Ralph ordered a new bike to arrive just in time to take on the road trip. He chose a Tikit from the many Bike Friday models because it folded down the smallest and quickest.
Back up. Why a folding bike? Commuters ride them into work and park them under their office desks. Cycle tourists stuff them into a special suitcase (that converts to a luggage trailer), check them on airplanes, and ride around Europe. Ralph slips his into the pouch it comes with and the Tikit travels from campsite to campsite on the bed of the DWR or on the backseat of the tow vehicle. He pops it out whenever the scenery or the mood strikes him to ride.
How does the Tikit differ from his other bike, (a handbuilt Bill Davidson touring bike)? “You have a higher center of gravity; turning is a little weird at first,” he said. “And you have to work harder because it has smaller wheels. It’s like a circus bike.” Ralph reports that it’s just as fast and performs well. “It’s kind of funny—when people see it, they do a doubletake. A slow doubletake. But I got a thumbs up from the local youth!” he reported after returning from a ride twice around Detroit Lake. “‘Cool bike’ they said.”
Claiming to be “the fastest folding bicycle”, I witnessed Ralph collapsing it in under 60 seconds, but “l’ll get that down to 30 or less,” he predicted. “Tap, swish, click and go!” are the four steps to reassembly accurately claimed on their (confusing) website. Bike Fridays are manufactured in Eugene, Oregon; customization and assembly is performed by cooperating local dealers.