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I’ve been holding out. We bought some fancy new bikes months ago, and I haven’t mentioned a word about them. I was waiting for a great ride with great pictures, but because of the cold we haven’t ridden them all that much this winter.

Until now! Last weekend we packed them up in the car and drove to the Banks-Vernonia State Trail for our own bike adventure. This is our inaugural ride on these bikes, besides a quick trip to the grocery store.

It looks funny, I know. It’s because it’s a folding bike. They get tiny. Tiny enough to carry on a plane, put on a train, or stick in your trunk.  Then they unfold into something that looks a little ridiculous but rides amazingly well. And they fold. Did I mention that part? They’re from Brompton, a company in London. They are generally regarded as solid, high-quality, smallest-folding bikes, though there are a lot of other types made (including Bike Friday, which is based in Eugene, OR). We tried a few others, and Jesse did a lot of research before settling on these. So far, we both really love them.

A video of how they fold (I am not this fast yet. I need more practice):

Here they are in the back our trunk–two bikes nestled in together, all folded up, ready for adventure. I love the possiblities this gives us. Take a train to Vancouver, BC–bring a bike! Drive down to San Francisco–bring a bike! Fly to Amsterdam–bring a bike! Head to the Oregon Coast, or even take the bus across town–bring a bike! The price tag was a bit hefty, but the options this gives us are astounding and so exciting. I expect we’ll get a lot of use out of these crazy things. We’re calling it an investment.

We got them for half-off at Clever Cycles here in Portland. They were previously the shop’s rental bikes, which is why they were on sale, and also why they match. (I will admit I do feel a little ridiculous when we ride together on matching bright green bikes. We’re thinking of trying a paint job…)

We’ve ridden them around town from our house, but this was the first trip we took with them. It was a great day. Rain was threatening, but it held out until the last half mile, and the winter damp created a kind of magical mossy forest for us to bike through. We rode eight miles into Vernonia, got coffee and lunch, then rode back. That’s about my limit right now, though this summer I’d love to do some 30 or 40 mile rides.

I thought I was missing the snow, but I was wrong.

I’m pretty sure some fairies or a unicorn were just behind the trees…

Half-folded and propped up. These little bikes are so comfortable to ride. The small wheels are a bit wobbly until you get used to it, but besides that there’s no practical difference. Other than, you know, the folding part. I’ve read stories of people who take these bikes to Paris, London, Thailand, Australia, Beijing, Iceland, and more, and now my head is full of starry-eyed plans… but when I think about it, Vernonia, Oregon was pretty cool, too.

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