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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Folding bikes for crowded transit

Image of woman with folding bicycle
From the Argus (Fremont, CA), 10.06.08:

Folding bikes: a transit alternative
IT'S NOT JUST the money she saves on gas that makes her folding bike appealing to Ellen Babcock on her BART ride to work in Oakland. "I like it because it packs up into a little package. I like it because I can ride on BART any time," said Babcock, who rides her bike to a San Francisco BART station. After getting off at the Rockridge station, Babcock pedals to her job of teaching sculpture at the Oakland campus of the California College of the Arts. "It's just so much more pleasant than being in a car," she said.

Taking a folding bike on BART does invite curious inquiries from fellow passengers, she said. That's no surprise given their unique look. Their smaller wheels and high seat and handlebars set them apart from regular, full-sized bikes. While regular bikes have wheels with a diameter of 26 inches, most folding bikes have 16- to 20-inch wheels.

"Folding bikes are not the most chic thing. They are more practical," said BART spokesman Linton Johnson. "They are very good for commuters who want to save on gas and are just going from Point A to Point B. We are seeing a lot more people turning to bikes to save on a gallon of gas, and folding bikes are the way to go." (Read more.)
Great article on the appeal of folding bicycles for multimodal commuting. According to this article, folding bicycles account for less than 1 percent of the 18 million bicycles sold each year in the U.S. However, the market is growing in response to higher gas prices and increased interest in urban living.

Crowding aboard transit in my region led me to acquire a great Giant Halfway folding bicycle earlier this year. It's a very handy bicycle, easily toted into the office, tossed in vehicle trunk, or brought on a bus.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Know when to fold 'em, Boston Globe
Visit: The Best of the Best: Folding Bikes, ecogeek
Visit: Downtube Folding Bicycles
Visit: The Folding Bike Solution, Transportation Alternatives
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site


Anonymous said...

Folding bicycles - when folded - are allowed on BART escalators. They are considered portable hand-carried luggage at that point.

Although this rule isn't printed on the placards, it is explicitly explained in the online BART video "Bike It, Fold It, BART It!" ( Also, it has been affirmed by BART Operations and a memo was sent to all station agents in April 2009 to ensure BART staff are properly trained on this point.

There weren't so many folders a few years ago, so the printed materials will have to catch up. Having the flexibility to take the escalator is another good reason for bike BART commuters to make the switch to a space-saving folder.

gate valves said...

i wanna have one! i like this bike!