Bikes to Like: Lauren K.’s Dahon Speed D7

Welcome to March, my favorite month of the year. What better way to kick it off than with another Bikes to Like? Yippee!

Lauren, a D.C. bike commuter and regular member of the #FridayCoffeeClub, rides around the city on small wheels. I haven’t seen too many small wheeled commuters out and about and when I spied her bike, I thought it would be an excellent addition to the Bikes to Like stable.

Thanks to Lauren for guest posting and sharing your bike with us. Enjoy!

Lauren and the Dahon on the Commute

1. What kind of bike do you have?

I have a Dahon Speed D7. I think the manufacturer calls the color “denim.” Everything is standard on it, except the seatpost, which is pretty neat. The post has an internal pump. Once – in it’s greatest moment of sneaky usefulness – the seatpost rescued someone on the Mt Vernon Trail who had a flat, which was awesome (for the seatpost. More fortunate than awesome for the person with the flat).

Dahon Seat Tube Pump

I also ride a 1968 Columbia Bromleigh , but spend most of my commutes on the Dahon.

2. Why a folder?

I got the Dahon when I was bouncing around between tiny dorm rooms and tinier apartments. It’s always been able to tuck neatly into a closet or corner. I have much more space at home now, but I do like that the folder means I can park it inside at work – it fits under my desk in my cube. And, when it’s at rest at home, we can use it as a coffee table!

The Dahon at Rest

3. Where do you ride it?

I live in Mt Vernon Square and work in Rosslyn, so I typically ride between the two. However, the Dahon has also been all over D.C. (especially because my other ride is only 3 speeds, and North D.C. gets hilly!), and all over the world. It fits into a suitcase or duffle bag.

4. What do you like about your bike?

I like that it’s engaging. I don’t think people encounter folders often, and I always get questions at stoplights. If the countdown clock is more than 30 seconds, I might fold and unfold it for the people on the curb. It’s like my own magic show!

I often get asked by marveling teenagers if a Mary-Poppins-Dressed young lady like me is really riding a trick bike.

5. If you had to describe your bike in one word, what would it be?

Functional.

6. Fenders or no fenders?

Of course fenders! I’m not a racer (nor have I ever ridden more than 20 miles at a time), so I’m not concerned with extra ounces. Fenders are a no-brainer for me.

Lauren and the Dahon at Swing’s

7. What is one of your favorite memories with this bicycle?

When I moved to China after graduation, I gave the bike to my parents (who live in Switzerland) to use. A few Christmases later, I have fond memories of watching YouTube after YouTube instructional with my dad so we could figure out how to fit it into a way-too-small suitcase when I demanded it back.

8. Does your bike have a name? If so, what is it?

No. I’m pretty sure it’s a guy, but no name has ever stuck. I’m open to suggestions!

9. What is your favorite accessory on your bike and why?

It’s an even tie between the seatpost pump (see story above) and the carrying bag. I used to carry my bike in an IKEA bag (those big blue ones), but finally my mom broke down and told me that wasn’t classy, and got me the official carrying bag as a Christmas present. Because of that bag, I bet half the people in my office have no idea I bike to work. They just think I carry way too much stuff.

Dahon Carrying Bag

10. What did I forget to ask that you want to tell me about your bike?

It may look like a clown bike, but it performs just like a regular bike. The small wheels don’t mean I have to pedal more. I can go just as fast as the next guy with the same effort.

It also has surprising carrying capacity. I have a pair of Ortleib front rollers that I’m obsessed with (they fit on my rear rack perfectly). The greater distance between the rear wheel and the seat means I can have a huge trunk or wedge bag. The greater distance between the front wheel and the handlebars means that I can even put a backpack in front (with the handlebars as “arms) without issue.

The Dahon visits the Mall (with Tales from the Sharrows button)

It’s truly incredible how multimodal a folder is. Despite the obvious public transit options, I’ve also used it to bike to and from U-haul lots when moving/returning trucks; to, on and from Amtrak stations when going on trips; in and out of suitcases for trips on planes; once I even strapped it to the back of a friend’s motorcycle.

The Dahon is just really good at completing one part of longer journeys, while at the same time making them more fun and convenient. (All that said, does anyone know if a folder fits on the metrobus racks? I’ve been wanting to try for ages, but I’m too afraid to hold up a bus while I figure out if it’s a failure. Sometimes it’s just too crowded to bring my bike inside the bus).

11. If your bike could talk, what is one thing it would say to you?

“I fold for a reason! You could give me a break and let me ride the Metro more often.”

8 thoughts on “Bikes to Like: Lauren K.’s Dahon Speed D7”

  1. Yay! So glad to see a folding bike make the “Bikes To Like” series! As a longtime fan of the folders, and owner of a shop that specializes in them (bikes@vienna), it’s good to see someone singing praises of the small wheel bikes. It’s true, a modern folder “rides like a normal bike”… far more so than folks imagine, and the added flexibility you gain from the fold make them a terrific bike to own. I’ve used my Brompton with all forms of transport… planes, trains, automobiles, buses, Metrorail, etc., and it’s just wonderful.

    To answer the Metrobus question, by the way, the answer is you can probably get it to work on the bus racks, but it might take a little figuring out, so you may want to try it at a not-so-busy time the first time. One of our customers has put his Brompton on the bus racks, and I can’t imagine a Dahon wouldn’t work as well.

    Like

    1. Oh the lure of the Brompton….

      And thanks for the bus rack advice! I think I may go to the bus lot one day and ask to practice. In theory it all works, but in reality I think I would make every other road user angry with my bus holdup.

      Like

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