Posts Tagged ‘folding bike’

h1

The Pampered Dahon

Sunday November 29, 2009

Pampered DahonI do like my Dahon but I don’t really go over the top with its care – honestly!

It’s not relaxing after a hard ride, it’s drying off in the bath after cycling home in the rain last Thursday night.  I suppose that’s one of the downsides for keeping the bike inside the house: if the bike gets dirty, what do you do with it?

A funny sight though for visitors to my house when they pop into the bathroom.

Advertisements
h1

Brompton Designer Receives Royal Award

Saturday October 17, 2009

Brompton’s inventor Andrew Ritchie has been awarded a design award by Prince Philip – the Prince Philip Designers Prize.

Congratulations to Andrew Ritchie and the guys over at Brompton!  This is great news and highlights the world of ‘folders’ to the wider community.

Link: BBC News story

Prince Philip Designers Prize

h1

Bonjour Dahon!

Thursday September 3, 2009
Ready To Go

Ready To Go

It was the Dahon’s turn for an adventure yesterday, Wednesday.  However, still a little sore from the 77 mile ride on the Trek on Monday, I had my concerns that I wouldn’t make it.  But at 0400hrs I woke up and I was straight out of bed.

The Dahon was going to France!

This was another one of my planned rides during my week off work.  Although I’m not going to get through all of them, I have now completed my new main ones: France and Hyde Park.

The first leg of the journey was to cycle to Rochester train station to catch the first train to the south coast.  The train was due to leave at 0533 so I had aimed to get there a little early so that I could take some photos.  Rochester was quiet so on my way I took a few night shots of the Dahon in the high street before moving on to the station.

I purchased my ticket at the self-serve machine, an ‘anytime’ return to Dover Priory station (£16.70), before heading under the tracks and up to the southbound platform.  The train arrived on schedule and we left Rochester at 0533, travelling south through Gillingham, Faversham and Canterbury (and others) on the way to Dover Priory.

The Dahon fitted easily between the seats on the empty train – it was in its element!  Although bikes are permitted on trains outside of ‘peak times’, there are no restrictions for folding bikes.

Station Info Sign

Station Info Sign

The journey took about an hour and ten minutes and I was soon at the station in Dover.  The sun was up by the time the train arrived so no lights were required on the 1.2 mile ride to the ferry.  There was a slight downward incline to the short ride but I pedalled hard to get there as quickly as possible, conscious of the fact that the check in deadline was near.

I’d made my reservation on Tuesday via the Internet (only £8) and, with bike folded, I checked in at the P&O counter before being whisked off by bus to the waiting ferry.  Again, the Dahon fitted easily on the bus and although there were a few curious glances, none were disapproving.  Of the handful of people on the bus, I was the only passenger, the others were staff/crew – I was to be the only foot passenger on that crossing.

Before long I was seated in the lounge on board the ferry with a good window seat and a large hot coffee next to me.  Soon, people began making their way up from their parked cars on the lower decks and populating the rest of the ship – its entertainment rooms, duty-free shops, bars and lounges.  I sat and watched.

The crossing was relatively smooth with only a slight swell in the middle of the English Channel and around 90 minutes later we were docking in Calais, northern France Bonjour mon amies! 🙂

On French Soil

Outside the Terminal

I disembarked and jumped aboard my ‘private’ bus (only me for them to transport) to the terminal.  And there we were, me and the Dahon standing on French soil.

The plan was to just cycle/walk around Calais and take in the sights, get some fresh air and relax.  I hadn’t planned anything for the day, I hadn’t really looked into what was in Calais to see and visit, I was just going to ride around and see what I could find.

Fortunately, Calais has its fair share of history so I wasn’t short of places to visit.  Dotted around the town were maps of Places of Interest to visit and alongside each POI was a sign detailing the historical background of each particular structure/building/site (luckily in both English and French!).

One of the things I had to do over in Calais was to ride on the right-hand side of the road!  On a few occasions I had to think twice before proceeding, but in the whole, I didn’t make too many mistakes.

French Beach Huts

Huts On The Beach

It was raining heavily as the ship arrived in Calais harbour but as the morning drew on it began to clear and the sun came out.  On the seafront, there were strong winds and that, together with the threat of rain, must have been keeping the locals and tourists off the beach.  I sat on the seafront for a while and just ‘chilled’, watching the ferries, the birds and the sea.  Rows of small beach huts were lined up in front of me and I eventually dragged the Dahon down the steps and between the huts before walking alone to the sea.  Calais seemed strangely deserted.

Back on the Dahon, I followed the beach road for another mile before winding back into Calais to search for the next sight to see.  Spotting some spires towering over the old skyline, I used my Garmin GPS receiver to lead me to them – one a church, the other the Town Hall.  Moving inland, there were more people around.  Perhaps being sheltered from the wind or perhaps simply gravitating towards the bars and restaurants; the residents of Calais were discovered at last!

As with most towns, Calais has its share of unattractive areas but it also has some very pleasant places, interesting history and old buildings.  Being a key crossing point to Britain, it does (unfortunately) attract more than its share of ‘illegal’ immigrants who try to cross the Channel for a new life in England – the infamous Sangatte Refugee Camp was only a few miles from Calais.  However, even though that camp closed years ago, cycling around Calais I saw numerous groups of individuals who were obviously destined to attempt their illegal entry into the UK.

Calais In Bloom

Calais In The Sun

The sun was out and the afternoon turned out to be very warm and pleasant.  I continued to slowly cycle around the town taking in the French air and watching the locals going about their lives.  I watched, ate, took photos and read a few chapters of a book (Brave New World, Huxley) and generally relaxed and enjoyed myself in France for the day.

I cycle/walked 10.3 miles around Calais during the day and at 1600CEST I was very tired – the day’s exercise and Monday’s Hyde Park exertion all catching up with me.  For my last hour or so in France I sat on the quay in the old harbour and watched the seagulls.  Then it was back to the ferry port to check in.

I managed to catch an earlier ferry back to Blighty and sat in the same area drinking coffee as I had done on the outward journey (although this was a different ship).  The GPS reported that we were speeding across the Channel at around 24mph and 90 minutes or so later we were at Dover Harbour.  Unfortunately, a technical problem hindered berthing and 15 minutes of ‘extreme’ vibration later a tug pushed us toward the dock to let us off.

Dover Priory Station

Dover Priory Station

It was raining heavily as I unfolded the Dahon outside the port.  I donned my hi-viz waterproof jacket, put the three Cateye lights on to flash, and mounted the NiteRider to the handlebars.  Then I was off!  The rain and wind slowed me but I enjoyed the 12 minute ride back to the train station where the train was waiting.  Despite the delay at the harbour, I still had 30 minutes before the train left Dover Priory to take me back to Rochester – time for a couple of photos.

The train journey took another hour and ten minutes and I watched as the stations went by, counting them down as I got closer to home.  GPS reported a maximum speed of 88mph on the train and it was handy to see my location on the Garmin’s  map as we shot through the darkness of the Kent countryside.

The final leg of the journey was a 1.7 mile cycle from the station to my house.  The rain was very heavy, it was 2100hrs and it was dark.  All the lights back on, I headed out.  The NiteRider really proved its worth in such bad weather.  The three Cateye lights, and the Knogs, all in flash mode, gave me confidence that I would be seen by other road users.

It had been a very long day but it had been good fun.  Getting out and about had been great, and a varied journey to France  had been interesting (cycle/train/ferry/bus).  I’d used the Dahon for the first time in muti-mode travel and it had been a success – this is something that I couldn’t have done with the Trek.

One final note: the Dahon is SO comfortable compared to the Trek with its narrow and hard seat.  😉

More photos from my day-trip to Calais can be found on Flickr.

h1

Another Folding Bike Concept

Saturday August 8, 2009

Here’s another ‘concept’ folder, this time it’s by Dominic Hargreaves and it’s in the running for the James Dyson Award.

Also check out his ‘hoist’ design.

h1

Mercedes Folding Bike

Saturday July 18, 2009

Mercedes have ventured into the folding bike world with their 2009 Folding Bike.  Not cheap at £1,099 though it does appear to be well equipped:

An adjustable gel saddle; ergonomic hand grips; tough Continental tyres with reflective side walls; a slick ‘semi-auto’ Shimano sequential-shift eight-speed derailleur for perfect pedalling cadence; folding pedals (reducing the folded width, and protecting shins); and two powerful disc brakes to ensure a high level of safety.

More info on this bike over on AutoBlogGreen.

h1

IF-Mode Folding Bike

Sunday June 14, 2009

Another folding bike in development.  Found this one whilst browsing Treehugger’s bike posts.  It’s a clean looking bike with a great action.  Not one of the smallest folding bikes but it’s pretty impressive and easier to store than a non-folder – it’s a ‘full size bike’ (26″).

Oh, and it’ll set you back around 1,368 GBP / 2,250USD.

More info at Treehugger here.

[Via Treehugger]

h1

Early Saturday

Saturday March 14, 2009

Another early Saturday morning ride, this time to get some parcels from the Post Office.  The Dahon was the chosen vehicle for this and I slowly cycled into town.

I’ve had a bad neck this week, I must of pulled a muscle somehow, so the ride was slow and looking either side or behind proved to be painful.

Took a couple of snaps on my mobile phone camera of the Castle and the Cathedral on the way back.  These photos show the buildings from different angles compared to my previous photos.

(The camera on my Nokia E51 is not very good!).

Click on the images to view larger copies or pop over to my Out on the Bike set at Flickr.

Rochester Castle

Rochester Cathedral

%d bloggers like this: