I thought this anecdote might be interesting to some of the folder people.
I have a commuter bike that I usually ride about five miles to the train station, where I park it in a bike locker, which is where I also store my Strida. So every morning the Strida comes out of the locker, the commuter goes in, and I sit on the NJTransit train for an hour-long ride to NYC, where I unfold and ride the Strida to my office. Unfortunately my Strida broke down last week, and I was forced to set use my son's Kent cheapie folder, which I have set up so I can use it when I need to.
The Kent is not a great bike, but it's rideable. And since it folds, NJTransit allows it on the train. In fact it doesn't fold up very well, and it fits better when not folded; I put the seat down, flop the handlbar over, and lift it all up onto the overhead rack. It's a pain to put it up there, but it fits. So as an emergency spare, it'll do. Just.
Well, last Friday my train broke down on the tracks about twenty miles from home. The train was packed; there was no power, no ventilation, and we couldn't open the windows or get off the train for about an hour. Eventually they got another locomotive in place and pulled the whole train back to the nearest station, where everyone got out. Getting the bike out in such crowded conditions was especially tricky, but people were pretty cooperative about it. And then all the people on the train stood around on the platform looking bummed out. I called my wife on my cell phone, then got on my bike and rode away. My wife met me in the car about halfway home, but in fact traffic was so heavy that in retrospect I might as well have ridden the whole way, it wouldn't have taken much longer.
I had to ride down the shoulder of Route One, which is about the last place anyone would want to ride a bike, and occasionally a car would honk at me as if to say, "what kind of a jerk are you to be riding your bike down Route One at rush hour on a Friday afternoon?." Not exactly pleasant; but you should have seen the faces of the other commuters, waiting for NJTransit to figure out how to get them all home, watching me get on my bike and riding away. One guy actually offered me $1500 for the bike! I assumed he wasn't serious, of course (heck, I would have taken $200 if I thought I could get it!).
I don't know when all those other people on the train got home. When a train breaks down on the tracks, the whole system gets clogged up, especially if it happens at a busy time like Friday afternoon rush hour. I was really really glad to have a folding bike with me --even the Kent, which I don't like. But I like it a whole lot more now!