I think it is about time to bring up something that has been bothering me since makeinu's small apartment thread and how mean and petty even this forum is drifting to. The real, underlying reason why I purchase each bike new rather than used. Plus why I even went ahead and started to post, and developing 2 web sites on these bikes. It may not be a very nice reason. It is not popular (unless you are in the middle of when it hits the fan), it is not sexy or flashy, but here it is. The primary number one reason that I have purchased and upgraded folding bikes is in an event of an unexpected, unforeseen emergency such as a man-made or natural disaster I can shuttle food, water, prescriptions, pets, and other necessary things for living to or away from my house.
In the event I might repeat myself, while I use my bikes in various other ways (see my web sites below), I find the Southern California traffic too congested to safely enjoy riding most of the time. So buying bicycles was not the ideal when it comes to safe passage or even interaction among the new arrivals that increased crime in my area. The folding bike is the last bike I can use if I must ride. I find it's flexibility allows me to make it "disappear" (hide) it from hostile parties, maintain good health by using bikes more, and haul items on the racks 2 of the "workhorses" have in the rear.
The only thing that still prevents me from actually buying from a private party is I have different expectations from my bikes than most others here on this forum (and other forums similar to this one). My folding bikes are expected to be suited for and actually perform in event of another emergency-besides being just recreational fun items. I developed and have a list of features/components/accessories that each bike must have to be used for the primary purpose that I intend each bike to be used for and check each bike model against said list (complete list posted and available on my Geocities Web site). I was very happy with using old reclaimed beaters from thrift stores and even private parties long before I went to buying and using folders exclusively. If these bikes did not offer me better protection from thieves, actual bike jacking, or some other such negative experiences, I would still be using beaters, inexpensive bike shop sold non-folding models, or other such bikes. Folding bikes are far more expensive than a similar bike without this feature. But they are the only thing that works in a hostile environment such as a typical anonymous urban center where I must live for some time to come.
The point is folding bike ownership is a experience in self-reliance in itself. These bikes are optimally maintained by the best bike shops that I could find, rather than just any ol'bike shop around the block. While I try to do most of the simple maintenance and repairs at home to familiarize myself with each bike in case of an emergency need of repair on the road, I believe more in preventives rather than trying to do it all myself. My own goals is to avoid at all costs the need to do some sort of preventable repair on the road, especially in a hostile environment such as the one I currently find myself in. I do not busy myself in fancy rather descriptive terms of "gruppos," "cadence," "honking," or even refer or think of cycling as a "sport" since most of the world's population that uses bikes see them as a utility device rather than competition machine or a child's toy like most of North America has done. I think of these sample terms more in the sense of a ungruppo-selecting only components/accessories that allow the bike to do it's job in a dependable sure way-rather than blindly seeking out just a fancy set of parts, or uncadence-choosing to pace oneself to avoid getting too tired out too fast, or unhonking-preferring to stay in the saddle to maximize control over the bike or if hill is too steep, simply getting off and walking it up. Simple over Complex.
The folding bike is flexible because it's design-no matter what the make or model is-permits these bikes to go beyond the physical and psychological barriers that any bike many times come in contact with due to it's inherent mobility and easily overcomes these barriers. These bikes were used in times of strife and turmoil that wartime creates. While these bikes do enjoy a modest success at this time, the primary purpose will not be rediscovered until then. That is why my father bequeath one bike-the Boardwalk S1-and all the bikes following and patterned after it to me and my sister. These bikes has been and will be called again to provide "aid and comfort" to all of us here in my shrinking family when the hard times come around again.
Perhaps I open myself to much anger or flaming, but it really does not matter anymore. My Web sites and postings here and elsewhere will bear witness to the joy and comfort this final gift from my father has given me for the past one an a half years since his passing. I hope the 300+ million potential bike riders will see this and decide for themselves there is a place for the nonenthusiests and the utility users in the world too. And my volunteering of becoming a writer for spreading the idea of alternative uses to a sleeping giant as this neglected population has been.