Cycling, the Foldable Bicycle and an Inspirational Journey

The spark was lit when Q tagged me in a fb post on the wall of a local cycling group – a picture taken during someone’s (sorry, have no idea exactly who) cycling trip from Mandurah to Perth, asking whether I’d be interested in doing the same… from Perth to Mandurah then down the coast some more.

Perth to Mandurah

A non-typical vacation that doesn’t revolve around shopping & eating?  Hell yeah!  I bit the bait almost immediately.  Aside the fact that the trip isn’t set in stone and I do not wish to get excited all over nothing, a significant problem is: I do not have a bicycle good enough to make an extended trip as such.  Q mentioned that I could probably look @ rental options, and then went on to suggest me getting a foldable bicycle (foldie).

Me on a foldie?  Uhmm…

Apologies to foldie-lovers out there, but I honestly think foldies look kinda weird… ugly even, with their frame so close to the floor and their wheels so tiny.  I’ve always had the impression that such bicycles are for kids or the elderly (sorry!) and I can’t imagine myself on one.  Plus, with those little wheels, wouldn’t it take forever to reach somewhere?  I’ve always preferred those big bad double suspension mtbs – doesn’t matter that my feet can’t touch the floor when I’m riding on one (lol yeah… I’m that short).  While I can see the perks of getting a foldie, am not too sure if I’ll be able to accept how it looks -_-“

Getting a better mtb doesn’t seem very practical.  I won’t use it enough to justify the money spent.  I live right in CBD area with terrible traffic most of the time – the thought of having the face the traffic when I leave home is a major turn-off.  Singapore roads are NOT cyclist friendly.  Drivers behave as if you have no right to be on the roads and pedestrians do not welcome you on the footpaths.  A foldie might solve that problem to a certain extent as I’ll be able to carry it up public transport… bring it out of the CBD area before I start cycling.

So I tagged along with Q to a newly opened bicycle shop yesterday afternoon and managed to test-ride 3 Dahon models: Vybe, Vitesse & another which name I’ve forgotten (probably cos it’s S$899, not an amount I’m willing to part with).

Vybe_C7A_unfolded_list_08Dahon Vybe C7A. The one Q uses. Image Credit: Dahon Folding Bikes

Surprisingly, the foldies are more stable than what I’ve expected, doesn’t take much effort to pedal and offers 7 or 8 speed – didn’t manage to test how fast they can actually go though, with the limited pavement I had, but Q assured me that she could go till 25kmph with it.  They are relatively easy to fold up, and once compacted, quite portable, albeit a little heavy.  The Vybe at S$499 is within my budget of S$500, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get over how it looks.

I’ve been googling a little, and I think I’ll be happier with the full sized ones 26” wheels ones… something like these.  The deciding factor will be the cost.  Q was telling me that the Terns are 3-6x more expensive than her Dahon.  Am not prepared to be paying that much.

Purchase of a new bicycle aside, I’ve stumbled upon this…

Ten years ago, at 68 yrs. of age, I began my first solo, self-contained bike tour. That journey was to my 50th High School Class reunion in Folsom, California, and I did it as a round trip, take two completely different routes coming and going. It was wonderful. It proved to me that as an aging, solo female, I could do it. […] Now I am 78, and my 60th H.S. class reunion is coming up. It has been three years since I have done a long, self-contained tour, and I haven’t done a solo tour since 2005. Once again, the question came into my mind, “can you do it? Are you too old?”

The lady is Mary Douglass.  She is 78 years old.  Off she went, this time with members of her family joining her part of the way, and is chronicling her trip on crazyguyonabike – permalink here.  Phew ~ reading stories like this makes me more determined to keep my fitness up, now that I’m in my 30s, so that I’ll (hopefully) be still physically sound when I reach my elder years.

That being said, I shall try going for a short run later with the insoles.  They are still causing some discomfort and it’s annoying.  tbh if they weren’t S$120, I’d have dumped them to the trash already.  Keeping fingers crossed that I don’t end up limping all the way home >_<”


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