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  1. #1
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    RE: My First Commute with my Citizen Tokyo

    hi all,

    after all those fixings and waiting for my helmet to come, i finally took my citizen tokyo on his first bart train ride. left home @ around 4:20am to catch my bus and honestly speaking i think i am out of shape. although it's only about 2 miles to the bus station it seems like 20 miles to me. gotta work on those muscles. and as what other mentioned here, it is really has low gears and taking the wiser advises i may not upgrade anything on my tokyo but rather save up some dough to get a better folder with higher gears and a lighter bike. i say lighter since this folder feels like i am carrying a month's worth of groceries on my shoulder. although it is only 29lbs, still this is heavy for my walks. my routine is - bike to the bus station, get off the bus and walk to the bart train, get of the train and walk to the bus station and finally get off the bus and walk to my bldg. there are a lot of walkings on my part that this seems not the ideal folder for its weight. will see how it goes. anyway i am attaching pics of my folder between the bart train seats (fit nicely) and pic of my folder at my desk.

    happy riding,
    vic
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    What's the total distance if you cut out the bus?

    Bike to the train station then bike to work.

  3. #3
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    How well does it roll when folded? Rolling can reduce significantly the lifting.

    I wish that folding bike designers will pay more attention to the 'rollability' of their bikes.

    My experience is with Vitesse and NWT and both leave much to be desired.

    Kam

  4. #4
    Female Member KitN's Avatar
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    Vic, why all that walking when you have a bike that you can ride right in your hand??

    It seems like you only use the bike for the very first leg of your trip. If you absolutely can't ride your bike instead of all that walking, you should simply securely lock your bike in a very safe and highly visible place (hopefully a monitored bike rack or locker) and go about the rest of your commute since you don't use the bike the rest of the way.

    Right now, the bike is just 29 lbs of dead weight for 90% of your trip. It doesn't make sense...
    Last edited by KitN; 04-02-09 at 10:06 AM.
    Ride what you like. Ride in what you like.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    I've used mine for a few commutes too. The basic pattern for me is ride to the Metro (DC subway) instead of my usual bus to Metro when without the bike. Fold and bag the bike - folders are permitted on Metro at all times, but only when bagged. Ride Metro to the station that is one block from the office. Walk to the office, store the bike, still bagged, in a corner. Reverse this for the trip home.

    I've ridden to several Metro stations. The nearest one to me has too much traffic near it - I don't go there. Second nearest is fine, most of the trip is on an off-street bike trail, but I have to change trains. This is about 3 miles. To get to the third nearest, I go most of the way to the second nearest, then an extra half mile - but no train change. This is my favorite, but so far it is taking me about 25 minutes for a 3 1/2 mile ride. So I'm averaging around 7-8 mph - a little slow, I think. The train ride is longer than from the station that the bus takes me to.

    I also tried riding to a station that is about 7 miles from home, which is only one stop further than the one the bus goes to. It took me more than an hour. Part of that was getting slightly lost - I probably rode a bit further than the nominal distance. This route is mostly on city streets, and there were many more stops for signals and stop signs than the mostly trail route.

  6. #6
    Female Member KitN's Avatar
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    BTW, I know what you mean about feeling out of shape. The weight and gearage can make you feel like a slug some times. I often feels like the low gears aren't low enough and definitely the high gears aren't high enough (I have a lot of hills and inclines in my commute like going across the Brooklyn and/or Manhattan Bridge(s) and trust me, those are steep and LONG inclines! Argh!!).

    I manage by sheer determination and pacing myself so I don't have to stop. I just swtich to one of the lowest gears and spin while keeping my eyes fixed on the top, my goal, and once I'm there I know I'll be coasting down the hill and can rest while flying down.

    Give your body some time to adjust to the new workload. Keep at it and sooner or later you'll be kicking butt on that little bike.
    Ride what you like. Ride in what you like.

  7. #7
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    I think I may be riding in 6th too much - I actually seem to go faster if I'm spinning faster in a lower gear, but not pumping as hard. Work smarter, not harder. I also absolutely need to make sure the seat is high enough - I don't work as hard if my knees are almost (but not completely) straight at the bottom of the stroke. I take a fresh shirt on my commute - the one I ride in is always wet when I get to work.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by KitN View Post
    Vic, why all that walking when you have a bike that you can ride right in your hand??

    It seems like you only use the bike for the very first leg of your trip. If you absolutely can't ride your bike instead of all that walking, you should simply securely lock your bike in a very safe and highly visible place (hopefully a monitored bike rack or locker) and go about the rest of your commute since you don't use the bike the rest of the way.

    Right now, the bike is just 29 lbs of dead weight for 90% of your trip. It doesn't make sense...
    here at my train station it's not wise to lock the bike. when you locked it and come back later, you'll never see your bike again. and yes i only use it on my first leg of the trip. i can't use it on my walks as there are so many stairs, escalators and all. hope it's a smooth walk though. any advise ????

    thanks,
    vic

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCFlack View Post
    I think I may be riding in 6th too much - I actually seem to go faster if I'm spinning faster in a lower gear, but not pumping as hard. Work smarter, not harder. I also absolutely need to make sure the seat is high enough - I don't work as hard if my knees are almost (but not completely) straight at the bottom of the stroke. I take a fresh shirt on my commute - the one I ride in is always wet when I get to work.
    thanks for the advise. i think i am really out of shape. will do this routine. i went straight at it this morning without stopping my legs. didn't coast at all. maybe that's why. funny thing is i forgot my bottle of water and when i was inside the bus i feel like i am dying with all those sweatings and huffing. good thing the lady i commute with regulary has a bottle of water. didn't blink an eye and asked her for that bottle of water. drunk almost half of it and that helps......will see how it goes this afternoon.

    thanks,
    vic

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bizzz111 View Post
    What's the total distance if you cut out the bus?

    Bike to the train station then bike to work.
    here is how my trip is:
    house to bus station: 2 miles (tops) used my bike
    bus to bart train (15 miles) mostly freeway (W-80)
    bart to fremont (trip is exactly 1 hour)
    fremont bus to work (about 20 miles or more as it goes side streets)

    same way home....

    thanks,
    vic

  11. #11
    smallwheelsonly
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    it will only get better and get easier as you build your endurance

    I had a single speed giant folding bike couple of years ago and when i first tried it I said there is no way im gonna use this thing with just single speed as i would get really tired after a mile or so ...

    well after 3~4 months of riding it i found out it was ok and did not need gears on it after all. the small wheel [20"] are so small and easy to spin.

  12. #12
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    Given the description of your route, what you need is a wheelable bike. I.E. Strida, Tikit, Carryme.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by puppypilgrim View Post
    Given the description of your route, what you need is a wheelable bike. I.E. Strida, Tikit, Carryme.
    yes. definitely. that is what i am thinking now. just upgrade to a folder that i can just wheel. i was thinking of the strida but when you fold it it is still big (tall). a tikit is my ticket to ride (pardon the pun). now if i can just convince the wifey about getting that one. darn how come they are so expensive....can you wheel the dahon?????

    thanks,
    vic

  14. #14
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    on a side note: all the people in my bldg stopped by my cube and looked at my bike amazed. they all say that's a nice bike. they thought it cost me about $500 and were surprised when i told them it's only $100 (used). all of them said that's worth all the penny. they all said good for me for biking to work at least i am getting an exrcise. less they know that i was grasping for air, huffing and sweating this morning (for a 2 mile ride - funny)....i forgot to mention that the bike felt stable and could take a beating also. although i don't advise it. i am happy with my purchase and hopefully i can build up my stamina to be able to really enjoy my folder....

    thanks again,
    vic

  15. #15
    Female Member KitN's Avatar
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    Vic, just stick to it. Give yourself a break too and take it easy when you can.

    If you really have all that walking that youc an't avoid then, yes, I would consider a CarryMe but remember there's a trade off there too: tiny wheels, no/few gears, but you can definitely carry it with easy.

    Talk to the wife. Maybe let her have the Tokyo and you get a CarryMe. It doesn't cost much.
    Ride what you like. Ride in what you like.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by KitN View Post
    Talk to the wife. Maybe let her have the Tokyo and you get a CarryMe. It doesn't cost much.
    i tried convincing her that biking is fun and that we should bike together. i even encouraged her that this is a better way to exercise since you're not putting so much pressure on your knees and feet unlike jogging and running which she is more into but no can do - she won't listen. she said she prefer jogging. didn't i tell you that i got another folder (A-Bike). thinking that this will work better for me, i tried using it around town but not good. it's so slow since it only has 8 inches wheel. and the ride is weird and sometimes it is woobly. but the nice thing is the weight of this bike - it's only 12lbs. and so small when folded.....yeah, carry is only 1 gear and wheel is so small. i checked it and might not be the aswer. am looking at downtube mini....

    thanks,
    vic

  17. #17
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    The Dahon is NOT wheelable. Even an aluminum frame folding Dahon is not really carry-light. I can do it. But my wife can't carry the Dahon and walk any meaningful distance.

    In my internet opinion, I really think that over the long run, something like the Strida performs very well. It was designed exactly for people who need a multi-modal commute with a cycling distance of less than 8 miles. Its capable of a less than 5 second fold, easily wheel-able and requires minimal maintenance and won't dirty your dress clothes.

    Yes, the Strida folds tall but that is what makes it easy to wheel. It will even hang on a hook in a closet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJKJtUBSXaY

    I would also recommend the Strida 3.2 instead of the 5.0. The 3.2 has plastic wheels with no spokes to bend or retension. It also has drum brakes which are very low maintenance items. Perhaps you could buy one used. The Stridas are made on unrustable aluminum and plastic making it a very long wearing and weather-proof vehicle.

  18. #18
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    thanks for the advise. make sense. strida might be the answer after all. but in all honesty i see so many clones out there - have you tried one and not to propagate the clone but cost wise it might be the best choice. how did it fair compare to the real one ?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by vmaniqui View Post
    thanks for the advise. make sense. strida might be the answer after all. but in all honesty i see so many clones out there - have you tried one and not to propagate the clone but cost wise it might be the best choice. how did it fair compare to the real one ?
    There's a few of on here that use a Chinese Strida for regular transportation.. given your use, if you really feel you have to have something to peddle for that 'up to' 2 mile distance, then my first choice would be something that folds quick, rolls easily and doesn't take up much floor space .. the Strida is superb at that, as many utube videos show.. it also rides well enough for some to consider using to ride a century (Troy is my new hero)..

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceMetras View Post
    .. given your use, if you really feel you have to have something to peddle for that 'up to' 2 mile distance..
    yes. i really need something with wheels to bring me to my bus ride as i usually leave home 4:20am. i tried walking one time and its doable but wouldn't do it again that early. it's all pitch dark and so quiet. going back home is not a problem as more people are walking but going there in the morning is another story. i will try this one. i wish i had settled on strida when i bought my A-bike from china thru a friend of mine. he was so nice to carry it back to san jose for me all the way from china. imagine the strida clone cost only $85 there. i bought my A-Bike for around $52. i tried the A-Bike but will not cut it in for me. maybe in time when i built up my stamina. but in the meantime strida might be it....

    thanks a lot,
    vic

  21. #21
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    If you do a search on this forum using the word STRIDA, you will find a few threads comparing the ethics and quality of Strida copies and the user experience associated with them. I have a 3 mile distance to my nearest train station and I would NOT want to walk it.

    Another option you could consider is getting a Xootr Scooter www.xootr.com but it costs more than your Citizen and is potentially more dangerous depending on your skill and sense of balance. On my Xootr Scooter, I average 11~12 mph which is about what many average people cycle at.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by vmaniqui View Post
    here is how my trip is:
    house to bus station: 2 miles (tops) used my bike
    bus to bart train (15 miles) mostly freeway (W-80)
    bart to fremont (trip is exactly 1 hour)
    fremont bus to work (about 20 miles or more as it goes side streets)
    Wow... is it really worth it commuting the 2 miles out of all that distance? You would know your situation better, but I would have thought the downsides of commuting would outweigh the upsides. The downsides being having to wear commuting clothes, freshening up at work. And lugging a bicycle for most of the trip.

    If it works for you, then thatís cool.

    You do have lots of alternatives. Other posters have mentioned a different bicycle. Search on bikeforums.net some information on fake Stridas.

    http://www.google.com/search?&q=fake...bikeforums.net

    Other possibilities: walk or jog. Or use a scooter:


    Click for full size - Uploaded with plasq's Skitch

    Or do a search through bikely.com to see if any other parts of your trip can be done on a bicycle.

  23. #23
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    Is there somewhere safer to lock your bike that is close to the bus station?

  24. #24
    Senior Member Lalato's Avatar
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    How long is the last leg from the BART station to your office? I would think about doing that leg on the bike instead of using the bus. If it's 20 minutes by bus with stops along the way, it might be double that on the bike. Not too much longer and a whole lot more fun.

    That said, go test ride a Carry Me... just to see if it will work for you. I'm sure there is a store in the bay area with one available to test.

    --sam

  25. #25
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    I know what you mean about the weight of the Tokyo. I wouldn't want to walk with it any farther than I do - 10 yards to the subway elevator, 20 yards across the platform, ride, then 20 yards to the elevator and a block to the office - its not worth unbagging and unfolding to ride one block. It is easier if I carry the bag on my shoulder than if I carry it in my hand. One afternoon it was hard to find a place to put the bike down in a crowded subway car - I kept it on my shoulder for a few stops - whew! I haven't tried rolling the bike when folded - Metro says I have to put it in a bag.

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