No Nicole today as she is feeling under the weather – Get well soon!
Instead here’s a guest post by WallToAll who I invited along to instil us with the virtues of the Strida!
Those brave hearts who weave in and out of London’s motor traffic use a variety of devices based on the bicycle: to wit: road-bikes, off-roads, BMXs, hybrids, fixed-gears, dutchies, exotics and other variations of an implement first invented some 200 years ago to negate walking but little improved since. Some use ‘fold-ups’, a great nuisance we avow on public transport. The logic of design and use escapes us though we know what they’re trying to achieve, but at what social cost? The only thing more annoying than a foldable bike in a train gangway is an un-foldable one.
The exception to the folding bike awkwardness
Visualise a Brompton being lugged along a platform or being transformed among pedestrian traffic in a station. It’s one thing to lug a large bag of shopping on public transport or a furry pet in a basket but a fold-up bicycle? Quite frankly, if one intended to re-invent or re-parcel a bicycle for the 21st century, would a kissing gate be the most obvious place to start (even if the forge were down the same cul-de-sac). The idea of a folding bicycle is not a bad one; the implementation is generally terrible. Thankfully there is an exception to the awkwardness of folding bicycles in general and that exception is "Strida". (Very Googlable word "Strida"; don’t you think?) The unique device is at once a concept, an innovation and a solution, brilliantly succeeding in coupling the 19th century to the 21st without even nodding at the 20th. And yet you never see a Strida on the streets of London. The ill logic escapes us. Why don’t we see Stridas on London’s streets apart from the one we use? Maybe you should ask yacht skippers and private-plane pilots who apparently secrete the vast majority of the world’s production in their holds.
We use Strida rather than a bicycle because chronic ME, borne now for some 25 years, put a brake on exuberance and made us rather bear the ills we had than fly to others that we knew not of. We’re by no means ready for a wheelchair, nor do we need to make a point of how fit and able we are or aren’t. Being of advanced years tones down one’s competitive streak. Been there. Done that. Wore out the tee-shirts. Got the Strida.
ME is an odd ‘disability’, described succinctly as ‘the healthiest looking patient in a doctor’s waiting room’. For us, ME means being able to walk only short distances; daily and weekly amounts being of necessity accumulative: overdo it and the price is three days supine for each day’s stupidity. Having been Strida’d now for some five years, the ME goalposts have been totally repositioned and redefined. Strida allows lots of high physical mobility with a minimum of downtime.
The name "Strida" itself is not lost on the user who can Strida six or more miles anytime, without personal pain whereas that distance might take a month on foot. London Underground destroys us. One long day out (sans Strida!) a pedometer device strapped to the leg clocked up some 2.5 miles of walking: most of it entering, transiting and leaving underground stations. F’Krisake at Monument you can plod over half a mile just changing lines. More than once we spent a week in bed recuperating after a day like that before we got a astridastrida.
We have a Blue Badge for our car AND a dispensation for London, but refuse to abuse this wonderful privilege by bringing a VERY large vehicle into London either regularly, irregularly or even occasionally. Domiciled in the sticks, one uses a train to get to London and a skateboard would be very useful to get around the city. But dignity decrees we are too old for blades, roller skates, skateboards or other such options which can speed a body along a city street and can be stuffed in any available corner, or under an armpit, when not actually transporting said body.
Strida has active steering, as in VERY active steering which calls for dextrous balancing and manipulation, all of which makes the aging brain work that little bit harder and slows the gaga-making process more than somewhat. Yeah! We need mobility that looks like a bike, works like a skateboard but is appropriate to decorum for a worn-out pensioner who must perchance use wheels to get around the city. Strida’s the man: a foldable un-foldable skateboard that acts like a bike, wheels through a station concourse like a tiny golf trolley and in the final analysis is considerably more than the sum of its parts. I can bring it upstairs on a 205 and tuck it in so no seat is wasted.
Strida fits anywhere a golf-bag or tuba case fits but takes up rather less space than either. It can be transformed in 15 secs and can belt along at 6-9 mph which in the City is quick enough to get from Aldgate to Marble Arch in 30 minutes. The single gear keeps things simple as does the Kevlar belt which drives the sprockets; no adjustment, no lubrication, no maintenance. The high gearing is not designed for climbing Villiers St. out of Embankment for The Strand, so you get off and mingle happily with the pedestrians. This puts civilized City progress into perspective. The comfortable bolted-up saddle obviates adjustment and the upright sit-stance is ergonomically great for the back. One doesn’t experience bike-lash even on ‘pavements’. People, including even bobbies, tend to stare and then grin. There is something whimsically nonsensical about a Strida in use.
Other bikes covered on London Cyclist:
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.