra tube for my Brompton. They are the Brompton dealer for Vancouver, and they also specialize in other folders such as Dahon. I got there by riding across the Cambie bridge for the first time.


Here is the nice bike offramp.


You have to see it in person to understand what is going on, but it actually loops around in order for bikes to get around an offramp for cars.

Here is the entrance to JV Bike which is right by the north end of the Cambie bridge.


An extensive stock of Dahons.




including this special edition.


The other thing that caught my eye was this updated version of the Opus Rambler, a 24″ bike that both my daughters loved. This version has a large front basket that is probably more useful than the rear rack on the old version.


Heading back across the bridge, I realized that I was probably on the wrong side of the bridge headed south, as indicated by the wrong way sign.


This morning I went out for my last long ride before STP, about 80 km. Since it was relatively cool, I wore my wool jersey (from Portland), but sadly I will probably not be wearing it on STP as the forecast is for temps above 30°C.


Crossing the Burrard bridge, I see that both directions have a bike lane on the roadway now, whereas previous bikes headed into downtown were on the sidewalk, and pedestrians had to use the walk on the west side only.


At Pacific street I see that they’ve removed the right turn lane for cars to reduce bike/car conflict.  Also the short stretch on Pacific before Hornby was now a separated bike lane.


At Hornby, there is what looks like 1/4 of a fully protected intersection. The design is appropriate for the fact that the Hornby bike lane is bidirectional.


This is how Vancouver routes a bike lane around a condo construction site.


During my ride, I saw many packs of riders that looked like racing teams or racing clubs. The only group ride that I saw that looked like I would want to join was this one, with a goodly mix of different people and types of bikes. Very little Lycra in evidence as well.


From my Strava stats, it looks like I’m just as fast on the Brompton than the Tikit two years ago, so it looks like the clipless pedals and the faster tires help. However, it may have been a bad move to not bring one of my old saddles along. We can see this coming weekend.



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