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  1. #1
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    Carryme or lock me?

    Oh, dear. I've been cycling for three months, have two folding bicycles, and am already contemplating buying a third. What is wrong with me?

    I live in NYC and am mostly a commuter cyclist. I started with a Downtube 8H I got off Craigslist. I've been very happy with how it rides, but I got tired of dragging and bagging it around town--just too bulky and heavy! I've held onto it, though, for longer rides. (I'm gearing up to do the NYC century this fall.)

    Bike #2 is a Downtube Mini. It's a joy to ride and relatively easy to fold and bag. However, I still feel there are places I could not get into with it (movie theater, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center, certain super-crowded restaurants), which would mean either leaving the bike at home/office, or locking it on the street. And I'm really concerned about theft.

    So now I'm thinking about a Carryme as the ultimate portable folding bike I could take everywhere. My questions are:

    1. Would I be happy riding it 13 miles to work, which includes a big hill? (I'm happy doing so on my Mini.)
    2. Would I truly be able to get it in everywhere?
    3. Is it worth spending extra money for the two-speed Carryme or should I stick with the single-speed?
    4. Am I overly worried about theft? Should I trust that with a NYC Kryptonite lock and cables for the front wheel and seat, my Mini will be okay on the street for a few hours and forget about the Carryme?

    I appreciate everyone's insights. Thanks!
    Last edited by Urbanis; 07-10-08 at 04:46 PM.

  2. #2
    Lonesome No More nigelme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanis View Post
    I still feel there are places I could not get into with it (movie theater, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center, certain super-crowded restaurants)
    Hello Urbanis

    Is it a matter of size? I mean are any bikes, folding or otherwise allowed in these places.

    I have a few folders and my Brompton I can take into most places in London but some will not allow any bike in,regardless of size ( TESCO FOR EXAMPLE!!!! ).

    There has been much mention of the Downtube Mini being a compact fold, do you not think it's small enough? Is the Carry Me smaller?

    Bottom line is I would certainly recommend the Brompton, if finances will allow (or the much touted copy, the Merc ). Searching this forum will present you with plenty of angles on the pros and cons of these particular bikes.

    Hope you find a solution.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanis View Post
    My questions about the Carryme are as follows:
    1. Would I be happy riding it 13 miles to work, which includes a big hill? (I'm happy doing so on my Mini.)
    2. Would I truly be able to get it in everywhere?
    I can't imagine you being nearly as happy as you are with your Mini on a 13 mile commute ... these bikes ride completely different (both are in my extended household).. go find a Carryme to ride before you plunck down the dough..

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanis View Post
    Oh, dear. I've been cycling for three months, have two folding bicycles, and am already contemplating buying a third. What is wrong with me?

    I live in NYC and am mostly a commuter cyclist. I started with a Downtube 8H I got off Craigslist. I've been very happy with how it rides, but I got tired of dragging and bagging it around town--just too bulky and heavy! I've held onto it, though, for longer rides. (I'm gearing up to do the NYC century this fall.)

    Bike #2 is a Downtube Mini. It's a joy to ride and relatively easy to fold and bag. However, I still feel there are places I could not get into with it (movie theater, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center, certain super-crowded restaurants), which would mean either leaving the bike at home/office, or locking it on the street. And I'm really concerned about theft.

    So now I'm thinking about a Carryme as the ultimate portable folding bike I could take everywhere. My questions are:

    1. Would I be happy riding it 13 miles to work, which includes a big hill? (I'm happy doing so on my Mini.)
    2. Would I truly be able to get it in everywhere?
    3. Is it worth spending extra money for the two-speed Carryme or should I stick with the single-speed?
    4. Am I overly worried about theft? Should I trust that with a NYC Kryptonite lock and cables for the front wheel and seat, my Mini will be okay on the street for a few hours and forget about the Carryme?

    I appreciate everyone's insights. Thanks!
    1. I don't think the hill will be a problem in itself because the Carryme is light and geared fairly low. I much prefer my Carryme to my 8H on hills. I actually haven't ridden my Carryme 13 miles in one sitting (I usually do 1-4 mile trips and the most I've probably done is 7 miles). However you might get tired of keeping a hawk eye out for potholes when riding 26 miles roundtrip everyday on the Carryme, but I think you should be able to answer this question better than me because you know how bad the roads you're riding on are and you know how your 16" wheels handle them (obviously if you feel like you're having close calls on 16" wheels then it would not be wise to go smaller). Also, how big are you? I find the Carryme a perfect fit at 5'7" 130 pounds, but if it doesn't fit you (or you just don't like how it rides) then you obviously won't be happy spending two hours a day on it. Since you have a specific bike in mind that you'd like to replace you really need to do a testride.
    2. Yes you will be able to take it everywhere. I don't oil my chain to keep things clean and unless people actually see me folding it they can't even tell it's a bike. Obviously the way the Carryme stands on its own and rolls is perfect for shuffling through crowds in theaters/restaurants or browsing through museums and the shape is perfect for sticking between your legs in auditorium seats, so I doubt you will have any reservation about taking it with you. However, in the rare case someone else has a problem with the bike it's very easy to throw a tent pole bag or sock over the top as a slip cover because you don't have to lift the bike or crouch down much to do it and you can still roll the bike once it's socked without displaying the wheels or any other parts. Also, if you get the official Carryme zipper bag you can wear the bike on your back and it will literally be invisible to anyone standing in front of you (I've seen many people in NYC in super-crowded restaurants and tourist attractions with much bigger backpacks), but beware that you will need a little extra padding for back comfort (I wrap my bike in a towel before wearing it on my back) and you'll have to lay the bag out on the ground and maneuver the bike into it like you probably do with your Mini now.
    3. If I planned on riding my Carryme 26 miles a day on any regular basis then I would definitely upgrade to the two speed. However, be careful about going too fast into potholes.
    4. Well, I'm not sure if you're banking on Kryptonite's insurance, but it's only good for a year from the date you purchase the lock, so if you're banking on it you need to buy a new Kryptonite lock every year. Not sure about the overall locking/theft issue, but I'm holding on to my 8H to find out.

    Can you describe more about your situation?:
    -Am I correct to interpret 13 miles as 26 miles roundtrip, or do you mean you ride 6.5 miles each way? If it's 6.5 miles each way and the roads are good enough that you're happy on 16" wheels then I think the Carryme could be an excellent choice (provided it suits your taste).
    -When you say you got tired of dragging and bagging the 8H does that mean you need to fully fold and bag it to get into the office? Is your office accessible at night? Would you consider commuting to work primarily on your 8H and using the Carryme primarily for going out? Surely you should have some idea of your plans for the week and should be able to leave your Carryme in the most convenient place (work or home) by simply taking it for a long ride once per week, taking it on the subway, or taking it as luggage on your 8H? Not sure what your motivation is for biking instead of using the subway, but I personally use my Carryme multimodally.

  5. #5
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    The above post said everything and more that I was going to say. All I'm going to say is that 26 miles is too much for the CarryMe. It rolls well but I found there was some rolling resistance due to the small wheels. Test one out and you'll find out what I mean.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    The above post said everything and more that I was going to say. All I'm going to say is that 26 miles is too much for the CarryMe. It rolls well but I found there was some rolling resistance due to the small wheels. Test one out and you'll find out what I mean.
    Are you sure it was the rolling resistance of the small wheels? They personally haven't struck me as being lacking in efficiency and I feel there is a tendency to attribute differences in ride to wheel size, simply because different wheel size changes the way a bike looks so much (ie "the biggest difference in feel must correspond to the biggest difference in look").

    I have found that the chain has to be pretty tight to avoid skipping under hard pedaling (ie steep hills) and I believe that may be less efficient. It's hard to say whether this is a problem with the design or if mine just needs a little bit of adjustment because, although I didn't notice either issue when the bike was new, I wasn't riding it as hard when I first got it. Presumably the tugnuts are meant to be adjusted to solve this issue with an appropriate compromise, but right now I have mine way tighter than the "1 inch of play" rule because I'm still learning what the best amount of slack is and what the best technique is for fine tuning.

    Although I wish Bruce would comment since I don't consider myself to be very knowledgeable or experienced about bikes in general, but for the record I don't think I would opt to ride 26 miles a day on a Carryme if I could use it multimodally (though I might curious enough to try it), but I also wouldn't do many of the rides lots of people do around here at all.

    The more I read this forum the more I see the huge variation in opinions on various bikes. You prefer the Strida to the Brompton and Carryme, Oldiesonfoldies prefers the Carryme and Brompton to the Strida, and I prefer the Carryme to the Tikit. It seems that so much comes down to physiology, riding style, and even the luck of the draw in manufacturing yield/tolerance that it's hard to say what anyone will like until they ride it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu View Post
    Can you describe more about your situation?:
    -Am I correct to interpret 13 miles as 26 miles roundtrip, or do you mean you ride 6.5 miles each way? If it's 6.5 miles each way and the roads are good enough that you're happy on 16" wheels then I think the Carryme could be an excellent choice (provided it suits your taste).
    -When you say you got tired of dragging and bagging the 8H does that mean you need to fully fold and bag it to get into the office? Is your office accessible at night? Would you consider commuting to work primarily on your 8H and using the Carryme primarily for going out? Surely you should have some idea of your plans for the week and should be able to leave your Carryme in the most convenient place (work or home) by simply taking it for a long ride once per week, taking it on the subway, or taking it as luggage on your 8H? Not sure what your motivation is for biking instead of using the subway, but I personally use my Carryme multimodally.
    1. Yes, it's 13 miles each way (Inwood to SoHo), 26 miles round-trip.

    2. Yes, I need to fully fold and bag my bike to get it in my office; the building management does not allow bikes in the building, so this is necessary camouflage. Yes, my office is accessible at night, so I use it as my downtown parking garage. My current routine is to ride my Mini to work (I primarily use the 8H now just for long trips) and then walk or take the subway for small jaunts around town and evening events. Then, before I head uptown for the night, I pick up my Mini and head home.

    It's a fine routine, but ideally I would like the option of using my bike to get everywhere, because it's great exercise and *fun.*

    The solution you mentioned appeals to me of using the Mini for the lengthy trips downtown and uptown and keeping, say, the Carryme at the office for the little jaunts.

    In terms of multimodal use, I often take the Mini on the subway; it's small enough to survive the rigors of rush hour and there are times when I don't have enough time or energy to ride. It's also much easier to bag and drag than the 8H.

    In terms of size, I'm 5'8", 145 lbs.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanis View Post
    1. Yes, it's 13 miles each way (Inwood to SoHo), 26 miles round-trip.

    2. Yes, I need to fully fold and bag my bike to get it in my office; the building management does not allow bikes in the building, so this is necessary camouflage. Yes, my office is accessible at night, so I use it as my downtown parking garage. My current routine is to ride my Mini to work (I primarily use the 8H now just for long trips) and then walk or take the subway for small jaunts around town and evening events. Then, before I head uptown for the night, I pick up my Mini and head home.

    It's a fine routine, but ideally I would like the option of using my bike to get everywhere, because it's great exercise and *fun.*

    The solution you mentioned appeals to me of using the Mini for the lengthy trips downtown and uptown and keeping, say, the Carryme at the office for the little jaunts.

    In terms of multimodal use, I often take the Mini on the subway; it's small enough to survive the rigors of rush hour and there are times when I don't have enough time or energy to ride. It's also much easier to bag and drag than the 8H.

    In terms of size, I'm 5'8", 145 lbs.
    Sounds like a good plan to me and I could see you going with either the two speed or the singlespeed depending on whether you'd like to ride it to work or just take the subway on days after heading far enough uptown the night before that it's not worthwhile to go back to pick up the Mini, but since you don't really need another bike be sure to take it for a test ride (no sense wasting your money if you aren't going to accomplish your stated goal of fun).

    If it weren't for the fact that you practically live in the bronx I'd say the Carryme is ideal for someone like yourself living and working in manhattan.

  9. #9
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    Two bikes is better

    i agree with the two bikes idea. it is a good excuse to have two bikes. that's often handy, for when a guest visits, etc.

    i keep one folder (a birdy) at home which i use in brooklyn - take into the library, restaurants, etc. i would never lock it up anywhere near nyc. and then i keep one folder (a ss dahon boardwalk i bought a week old for $100 off craigslist) at work in manhattan for errands and jaunts there. that works great. btw - i never lock the $100 folder either. i view locking folders as an insult to the dignity of a tool. like using a shovel to hammer nails - or tethering a whale to a pole.

    in your case it would work even better - you commute in on the mini - than you go to the Theeeatur in the evening with the soho bike - take the A back to Inwood - bring the soho bike back for the 13 mile relatively smooth west side greenway back the next day. never 26 miles on the soho bike at most 13. friday night being the possible exception.

    the carryme doesn't look that fun to me - why not a good quick bike for the long commute (birdy or swift?) and then a nice little bike for downtown.

    for the downtown bike why not the brompton (you could often take that in with you to the theater). and if not, why not the a-bike? it looks like there's a new one coming out - the old one was maybe $300. that would go in any theater easy. a-bike and a-train, nice combo.

    too bad this didn't get mass-produced.

    good luck.

  10. #10
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    Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts so far.

    I am happy to have two bikes. It is nice to have a guest/back-up bike. If I added the Carryme, that would bring the grand total to three, although the small footprint hopefully means I could fit it into my bike closet along with the other two.

    The Carry Me looks more like a "real bike" to me than the A-Bike. Also, the reviews here seem to affirm it has a much better ride. Maybe makeinu would be willing to let me test out his? (The A-Bike/A-Train combo is clever, though.)

    I don't need a Birdy or Swift for the long commute--my Downtube Mini does the job just beautifully--but I appreciate the suggestion.

    I've tried a Brompton and love the fold but it is ridiculously expensive and I didn't like the feel of riding it.

    I may simply be making things too complicated trying to get everywhere by bike. Perhaps I will simply have to wait for that enlighted day when NYC has a bike share program (like the Paris Velib) to do small jaunts or a chain of bike garages (like the McDonald's Cycle Center in Chicago) where I could park the bike securely.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanis View Post
    The Carry Me looks more like a "real bike" to me than the A-Bike. Also, the reviews here seem to affirm it has a much better ride. Maybe makeinu would be willing to let me test out his? (The A-Bike/A-Train combo is clever, though.)
    I would gladly let you test mine out but I don't live in NYC anymore. I believe Steve lives in Hoboken or some such and is frequently in Manhattan. He did have an A-bike and although he may have sold it I think he might know somewhere to test ride a Carryme.

    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanis View Post
    I may simply be making things too complicated trying to get everywhere by bike. Perhaps I will simply have to wait for that enlighted day when NYC has a bike share program (like the Paris Velib) to do small jaunts or a chain of bike garages (like the McDonald's Cycle Center in Chicago) where I could park the bike securely.
    So are you also considering simply leaving your Mini at work some days instead of locking it around the town?

    Just, FYI, I've also been considering getting some of these things to add to my fleet of collapsible human powered vehicles:

    When I lived in NYC I used to love getting around on inline skates, but quit after a few too many warnings about wearing skates in the subway. These things were around then (in fact, they were more popular), but I've only found out about them since I discovered folding bikes.
    Last edited by makeinu; 07-14-08 at 05:39 PM.

  12. #12
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    Hi makeinu,

    What I currently do with the Mini if I have evening activities downtown is to leave it at work and walk or take the subway to my destinatination. At the end of the evening, I pick it up. If it's really late and/or I'm sloshed I just leave it at the office. It's safe there. I've never locked it on the street (although I've bought locks just in case I ever need to).
    Last edited by Urbanis; 05-31-09 at 09:11 AM.

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