Sunday 19 November 2006

london by cycle

i want to ride my bicycle
i want to ride my bike
i want to ride my bicycle
i want to ride it where i like

i decided recently that my quality of life would be significantly enhanced by owning a bicycle. i have one of the easiest commutes in all of london: a 15-20 minute walk past a major supermarket (handy for picking up dinner on the way home), but even still, it would be that much easier on a bike. plus, i could pop out for lunch or run errands quicker - they'd hardly even miss me at work.

well, you know how thinking along these lines goes. you find more and more reasons why the object of your desire is a must-have.

* it would be better exercise - i could ride twice as far in the same amount of time that it would take to walk to work.

* in the long run, it's cheaper than joining a gym.

* s and i could go on rides on the weekends. there are so many nice places to see around here.

* it would be practical - just think how much more i could bring home from the big supermarket if i had a bike with a rack.

* riding in wimbledon is not nearly as scary or dangerous as riding in central london, but once i get used to riding around here, i can tackle other places, too. in fact, it will help me understand road traffic better for the eventual day when i go for a u.k. driver's licence.

* of course, it's not the best plan to buy a bicycle just as winter is setting in, but on rainy days i still have the option of walking or even (gasp!) riding in the rain.

you see where my train of thought was taking me, don't you?

the biggest problem was storage space. s keeps his mountain bike under the stairs and there's not much room for another bicycle inside the flat. we don't have any outdoor space. hmmm. what to do? what to do???

the answer, of course, was a dahon speed D7 folding bike. i gave up the idea of buying a brompton after a bit of research. sure, they're beautifully designed and highly coveted - so much so that used bromptons still command nearly the same prices as retail on ebay, without the annoying 12 week wait of buying a new one. (twelve weeks!!!) - but to get a fully equipped brompton could easily have set me back over £600. that's over $1000 for a bicycle. pass!

i am quite pleased with my dahon. check it out.

fully folded

unfold the frame and lock it in place

raise the handlebars

rotate the handlebars so they are pointing in the right direction, and raise the seat

even the pedals fold

snap the pedals into place

ready to ride!

of all the exciting destinations we could have chosen, we ended up going to the recycle center to get rid of a broken electric tea kettle and a rice cooker. i don't know about s, but i felt incredibly virtuous and eco-friendly, riding up to the recycle center on a folding bike, wearing my fleece jacket and silver helmet. ah, suburbania!


we also changed the tires (tyres) on s's bike yesterday so he has a smoother ride on roads. like the geeks that we are, when we encountered a problem halfway through, we went straight to the internet for help. how did people get things done before google?


the best part is that after the ride, i was able to leave my bike in the hallway, ready for work and other adventures tomorrow.


1 comment:

Web said...

Congrats on your new folding bike purchase. Dahon makes good basic folders so, hopefully, you'll get many years of use from yours.

Keep on riding!

Larry Lagarde
Urging bicycling for recreation, commuting, health and a better future.