uhhuhlex: Me posing by my isight with new glasses. (Default)
[personal profile] uhhuhlex posting in [community profile] bicycles
Since [personal profile] darkemeralds noted that my bike hasn't been introduced I thought I'd take this opportunity to extol the virtues of Doolittle, my folding bike.

I bought Doolittle on ebay, second hand from a man living in a town not too far away. This man bought it for his wife who rode it around the park once before putting it in the garage. I got a friend to drive me out of pick my beauty up (and snorted a little as the 'I *heart* my bicycle' stickers on the mudguards). To buy this model new it is about £225, but mine was a real steal at £89 virtually new.

Read on for photos and folding bike perving.So, Doolittle is an Optima Mayfair folding bike. She is pretty much entry level for the folding market - she isn't a Brompton by any stretch. She has 20 inch wheels (not as small as the tiny folders), weighs about 13-14kg, has 6 gears on grip shift, chain housing, kick stand, mudguards, a pannier rack - and a bell... The seat post is removable too, but I don't bother usually.

But, more important for me since I have nowhere safe to store her outside was how she folded. I admit she is really quite bulky to lug up the stairs to my flat - my legs are spotted like a dalmation with bruises. But, I've easily become used to it and it is really worth it for the peace of mind.

This is how she looks folded (on a train):

My commute is quite short - about 1 mile to campus and a mile home. But, when I'm running late (always), it is handy. I use it to get into the city centre too, and to visit friends that live across the city. I can't say I find the folder to be vastly different to my old mountain bike - just a bit nippier and much easier to swing my leg over due to the low body. Since I started riding her I've noticed lots of other folders on the roads around me. I really like the look of Bromptons - but £1000 for a bike is more than a little too much for me on a student budget!

Another handy thing - if I do leave her out in a dodgy area I collapse the handlebars so that thieves would have to figure that out before riding her off.

The only problems I've noticed is that the lower frame can sometimes be a pain to chain up. I usually bring a chain and D lock because it isn't always possible to get somewhere suitable for a D lock. On the racks I usually have to wheel her forward to chain to the uprights rather than the horizontal. One day I caught my finger in the locking mechanism and got a yucky blood blister. Once bitten, twice...

All in all, the best buy I've made in ages. I still get the convenience and joy of riding a bike, I get lots of curious looks because of her unusual looks and I sleep soundly at night knowing she is safe inside a building (no rust, always dry when I get her out, and safe from nasty thieving types).

Date: 2010-04-01 05:25 pm (UTC)
darkemeralds: Old French poster of bicycle with naked flame-haired woman. (Bike)
From: [personal profile] darkemeralds
Great report! I'm kind of envious--not only that you have a folder, but that you got her at such a great bargain price!

I see folders around town here once in a while--I'm sure they're becoming more common for the reasons you state--and I'd be truly tempted if I were planning to travel anywhere. It seems you could easily put one of these on a train (well, you prove that here) or even on a plane, and certainly in the trunk of a car to go riding somewhere out of town.

And ack! I didn't realize how expensive Bromptons are. Ouch!


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