Thursday, September 29, 2011

Brompton meets Strida in Bonn

Folding bike Strida - photo from Wikipedia
Just in case you don`t know what kind of a strange looking folder the "Strida" is - I didn`t until last Saturday when I was pedalling along the Rhine in Bonn. I looked hard at the bike which was being pushed by a man walking in a group of friends near the United Nations building.   He looked at my Brompton, and he smiled knowingly.  I smiled back and stopped.  Also the man`s friends  had noticed our contact with some amusement.

I asked how much he liked his machine and if he thought it was better than mine. -  "It`s different." he said.
Later I learnt this fromWikipedia"Strida is a portable, belt-driven, folding bicycle with a distinctive 'A'-shaped collapsible frame, designed by UK engineer and designer Mark Sanders. The first model, Strida 1, was released in 1987 (...)"
Oh, I see, belt-driven, which means no hassels with a chain, no dirty fingers because of a chain that comes off occasionally when the Brompton is unfolded - at least this has been my experience. However, I also once read that a German folding bike manufacturer had dropped the belt-drive in his folders because the belt material had not stood the test of good practice.
When I said good bye to the fellow folding biker I had the impression that he liked his machine for its unusual design but that he admired my Brompton for its usefulness and comfort.  He did not say so expressively,  though. 
I wished I could meet the Strida man again and find out more about his folding bike experience  as opposed to mine with the Brompton.

If you want to know more about the Strida, you may read a review in the London Cyclist.  This article`s appreciation can be summed up by quoting  three key sentences:
             1) "The single gear keeps things simple as does the 
                   Kevlar belt which drives the sprockets; no    
                   adjustment, no lubrication, no maintenance."
             2) "The comfortable bolted-up saddle obviates adjustment
                   and the upright sit-stance is ergonomically great for the 
                   back." -  And  last not least:
             3) "There is something whimsically nonsensical  
                   about a Strida in use." (The bold type is mine)

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