June 2, 2012
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Clifton Johnson is one of many Bike Friday owners who have come to work for the company.]
My family owns five New World Tourists now, and a Tandem Two’sDay. I have used my NWT (with internal hub) to commute to/from work every day since 2008 (no matter the weather).
I have had my eye on the a tikit, but wasn’t too excited about a 16-inch wheel. Will it be nimble? Will it perform like my NWT? The thought of the quick fold, the compactness for transport, and the idea of never carrying a bike lock again continued to pull at me.
I started working for Bike Friday as their IT Manager in November of 2011, and this week, I took my first test ride on a tikit, with Gates Carbon Drive and an internal hub. The weather was perfect (75 and sunny) and so I thought I would borrow a tikit from the showroom and take it to lunch.
No plan, just ride until I found that perfect spot, and stroll in with my new folded friend. After about a 2-3 minute tutorial on how to easily/quickly fold and unfold the bike, I was off.
From the first pedal, the bike felt solid and ready to perform. I pushed harder on the pedals, fired through the gears and merged into traffic (city type traffic). I started passing cars and the excitement built, as did the confidence in the smaller, 16-inch tires. The bike handled great, dodging cars and potholes with ease, but after about three miles of riding, I found no eatery I was interested in. I turned around, headed back the other direction, this time with a destination in mind.
The tikit had flat bars, and I was used to STI touring bars on my NWT, and my body longed to head into the drops and see how fast I could push this bike in traffic. Lacking the bars wasn’t much of a problem, as I seemed to hit a red light before I reached the top end of the gearing.
Arriving at my chosen cafe, I quickly and easily folded the bike and rolled it inside. I wasn’t sure how the staff of the cafe would respond, but I was interested to see how many heads I could turn inside. I was received a warm welcome from the staff of the little cafe, placed my order and tucked the bike under the table. After the meal, I pull the bike out from it’s hiding spot, rolled it out side and quickly unfolded and rolled away. As I rode away, I heard a couple folks say things like: “did you see that?” and “how cool is that?” I smiled to myself and pedaled back to work.
That experience sold me on the tikit, and now I’ll have to order one. It will have a belt drive and internal hub, as that added to the experience (such smooth quiet pedaling), and the dream of a clean ride, even in the winter, is exciting. I look forward to rolling my new friend into more restaurants, stores, trains, buses and, never carrying a bike lock again!
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