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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 01-29-11, 10:26 PM   #1
rlevine
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folding bikes + buses = ?

anyone here have experience taking a folder on cramped buses? specifically nj transit? i take a bus from nj to nyc every day, and at rush hour these buses are pretty full. with the minimal legroom and not-so-spacious overhead compartments, i don't know how a folding bike would fair. any input/experience/etc would be appreciated. just trying to figure out if this would be a good investment.

-randy
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Old 01-30-11, 06:12 AM   #2
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The best folder for a crowded bus would definitely be a CarryMe.
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Old 01-30-11, 09:12 AM   #3
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...Or a Strida...
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Old 01-30-11, 11:14 AM   #4
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...Or a Strida...
Yes. You can lock the brakes and hold it vertically or just put it in overhead luggage space.
http://picasaweb.google.com/MAS.DPL/...90382439339682

In Belgium, there is a bike rental program which combines bus and Strida as a mode of transportation.
http://www.infotec.be/index.aspx?Pag...glish#cyclotec
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Old 01-30-11, 05:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by rlevine View Post
anyone here have experience taking a folder on cramped buses? specifically nj transit? i take a bus from nj to nyc every day, and at rush hour these buses are pretty full. with the minimal legroom and not-so-spacious overhead compartments, i don't know how a folding bike would fair. any input/experience/etc would be appreciated. just trying to figure out if this would be a good investment.

-randy
Make sure you get the cover for the CarryMe or Strida. When it rains, the last thing you want is putting a wet bike on that over head rack and having all that water drip down on the passenger below!

The Carry is so thin, it might even fit between your legs. If it's a 1 or two mile commute that does not involve hills, look into a Zooter kick scooter.
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Old 01-30-11, 07:07 PM   #6
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thanks for all your input. i'm leaning toward a dahon - something like an eco 3, or if i have the spare $$$ muP8. my sister the commuter (but non-bike-rider) tells me that the size shouldn't be an issue, as she's seen folding bikes as well as other large-ish items on crowded commutes.

-randy
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Old 01-30-11, 07:23 PM   #7
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Make sure you get the cover for the CarryMe or Strida. When it rains, the last thing you want is putting a wet bike on that over head rack and having all that water drip down on the passenger below!

The Carry is so thin, it might even fit between your legs. If it's a 1 or two mile commute that does not involve hills, look into a Zooter kick scooter.
Xootr (sounds like Zooter). I hear some people can maintain 10-12 mph on the scooter
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Old 01-30-11, 07:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by rlevine View Post
thanks for all your input. i'm leaning toward a dahon - something like an eco 3, or if i have the spare $$$ muP8. my sister the commuter (but non-bike-rider) tells me that the size shouldn't be an issue, as she's seen folding bikes as well as other large-ish items on crowded commutes.

-randy
I have owned folding bicycles for over 7 years now. My bikes run the full gamut from Dahon 's 20 inch wheels to a more compact Dahon & Brompton 16 inch. For serious transport on crowded situations such as yours, think and go small (A.K.A the 16 inch range). My Brompton and former Piccolo both worked well in the commuting side of things (although the Brompton is a more compact fold & in that way might be a better choice). Size is supposed not to be an issue on crowded buses, but when a bus driver has to make a choice between your bike taking up precious space or cram more bodies, you might find yourself outside waiting for the next bus.

That is the one of the basic reasons why I kept the Brompton over the Dahon Piccolo. Size does matter! Always remember to factor in that variable when you take any bike along for a bus ride, even if you choose to use the front-of-the-bus bike racks to place your bike on. I choose not to exercise that particular option as I know of cases where the bus drives away before you have a chance to get your bike off it.

Last edited by folder fanatic; 01-30-11 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 01-30-11, 07:50 PM   #9
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The OP mentions overhead compartments. This means he is taking a coach bus. He will not have enough room to bring any bike since there will not be enough space between the seats for his legs and a bike. The aisle will t also be about 22"-24" wide so you can forget about leaving it in the aisle. Putting a bike in the overhead compartment is just asking for trouble in event of a quick stop. I doubt that NJ Transit will allow it.
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Old 01-30-11, 08:04 PM   #10
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Coach buses usually have luggage space underfloor...?
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Old 01-30-11, 08:37 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by folder fanatic View Post
For serious transport on crowded situations such as yours, think and go small (A.K.A the 16 inch range).
after checking out some photos and videos of various folding bikes, it seems like 20" might be pushing it a little for crowded bus transport. so i agree with you.

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The OP mentions overhead compartments. This means he is taking a coach bus. He will not have enough room to bring any bike since there will not be enough space between the seats for his legs and a bike. The aisle will t also be about 22"-24" wide so you can forget about leaving it in the aisle. Putting a bike in the overhead compartment is just asking for trouble in event of a quick stop. I doubt that NJ Transit will allow it.
i think i could pull off storing it in the legspace if i'm lucky. i'm not a big dude. i never liked the idea of storing things in the aisle (and i'm fairly positive it's against njtransit policy). as for overhead compartment, njtransit allows cargo up to 30lbs. from njtransit.com:
Quote:
Originally Posted by njtransit
Bus passengers traveling on vehicles with underfloor storage may store up to two items of conventional size. No single piece may exceed 30 lbs. Passengers wishing to load/unload their luggage may do so at terminals and along routes. NJ TRANSIT reserves the right to deny permission to load/unload luggage at any location where it may jeopardize the safety of the passenger, bus operator, or bus.
That last line does give them the authority to deny the cargo if they choose, but i will venture a guess based on my experience that as long as the bike isn't excessively large and/or heavy, they'll allow it. especially since i plan on using some form of carrying bag.

and again, thanks for all your input.

-randy
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Old 01-30-11, 09:47 PM   #12
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oops. that's not the overhead compartment section. here's that one:
Quote:
Originally Posted by njtransit
Passengers traveling on vehicles without underfloor storage will be permitted to bring up to two pieces of baggage aboard provided it can fit safely and securely in the overhead parcel racks or on the passenger's lap. Baggage may not block aisles or be placed on empty seats or cause inconvenience to other passengers.
i suppose both apply. i could always store the bike in the external-accessible underfloor storage.

-randy
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Old 01-31-11, 08:12 AM   #13
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Randy,

I was in Bfold last summer and there was a customer who was picking up their new Brompton from the shop. Apparently the customer had either borrowed or rented a Brompton from Bfold for one of the NYC area organized rides the week before. Perhaps you can call them to see if they actually do rent. If so, you can always give it a one week test on the bus and see how it works.

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Old 01-31-11, 09:52 AM   #14
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I've taken my strida on buses during rush hour and being able to lock up the wheels and just lean with the "stick on wheels" on the side was a very useful feature for such a weird contraption. I actually looked at the dahons before too and the 20 inch tire bikes are kinda big and they fold into a big jumble of metal that you will have to keep it from falling once you are on the bus. Like the others suggested, I would look into the 16 inch tire versions if I where you. It does make a difference during rush hour traffic. As for the bag, I never carry one cause If it's raining I'm going straight into the subway then bus, my wheels and I are hydrophobic.
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Old 01-31-11, 10:48 AM   #15
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I've taken my folders extensively on buses:

-For under bus storage any folder will do. Although the coach type long range commuter buses typically have these compartments underneath the bus, drivers do not usually allow passengers to use it because it takes too much time for the driver to open/close the compartment. The first time you ask the driver make sure you bag the bike; If he says yes you probably won't need to bag it in the future, but if he says no you're SOL. Also beware that you might not get the same exact bus or same driver every day and, thus, might not have access to the storage you were counting on.

-The overhead storage also available on coach commuter buses is extremely narrow as are the isles. You will not be able to fit any bike there except a Carryme or, possibly, a Strida. You will not fit a Brompton, a Tikit, or a Dahon. It's also a hassle to get luggage onto these overhead racks...especially when you're trying to get to in/out of your seat in a timely fashion; The other passengers will become irritated rather quickly if you delay the bus or if you accidentally drop your bicycle on them while rushing to get off at your stop.

-Anything which fits in the overhead storage space on a coach commuter bus will also fit in between your legs...perhaps not comfortably, but the minor discomfort is well worth the ease of getting on/off the bus.

-Short range "city" buses have more floor space, but since they're also typically more crowded with more people getting on and off the situation isn't much easier: Unlike the coach commuter buses here you might be able to manage with a small 16" folder like a Brompton or Tikit if the bus isn't too crowded. However, since these buses are slower and usually don't travel more than 10 miles, in these situations it's usually more expedient to just ride your bike.

Forget about 20" wheeled bikes and forget about 16" wheeled bikes which are barely even 2" smaller. This is the only practical option:




P.S. A small towel/rag to wipe down your bike is much more useful than a bag on rainy days.
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Old 01-31-11, 11:29 AM   #16
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I don't know that the super small wheels are strictly necessary for bus travel, although I suppose it does depend a little on what kind of bus you are on and whether you are comfortable storing your bike down below.
I have a Montague, a folding bike with full-size wheels, and I take it on city buses all the time, even when it's crowded (it's still smaller than a lot of stuff I see people on the bus with).
It's a great bike for commuting too - after the bus, I have something of a longer ride, so the larger wheels are really great - I've tried the smaller wheels, but I just feel like I'm spinning like crazy.
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Old 01-31-11, 12:26 PM   #17
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I don't know that the super small wheels are strictly necessary for bus travel, although I suppose it does depend a little on what kind of bus you are on and whether you are comfortable storing your bike down below.
I have a Montague, a folding bike with full-size wheels, and I take it on city buses all the time, even when it's crowded (it's still smaller than a lot of stuff I see people on the bus with).
It's a great bike for commuting too - after the bus, I have something of a longer ride, so the larger wheels are really great - I've tried the smaller wheels, but I just feel like I'm spinning like crazy.
You need to set your gears correctly. With your gears set correctly there's absolutely no reason why you should need to spin even 1 extra stroke with a smaller wheel:
26 gear inches = equivalent of riding a 26" diameter wheel
50 gear inches = equivalent of riding a 50" diameter wheel
75 gear inches = equivalent of riding a 75" diameter wheel
90 gear inches = equivalent of riding a 90" diameter wheel

Somewhere between 45 and 75 gear inches is good for all around riding. So without the proper gear ratio, even a "full size" 26" wheel is still way too small to avoid "spinning like crazy":
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/

Wheel size is like shoe size: the only difference it makes on the road is whether they have your size in stock when you go shopping. Your problem was probably more of a cheap bike with bad gearing...for longer rides I'd take a 20" wheel over a 26" wheel any day because the better rolling tires in the 20" size are lighter than they are in the 26" size.

Last edited by chucky; 01-31-11 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 02-05-11, 04:43 PM   #18
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I've taken my folders extensively on buses:

-For under bus storage any folder will do. Although the coach type long range commuter buses typically have these compartments underneath the bus, drivers do not usually allow passengers to use it because it takes too much time for the driver to open/close the compartment. The first time you ask the driver make sure you bag the bike; If he says yes you probably won't need to bag it in the future, but if he says no you're SOL. Also beware that you might not get the same exact bus or same driver every day and, thus, might not have access to the storage you were counting on.

-The overhead storage also available on coach commuter buses is extremely narrow as are the isles. You will not be able to fit any bike there except a Carryme or, possibly, a Strida. You will not fit a Brompton, a Tikit, or a Dahon. It's also a hassle to get luggage onto these overhead racks...especially when you're trying to get to in/out of your seat in a timely fashion; The other passengers will become irritated rather quickly if you delay the bus or if you accidentally drop your bicycle on them while rushing to get off at your stop.

-Anything which fits in the overhead storage space on a coach commuter bus will also fit in between your legs...perhaps not comfortably, but the minor discomfort is well worth the ease of getting on/off the bus.

-Short range "city" buses have more floor space, but since they're also typically more crowded with more people getting on and off the situation isn't much easier: Unlike the coach commuter buses here you might be able to manage with a small 16" folder like a Brompton or Tikit if the bus isn't too crowded. However, since these buses are slower and usually don't travel more than 10 miles, in these situations it's usually more expedient to just ride your bike.

Forget about 20" wheeled bikes and forget about 16" wheeled bikes which are barely even 2" smaller. This is the only practical option:




P.S. A small towel/rag to wipe down your bike is much more useful than a bag on rainy days.
This is the best advice so far.

I ride NJ transit buses into New York City each day. There is no place on board where a 16' inch or 20' inch wheel will have enough room to fit the overhead rack. Furthermore, there is not enough room to put the bike between your legs or under the seat. Going to the back of the bus is not an option either. You can't place the bike on the chair and don't even think about placing it on an empty seat next to you. Finally, you can't put the bike on your lap because all the steel and plastic will dig into your legs making a quite uncomfortable commute. Plus, you'll look kinda strange.

The Strida and CarryMe are really the only folders I can recommend for multi-mode commuting with the bus. The CarryMe is actually better.
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Old 02-05-11, 06:21 PM   #19
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Bus in Eire, had a massive luggage hold in the rear , put my whole un folding touring bike in it,
and had room for 6 backpacks on top of it.

Motor was in the center under the passenger areas..
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