Folding Bikes - Lexm's Pretty Darn Good Adventure
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Day 1: Wednesday, January 5
lexm gets up too early and makes his way to Midway airport. After enduring a long and slow security line, he takes breakfast at Lalo's:
After boarding his flight, hours later in Oakland he's met by best friend MLV:
There is much rejoicing, followed by excessive food consumption at The Fat Lady and excessive alcohol consumption, as well. Soon, lexm sleeps...only to wake to:
Day 2: Thursday, January 6
lexm boards BART at Fruitvale and exits half an hour later at El Cerrito del Norte. There, he boards a Golden Gate Transit bus that crosses the Richmond Bridge amid treacherous fog:
Minutes later, he's dropped at this corner in San Rafael:
Is he in search of this?:
No! He's in search of this:
And having found it, lexm meets happily for the first time (complete with cheesy, 1940s-style photographic handshake) the maestro himself, Bruce Metras:
But what is the occasion of this meeting? Is it accordions?:
No! It's this:
That, dear reader, is one of the first Moulton TSR-2s to find its way stateside.
*To Be Continued*
Day 2: Thursday, January 6 (cont.)
After lexm gets over the shock of seeing this object of lust in the for-real, Bruce suggests a ride. For this purpose, he breaks out his trusty TSR-18:
They ride here and there, hither and yon, over hill and over dale - even through Marin County's magnificent new tunnel that was the subject of another thread. The TSR-2 is a fully-suspended dream. lexm's sold - and so is the bike:
Ever the gentleman, Bruce instructs the mechanically-challenged lexm in the finer points of disassembling the Moulton for transport:
Somehow, despite lexm's mechanical ineptitude and wholly because Bruce is a genius, the TSR-2 fits inside a Dahon Airporter:
To celebrate the sale and the TSR-2's successful dismantlement, lexm, Bruce, and Bruce's lady friend set out in search of Mexican food and margaritas. Finding same, lexm has so many margaritas his world looks like this:
When he regains consciousness, lexm is aboard the Larkspur ferry, bound for San Francisco:
Luckily, the TSR-2-stuffed Airporter accompanies him:
At San Francisco's Ferry Building, lexm disembarks:
Waiting there for the Oakland-bound ferry, lexm discovers that the only foodstuffs for sale at the Ferry Building that are not vegan, organic, or fair trade are these:
Soon, the Oakland-bound ferry comes and lexm is dropped safely at Jack London Square, where he awaits MLV. Meanwhile, lexm visits BevMo and assembles ingredients so that he, MLV, and Greta (MLV's lady friend) can enjoy Tinto de Verano, rebujitos, and tawny and tonic. There is much rejoicing. Soon, lexm falls into a deep slumber - from which he later wakes to find:
Days 3 and 4: Friday and Saturday, January 7-8 (a.k.a., the non-bike-related days)
MLV is a die-hard fan of the NBA Golden State Warriors. So, after breakfast at the Oakland Grill, lexm and MLV drive to San Francisco to procure tickets to the night's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Also while in the city, they get baked goods at Mara's in North Beach and conduct a vain search for a tiki bar so new and hip that you can't even tell it's a tiki bar. Empty-handed (at least in tiki terms), MLV and lexm return to Oakland where they look on as the Warriors deliver a thrashing to the hapless (and LeBron-less) Cavs. Victory is celebrated back at the MLV cave with much tawny and tonic.
The next day, after brunch at Saul's in Berkeley, lexm pilots a rented car safely to San Jose, where his parents and sister live. After a comforting dinner of five-way chili (chili over spaghetti with beans, onions, and cheddar cheese), lexm prepares himself for the next - and, finally, bike-related - day.
*To Be Continued*
01-14-11, 01:44 PM
Nice TSR-2 , let the adventure resume................
Day 5: Sunday, January 9
SesameCrunch isn't just the inspiration for lexm's multi-thousand-mile journey to buy a Moulton, he's a helluva good guy all around. A natural entrepreneur and born leader, he organizes and hosts a ride in beautiful Half Moon Bay to coincide with lexm's visit.
Because lexm may not be able to put the Moulton TSR-2 back together again, Bruce advises him to arrive early. He does and Bruce soon follows. The TSR-2 up on the stand, lexm mugs for the camera while Bruce does the real work:
In addition to lexm, Bruce, SesameCrunch, and kamtsa (who declines to be photographed for this outing), the group includes a long lost friend of lexm's, Dr V, who learns of the ride through those technological marvels, Facebook and Twitter:
Dr V worries that his mountain bike isn't welcome at this Moulton convention, but the others assure him that, as a suspended bike, it is in effect a descendant of Dr Moulton's genius.
SesameCrunch leads the group through the mean streets of Half Moon Bay :lol: and onto its beachside trail. lexm has some initial difficulty shifting the kickback without also engaging the coaster brake. Similarly, his occasional absent-minded slight backpedals yield unwanted shifts. But soon he learns pedal discipline and can kick back with the kickback.
Reaching their northernmost point (beautiful photos of which appear in Bruce's contribution to the meet up thread) somewhere near Princeton-by-the-Sea, the Moultons are assembled for a group shot:
From right to left, kamtsa's TSR-27, lexm's TSR-2, Bruce's AM-14 (partially obscured), and SesameCrunch's totally smokin' Mk 3.
After many miles of riding, the group takes on food at a local seafood eatery. Thereafter, they ride south to SesameCrunch's 'hood. There, lexm finally gets to pose for a cheesy 1940s-style handshake photo with the man he wants to be when he grows up, SesameCrunch:
lexm and SesameCrunch shake hands in front of the Ritz Carlton.
A couple passing by asks Bruce about the Moultons. Shifting into salesman gear, he has them eating out of the palm of his hand. Meanwhile, lexm poses with his new bike against a dramatic background:
A gentleman and a scholar, SesameCrunch invites the group to his house for coffee. Here, the Crunch family dog greets Bruce:
New friends made (Bruce, SesameCrunch, kamtsa) and old ones revisited (Dr V), it is time to return home. lexm pilots his rented car back to San Jose, where he dines on Thai with his family:
Left to right: lexm, sister, father.
Left to right: mom, niece's boyfriend, niece.
*To Be Continued*
Day 6: Monday, January 10
After the Half Moon Bay ride, lexm chooses only to separate the TSR-2, rather than disassemble it for travel. The Los Alamitos Creek Trail is only two miles from his parents' home and he hopes to get in a ride on Monday before packing the bike away for the journey home to Chicago.
With two speeds coming in at 50 and 70 gear inches, respectively, the TSR-2 is a little like having the Strida (49.5 gear inches) and the Brompton M1R (60.6 gear inches) in one. Versatile though that promises to be in virtually flat Chicago, California easily demonstrates its limits. lexm always thinks of the rolling terrain around his parents' home in New Almaden as being effectively flat, but it's not (effectively or otherwise) as you try to navigate the gentle but long inclines the Santa Cruz Mountains' foothills throw at you. Though considerably tired before even reaching the trail, lexm knuckles down and traverses its ten miles roundtrip, aided considerably by the TSR-2's silky smooth suspended ride.
Once home, lexm and father-of-lexm set out to pack the TSR-2 for travel. It goes in like this:
With copious photography, lexm and father-of-lexm construct printed instructions for unpacking and repacking the TSR-2 so detailed even a TSA inspector could follow them. As an additional measure, following the advice of Bike Friday customer evangelist Lynette Chiang lexm includes a cover sheet reading 'this bike-in-suitcase is hard to repack without breaking something'. (See below what effect this has.)
A hard afternoon's packing done, lexm and family retire to Dish-Dash, a fine middle eastern restaurant in Sunnyvale, for dinner. lexm eats too many kebabs and drinks too few Lebanese beers.
Days 7 and 8: Tuesday and Wednesday, January 11-12
lexm rises early, says his goodbyes to the family, and drives back to Oakland. He and MLV visit In 'n' Out Burger, whose shakes MLV declares world-beating in the fast food category. After playing with MLV's two cats it's soon time to pick up Greta from work.
The assembled gang makes its way to Emeryville for cocktails at the newly-remodelled Trader Vic's. They did a good job on the interior. It's at once more open and more retro at the same time. However, Trader Vic's also reformulated their Mai Tai to make it more palatable to Sex in the City-type drinkers. Aficionados of tiki drinks should opt for the 1944 Mai Tai, which tastes the way a Mai Tai ought to taste.
After Trader Vic's, it's dinner at Juan's. Depending upon who you read on Yelp, Juan's is either the ultimate old-school Mexican joint or the shortest path to food poisoning in the East Bay. We find it old-school, all the way.
Rising even earlier, MLV takes lexm to Oakland airport. Here, things get strange. lexm tries to check in curbside and is told that the Dahon Airporter is oversize, so must be checked inside. Inside at the counter, lexm is told the bag is two pounds overweight and asked if he wants to remove anything to avoid a $50 fee. Upon indicating that he's happy to pay the money, the check-in agent opines that the bag may be oversize, too, thus incurring an additional $50. Upon indicating that he's happy to pay that, too, the check-in agent says, "Well, I'm gonna let you off this time. But don't bring any more overweight bags, okay?" lexm's reply: "I promise I'll never do it again, ma'am."
Wondering what TSA will do to his shiny new Moulton back in the luggage area, lexm clears security with only one hiccup: Sister-of-lexm is a culinary genius and sends lexm to the airport with expertly prepared short ribs a la Craftsteak frozen and in vacuum pack. TSA agents are first alarmed, but later envious, and lexm is allowed to pass with his short ribs in tow.
Hours later at Midway, lexm waits anxiously for the Dahon Airporter to emerge at the baggage carousel. He fears the worst until it slides off the conveyor belt, one of the first bags to arrive. Taking it to a safe corner, he opens the suitcase to find it...exactly as he and father-of-lexm packed it - everything in the right order and no TSA slip. Was it just uninteresting to them? Did Lynette Chiang's warning note hypnotize TSA? We'll never know.
On the cab ride home, lexm's throat begins to hurt. After pulling into the building, paying the cabbie, riding the elevator upstairs, and greeting the cats, he falls into bed. Waking two hours later, it's official: He has a cold. The TSR-2 remains in its suitcase as lexm convalesces.
I'd like to thank Bruce Metras for being the only dealer I'd trust to buy a first-in-North-America bike from. He's in it for the love of bikes, not for the money, and he's gone above and beyond the call of duty in more ways than I can recount here.
I'd like also to thank SesameCrunch for hosting such a fun and relaxing ride with stellar company. His hospitality and friendly manner helped to make this the best trip I've taken in a long time.
01-14-11, 07:19 PM
Pretty darn good report, too. Best documented Trip Report ever on this Forum!
Great to meet you in person. It was a great day for a Moulton TSR2 initiation ride in so many senses of the word!
Congratulations on a fine bike, and you are still my nominee for BF Folding Bike Sub-Forum Rookie of the Year!
01-15-11, 01:43 PM
Great story...That was definitely a Pretty Darn Good Adventure. Thanks :thumb:
01-15-11, 04:29 PM
glad you had fun. now i know the reason for that over 1,000 miles travel. nice bike also. i've met bruce once and he's a nice guy. and saw his bike collections too.
01-25-11, 02:54 PM
Nice read and a lovely photo diary of your adventure. I too am a recent new owner of a black TSR2 here in the UK. Amazing that one made it stateside so quickly!
I made a few mods to the handlebar setup to help with my old stiff body which needs a more foward and upright riding position for comfort. I am also looking to replace the pedals with Wellgo removables as per another thread on this forum. Anyway more pics and details on flickr here if you are interested.
I still haven't worked up the bottle to remove the rear wheel and beltdrive, but I need to soon :p
Congrats on the new aquisition, and your adventure sounds like one of mine (only you don't fall off!)
Now if you could just combine it with a Strida, you'd maybe get a stick-fold, belt-drive Stroulton :p
01-26-11, 05:25 PM
What a lovely interesting write up lexm! Thoroughly enjoyable. Now all you Moulton elitists can tell the Dahon-peasants to eat cake and move on so as not to clutter the roads for royalty. :D
<just kidding> Just envious of course.... I'll be back to riding soon.
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