My New Loves: A Folding Bike and the West Coast

My Boston love, a Fuji, is fast. She sits at home in Boston, unaware and unsuspecting of my latest love affair with my newly-met partner in crime, a Giant Halfway folding bike. I met her in Baltimore, and courted her away from her previous owner for only two-hundred in change. Neither of us knew of the adventures we would share.

I’ve been in the Bay Area this past week, and I’m currently blogging aboard an Amtrak train(on my laptop using PDAnet that lets me tether internet from my android phone) in California from San Jose to Davis to visit a friend, my folding bike folded snug in the bike-compartment behind me. Yes, that’s right, unlike the east-coast Amtrak which lacks this kind of accommodation for bikes, I’m on an Amtrak with a dedicated bike-compartment that includes racks:

The last time I took an Amtrak, there was no bike-compartment. I had to fold my bike up and shove it in the baggage rack:

A few stops after I got on, the car a flood of multi-modal bike commuters boarded and soon the bike-compartment was packed. This doesn’t happen on the east-coast Amtrak.

And how did I get to the Amtrak station? Oh, by hopping onto the Caltrain commuter rail from Redwood City to San Jose. These trains have a dedicated bike-storage car with racks and bungee cords.

The MBTA’s bike-cars don’t quite compare, even though I know full well how many bikes we can pack in those cars (well over 230):

But how did I get my folding bike to California, you ask? By folding up my bike, stuffing it in a duffel bag with my panniers, and checking it in as my only regular-sized luggage(for $25). Not too shabby.

I’ve spent the past week exploring San Francisco and Silicon Valley by bike, and it’s been absolutely wonderful. Bicycles have been abundant everywhere I’ve gone, as has the infrastructure for it. Traveling with a bike here couldn’t be easier or more pleasurable. Expect more posts soon detailing the adventures I’ve been on with my folding bike in the past week. And please don’t tell my Fuji back home.

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2 Responses to My New Loves: A Folding Bike and the West Coast

  1. Your secret stays in California. Your Fuji will never know! Just wanted to give you a thumbs up on the post. Love hearing about train journeys. Bikes on trains is a topic that keeps coming up. Blog posts like this are really helping to get the word out. Glad to hear you had a good time in California. Come by and say ‘hi’ any time:
    http://www.facebook.com/AmtrakCalifornia
    http://www.twitter.com/Amtrak_CA

  2. Darren says:

    I’ve never seen the Giant Halfway before but I think I like it… It looks like a bit more of a performance folder – a little larger wheel. Im not a fan of 16″ or 20″ wheels. I recently test rode a Montague folding mountain bike with 26″ wheels and I loved it. Could still fit it in my trunk. Now I just need to convince a certain someone that I need another bike.

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