Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

My "Tikit" to San Jose

Posted by on March 2nd, 2007 at 9:43 am

[Bike Friday sent me one of their new “Tikit” folders for my trip to San Jose, CA. I rode it to the airport this morning.]

I’m on my way to San Jose for the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS). It was sort of a last minute thing.

There were just too many stars aligning and I couldn’t pass it up.

Not only are there four local builders and one local company exhibiting, but local randonneuring expert and author David Rowe will be hosting a panel discussion on building long-distance bicycles (one of the panelists will be Matt Bracken, founder of Independent Fabrications, who I met in October).

Add to all that my prediction that the NAHBS will be in Portland next year, and I figured I had to be there.

Besides, thanks to a cool promotional partnership with Eugene, OR-based Bike Friday, I’m getting there in style.

[Me and my Tikit
at the airport.]

I’m riding door-to-door with their new “Tikit” folder, which they say is an attempt to “solve the world’s transportation problems.” We’ll see about that.

I rode it from my house this morning, folded it into its own nifty suitcase, checked the bag, and here I am. When I get to San Jose I’ll unpack it, put my bags in the suitcase and ride it to the show.

It’s my first time on a folder, so it should be an interesting trip.

I’ll be writing a full review eventually, but for now, check out the Tikit on their website and stay tuned for photos and reports for the Handmade Bike Show.

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  • Michael Wolfe March 2, 2007 at 9:55 am

    What’s even cooler is that the Tikit is co-designed by none other than Rob English, the British human powered land speed record holder. Rob moved to Eugene to work for Bike Friday last fall. He’s a really strong rider all around; don’t be surprised to see his name a bunch near the top of the OBRA standings this summer!

    Check out his exploits at: http://rob.bikerevuk.com/

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  • Michelle March 2, 2007 at 11:53 am

    That is so cool!!! I’m really excited about the short distance-long distance connections that are becoming more possible with technological advances like the tikit, and with long term bike parking progress at the airport. I did a weekend trip to LA recently, taking only my Burley pannier on the plane as baggage, biking to the airport and then MAXing and biking back. It was a great way to travel.

    By the way, if you’re thinking you want one of these tikits, there’s one for sale at the BTA’s benefit auction this weekend – http://www.aliceawards.org

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  • Michelle March 2, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Ahem, NEXT weekend. Alice Awards & Auction is next weekend.

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  • Aaron March 2, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    Holy crap I want one.

    I think I’ll be heading down to Eugene to try a Tikit very soon. That design is freakin’ brilliant.

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  • Alan March 2, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    I was at the Bike Friday factory a couple of weeks ago and they showed me one of their Tikits. No quick-releases to work. Just give a tug in the right place, and almost as fast as you can say, “pop! goes the weasel”, your Tikit is folded. So, Jon, how’s it riding?

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  • Scott Mizée March 2, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    Interesting. I’m headed to the airport tonight, but unfortunately the Bakfiets won’t fold up to the size of at Tikit…. 🙁

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  • Jim F March 2, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    Very nice. But if access to San Jose’s airport is still like it was when I lived down there, I hope you don’t die trying to get out of there.

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  • Aaron Hayes March 2, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    Very Cool! But I want a version of that suitcase that I use to take to the airport with my OWN bike. Then lock my bike at the airport and check that suitcase…

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  • Gary M March 2, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Getting from the San Jose airport to the convention center is a snap with a folding bike! Just take the free shuttle to light rail and ride from there into downtown.

    I live in Portland and travel frequently to San Jose. To get around I keep a folding bike at my company headquarters; it gets me around downtown San Jose great!

    Who makes the trailer? I want one!

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  • tom March 2, 2007 at 3:47 pm


    I’ve been eyeing the Dahon Speed and Ciao, both folding bikes. They go for ~$600 and $800 respectively.


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  • Richard Wilson March 2, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Looking forward to the review – particularly the ride quality, comfort and performance vs. Brompton or any other mass transit friendly folders. From what little I can see of teh specs on their site, it’s too bad the folded size isn’t a bit smaller as that what makes bikes like the Brompton so appealing and versatile for urban use. If the folded size is similar to a typical Bike Friday the quick fold time isn’t going to make it convenient to schlep around and stow in crowded buses or trains.

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  • Burr March 2, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    more discussion and reviews of the Tikit here: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=264207

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  • Todd from vancouver March 2, 2007 at 10:21 pm

    Jon’s trip to PDX is similar to one I just took this week too. I took my Brompton with a new folding trailer (The City by http://www.carryfreedom.com) down to Palo Alto for our Bikestation opening. On my other recent trip with the Brompton to Santa Barbara CA, I was able to ride from the airport all along the coast trail to my downtown meeting – and stopping for a swim in the ocean on the way back to the airport.

    Both the trailer and the Brompton bike fold to fit through the TSA xray machine. (You should see the look on the face of the unprepared TSA scanner man when he sees a bike appear on his xray screen.) They gave me more gruff with my laptop than my bike.

    I wheel the bike and gear to the jetway and then gate check them on Horizon. No bike bags, no bike boxes, no $100 fee to fly with a checked bike. And the bike is hand loaded last and taken off first by baggage crews and awaits you on the tarmac after landing.

    The key to a folder bike is how often you need to fold it and how long you are willing to work at it to fold. Plus the length of ride you need to do.

    All the folder bikes I have owned had pluses and minuses:
    – Bike Friday New World Toursit (+: ride, trailer and service; – took too long to box up, poor fender coverage, no dynamo hub option)
    – Strida (+ quick fold for transit use, cost; – no gears, odd ride, plastic parts easy to damage, little carrying capsity)
    – Batavas/ Dahon Nova Versa (+ great uprite ride, internal hub dynamo light, rides nice with 24″ wheels, folds quickly; – larger folded package, no bags or accessories)
    – Brompton (+ folds quick, rides well, wide adjustment for height, lots of bags and gear, fenders, folded size, suspension; dynamo hub not as sweet and affordable as Dahon’s, cost, odd rear wheel dynamics when carried)

    I look forward to trying out Bike Friday’s Tikit.

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  • David Rowe March 3, 2007 at 4:20 am

    Thanks, JM, for mentioning my panel at NAHBS. I’m excited about it. Regarding my experience as a Randonneur, I would describe myself as a student, rather than an expert. I know just enough now about the sport to know what I don’t know, and it is a lot.

    See you in San Jose!


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  • Coyote March 3, 2007 at 7:38 am

    Multi-modal traveling is a kick. Makes you feel like James Bond. I love my bi-weekly commute from Eugene to Portland via Amtrak.

    For those of you heading to Eugene (or Seattle), Amtrak has gotten a lot better. $5 secures a spot on the in cabin bike rack for those of you who don’t have folders and don’t want to check your bike.

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  • Attornatus_Oregon March 3, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    I think the City and Metro should provide $500 tax credit to anyone willing to agree to purchase and ride one as part of their daily commute.

    Who’s with me?

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  • Scott Mizee March 4, 2007 at 5:34 am

    nice proposal…. I like your thinking A_O! Any idea what a realistic proposal would be. i.e. how would one actually move this proposal forward. How do the current governmental incentives work for buying an electric or hybrid vehicle? Could these/are these being adapted to advocate for bicycles? This could be a really big thing… especially if the city wants to seriously advocate for its push to platinum! more discussion?

    perhaps on the forums… if we are going to deviate from the Tikit discussion…

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  • Peter March 28, 2007 at 3:46 am

    Looking forward to that review of the Tikit – looks like a serious Brompton cometition.

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