Friday, July 23, 2010

Helping Hands

I don't see many folders in bike racks

I snapped a picture of this folder just because I don't recall seeing many in racks, since I imagine one of the main reasons people get them, and ride them, and learn to like them, is precisely because you can fold them up and not have to leave them outside at the rack. But I'm sure there are many circumstances where it's not convenient, or maybe not allowed, to fold and bring it with you, so you lock it up next to all the bikes which do not look like clown bikes. Don't misunderstand: I know the folding bicycle designers and manufacturers have generally done a great job to make bikes which fold and have small wheels still ride acceptably well, and with acceptable stability, and a somewhat normal feeling. I didn't say they ride like clown bikes. I just said they look like clown bikes. Which they do. I still kind of want one. I wanted one on my recent trip to the midwest so that I could ride my own bike instead of borrowing, renting, or just going without. So when I call them clown bikes, I do so as someone who harbors a desire to own one. 

Next to the folder, I noticed the Diamondback had a sticker from Handlebar Helpers, a community Earn-a-bike and apprentice program staffed by volunteers in Scottsdale. There's a video on the site which explains what they do, but basically they train people how to fix up and maintain bikes. While apprenticing, people earn credits towards getting a bicycle of their own. It looks like a great program, and I would be interested in volunteering just because it looks worthwhile, not because I need any more bicycles. Working against my own volunteerism in this particularly cause is that, at least on the web site, they appear to keep what could best be called retired banker's hours. Pretty difficult for me to go volunteer there as a working stiff myself, although I might be able to work out some kind of flextime arrangement to swing it. It's also a bit of a ride from my office, but possible. It seems to me that someone who works to earn a bicycle, and learns how to maintain it while doing so, in order to ride to school or work, is very likely to continue to keep riding, and possibly, to tell their friends about the program, too. 

I've noticed that a lot of people are still using cable locks, which I won't do, since I learned the hard way that cables offer nothing more than the lowest possible level of security. Maybe Handlebar Helpers needs some U-lock donations. And some proper locking technique mini-courses. Because it would be unfortunate to have the bike that you earned get ripped off. At least it's not a clown bike you could have folded up and taken inside with you safe and sound. Get up. Go ride.



  1. I always feel that I look like the circus bear on a bike when I ride my folder.

  2. Oldfool apparently that's a feeling that a lot of people share, according to this search on a popular search engine.


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