Folding bicycles may be the perfect set up for those of you who enjoy doing that daily commute on a bike. Today’s folding bikes offer a world of options and useful features above and beyond those offered by such bikes in the past.
In addition to convenience and portability, these beautiful examples of high-tech transportation are eye-catching conversation starters that might spread the success of bike commuting to your friends and co-workers.
In our city, as with many mid-sized cities and large towns across America, public transportation can be sketchy at best when it comes to planning a “green” solution to commuting.
Buses run infrequently and may not be all that convenient for those who want to take them to work. The result is a work or shopping commute that may work best if you can combine bus, walking, and a convenient form of peddle power, i.e., you get the bus fare in hand, put on your most comfortable walking shoes, load your briefcase or attache into a backpack, and then deal with your chosen commuter bike. Then it’s off to work (or the mall, or coffee house, or library, or whatever …)
Also in our city, the public buses DO actually sport front mounted bicycle racks. This allows you to lift your bicycle onto the bus carrier while you do that stage of your commute and quickly grab it when the bus route ends or goes out of your way.
It also puts the fate of your beautiful bicycle — which represents a certain financial investment as well as emotional attachment — in the hands of the bus driver and/or whatever drivers happen to be in front of the bus!
A well-made folding bike gives you more control over the situation, allowing you to protect your investment, and allowing you maybe a few minutes more sleep before you rush to the office or time clock, since you can jump off the bus and hit the ground “running” or in this case “riding” with very little time taken to snap the frame of your folding bike into place and go.
(Folding bikes have a proud history where quickly portable, light-weight transportation is in demand. They were developed and first deployed by the French military as early as 1900. And British paratroopers were enthusiastic users of folding bikes all through World War II.)
Styles and qualities of folding bikes may vary greatly, but they essentially come with two important options: single-speed and multi-speed. One of the higher-tech, quality multi-speed folding bikes is the Montague Crosstown Folding Bike — which offers 7 speeds, weighs in at approximately 27 pounds, and claims a 20-second “folding time” with no need for tools to make it fit and ready to roll. It even offers a one-click option to adjust the height of the handlebars.
If the Montague Fit Folding Bike should prove to be a bit above your price range, Montague makes the SwissBike X50 Folding Mountain Bike for around $50 less than the Crosstown. Although the SwissBike X50 isn’t made of quite the high-tech alloys of the Crosstown, it does boast the same 20-second folding time and actually has a greater range of 18 different speeds. However, it does weigh in a bit heavier at 32 pounds.
Both of the Montague folding bikes measure an easily manageable 36x28x12 inches when folded.
If you’re really interested in a serious commuting bike and you have an urban environment, a folding bike may be the choice for you. These sturdy little machines date back nearly to the beginnings of modern bicycle construction and use, and they will only grow more popular in the future as the world continues to “go green”!