Sunday, January 14, 2007

And the Answer Is ...

A folding bike!

Yes, MarathonChris44 and 2 others who emailed me directly were right.

But this is no ordinary folding bike ... in fact, there is no other one like it. The folks at Bike Friday built it especially for me.

What I wanted was a tri bike that I could take with me on travel easily (i.e., one that fit in a regular suitcase and didn't incur extra airline handling fees), that didn't require much mechanical skills or time to put together and take apart, and that rode like my usual tri bike but could climb nearly any hill (where I live is flat but not necessarily where I go on travel). In order to fit me, the new bike had to be small -- my QR Caliente is a 48cm size frame. And I wanted the exact same handlebars/aerobars, brakes and bar end shifters, just in case I ever wanted to race with it too.

They said, "No problem. What components do you want on it?" I then handed the phone to my husband. I did select the red and black paint scheme, though.

The end result was a modified petite Air Friday Ultegra with three chain rings.

The two very different things about this bike are the smaller wheels (451 vs 650) and the unsupported seat post. The smaller wheels allow the bike to fit easily in a standard suitcase. Performance-wise, they supposedly accelerate faster and handle better on a technical course but have higher rolling resistance than larger wheels (so perhaps not quite as fast on a flat course but not bad at all during today's 53 mile test ride, really). The titanium seat boom is a definite plus. It acts like a shock absorber going over bumps resulting in a much softer ride -- hallelujah!!!

But best of all ... no more 1-2 week long lapses in my training several times a year, no more back pain from renting the wrong size or type bike, and no more missed opportunities to cycle in some great areas while on travel.

I am one very happy triathlete!


Anonymous said...

Please post more pictures; it's an interesting bike.

Does the bike fold or come apart?
How much would something like that set a person back?


nancytoby said...

Whoa! That looks fabulous! Have fun!!

marathonchris44 said...

Very awesome looking bike!!! Now you can blog about riding all over the country :-)

ShirleyPerly said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. I am indeed pleased with the way it performs as well as it looks.

Larry, I'll post some pictures of my bike taken apart next Sunday (headed to San Diego with it). This model both folds and comes apart to fit into a suitcase. No cables are disconnected, however.

I will also later post a comparison of other travel bike options I considered including a Breakaway Ritchie, Airnimal and using an S&S Coupling system.

Flatman said...

That's the coolest thing I have ever seen!!!! Congratulations on the new addition..

Ellie said...

Awesome!! I didn't know it could be done! I love it!