Bickerton foldy strangeness

You never know what’s going to show up at the local bicycle co-op. Take, for example, this Bickerton Portable.  There can’t be that many to begin with, but nevertheless, there one was, sitting in the corner of the Reno Bike Project.

Now, it goes without saying that it takes a certain person to get fired up about a folding bike like a Bickerton. I freely and openly admit that I’m one of them. Folding bikes have always intrigued me. They are unique unto and even amongst themselves: more or less equal parts Rubic’s Cube, nightmare and magic. At the very least they fit in the trunk of the car and have frequently delivered me home from the auto shop so they serve some purpose beyond being unique.

Calling the Bickerton “unique” is a monumental understatement, though. Design-wise, the bike is flat out wacky, like something a NASA employee might whip out his briefcase to run lunchtime errands on. There are things that just don’t jibe with how a bike is normally built (I’d point some of the more obvious ones, but honestly, just look at the photos and you’ll see them in much greater detail).

Maybe I need to tighten any/all of the seven (count ’em, seven) quick releases because the bike feels like it might revert back to its folded status at any moment. The main hinge in the frame is especially worrisome; what’s with the extra thinwall tube arching into the frame? I honestly can’t tell if it even does anything. Based on how the tube , which looks like it came off a piece of lawn furniture, loosely slip-mounts to a stud on the frame makes me believe its there less for structural than moral support. The fork trail also makes for a less than predictable path at anything above walking speed. I nearly gathered up the trunk of our elm tree on the maiden voyage.

…Which is all fine me because I don’t plan on touring cross country on it. I love it for all that it is and all that it isn’t (both of which are in plentiful supply). Heck, the Bickerton even came complete with its original tote case that supposedly folds/compresses into a smaller handlebar bag. Once I figure that out I’m sure I’ll love it even more, though I wouldn’t count on seeing it on the road anytime soon.


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One Comment on “Bickerton foldy strangeness”

  1. Ron Richings says:

    I can sort of understand your skepticism about the Bickerton, but I recently read a book by a woman who did an Atlantic to Pacific tour on her Bickerton. This happened some years ago, and yes, she was just a bit eccentric, but she did make it and without any significant equipment problems. Carried her stuff in a large bag on the rear rack.
    Not the bike that I would choose for such a trip, but shows that in most cases it is the rider, not the bike, that is the limiting factor

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