Wouldn't it be great if we could ride somewhere, shrink our bike down, and pop it into a pocket before entering the office or a restaurant? But we can't. There are certain constraints that prevent this – structure, strength, rideability. Bikes have a human scale and rigidity for a reason, and there is often beauty in their classic simple structure and proportions.
Foldable bikes - with greater portability – have existed for decades, but until now the designs have never really appealed to me. They either cry out "hey, I'm foldable" or look so mechanical, so complicated - with insect-like appendages of gears and wires and latches - that only an engineer could love them. However practical they might be, they lack elegance. But then I came across this Mu Uno from Dahon earlier this year. It is so pretty, so simple, and so refreshingly free of loud logos and superficial branding, it turned me around. I bought one to use around our South Park office.
I ride it frequently out to lunch and to meetings. Everywhere I take it, people are interested and have questions - usually cutting to the chase with "how much does it cost and where can I get one?" I haven't had a very satisfactory answer for them because these bikes haven't been available in the US, so I asked the manufacturer if we could sell them. Dahon agreed and have hustled a batch to us for the holiday season. We now have a limited quantity on hand for those looking for an especially cool and practical holiday gift. The price is $579.00. For orders placed before December 15th we will offer Free Shipping and guarantee a delivery before Christmas.
Everybody seems to like this bike, bike nuts and regular people alike. They should - it functions really well as something foldable and equally well as a bike, and it looks good enough to ride to your next fashion shoot. Lending it to visitors for test rides around South Park has become a common event at our Studio. I was hosting a group of architects one day and they got all hot and bothered just seeing how it folded. Looking around, I saw that some special acquaintances ride foldable bikes - characters as diverse as designer Ilse Crawford, RISD President John Maeda and David Byrne. Why? They are very smart pieces of design.
Mu Uno is small enough to fit in a closet and light and compact enough to carry up stairs or onto trains. It's so inconspicuous that you can often take it into a store or business rather than locking it up on the street. It's more like an umbrella than a bike that way. It is allowed on subways during rush hour when many full sized bikes are not. It is unisex and adjustable for anyone between 4'8" and 6'4" with a simple hand latch. It folds and unfolds in seconds (see our folding videos). There are no gears, and simple back pedal brakes are all you need to stop. I ride it all over San Francisco and tackle some serious hills, but it shines particularly on short urban trips.
It's almost embarrassing how good you look riding around on a Mu Uno. It's easy to use, easy on the eyes, and easy on the butt. It can reacquaint you with the simple pleasure of riding a bike, or provide you with an expedient escape from a claustrophobic holiday. Its best quality may be that it makes everyday tasks and errands simple and fun. We'll ship it direct to your home or office, and when it arrives it will take only about fifteen minutes to assemble (anybody can do it; tools are included). There's even a clever pump concealed in the seat post so you can put it together and ride away without any other equipment.
OK, you may need one other piece of equipment - a helmet - if you don't already have one. We've become fond of these Nutcase Helmets. They are modest in profile and not overly sporty and quite affordable. The simple matte color and finish go well with the bike. The helmet is available in two sizes and each one comes with 4 sets of soft foam pads to customize your fit. The pads adhere to the inside of the helmet with Velcro and are easy to switch out so there's no reason to put up with anything less than real comfort. The chinstrap is easy to adjust and has a quick release buckle for immediate on and off. All Nutcase Street helmets comply with US CPSC Safety Standards for bicycle helmets for persons age 5 and older.
Sign up for the Public Option
We'll have many more products like these to offer when we launch Public next year. Please sign up at our Public website and tell your friends. We're also casting about for some workforce talent - staff and models.