I’ve been bike shopping online for the past few days. Correction: I’ve been bike ogling online for the past few days, because that’s the closest thing to shopping I can afford right now.
Since a trip to New Zealand two years ago, I’ve been trying to figure how avoid being stuck without a bike on nonbiking vacations with my family, or short work-related trips. Everybody wins when I get to ride because, after a few days without pedaling, I get a tad difficult to live with. But hauling a big-ass bike crate isn’t always practical—especially when riding days will be rare, or cargo space is limited in a rental car.
Friends have encouraged me to preserve my dignity and manhood by getting a real bike with S&S couplers; something like a Surly Travelers Check. Folders, they say, are just too nerdy, and don’t handle as well as full-size bikes. I would agree, if not for the wonderful attraction of something that folds into a really small package.
I love the idea of a bike that will fit into a car trunk with a couple of suitcases, or be carried through a hotel lobby without attracting unwanted attention from The Man.
And therein lies my attraction to the Smooth Hound from Dahon. It's portable as hell, yet it actually has a frame that looks like a real bike, instead of just a single tube leading to the headset. It has a mustache bar and a Brooks saddle. In other words, it’s a geek bike with some style.
It’s no replacement for a full-on road or mountain bike, but when faced with the option of an evening of hotel-room cable TV, or a two-hour cruise through a strange city, I’d prefer to try being a bike geek with a little style.