Light. Compact. Portable. These were all the requirements I was looking for when I decided to purchase a folding bicycle. I looked at many models from different brands, with wheels ranging from sixteen inches to twenty inches. There were many times when it was tough to choose from all the amazing brands, due to all of them having their own unique strengths. I finally chose a very nice model that folds up extremely well for having sixteen inch wheels, and rides exceptionally well. Normally bigger wheels give more speed and comfort on the road, but the smaller wheels fold up much smaller making transporting much easier. This small size is very helpful when hopping on a bus or train, and especially when entering a restaurant or cafe.
Folding bicycles are made for cities
With a folding bicycle your ability to go places expands, because you don’t have to ride the complete distance to your desired destination. You can hop on a bus and then complete the last few miles to work, school, or in my case, restaurants and cafes. And if the weather gets bad you can get a ride from a friend or take a cab, then fold it up and bring it inside when you get home. No more worries about where you’re going to lock your bicycle up, and hoping it’s still there when you return to ride it. You also don’t have to stress over storage, because it can easily fold up to fit into a closet or carried down the stairs to the basement. Owning a folding bicycle offers many advantages over a regular sized bike, but it always wasn’t like that for me.
Before I discovered folding bicycles, I rode around on a twenty-four speed hybrid with 700c wheels. This was my regular commuter that I used to get to work, to the stores, and restaurants. It was a great bicycle because it had plenty of gears to tackle hills, wind, and give plenty of speed when going longer distances on flat terrain. The problem was that whenever I went places I had a tough time finding places to lock it, and when I did, they weren’t always Ideal. One time I went to Wegmans to pick up a pizza, and unfortunately all the bicycle racks were occupied. Eventually when I did find one, I had to remove my panniers, lights and others accessories in order to keep them from getting stolen while inside the store. Another time I was on Park Avenue having lunch with a friend, and I had to lock my bicycle to a street sign. Every few minutes I had to run over to let people know that my bicycle was locked to the street sign, in order to prevent them from opening up the doors and smashing it.
The day I discovered folding bikes was when I entered a drawing and actually won. I’ll never forget the phone call I received from the guy who worked at the grocery store telling me that I won. At first I thought that folding bikes were a new invention but with further investigation I learned that they have been available for years, with the quality in the last few decades improving dramatically. The folding bike that I won was a little heavy and didn’t fold all that well, but it rode pretty good and was a great folding bike to start with. Eventually I sold this folding bicycle to my dad who still owns it, and bought a much better one from a bike shop in New York City, called Nycewheels.
Meet the A-Bike
I eventually got rid of my hybrid bicycle, and switched over to riding the sixteen inch folding bicycle I got from Nycewheels, to everywhere I go in the city. Ive never had a problem with bringing it into the store, work and even restaurants due to its amazingly small size when folded. Even the buses allow folding bikes on board due to the fact that they dont really know how to handle these unique, and still not very common forms of transportation. The problem is that sometimes the bus is very crowded and there’s not much room between the seats to put my folding bicycle. Many times I’ve had to stand the whole time while I was on the bus, and when there is a seat, rude patrons won’t move their legs to allow me to walk to the seats. Carrying a twenty five pound bike is no easy feat when you have to walk all the way to the very back of the bus. This is way too much trouble just to ride the bus to downtown, and finish a mile or less to my desired destination. If only there was an easier way. Fortunately there is a lighter and more compact folding bicycle that’s available, known as the A-Bike.
The A-Bike is the lightest folding bicycle
Created by Clive Sinclair in the United Kingdom, the A-Bike weighs only fourteen pounds and is the smallest folding bike ever made. With eight inch wheels and a single gear, it’s made specifically to go on buses and trains, and then used to finish the rest of your trip for a short distance. I can easily carry this bicycle to the bus stop, hop on the bus, and fit it in the tiniest spot, even when the bus is packed. Unlike my other folding bicycle, I can carry the A-Bike much farther without getting a sore arm.
When the A-Bike first came out it was bashed for having an unstable ride and not being able to gain much speed. My experience has been, that the A-Bike goes around twelve miles per hour, making it about four times faster than walking. A twenty minute walk now turns into a five minute walk. This can mean all the difference between missing the bus, and having to wait almost an hour for the next one to come. Also the ride is unstable at first, but after you ride it for a while, you get use to it and it actually becomes a lot of fun.
The A-Bike is meant for buses and trains
The quality has also been a concern for many who purchased the A-Bike, and to them I say, this bike was not meant to replace your regular bicycle. You’re not going to go touring or mountain biking on the A-Bike, and definitely not racing in the Tour De France, but that’s not what it’s meant for. It’s not fair to compair the A-bike to other regular or folding bicycles that are meant to go considerable distances. The A-Bike is meant to go short distances in the city and to be easily carried when not in use. Plus the average city commuter, especially those in New York City only ride a few miles over-all for round trips. Many of the current folding bikes have too many gears and weigh too much making them way to big for the task at hand.
Surprisingly the A-Bike feels really solid for such an affordable and lightweight bicycle, and the band brakes stop it really well, due to the fact that you’re not going extremely fast anyway. And about climbing hills, I hardly ever use my second gear on my two speed, sixteen inch folding bicycle, seeing that the city hardly has any hills that are very steep to climb.
If you’re looking for a lightweight, affordable, but still solid folding bicycle I’d highly recommend the A-Bike for the city commuter that has a multimodal commute with a short ride at the end. The A-Bike can be purchased for a great price off Amazon.