October 30, 2009
Just a quick story from last week, about the Dahon.
A friend of mine was seriously considering getting a folding bike because she lives in a compact apartment, there's no good place for her to lock up outside or underground, and in Edmonton we're allowed to ride on the sidewalk with wheels smaller than 20 inches (amongst other reasons). I suggested that she borrow my Dahon for a few months to ride for an extended period of time since test riding a bike at a store and riding it in real life are different.
We met up for dinner so she could return the bike to me and I arrived at the restaurant, pleasantly surprised that she took the time to fold it down. I rarely fold the Dahon unless it's getting stuck in the back of a car, in which case I usually just half fold it. Since it was already broken down, I locked it to a post that way and we went into the restaurant to have some eats.
We got seated by the window, and it was incredibly distracting for me because I just sat there watching person after person stop and gawk at the bike. First I thought this hobo wanted to steal it because he was circling it for an long time, but then I realized he was just checking it out because the bike looks so weird. I kid you not. No less than 20 different people stopped to remark on the bike. It was really cute to see people so incredibly perplexed and curious about a bicycle! It was like watching a silent film where the subtitles would have been "OMG!" over and over again.
After dinner we went back out to unlock the thing. I took the bus so that I could ride the bike home. Then we ran into some guys who were ogling the bike and having a smoke while I unfolded the Dahon back into it's fully functional form.
A few minutes passed with chit chat about the thing, and I offered for one of the guys to test ride it up and down the block since he was so curious about whether it was fast at all. This is where his friend told him that the only important thing was knowing it was faster than walking. I never heard somebody put it that way before but... that's a good way of looking at it!
On the way home I was riding slowly beside my friend on the sidewalk while she was walking back to the train, and some dudes passing us while we crossed a street remarked that I was hot.
A girl on a bike is almost always hotter than a girl in a car. That's just my opinion.
And my bikes often result in my meeting new people and having random conversations. That has never happened when I'm driving my Mazda (which, by the way, is getting written off after the rear ender).
Oh, and this friend is getting a folding bike... but has decided to go for supreme quality with all the bells and whistles. She's getting a Brompton instead!