I used to have this bike.
To paraphrase Mitch Hedberg, I still have it, but I used to have it, too. We did take it places, like camping. But, honestly, it was really difficult to take anywhere. We had to mount a bike carrier on the back of the car trunk, and it took a long time, and dinging the car paint was always a worry, and it didn't seem stable. (We didn't just have to do that with my bike, but FO's bike, too, so we'd have two dangling off the back). So, even though we did take it places, we didn't do it very often. I can't even remember the last time we loaded it on the car. Surely, it's been a couple of years, at least.
Since then, I got a Schwinn 140 exercise bike and set it up in the basement. I think I got it in 2010, and rode it (most often) while watching DVDs.
That bike is still going strong, and I got a lot of use out of it, and like it a lot. But I was kind of getting bored with watching videos. For one thing, if the video isn't entertaining, it makes me feel a lot less motivated to ride my bike. I was thinking about a change of pace.
The problem with my old bike was that it was difficult to take places. If I had a bike that I could fold up and just put in my car, it would be a lot easier to bike outdoors.
I had thought I learned about folding bikes from an episode of The Office where Jim's Stamford boss, Josh, rides a bike to work and then folds it up. However, when I watch that clip again, I see that it appears that his bike is not actually a folding bike. He just picks it up, unfolded.
So, where did I learn that folding bikes existed? I don't know. FO claims she didn't know they existed until I got mine. I also think I may have had a dream, perhaps involving Pepper, about them...
Anyway, when I had the idea to get a folding bike, I started trying to research them. Some are extremely expensive. Some are not sold directly, but only through bike shops, and there are only 7 bike shops in the country that sell them, and those shops don't have web sites. Some look absolutely bizarre.
(Granted, some people will think any smaller-than-usual folding bike looks bizarre)
One I looked at was the Schwinn Loop, which actually is available to order online (from Amazon, in fact). And I liked my Schwinn exercise bike. I ultimately went with a Citizen Bike, though. I don't know if I remember all the reasons why. Some, though:
-I liked the idea of having a rear rack on the bike to carry stuff. The Schwinn Loop does have one (it seems to be part of the frame, in fact), but it was possible to get them on Citizen Bikes, too.
-I'm not sure how you put a water bottle on the Schwinn (if it's possible?). I double checked the Amazon pictures, and I don't see a water bottle holder in any of them. It is possible to get Citizen Bikes with a water bottle holder. (It looks like I may have been using a red plastic cup as a "water bottle" in that picture of my exercise bike)
-Some of the complaints about the Schwinn in the reviews refer to the seat. They say they got a replacement seat. Okay, but that's two separate purchases. Citizen Bike also offers an optional comfort saddle replacement, but you can get it that way to begin with.
-I saw some video reviews by some truckers who liked Citizen Bikes. They would put the bike in their cabs and then ride them around on their stops. I figured these guys would have a good idea about portable bikes.
-There are a lot of options for Citizen Bikes. With the Schwinn, there's the Loop, and that's about it. They don't even have a page for the Loop itself on their own website, as far as I can see; you have to find out about it on third party sites, like Amazon.
I got a cheaper, mid-sized Citizen Bike -- the Citizen Miami -- but may I'd want to upgrade in the future to the bigger bike. I was originally thinking of getting the 1-speed Milan, because I was nostalgic for the 1-speed bike I had as a child, but I eventually decided against it because of how low it is geared. (Since gearing depends on wheel diameter, and since folding bikes tend to have smaller wheels to make them more portable, they do tend to be geared relatively low. Low gearing makes the pedals easier to push -- which is why many people shift to low gear when climbing hills -- but also makes the bike slower (for the same pedaling speed))
Citizen also sells a 16"-wheel bike (the Tokyo), but I think that's just far too small for a grown adult, unless your number one concern (as I hear some people say) is "multi-mode transportation". Example, you take the subway to work, but you bike to and from the subway station, so you need your bike to be extremely small to fit on the subway. Or you're travelling the country, partially by bike, but partially maybe by bus or Amtrak, and you need your bike to fit within Amtrak size limits.
Mine is the orange one; FO's is the red.
Because these bikes have small frames (to be portable), the seat post is much higher above the frame than with a "normal" bike. But I think these bikes mostly feel like normal bikes (after all, the frame is fairly inert, so what does it matter how far you are sitting above it?).
The way they fold is:
-You can lower the handle (but not much) and the seat post (a lot).
-You can fold the pedals.
-The handle bars fold down.
-There's a hinge in the middle of the bike that folds the whole thing in half.
This is what my bike looks like in my trunk:
Lately, I've had FO's bike in the trunk, and mine in the back seat (in a bag). So, we can drive two bikes places, and no need for a bike carrier.
Has this helped us ride more? It seems like it. I think FO was skeptical of the concept until she tried it. This week, for instance, we rode our bikes on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Sunday we rode over 2 hours, Friday we rode over an hour and a half. (Monday had a lot of chores, and Wednesday I exercised in the basement). Those are rides that are longer than what we tend to do on our exercise bikes. They're even longer than what we used to do on our full sized bikes. (The exercise bikes probably helped us get in better shape)
We've been seeing a lot of animals while we've been out: Deer, rabbits, some outdoor cats, plenty of birds.