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  1. #1
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    What's different about riding a folder?

    I was musing today on a long climb on my road bike. On busy highways with no shoulder I ride the fog line, which requires constant attention.... maybe 30% of the CPU, but the process is always running. It hit me.... this is like riding a folder (ISO 451 or smaller), the constant attention part. When pedaling on a folder, you can't space out, free associate among life's recent insults and triumphs... sort of forget you're on a bike, but nonetheless, have the exhilaration of cycling. I enter that cerebral zone (unique to cycling in my experience, perhaps an endorphin without vigilance state) when mashing away on a empty road on my road bike.... but I can't get there on the Maunakea Bike, on a small Dahon, or even on my Swift (close on the Swift, but not quite there). So that, to me, is the biggest difference. I experience just as much pleasure and appreciation of health, scenery, and sport, whether on a folder or a road bike (or MTB), so I was rather startled to realize today that, for me, the biggest difference is that the higher vigilance required of your line, and the impact of pedaling on maintaining your line, when on a folder means I remain in the physicality of the moment, as opposed to drifting into cerebrality.

    Anybody else experience this?

    Is the fog line reverie the division between epistemology and ontology, or just between spacing out and staying focused?
    Last edited by maunakea; 06-23-07 at 03:37 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    I have no problem doing the "zen" thing on my 20"-wheeled recumbent. It handles quick (like a racing bike), but no problem holding a line.

    No data yet on folders, because I'm getting my first one next week. And I definitely don't want to "zen" when I'm using it to commute 3 miles into the city.

    Definitely do get some good thinking done when out touring, agreed.

  3. #3
    jur
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    I'm not sure of the state of mind you describe... When I commute, I sometimes find myself further along the road and I suddenly realise I tuned out during the previous stretch of road, going by a heightened sort of instinct perhaps, subconciously handling the various challenges the commute in traffic throws at me, but not actively concious of it all... this has happened on a variety of stretches, like a busy traffic section and I wonder later how I got through it all without being there, or I'm climbing a hill and I wake up on the other side not remembering the exertion during the climb! Not memory loss, you understand, just deaming or whatever...

    I commute on my Raleigh Twenty, but it's stable as.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  4. #4
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by maunakea
    I was musing today on a long climb on my road bike. On busy highways with no shoulder I ride the fog line, which requires constant attention.... maybe 30% of the CPU, but the process is always running. It hit me.... this is like riding a folder (ISO 451 or smaller), the constant attention part. When pedaling on a folder, you can't space out, free associate among life's recent insults and triumphs... sort of forget you're on a bike, but nonetheless, have the exhilaration of cycling. I enter that cerebral zone (unique to cycling in my experience, perhaps an endorphin without vigilance state) when mashing away on a empty road on my road bike.... but I can't get there on the Maunakea Bike, on a small Dahon, or even on my Swift (close on the Swift, but not quite there). So that, to me, is the biggest difference. I experience just as much pleasure and appreciation of health, scenery, and sport, whether on a folder or a road bike (or MTB), so I was rather startled to realize today that, for me, the biggest difference is that the higher vigilance required of your line, and the impact of pedaling on maintaining your line, when on a folder means I remain in the physicality of the moment, as opposed to drifting into cerebrality.

    Anybody else experience this?

    Is the fog line reverie the division between epistemology and ontology, or just between spacing out and staying focused?
    I just pedal the f*cker and go, 'Whooo hoooo!' on the downhill bits. My model, being a clone as it is, didn't come with extras like 'epistomology' or even, 'ontology'. Maybe I should upgrade to the real thing.



  5. #5
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    middle aged man riding a Strida gets noticed, especially by kids who call out "cool bike".
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur
    When I commute, I sometimes find myself further along the road and I suddenly realise I tuned out during the previous stretch of road, going by a heightened sort of instinct perhaps, subconciously handling the various challenges the commute in traffic throws at me, but not actively concious of it all.
    This happens to me all the time when commuting. At night I often awake from my revery with absolutely no idea where I am. I know all the road I travel exceptionally well, but many areas are indistinguishable under the decreased nocturnal visibility.

    I love those moments. Hmmm, maybe I can look forward to dementia.

    Jack

  7. #7
    Seņor Mambo
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    Road familiarity also contributes more to my unconscious state than the type of bike.

    Then all of a sudden, a dude in full kit will pass me by, and I will give chase, but realize I am limited by the folder. Contrary to what people like to post, it's not the gearing, though it may have a lot to do with the engine; however, even at my peak riding condition, I've experienced it's mostly the bike: the weight and wheel size of a folder cannot compete with carbon/titanium, 700c's, and the same gearing.

    And we should stop quoting the Moulton speed record: we're not talking about ideal conditions on a smooth track using a full fairing.

  8. #8
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    Does the zen thing, the suspension of focus on managing the real world, of being in the abyss between epistemology and onotology (depends on your cockpit geometry), of suddenly being past the summit and dealing with the downhill without reminder (other than sweat) of the climb, happen to you in the same way off the bike? Not to me. I space out in other settings, like required conversation with anesthetizing bores in a business setting, but not in the same "active bliss" way that happens in cycling. It never happens to me when road skating or swimming.

    Senor Mambo and Jack J rang the temple bell .... (1) I think the zen state is highly correlated with road familiarity, and (2) same rider on a slick road bike will always be faster than he/she is on a slick small wheel bike, even on hills. I think the short wheelbase, mass distribution, reduced gyroscopic effect, etc., all sap energy that would otherwise be delivered as forward motion. For this, we need a numbers guy, a rara avis in the philosophy department.
    Last edited by maunakea; 06-23-07 at 01:40 PM.

  9. #9
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maunakea
    I think the short wheelbase, mass distribution, reduced gyroscopic effect, etc., all sap energy that would otherwise be delivered as forward motion(...)
    My understanding is that "energy" (non-scientific definition of energy being used here) is also sapped energy, or focus that would otherwise be delivered from your brain into a more relaxing state.

    The way I can relate goes back to the days of Adventure racing, where I spent 8-12 hours riding a bike. If I had a team nearby (or in front of us, or behind us) the entire focus was on performance, leaving no room for counting how many different birds were singing, how nice the wind was. Same effect on mountain biking: While cruising off road, you do reach the zen-ism, but as soon as you face a more technical trail, you go to a different stage of that zen-mode.


    I can also relate to art and science of flying sailplanes. Once you detach from the toll plane, you have hours of fun inside a motorless, silence flying machine, and I can feel the same zen-ism that I feel while riding safely a stable bike. That mode goes away during landing procedures.





    I believe small wheeled bikes demand more attention to ride them, and that's what may be compromising your experience. The choices are:

    1-Ride your small wheeled bike more often, so you get more used to it and lose the reference from big wheeled bikes (maybe sell your road bike? lol)

    2- Use your folder only when you don't feel the need of that more-than-just-physical experience.


    I feel the same way, and what I am doing for now is riding the 16" bike only to see if I can use it on those days that you just feel like pressing the nuclear holocaust button.

    14R

  10. #10
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    14R, to get that kind of peace in a sailplane, you must turn off the variometer.

  11. #11
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maunakea
    14R, to get that kind of peace in a sailplane, you must turn off the variometer.
    That stupid beeping sound can make you PRESS the Nuclear holocaust button in 5 seconds! LOL

  12. #12
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilV
    I just pedal the f*cker and go, 'Whooo hoooo!' on the downhill bits. My model, being a clone as it is, didn't come with extras like 'epistomology' or even, 'ontology'. Maybe I should upgrade to the real thing.


    +1

  13. #13
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maunakea
    Anybody else experience this?
    Uhm... no?

    I don't have much of a problem zoning out under the right conditions: smooth road, familiar area, few cars.

    I'd imagine that the harsher ride and oversteer of 20" wheels might make for a less comfortable ride, which will keep you from zoning out.

    But isn't one of your folders a 24"?

  14. #14
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Well said, 14R. I agree very much with your insightful comments.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
    But isn't one of your folders a 24"?
    My big folder is the M'Kadenza, a rebuilt Cadenza with 700c wheels that lives in Japan. It's quite easy to zen on it on empty forest service roads in Japan.
    Last edited by maunakea; 06-23-07 at 08:26 PM.

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