Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's Arrived!

The Dahon awaiting unpacking in the family room.
I pedaled home yesterday in excited anticipation of the arrival of my new Dahon Eco 3.  As assured by TTR Bikes proprietor Scott McCrary, it was sitting on my front porch in the original Dahon packaging.  Yippy!  I pulled it to the living room, and deciding that I could not wait for the Planner Guy to return from work, ripped open the box and pulled out the folding bike - it arrived fully assembled, except for the pedals. I found the owners manual and a the step-by-step instructions for unfolding the bike, and although the seat and handleposts were easy to adjust into the proper position I couldn't figure out the "ViseGrip" Hinge on the frame.  I sat stumped for about 20 minutes, looking at it from all angles.  Even the instruction video on the Dahon website didn't help.  Damn!  This meant I would have to ask for Bob's help.  Oh, the feminist humiliation of having to ask for a man's help  . . . .  Oh, well, he does seem to derive pleasure for being able to do "man tasks" for me. 
How do I unfold this crazy thing?
Finally Bob arrived home and quickly (another feminist humiliation!) figured out how to unlock the ViseGrip Hinge.   In the middle of the family room, I practiced folding and unfolding the Eco 3 several times.  The frame hinge was somewhat tight but should loosen up with use but I can already tell that I need a little bit of strength training, along with practice in order to be able to manager the famed 15-second unfold time.  The Dahon website also suggests that the double pronged kickstand aides stability during folding and unfolding so I'll definitely upgrade to one.

Pride in ownership!
Naturally, this morning I rode in to work on the Dahon.  The Eco 3 is the entry level model and is nicely priced at $379.  I didn't want to invest in a high-end model since I purchased this bike so that I'd have a bike that I could easily load in the car or carry on an airplane or public transportation.  If we lived in a large urban area I could easily see investing in a more pricey model but that's just not where we are at the moment.  In any case, the Eco 3 is an attractive and comfortable ride.  It is fast, shifts easily, and I had no problem on the hill up to the airport.  I'll definitely purchase the rear Traveller Rack, in addition to adding a head light, rear light, a small rear view mirror and a bell (I wonder how much all that will weigh?).  Some things, I just can't compromise on.

Sitting quietly.
I was able to make the trip up to work this morning in about 6 minutes.  I folded up the bike just outside the airport but felt dissatisfied with the results.  I'll definitely have to watch the instructional video again to make sure I folded in the proper order.  Nonetheless,  I was able to roll the bike folded into the terminal and on to the elevator up to my office without any difficulty.  Folded, the Eco 3 fit nicely against a narrow wall and was completely out of the way, if not unnoticed by other staff, but they are used to eccentricities.

7 comments:

Traci said...

Nice looking bike! I've considered a folding bike, but always decide that I just can't justify it since I don't think I'd use it very often, unless it totally replaced my other bike. We're lucky that even with sub-par public transit here, we can at least take bikes on all trains and buses have racks for 2 per bus (which is usually plenty). That leaves taking it on a plane or in the car which I would probably rarely do. I love the look of the bikes though and think they are great inventions. Maybe if I ever win the lottery and am just looking for ways to spend money, I'll get a whole fleet of bikes, including a folding one :)

PaddyAnne said...

Very Nice! Most people are carrying around either just a laptop, or an ipad, and you've got a nice shiny bicycle!! I think you may be starting a new trend!!

She Rides a Bike said...

Traci, I'm looking forward to taking the Eco 3 to Phoenix, which has light rail and bike lanes in many areas. Phx is very car oriented but I prefer to experience other cities on the street level where I can more easily explore the culture and of course coffee shops. Hopefully, I can get Dahon's mini airporter luggage so that I can take my bike on our upcoming trips for the next years.

PaddyAnne: Some people collect electronics; I collect bikes and the associated bike bling.

m e l i g r o s a said...

you and red bikes --- it's a fabulous convination!!
cant wait for the adventures to come. and taking that on future trips would be so awesome.
Im not sure what the company is, but saw some of my GFreidns photos from interbike in vegas of a pink one. OMG imagine that... so delish!! bike candy lane ahead :D

xxo.m <3

Ted said...

I have a Dahon too. The trick to folding it correctly is remembering the sequence.

1. Pedal cranks horizontal, with the right pedal forward.

2. Drop the seat.

3. Drop the handlebars.

4. Fold the frame.

My Dahon is my favorite commuter bike. I found some bar ends that wouldn't interfere with the folding, and they really help me when I climb the hills in Flagstaff.

I had my Dahon in DC for several years before moving back to AZ. It was wonderful to be able to take a bike on the Metro during rush hour (when other bikes are not allowed), and have a multimodal commute.

Even in Flagstaff, I've taken the Dahon on the local buses, and in the trunks of taxis.

She Rides a Bike said...

Thanks, Ted. I've been dropping the bars after I fold the frame. I struggle a bit with folding the frame too. I'm working on finding the correct stance to avoid straining my lower back -always a scary proposition after herniating a disk.

Ted said...

Heavens! I meant to say:

1. Pedal cranks horizontal, with the LEFT pedal forward.