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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Today's Downtownie

Most Sundays I ride my bicycle with a group of people who are kind enough to let me tag along.  This Sunday morning ride is known as The Downtownie because presumably downtown is the destination of most these rides (in fact often we don't get out of North Park or Normal Heights).  The ride begins in front of Velo Cult on Fern St. at 9:00 am and, as I understand it, anyone is welcome to come along.

This morning I rode my folding bike, the Dahon Speed D7.  I just recently bought this bike.  I got it because I want to try breaking it down and putting it in a suitcase and taking it with me when I visit my brother in San Jose.  The next visit is scheduled for November, so I have awhile to get used to how the bike rides.

When I first considered getting it I figured the ride would be adequate for my purposes... I'm neither a fast nor athletic rider.  I admit, though, I have been favorably impressed by how it handles.  First I rode it to Chula Vista and back to National City and had no problems whatsoever.  The following day I used it for my commute from National City to Kearny Mesa and back, a round trip of some 30 miles.  Again, it performed beautifully.

It's limited to 7 gears but they are spread out well.  The lowest gear is a little harder than my other 2 bikes but I'm able to climb steep hills with it.  The 20-inch tires create no issues; some people say it makes the steering "twitchy" but I don't ride athletically enough to notice much difference.  The highest gear is only suitable for racing downhill, otherwise it's a very hard gear for comfortable pedaling.  Primarily I stay in gears 1 through 5, sometimes 6, and that seems to cover all the terrain difficulties in the immediate area.

Here's a not-so-good pic of my bike:

I took this with my cell phone and obviously some detail was cut off.  You can't see the handlebars... rather than explain I'll repost a better picture later.

I threw on an old Schwinn bag with panniers and a Bell handlebar bag.  This photo does succeed in showing the exagerated stem and seatpost.  The bike may look like a toy but it doesn't ride like one.  The key benefit is your ability to fold it down to a fraction of its full size.  There are hinges on the cross bar, the steering stem, the seatpost can be lowered all the way.  Even the pedals fold inward.

For a commuter who rides partway on public transportation and who then wants to bike ride the rest of the way, this is just the ticket.  And it's a blast to ride!!

This morning we rode from South Park to Little Italy.  It was a fun little ride and afterwards we stopped at Zucchero's for coffee and whatnot.  These folks are a great bunch of people ... hey, they tolerate me, don't they?

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