Thursday, April 19, 2012

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.

103 comments:

McFly said...

Whattttttttt

Anonymous said...

podium

cycle

McFly said...

No more

McFly said...

PODIUM HOGGING

Anonymous said...

podium 2nd

cycle

McFly said...

starting tomorrow

hillier99 said...

Top 10!

hillier99 said...

Wait, if I cancel out a few McFly's, I'm standing next to the podium! Today's going on my palmares!

Anonymous said...

Toooop Teeeeen!!!

mikeweb said...

Whew! Two podium pissers today. So does this make me top 5?

McFly said...

I would like to verbally redact positions 3,4 and 6 due to positive test for entirely too much very, very strong coffee. I like my coffee like I like my women....on a table in the breakroom.

misster-PISSTA said...

well that looks like a reverse technolgy version of the 1947 MIsthibishi "zero" bike which can be seen here
http://harayuan.fc2web.com/bicycle/bcessay260.htm

Anonymous said...

Top Ten ? Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd
No...........Eaash, pipped thrice at the line just typink this post. Alas.

Invisible Man said...

Bike-share schemes are great. They provide large numbers of cyclists riding such ungainly machines that one is pretty much guaranteed to overtake them even on a very bad day.

And the unmistakeable sign that one is having a very bad day is if a bike-share scheme bike overtakes one.

(Free advice from London)

Invisible
http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.co.uk/

Jimbo said...

Ulli Boehme and recumbabe? What did we do to deserve this?

Anonymous said...

About that job - when I think of fun and upbeat, new york is not the first place that comes to mind. Doesn't fun and new york qualify as george carlin's definition of an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp?

Just saying.

cycle

leroy said...

Well honestly, who doesn't like soup?

leroy said...

Anon 11:23 --

We don't call NYC "Fun City" for nothing.

We get subsidized.

When visiting, try our soup.

singlespeedwaster said...

Folding in the Top Twenny!

Anonymous said...

maybe you put 'foffing off' on the couch on your resume

mikeweb said...

Snob,

You got me all excited about that folding bike. I watched the video in anticipation of the moment when they would literally take off the wheels and fold the bike into something roughly the size, shape, and weight of a coffee table book. Or at least a 'break room' table book. Though I gather that for some folks, their break room table books need to be wrapped in plastic.

Jasper said...

McFly, No doubt your legs are fatigues after another supreme spurt for podium place, but how are your arms?

mr. wookie said...

What's the meantime to stress cracks along those fold scores?

Rol said...

Oh sure, you laugh now, but when th'pocalypse comes and the tubing supply gets short, these guys will have your $100,000

mikeweb said...

And McFly commentary on Uniball unicycle babe in 5, 4, 3, 2...

crosspalms said...

I think Dyson's working on a version of that ball 'bent that lets you ride around your house and vacuum at the same time

Matt said...

I like the rivets on the folding bike, it's like yet another Titanic memorial.

Marcel Da Chump said...

Know when to fold 'em.

McFly said...

Man if she sat on my ball that hard it would be purple too.


PLUM SACK

JB said...

Nonplussed ball-bent inventor.

Buffalo Bill said...

Bikes? A whole post about bikes?
How unusual.

DerZoots said...

Folding uniball uncycle anyone?

Anonymous said...

The inventor of the ball recumbent doesn't look too happy.

Anonymous said...

Panties!

Anonymous said...

FFolding panties!

streepo said...

scranus

Anonymous said...

Snob, You should really consider the Bike Share gig.
Just imagine the raw blog material you could mine, refine and present to us, your impoverished bike comedy audience.

Bike hum-ore available for smelting everyday! And you would get paid! Real dosh!

Imagine, A PAYCHECK from the City of New York.

Forget you, Ima gonna apply.

Anonymous said...

Extensive seamless antifungal uniball panties!

Quilled and lugged said...

@ Buffalo Bill.

A whole week without mentioning San Francisco. What gives? Was there something in the soup?

R Jay Squirl said...

bike share?

"At such, may also be hit by that you do not ridiculous Eteshite."

http://harayuan.fc2web.com/bicycle/bcessay265.htm

Thorns said...

One of the great pronouncements revealed in the transcripts of the Watergate tapes was in a conversation between President Nixon and John Erlichman. They were discussing the menu for a state dinner, and the President decreed that the soup course should be eliminated. "Men don't like soup," he said. Erlichman commented in his memoirs that Nixon routinely spilled his soup on his coat and tie.

Thorns said...

One of the great pronouncements revealed in the transcripts of the Watergate tapes was in a conversation between President Nixon and John Erlichman. They were discussing the menu for a state dinner, and the President decreed that the soup course should be eliminated. "Men don't like soup," he said. Erlichman commented in his memoirs that Nixon routinely spilled his soup on his coat and tie.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Can we see more pictures of your artisanal sandwiches please?

BALL BENT

Thorns said...

One of the great discoveries in the transcripts of the Watergate tapes was in a conversation between Richard Nixon and John Erlichman about the menu in an upcoming state dinner. The President decreed that the soup course be eliminated, saying "Men don't like soup." Erlichman's memoir reveals that Nixon routinely dribbled soup onto his lapel and necktie.

Thorns said...

Pardon my dribbling.

colbyandstacy said...

Where's the third scene for the 'bent invention with the lady rider. I missed that in the video :(

pantryfusion said...

If you popular search engine the ball bike guy's company name without the hyphen, you get a whole different view.
It seems that he was the best of the lot at that show.

Recumbabe said...

"If I want to ride two big balls I will call The Cipo thank you very much..."

Louis C.K. said...

Hey Thorns, give it a second, it's going to SPACE.

Anonymous said...

finally getting some credit around here...

balls®

Anonymous said...

yeah, new york really isn't fun unless you're one of those odd people who find living at the center of the universe with the best of culture, cuisine, nightlife, etc at your fingertips.

CommieCanuck said...

Snob, that uniball unicycle pic is wrong, that was actually the 1998 RONCO Flatulence Catcher, the Phartball.$39.99, or free with every RONCO home Kimchee maker.

Alexander the Douche' said...

Who was it that said ...

"Beat your swords into bike frames"

Euell Gibbons said...

free range non GMO parnties

rural 14 said...

ant 2nd!
what was that about soup?

crosspalms said...

I guess if I ever visit the Nixon Library I'll ask where the soup-stained ties and suits are. Maybe they have postcards.

McFly said...

The one cool thing about that folding erector set bike, and I mean the only one cool thing is no matter how easy or hard you were riding it you would always be ON THE RIVET. Break out of prison or build a bike, that's funny .

grog said...

Similar to the bike I made with my erector set. But that's a whole nuther problem.
Ballbike works on water, too?
I actually do fold underwear.
PANT TEES
LIKE SOUP

bikesgonewild said...

...if it wasn't for that funky lookin' oragami bike being in the way, that was a nice little sf 'hipster haven' bicycle travelogue...

...noe valley, the mission, dolores park, the zeitgeist on valencia...everything but a stop at an 'epic burrito' parlor...

...valencia street is a great san francisco phenomena...to accommodate cyclists, the sf works dept took a 4 lane street w/ parking on both sides & reconfigured it to 1 traffic lane & an accompanying bicycle lane running in both directions plus a left turn lane down the middle...

...somehow, the the natural ability of cyclists to feel they are entitled to more, no matter how much is offered means that there are still occasional territorial disputes along valencia but all in all, it's pretty fucking cool...

...the 'wiggle' runs through the area too...

bikesgonewild said...

..."...on the rivet..."...

...nice, mcfly, nice...

ervgopwr said...

RECM BABE

LUVS CIPOs

HUGE BALLs

Quilled and Lugged said...

bgw, another nice feature of Valencia is that for at least ten blocks the lights are sequenced for 13mph. Somehow this works in both directions too, so while it isn't exactly woo-hoo speed, it does enable you to tool along pleasantly, no need to be on the rivet, and admire the passing hipsterscapes...

"Anonymous said...

yeah, new york really isn't fun unless you're one of those odd people who find living at the center of the universe with the best of culture, cuisine, nightlife, etc at your fingertips"

Then why don't you guys stop acting so stressed out and look like you're enjoying yourselves? Pish and tush.

Nebraska Bike Commuter (non DWI edition) said...

I think the Ronin is even uglier than that belt-drive thingy you tried out awhile back. It's as if they kept saying to themselves, "It's not ugly enough yet. How can we make this look even more kludged up?"

Anonymous said...

valencia street is a great san francisco phenomena...to accommodate cyclists, the sf works dept took a 4 lane street w/ parking on both sides & reconfigured it to 1 traffic lane & an accompanying bicycle lane running in both directions plus a left turn lane down the middle...

Hey, they did that to 7th Street in downtown LA too. Somehow though, folks drive like even bigger dickheads now on that street than before they put in the bike lanes.

Anonymous said...

Q&L,
If would invest in a Ronin you could pull off your light timing orchestra and still be on the rivet...even at those speeds.

wishiwasmerckx said...

This brings up one of those fundamental differences between men and women, folding clothes. Women do "laundry origami." Men fold it in half, then fold it in half again, and call it good.

crosspalms said...

wiwm,
Busted.

Except when I bring clothes to work. Then I fold in half, fold in half again and roll the whole thing up...

Anonymous said...

How about the origami guys and the recumbent guy join forces and create something for all the ages to admire, dance around and put on display that our great nation can be proud of! i think I just witnessed the final nail being pounded into the coffin of artisan mayo, coffee, kefir,a.c.v.,cupcakes,olive oil,patchouli,carpets and bikes. Great stuff another for the ages Snob. Classic.

bikesgonewild said...

...quilled n' lugged...ironically & palpably so on occasion, my work brings me down valencia in a car but no matter the speed-timing of those lights, i always feel a little like it's home 'cuz it IS bike friendly...

...used to hang in town years ago & then ride from randall - sanchez area, over to mission, then across cesare chavez (army) down under the freeway past 3rd to illinois & up the waterfront to the ferry building...

...this was long before the ballpark & gentrification, so in those days you rode with a real determined look that said "...fuck you, this bike is mine !!!" 'cuz back then, that part of town by the waterfront was REAL shady...

...but, hey...SF, gotta love it...

Anonymous said...

Is REAL shady in SF like where you put your keys in the console instead of just leaving them in the ignition? Or maybe tying your bike to a pole with a shoestring instead of just leaning it up against it? I need to know these things for reference.

Anonymous said...

It is crucial when writing a resume to cram in enough bogus crapola that your own mother wouldn't recognize you if she read it.
Oh, and using a crayon helps, too.
Attaboy Snobby.

bikesgonewild said...

...anon 5:42pm...sounds like "...REAL shady..." for you would be under an un-pruned tree in pac heights at your mommy's house...

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:42...

If you're really looking for a city with ample shade, you should check out the Noe Valley corporate law crowd. They'll have the fillings from your mouth faster than you can wonder which junkie took your shoestring tied bike.

Max said...

@recumbent conspiracy theorist:

Did someone say artisanal sandwiches?

Doug said...

Hey BGW-I remember when it was South of Market- not SOMA, and we called all those guys bums-not "the homeless".

McFly said...

OH SWEET FANCY MOSES SANDWICH PORN!! Thanks alot my kid has a freakin baseball game at 8 pm and now I am stuck on sandwich porn.

Anonymous said...

I want a New York soup!
(and Japanese leather shorts)

Lanterne Rouge said...

Folding bike designers had a desire to take something simply beautiful and make it complexly ugly. Any goober buying this bike should be given a Pontiac Aztec in which to transport it.

LK said...

Oh gosh, I believe "Ronin" means "Hilpster" in Japanese.

LK said...

Oh, come on! You could fit that folding bike in a Fiero. I loved my Fiero.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontiac_Fiero

Anonymous said...

Snob, take that bike share job..

Imagine all of the BRAing you could do.. hand someone a bike and annoy them with pitches about your crappy book.. Seems like a perfect match to me.

Wear your chicken suit so I can pick you out when I rent my bike.

Anonymous said...

That "Ball 'bent" guy looks quite "plussed"...

Anonymous said...

Dick Nixon grew up like 5-6 miles from where I grew uo.

You can see my house in the backgrund of his kickstarter political fundraising campaign, circa '69.

What does this post have to do w biking7 not sure, I'm afraid

bikesgonewild said...

...doug...i'm with ya on that stuff...

...trendy...everythings gotta be fucking trendy these days...

...you've got places named "hamburger mary's" all over the country these days (for real) except where there ought a' be one - on the corner of folsom & 12st, 'south of market'...

...for years, it was THE late night godsend after the rest of the city had wound down...

...grab some good food, then we'd maybe take our chicks late night dancing at 'the stud' which looked to the outside world like the most hardcore militant gay club ever but where if you were cool, even if you were straight, you were always welcomed...

...sam wo's in chinatown, an institution for 100 years, 3 story's high & maybe 8 feet wide, where you entered through the kitchen on your way upstairs to be insulted by edsel ford fung, the "worlds rudest waiter" is finally closing it's doors...
...mr fung, a 'chinaman' (no disrespect intended) died way back in '84 but his reputation & now sam wo's will live on in sf's rich annals...

...this fucking town is still an amazing place...hope it stays that way...

...just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

BGW -- Your paean to San Francisco made me flash on Zappa's "The Best Band you Never Heard in your Life", in which at one moment, Mike Keneally (I believe), channeling a quavery-voiced Al Gore, sings, accompanied by wailing, parodic horns, "Ah left mah hahrt .... In San Fran Cisco ... "

"One more time, for our men in uniform ..."

Anonymous said...

Nothing says "pro" like portaging your cookie-sheet bike from the drive side.

Anonymous said...

That is the worst folding bike I've ever seen.

Anonymous said...

I saw a "curate" mention in a news story about pinterest. Maybe you should curate a pinterest board.
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/why-men-social-media-pinterest-040127372.html

hillier99 said...

ORGM IBYK

Steve Hays said...

Holy Jesus on a bike! This must have been the "Ugly, Stupid Bike Ideas" blog I ran across... Eck to all of the bikes in today's episode.

Quilled and Lugged said...

@bgw Do you have a kickstarter to fund your memoir writing? I think it's time...

Anonymous said...

pluto

erroneous

ghulam sarwar said...

thank you for sharing

http://designs-article.blogspot.com

sameer said...

nice work keep it up

Anonymous said...

Poop my pants?

sara said...

I like the greyish bike most- is it a real one?

Greets,
Holiday Rentals Saas Fee

Robert said...

o dude, can you roll me a bike?

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