The Foldie Revolution

From Anand SinhaWe can see around us that the urban infrastructure in the country improving everyday. Of course things could be much better but they are clearly better than what they were. Metro rail, footpaths, good roads, well laid out CBD’s is encouraging the general trend of urban commute on a bicycle. And we at CRANK think the foldie revolution is just around the corner in India

And that’s the reason CRANK has decided to do this exclusive well-rounded cover story on foldies. Almost all the global brands have been launched in India, BROMPTON, Dahon, Expressway from Giant, Fuji, Tern and many others. We bring to you real life rider experiences from around the country

In every developed city of the world foldie (or a folding bike) is a preferred choice for many. Especially amongst busy office goers who do not have the time to take off from their busy schedule to put in regular miles on their bike. The foldie is an ideal companion that offers daily commuters like office goers and students theflexibility to build in a ride into their daily schedule. Not just that, foldies are great companions even on that beach holiday, weekend outing offering you that flexibility to conveniently lug it in the boot

We bring to you rider experiences who are diehard foldie aficionados who subscribe to this view

Ashutosh Bijoor – Mumbai

Ashutosh Bijoor - Me and my bromptonAshutosh is the CTO of Accion Labs, Mumbai an avid blogger and a history enthusiast and a proud and happy owner of a Brompton on which he has done many adventures. He build has built in his passion for history in his riding by researching and then riding to historic sites in and around. He has them all meticulously documented on his blog

Ashutosh has owned several bikes but the Brompton is his favorite for travel and commute. Since his workplace is near, he is not deterred even in summers. He is a true ambassador for his Brompton for its flexibility and strength “I take my Brompton everywhere I travel. I have taken her with me in the subways of New York and London, on buses in other cities, I have carried her on train rides during weekends and business trips. Its the perfect travel companion!”

Vouching for the range and toughness of the bike Ashutosh relates an incident while travelling in Pittsburgh. He was tempted to climb up Mount Washington for a view of the Allegheny and Monongahela confluence forming the Ohio River. With only his Brompton at hand he could easily negotiate his climb on his zippy Brompton and come down a heady downhill at a breakneck speed of 50kmph. “I was amazed at what I could achieve with my Brompton”

Sunil Bisht – Gurgaon
Ride – DAHON

Sunil BishtSunil Bisht is the Cloud Services Leader at Avaya and a cycling enthusiast. A man from the hills the cycle was his means of commute in his hometown Srinagar in the Garwhal region of Uttarakhand. He would cycle 3 km uphill to school and then in Dehradun to travel to his college. Work happened and he moved to the dusty sunny planes, but Sunil missed his ride till In 2009 when he began again

He chose the Dahon Vitesse D8, a true travel companion and started exploring the city with his fellow riders. Sunil relates an incident concerning an issue that we at CRANK are working on and urge all the brands to help us with. “A few of us foldie owners decided to ride on the Delhi Metro with our bikes to Old Delhi to whet our next passion “Food”! We were promptly stopped by an intrigued security. I don’t blame him. Foldies are a new concept in India. Luckily there was a young senior officer who understood and allowed us in saying that since wheelchairs were allowed he didn’t see any reason why foldies shouldn’t. He just us asked us to pass them through the X-Ray, which are big enough and happily waved us on. The journey after that was even more interesting as many envied and promised to get themselves a foldie. We got off and negotiating the crowded old city was smooth butter on my Dahon which otherwise would have been impossible with a regular ride” Sunil now routinely uses the metro to ferry his foldie and is facing lesser resistance everyday. Hope you all get a chance to explore your city on a metro with a foldie

Kushal Arora – Gurgaon

Kushal AroraKushal Arora from Gurgaon is a cycling geek and has done it all “Cycling allows me to explore new destinations and meet new people. I have participated in MTB Shimla, completed the Manali-Leh route and now have my eyes set on a Bhutan trip – this time on my foldie”

Kushals family of 4 owns a garage full of seven cycles including a Dahon D8 foldie, which is his favorite companion on tours. “When on a road trip or holiday destination, I ensure the foldie travels with me. The best way to explore a new destination is by cycling. All of these trips have been extremely memorable – thanks to my foldie.” Didn’t we tell you. A foldie is a best companion on holidays and beach tours. Ask Kushal

Kushal does his daily commute on the foldie and credits the #Pedal2Work challenge that encourages people around India to cycle to work. “There is an infrastructure related challenge but the movement is helping drive awareness – slowly and steadily. Even offices are building conveniences for riders to freshen up after they ride in”

Anand Sinha – New Delhi

Anand SinhaAnand works in the public health field, and is now associated with the Packard Foundation operations in India. He started his journey on the bicycle about 11 years back when his doctor recommended him an active lifestyle. “I tried walking – it was boring. I tried swimming – the pool timings didn’t work. I bought a cycle – and was hooked but I just had to build it in my work schedule” He found the Brompton M6R that he got custom made in London (but now available in India) fulfilling his need perfectly

Anand loves to travel with his foldie whether for work or holidays and trips. ”Having a foldie is probably the best way of discovering a city. The Brompton makes it convenient and gives you a ton of street credibility and access to areas and things you wouldn’t otherwise see. So far my Brompton has been to London, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, Lisbon, Seattle, San Francisco, Prague, Mumbai and many small villages around these cities”

Last year Anand did a10-day cycle tour on his Brompton in East Europe starting from Munich and finishing in Prague a total of 800 KM along the beautiful Danube valley. He took his bike on trains, buses, and even boats for what was an amazing self-supported expedition. Anand swears by his bike when it come to long distance tarmac riding. The tyres are small but the large crank gives you the miles effortlessly

Anand regularly commutes between Gurgaon and Hauz Khas on his Brompton. If on the way back work delays him and he doesn’t feel like riding he either takes the metro or loads the bike into an Uber or hitches a ride with a friend going home. The Brompton allows him to use multiple forms of transport seamlessly.

Soumyajit Pramanick – Kolkata
Ride – Giant Expressway 

SomojitA 30 year old doctoral student of theoretical physics who describes himself as“an incorruptible maverick with perennial fernweh (desire to travel for the uninitiated!)’. Phew! But a great way to describe a foldie rider perhaps ! His tryst with the bicycle began as a kid and he currently owns many bikes including a Giant Expressway 1 foldie

“I had planned to buy a folding bike for a while so that I can carry it with me when I take a flight or train to new places and was researching some foldies. Then one sweet morning I was passing by this new bike store with the Giant Expressway on display! I walked in, made the purchase, rode out!”

Unfortunately for him, he cannot commute in Kolkata as its illegal to take a bike on all major thoroughfares (And we at CRANK are very angry and are actively garnering support for our urban riding cause and hopefully will see a breakthrough soon).  So he oftenrides out on weekends, on small trips hither and tither. On one such ride he got into trouble with the BSF for accidentally almost breaching the border and entering the buffer zone between India and Bangladesh with his foldie and he remembers that as the craziest thing he has done on his foldie!

Sanjay B Asher – Kochi
Ride – FUJI

Sanjay B Asher1Sanjay owns a Fuji Absolute2.1 foldie amongst the many other bikes he has. ”It has Claris gears and 20×11/8tyres (almost road bike) which makes it very smooth and easy to handle. It gets folded/unfolded in just 3 simple steps and being full alloy it’s light weight too, making it easy to carry it anywhere, I have even carried it in my small Alto car to Munnar”

His association with the foldie was nothing short of a dramatic one. “I got hooked to this one during my visit to Mumbai for a dealer Meet (Sanjay has converted his passion into business and owns a bike shop). I fell in love with it at first sight and took a spin of about 5 km, it was love at first Ride!  Sanjay rides his Foldie extensively on his daily rides to the nearby Wellington Island and has also done a 100 km ride on his 41st birthday, which he recalls as his most memorable

The foldie is the family’s favorite too; his wifeand his daughters too ride It and love it the most. “Given an option to choose from my collection of cycles, the Fuji Origami would always stand first”

Ajith Varma  – Kochi

Ajith VarmaAnother 64 year enthusiast from Cochin, also works as a Joint Secretary at the Cochin Bikers Club, which brought Brevets for the first time to the State. Ajith is actively involved in identifying new riding routes, designing and conducting rides

“It has been six years since I have started cycling on an Indian, non-geared, Hi-tensile steel bike and recently bought a Dahon foldie. I have set a modest target of 10,000 Kms this year, and am currently clocking an average of 30km+ per day thanks to my foldie. I do my commute to work and weekend fun rides”

Foldies as a concept are new but whoever has experienced the comforts and conveniences attached to it, will get addicted. I have ridden the Thamarassery Churam (Pass) in the scenic Wayanad, on the beaches and have transported on trains, motor boats and country crafts. He reckons that once Cochin Metro becomes operational people will take to foldies in abig way


Piyush Shah – Mumbai

Piyush ShahAn 80’s child fondly remembers his first cycle as the BSA SLR a reward for topping his class that year. He grew up in Kochi and used to commute on his bicycle to school. He resumed cycling by chance in Kamshet, in between his paragliding flights, waiting for winds.” I cannot explain the thrill I got riding in that hilly terrain for about 20 kms. I haven’t stopped ever since and went on to make cycle my preferred mode of daily commute”.

“Using an MTB for daily commute robbed me the flexibility to go any place and I always had a feeling that someone was meddling with it when parked. While looking for the ultimate commute machine I soon figured it had to be a foldie, a friend suggested to check out the Brompton. Suffice to say, it was love at first sight and I just had to get it”.

His Brompton has gone with him to the movies, shopping, interview, formal meetings & for his singing performances as well. The foldie has travelled on a bus, train, metro, plane even boat and Piyush finds it to be not only practical but also quite liberating. “My Brommie is quite an eye catcher and never fails to generate excitement among onlookers and I take immense pride in taking it to public places to inspire others to start cycling. “

Piyush even rode his Brompton for a job interview in a formal suit. “Needless to say, I ended up giving a demo to the entire staff. Incidentally, I landed the job”

Piyush is an informal Brand ambassador for Brompton and foldies in Mumbai and is most welcoming to anyone wishing to buy a Brompton and would like to try out his Brommie. A selfless foldie enthusiast we think

So friends , whether its daily commute or long distance, hilly terrain or rain – if your calling is to be close to your wheels always then it’s the foldie for you. Go get yourself one try it on and you may never use that car or a bike to work again!

Go on.. Be the foldie revolution in your town

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