Hand-Folding: It's Not Just For Laundry Anymore

When you think of folding bikes, no doubt you think of tiny-wheeled circus affairs straddled by people in blazers and DayGlo pant cuff retainers.  What you probably don't think of is actual folding, like what you do with your underpants after you wash them.  (Assuming you wear underpants, and assuming you wash them.)  However, you will soon--at least if Ronin Bicycle Works gets its way:

Finally, it's a frame made out of folded sheet metal, and the inventors only want $100,000 to mass-produce a bicycle that employs the same groundbreaking technology used to make origami and marijuana cigarettes:

This folded bicycle frame is held together by "rivets and glue," and it boasts the elegance and clean lines of a light switch box--which I'm fairly sure is what they used for the headtubebox:

You can keep your fancy tubing and your hand-carved lugs--give me a bike that's made from baking sheets and shelf brackets:

Every handmade bicycle tells the story of its builder, and often merely looking at one tells you everything you need to know about what he or she was thinking at the time.  This bike is no exception, and I'm fairly certain that what the builder was thinking here was, "I can't believe they let me work in the prison metal shop.  Should I build something to bust out of here, or should I build a bike?  Ah, fuck it, I'll build a bike."

But that doesn't mean the Ronin bike doesn't boast meticulous attention to detail.  For example, the underside of the downtubesheet is creased for uncomfortable "portaging:"

Though they really should have equipped it with a more appropriate saddle:

So help these guys reach their goal, and if you give enough then you too could own a bike with all the elegance of one of those tin foil leftover-"portaging" swans they give you at restaurants:

Because really, it's just an uglier and less practical version of a bike share bike:

The above image, by the way, is from the NYC Bike Share website, and I can't wait until the program launches this summer.  Here's another image of a woman pretending to use the bike share system at the intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues, which is probably the least bike-friendly intersection in all of Brooklyn:

In all sincerity though I am an avid bike share enthusiast--so much so that I'm considering going to work for them:

I particularly like the sound of the "Ambassador" position, though apart from having "prior exposure to the local market" I meet none of the qualifications:

All Candidates Must Have:

• A fun and upbeat personality that reflects the NYC Bicycle Share brand and spirit
• Experience interacting with very large groups of consumers ranging from kids to adults
• Knowledge of Bicycling in NYC and prior exposure to the local market
• Ability to take direction well
• Excellent attention to detail, organization and communication skills

My personality is dour and morose, I do my very best to avoid large groups of consumers, I refuse to take direction, and I'm so disorganized I don't even fold my underwear.  Still, that's not going to stop me from submitting my résumé:

I admit I padded it a bit, but I really do like soup.

Speaking of innovation and cycling, a reader informs me that a Tucson man has invented an arm-and-leg-powered recumbent:

I strongly recommend watching the video that accompanies the story above, but I'm not embedding it because it seems to be one of those videos that plays automatically when the page loads, and the last thing you want is to get caught watching recumbent videos at work.  In fact, getting caught watching recumbent videos is pretty much the only time you'd actually toggle over to a porn site in order to save face, so follow the link at your own risk.  Or, if you're too much of a "woosie," here's the gist of it:

"If you're a cyclist, you know that a long ride will leave your leg muscles feeling fatigued. But have you ever wished you could get an arm workout at the same time? One local rider had a similar thought, and has now patented his arm and leg powered recumbent bike."

Here's what he wound up with:

I can think of another way to engage your arms in a repetitive back-and-forth motion while riding a recumbent that doesn't require a proprietary bike.  Instead, just get a Shake Weight and use it while you ride:

Or, even simpler, simply omit the Shake Weight and ride around while "foffing off."  Actually, it's a great way to squeeze in an arm workout at any time of day--even when you're just sitting around on the couch.

Meanwhile, in other suggestive recumbent innovation news, another reader has just alerted me to the revolutionary "Ball 'Bent:"

I bet it offers a smooth ride, but unfortunately it's a total ripoff of those Uniball Unicycles:

At the very least he could have equipped it with a folded metal frame.
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