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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 05-26-12, 03:35 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: South Bend, IN (U.S.A.)
Bikes: Surly LHT; Surly CC (as fixed-gear commuter); Hunter CX; Dahon Mu Uno
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DC to Pittsburgh on a Dahon Mu Uno (C&O / GAP)

My Mu "Duo" has had a hard life thus far: after a few test rides, I used it for a moderately loaded tour from DC to Pittsburgh on the C&O Canal / GAP trail system. (I swapped out the rear wheel with one built around a two-speed hub.)

I used Amtrak to get from my home in South Bend, IN to downtown Washington DC, arriving last Monday, May 21st. I got on the trail in Georgetown around 3:30 p.m. and reached Point State Park in Pittsburgh Friday, May 25th, around 1:30 p.m.

I didn't carry cooking provisions, but I had a tent, sleeping bag, pad, etc and camped each night. I had two Ortlieb Sport Packer Plus panniers on the rear, utilized the top of the rear rack for the tent, and had an Ortlieb handlebar bag on a front luggage truss. My shortest day was 35 miles and my longest was just over 100.

The bike made it, but there was lots of rain the first few days, and the trail was just a string of mud puddles for some sections. It stormed so hard the first night that I actually considered turning around the next morning, but I'm glad I didn't.

One of the pedals lost a plastic seal, and by the next-to-last day it was wobbling around on its spindle yet catching every few turns of the cranks. Fortunately, a shop along the trail happened to have some folding pedals for $20 -- low enough that I just replaced them without bothering to spend time trying to repack the offending pedal.

Otherwise, the bike worked well! At a maximum grade of only 2%, the two speeds were more than sufficient to get me through. I had to walk a couple of the hills into and out of the towns along the trail, but the trail itself was a piece of cake.

That said, the bike spent a lot of time in wet, muddy conditions, and the main V-clamp frame hinge needs some TLC (I'm going to make a separate post with a plea for help).

Besides the wear and tear on the bike, however, I really enjoyed the experience of touring with a folder. I still prefer the comfort and carrying capacity of my Surly LHT, but it meant a lot to me to do this tour without having to worry about bike-transport logistics and the start and end.

If I make a habit of trips like this I suspect I'll wind up wanting a Bike Friday NWT, but most of my folding use is for short rides to complete multimodal commutes, and for that I prefer the quicker fold of the Dahon.

Just one camera-phone picture for now at the finish (once I get a chance to go through them and put the best online, I'll post a link to more-complete photo gallery from a real camera):

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Old 05-28-12, 09:29 AM   #2
my nice bike is at home
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY USA
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That's a nice route. I did some of that in the other direction in 1988. My Pal I did it with is going back next week with his kid. Not on folders though.
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Old 05-28-12, 09:41 AM   #3
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Great ride and on a uno duo. I still need to get my Sram and SA 2 speeds laced up.
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