My Bike Friday Tikit

Image

My Season Tikit after it came back for warranty repair 5/11.

Image

Season Tikit under my desk at work. Note the original red canvas carrying strap.

This is a testimonial I sent to Bike Friday 12/09 regarding my thoughts about my Bike Friday Tikit. I had had it about a month or two at this point. I’ll write a review of my randonneuring bike, my Salsa Casseroll, very soon.

You can see the orginal testimonial here:  

 I looked at a lot of folding bikes over the last year. Bike Friday, Brompton, Dahon etc. My wife Tanya, an avid researcher, spent a lot of time as well. She asked me, “What is important to you? Do you really need the compact fold of the Brompton, or do you want a folding bike that rides like a real bike?” That really got me thinking.

Well, I test rode a Season Tikit at Warm Planet Bikes in San Francisco, and also tried a friend’s Brompton. I also tried a Strida and a Dahon. My wife kept researching. I kept looking at bikes.

I kept coming back to Bike Friday.

I finally bought my Season Tikit a month ago after about a year agonizing over my decision.

Me with the Tikit, shortly after purchase.

It is in Green Gear Green and I have named it Kermit! (You know, “It’s not easy being green.”) It has been fantastic! I knew I would like it, but I can’t believe the difference it has made in my commute.

It has made in a huge difference in two areas primarily. One is getting on and off the train. The other is getting in and out of my building at work. I live in San Mateo, CA and commute to San Francisco, CA via Caltrain.

My Tikit, still with original solid green paint job, hiding under my desk.

With our local Caltrain, there has been a problem for years in bike capacity. At least once every couple of weeks, I was bumped from the train and had to take the next one.

http://www.sfbike.org/?caltrain_bob

Now that I have the Tikit, I get on the train with no problems. In the first two weeks alone, I was able to get on at least four trains that I would ordinarily been bumped off. The folding bike is always allowed!

My other issue has been my workplace. Frankly, it is NOT bike friendly. Before my Tikit, I had to take my bike through the loading dock, down a one-floor freight elevator to the basement, and then try to sneak my bike onto another freight elevator up to the 10th floor where my office is. I say sneak, as the building has a “NO BIKE” policy. They want me to put my bike in room designated for that purpose in the basement. Just getting my bike in and out of the office took 10-15 minutes extra, time crucial if you are trying to make the train home.

Tikit with custom leather carrying strap. Designed and made by my wife Tanya.

Well now I pull up to the front of the building, fold my Season Tikit, and walk right in and take the main elevator. The security people smile at me and nod as I go by. No hassles! I also can stick my Tikit right under my desk, so that I can easily leave in a moment’s notice. I honestly think that with the increased time I get at work, the Tikit will be paid for in no time at all!

Oh, and here’s the other thing: It is a joy to ride! The other day, a group of my fellow commuter’s asked about it. They genuinely liked it, including one friend who has Brompton with a three gear internal hub (He was jealous, in a good-natured way, about my eight year nexus hub), but one of them made a bit of a derisive comment and said his folding bike, a citizen, only cost him a few hundred dollars, and insinuated that I was stupid for spending what I did for my Season Tikit.

I noticed he had a regular commuter bike, and not a folder with him, asked him why he wasn’t riding it at the time. He said that the ride was somewhat clunky and the fold was cumbersome, but he liked it just fine. I smugly thought to myself that he just made the point of the Tikit for me. Why have a folding bike that, frankly, sucks? Why not pay for quality, and have a bike that you can actually enjoy?

Anyway, I could go on about all the other things I like about my Tikit, but I think that would require a few more pages… long story short, I am an extremely satisfied customer!

Best Regards,

Ty Smith

Submitted by: Ty Smith December 3, 2009
Update: Still riding my Tikit. Since I bought it, the train situation has improved. Now there is far more capacity, so bumping is much less of an issue. However, I still love the Tikit for quick and easy access to my office at work, and for quick trips to the store at home. Still comfy, still rides great! My Tikit will always have a place in my stable.
About a year ago, I had a problem with the folding mechanism. Since it has a lifetime warranty on the frame, I sent it in for a warranty repair.  While it was there, I had changed the solid green  to a two-tone paint job and added the updated seat mast. I also  changed its name from “Kermit” to “The Green Lantern” because of the paint job. 
 
The guys at Bike Friday surprised me with a  custom head badge when I told them the new nickname I was thinking about. It was a total surprise when I got the back back from them.  How cool was that? Just another example of the great customer service you get at Bike Friday.

Advertisements

Commuter Bike Racing, or How to Feel Like a Man in Two Short Minutes!

Image

I have been guilty of commuter racing for some time now. I think the best part of it is that your opponent is usually unaware of the competition. It makes the inevitable victory so much sweeter…;)

But rarely do I get feedback from any of my valiant adversaries. I was fortunate enough to get such feedback this morning.

I catch a train at 6:14 am in San Mateo, California, which takes me to San Francisco, where I work. From the train station, I have about a two-mile trip to my office. Occasionally, I will engage in a friendly little race to my office. Again, the situation is usually that I come up to some carbon bike, or whatever, at a light and I think to myself “NONE SHALL PASS!” If you have ever seen the Black Knight from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” you know the voice I hear in my head.

I guess I enjoy it because I am riding my steel bike with fenders, front bag, trunk bag, and propeller helmet, and I know I they think I am  slow. I get a very rewarding, and completely underserved, ego boost when I blow by them.

So on the train this morning I engage in conversation with my new commuter friend, Kent. We’re both about the same age (I’m turning 51 this Saturday). Anyway, he noticed the Randonneurs USA logo on the back of my visibility vest, and was curious about the sport.

Image

Ty's RUSA visibility vest. I wear this always . Every little bit helps!

He  rides a nice carbon road bike with aero bars, and rides pretty regularly, about 40 miles every weekend, and was intrigued. I gave him my “newbie” perspective, and encouraged him to ride in the SF Randonneurs Populaire this Saturday, March 31st.  He is not sure he is quite up for that yet, but does want to learn more about it. I gave him my card, in case he has any questions, or has trouble remembering how to spell “Randonneur” when he searches for more information when he gets to his office.

So the train arrives, we both pack up, and leave separately. He was ahead of me at the first light. When I pulled away he said “Hey! I came up behind you the other day. I thought, ‘I can beat this guy, steel bike, fenders, propeller on the helmet’ … and then I couldn’t keep up! That wasn’t right!”

We both laughed and I told him that I did the same thing with my folding bike, a Bike Friday Tikit http://www.bikefriday.com/bicycles/commuter, as the smaller wheels actually accelerate faster from a stop.

I also told him that  in my opinion, carbon bikes don’t have all that much advantage in the scheme of things. He had asked me earlier if he needed to get a special bike for randonneuring and I had told him that though the classic randonneur bike is steel with fenders, there are plenty of people out there in full carbon bikes, etc.  It is really personal preference.

So yes, I am a commuter racer. I know it is silly, and I know my shrink would probably have something to say about it, but I do try to keep it safe. I don’t blow through red lights, and I don’t cut in and out of traffic. It makes it fun, and also makes the short ride at least a bit of a workout.

Funny thing, but with the randonneurs,  I’m pretty slow, a regular Lantern Rouge. But  on the wild and wooly streets of San Francisco, fighting the commuter biker wars, I’m Lance Armstrong… or maybe Bob Roll?