Archive for the ‘Folding bikes’ Category

Perennial Cycle is a bike shop that I’ve wanted to visit for many years. Back when I was living in Michigan, I’d occasionally things from them since they carried many unique items for recumbents, such as Radical Designs panniers. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to stay in Minneapolis and so I finally got to see the shop in person. Even better: on Saturday they were running one of a series of Pastry Rides to promote #30daysofbiking during April.



Not quite knowing what to expect, my buddy Steve and I arrived at the shop at about 9 am. Quite a large crowd had already gathered.


We borrowed bikes for the occasion. Where else in North America are you going to find a bike shop where the rentals are Bromptons? Mine was a superlight with dynamo lighting and a third party midrise bar. Quite an upgrade from my own number.


Steve talks to a fellow Brompton rider.


Yuba bikes was sponsoring today’s ride. This Supermarché was put to work hauling coffee from Peace Coffee. Note the Brompton shipping cartons.


All shapes and sizes of bikes and riders were in evidence.


Retrogrouch representation.


Mark and Mary were riding this Vision tandem with OSS and IPS.


Martha gets us organized just before we start.


Our lead off rider was on a Brompton.


Here we go.


Stopped on Humboldt at Lake.


Turning east on the Midtown Greenway.


This section has a pedestrian section marked by a white line on the right.


Here the pedestrian path is slightly separated.


The offramp towards Nicollete.


Going north on Nicollette Ave.



Arriving at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.


Group picture. There were about a hundred of us.



And now pastries and coffee. Pastry from the Salty Tart.


Steve and I.


Lots of fun talking with like minded cyclists. Minnesotans are very friendly! Since I happened to be riding a Brompton, there was lots of Brompton related chat as well.

Selfie with shop owner Luke Breen, who is a good guy.


Luke is now giving away raffle prizes. If you go on one of their rides, be sure to sign up; there were some pretty nice things being given away.


At this point, we decided to leave a bit early. Mark and Mary were kind enough to lead us back on their tandem. Here’s glimpse of a separated bike lane on 26th.


Here on the greenway, we pass some Department of Transportation staff who were demonstrating an Autonomous shuttle. They yelled out that we should stop to check it out, but I responded that we preferred human power which drew a chuckle.


Back at the shop, it was time to take a look around. I really liked this mini bike rigged up to demonstrate dynamo lighting.


The colorway on this bike is clearly meant for adults, not kids.


Here is their rack of Bromptons. The gray ones on the bottom row are rentals.


A good selection of Catrikes.


Recumbents, long tails, and commuter bikes.


Of course I couldn’t leave empty handed. Among the things that I got were a SpedDial clamp set, and a Radical carrying bag that got a rave review on their website.


Thanks so much to Luke and his staff for their hospitality. If you want to visit a great bike shop that carries all manner of bikes that are not for the MAMIL set, you should definitely check it out.

Also thanks to the Salty Tart for their treats. Here is their stand at MSP.


An additional shout out to Martha who apparently wants to visit this shop in Toronto that is just around the corner from where I buy most of my groceries.

#itsasmallworld #supportindependentbusiness


Update: Perennial Cycle has posted their photo album here.

Just a few more pictures:

Just around the corner from the bike shop is a bike share station. It looks like it is run on the same platform as Toronto’s system.


There were a variety of bike racks around town. These didn’t look that space efficient.


This was was better.


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My Tikit is for sale. Size medium, but with heavy rider upgrades. Alfine 11 speed hub, Gates Carbon belt drive. Bought in 2013. I’m the original owner, and it has had about 1500 km ridden.


I’ve had many adventures with this bike, but I must sell it to pay for the Brompton that bought late last year.

It failed to sell on eBay, so I’ve reduced the price to $1200US plus shipping from Toronto Canada.

Here is the component list. Note that the original price listed is in $USD.


Note that I will not be including the folding rack, which is unused. I will try to sell that separately. I will also not be including the seat and pedals, as per usual BF practice.

The bike comes with a suitcase. I will also be swapping out the tires for the Kojaks you see in this picture. If you don’t need the suitcase, I can ship it in the original cardboard carton that might reduce the shipping cost slightly.


Here is the Gates Carbon Drive with Alfine 11 hub. Pretty much maintenance free and silent.


Custom packable handlebars.


The only thing wrong with it is that some of the plastic housing around the shifter is missing. The shifter still works perfectly.  If you want to replace the shifter, it is easy to find them on eBay.

The only other thing that I’m mention is that the rear braking is not very effective, but this is a well known “feature” of the Tikit. I will also note that the shifting is much better than the Brompton, but the Brompton is the folding bike that I need for the city.

You can read more about the bike here:


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After my recent acquisition of a Brompton, I started to think that perhaps I had too many folding bikes. Here are three of them, not counting the Dahon that I have stashed in Vancouver.


So the obvious thing was to put the Tikit up for sale (and I will still do that), but in the meantime there was some chatter on FB about someone with their apartment eliminating indoor bike parking, and so needing a folding bike……and ideally one with disc brakes.  Suddenly I had an opportunity to give my PBW a good home.

Here it is, packed up and ready to be hauled downtown. A few extra parts, like the fenders, a wheel with a spare Alfine 8 spd hub, and a 24h 406 rim to match.



Amusingly, on the way in, I catch the tail end of the Santa Claus parade. Santa actually saw me, and said “now THAT’s a bike!”.


On a separate trip I also took in the suitcase that I used with it, bearing stickers from some of the adventures that I had with the PBW. The Illini sticker was from a trip where I was riding in past some corn fields in Hawkins IN Urbana IL, and four kids rode by on their BMX’s and said “cool bike!”.


I’ve had some good rides with the PBW. It was custom made for me about sixteen years ago by Hugh in Chico California. He no longer builds, and is now a recumbent dealer. The long term plan was to rebuild it with the Alfine hub, but now both the bike and the rebuild project has been passed onto the new proud owner: Victor ex-Aerovelo, ex-HPVDT and all around good guy (and mad scientist).


I’m glad I found a good home for the bike.

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Ever since I had the chance to compare my Bike Friday Tikit to a Brompton a couple of summers ago, I’ve been thinking about getting a Brompton. Last Thursday, I finally caved, and look what followed me home from Curbside Cycles.


2017 model, nickel black edition, 6 speed. I have a very understanding wife.


And here I am riding it into work for the first time this past Monday.


My initial impressions reinforce what I experienced before:

  • the frame and stem are nice and stiff.
  • for me, the riding position is adequately stretched out horizontally.
  • I prefer the 2017 shifters to the earlier version. Ultimately, the shifting is not as nice as the Alfine 11 on my Tikit, but since my commute is flat, it seems that having the hub gear in 2nd and using the derailleur as a half step will be fine.
  • the braking is much better than the Tikit, and I don’t really see a need to convert to disc brakes in the future.
  • not in love with the left hand folding pedal, but I suppose I’ll get used to it.
  • going to have to swap out the saddle before longer rides
  • ditto for tweaking the handlebar position. Ideally I’d want a bullhorn set up like I have on my Tikit, but I don’t want it to interfere with the fold.

Oddly, since switching to riding the Brompton, most of my rides have been faster than average:


Of course an important part of having a Brompton is to shop for accessories. Since I didn’t immediately want to invest in one of their fancy bags, I was riding to work with my trusty Tom Bihn bag.


Fun fact: this bag, circa 2004, has a hidden message on the care tag inside, for which the company got into a bit of trouble.


Just for completeness, I will point out that their current bags have the following tag:


The bottom line says “Made in USA” in Chinese. The other side has the company motto.


At any rate, back to Brompton luggage. Most of their bags are designed to be mounted on a carrier block in front of the head tube, and this has the benefit that the bag does not turn with the handlebars. This is like the front basket on my Haul a Day. The bags have a rigid integral frame that quick releases on and off the bike.

Ideally I wanted a bag sewn in North America. Curbside carries the YNOT bag which was ideal since it is made locally, so that seemed to be the top choice. However, a search of the internet also turned up a very sweet bag by Swift Industries. Regrettably, they informed me that it was no longer in production.

With a little more research, I realized that the Brompton bag frame had virtually the same dimensions as my Tom Bihn ID Bag, notably a width of 40 cm, the critical dimension. Thus I was off again to Curbside to check to see if one of the frames would fit by bag.

A quick aside to admire mechanic Eli’s Brompton.


Back home with the frame laid out on the bag.


Using a good old sliver Sharpie to mark the necessary cuts


Now with the frame inserted.



Of course a real Brompton bag inserts the frame from underneath and there are special straps to hold it in place. However, the fit of the frame to my bag is quite tight and I don’t anticipate any issues. The frame also as a but of a protruding shelf that holds the bag from underneath.

Here is the bag on the bike. The design of the bag is such that the shoulder strap can tuck under the front flap.



There you go, a bag that hasn’t seen much recent use now repurposed for bike commuting. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Regrettably I see that this particular model, the ID bag, is no longer made. However, the Cadet has about the same nominal width, and the back flap construction is such that it might fit a Brompton frame as it is. If anyone is willing to try it out, let me know if it works.

Screen Shot 2017-11-21 at 8.31.56 PM

Just trying to get as many rides in before the salt descends and I have to put away the Brompton for the winter.


I found this video

Update #2:

The front bag makes the handling of the Brompton fractionally more stable. I am pleased. Also according to use Killeri on the Tom Bihn forums:

“A T-bag frame does not fit in the back pocket of Cadet. Otherwise the concept feels sound, so a smaller frame probably works fine.”



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Cycle Toronto organized a “Yonge Loves Bikes” ride on a gloriously sunny Saturday. The ride started at Heath and Yonge, just a little north of St. Clair so that we could all look forward to riding down the big hill. This is in contrast to last year, when we had to bike up the hill.


It’s always interesting to see some of the fine machines that show up. This is TBN member Roy’s Air Friday, to which he has added e-assist.


He also locked out the flexing of the Ti beam with this bracket.


Sam with one of his bikes. He says he has been trimming down the size of his fleet.


It turns out that this big orange Bullitt with a trailer belongs to Cycle Toronto.


The combination of horizontal dropouts, disc brakes, hub gear and tight fender line is going to make repairing a flat on the rear a real pleasure. (I hope I didn’t jinx things by pointing this out). Note the Shimano e-assist and and electronic shifting.


Sam et al tell us how the ride is going to be organized.


We line up behind some police bikes.


And off we go, turning south on Yonge.




Regroup after the steepest part of the hill.


Is that “V” for victory, or a peace sign?


At Davenport.




Approaching Bloor St.



South of Bloor now.


Here comes that Imperial Star Destroyer the Cycle Toronto portable mothership.


Sorry this one is blurry.


Yonge/Dundas. At this point, the police escort peeled off.


At Shuter.


Turning at the foot of Yonge St.


Along the MG trail.


Turning into the southernmost part of Sherbourne Commons.


Group picture, without the lake in the background.


Thanks to Cycle Toronto for organizing, and all the rides who rode with us.


Once again this year, there will not be a Bells on Bloor ride as that volunteer group is focusing on the Bloor bike lane pilot campaign. There will be a Bells on Danforth ride on June 24, but regrettably, I’ll be out of town that day.

and of course today there were other rides going on, such as the Ride to Conquer Cancer, and the world naked bike ride, which just happened to go by my office while I was composing this blog entry.




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One of my holy grails is to have a light, high performance folding bike that is easily folded into a suitcase. The Brompton and Tikit each have their advantages and disadvantages, but they both weigh more than about 25 pounds. Last year during STP, I caught a brief glimpse of a 20″ Ti folder, and I was told that it was a prototype.


Last night I got a note that it was now available for purchase. It is called the Burke 20 folding bike, and this image from their website is very promising


The claimed weight can be as low as 18 lbs without saddle. Unfortunately, the lowest price on the bike is $5500 US.

It is interesting to compare this bike to the Helix, a Toronto based bike which is promised for production this year, but thus far has not seen the light of day, AFAIK. The Helix has 24″ wheels, a claimed 22 lb weight, and it was advertised at less than half this price point.


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tikitintorontoI’ve had a Bike Friday Tikit for a couple of years now and I’ve been fairly happy with it. However, I’ve also been thinking about alternative folding bikes for a while.  In the interim, Bike Friday ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to launch a new 16″ wheel folding bike called the PakiT, which was advertised as being both lighter and cheaper than the Tikit. When I saw this, I figured it was only a matter of time until they discontinued the Tikit.

(Note that I am a happy customer from the their first Kickstarter campaign that launched the Haul a Day)

That confirmation arrived today via an answer I got on the Bike Friday FB page.

Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 8.22.45 PM.png

“the tikit is being phased out. You can still order a tikit, but only until the end of this year, and at the new price listed on our website.https://www.bikefriday.com/folding-bikes/bikes/tikit-3/” Note that they raised the price quite a bit.

I’m a little sad about this since the Tikit has some unique features for a Friday, like the quick fold. It also served me quite well this past summer on STP.


Nevertheless, from the looks of things, it is much more expensive to build than the PaKiT. Also, given the fact that there is a limited market for folding bikes that cost upwards of $1000, it’s not a bad move to concede the quickfold focused commuter market to Brompton.

If I get a chance, I’ll try to test ride the PakiT so that I can do a direct comparison with the Tikit. Also still waiting on a chance to check out the Helix.  Or perhaps I’ll take a second look at putting a internally geared hub on the PBW.

So many choices in the folding bike world these days…….

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