Category Archives: Folders

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.”

Summer Solstice Dahon Hon Solo Ride

Summer officially arrived in Washington, D.C. on Monday, and I decided it was time to pull out my summer bike, the Dahon Hon Solo.  This is a limited edition folder with 16 20″ wheels from (guess?) Dahon and is also (guess?) a single speed!

This bike is so much fun to ride.  It’s functional, fits well, and no one expects me to ride fast or beat them on their morning commute.  It is a low-threat commute steed.

The bike came stock with some cheapo crank and Felkerino and I spruced it up with a nice Dura Ace crank that used to reside on my Bike Friday Pocket Rocket.  You can’t tell that it’s Dura Ace from this angle, although you can definitely tell that I’m wearing Sidi’s, but I assure you that it is a Dura Ace crank.  Maybe this crank slightly increases the commuter threat, but not by much.  It gets canceled out by the lacewood fenders. See how cute they are?

View of the Crank and Lacewood Fenders

As you can see by the photo below, I’ve also added a nice Acorn saddle bag.  Yes, I am a bag matcher.

Dahon Hon Solo by the Reflecting Pool

It was a great summer solstice commute.  I think I took as much time taking pictures of my bike as I did riding it. Happy summer, everybody!