New Strida rider takes Chicago

After 23 days of waiting (a story for another day), my new red Strida LT and I embarked on our maiden voyage this past Tuesday - 3 miles (~5km) through the streets of Chicago from the dealer’s storefront in Wicker Park to my home in River North. It was a mostly easy ride down Milwaukee Avenue, the city street most heavily travelled by cyclists. En route, I was asked by a passerby at a stop sign to fold and unfold the Strida so he could record video of it on his cell phone. A similar request (sans video) met me from the loading dock security guard in my building. My first bicycle ride in roughly 30 years was so much fun I followed it an hour later with a 2 mile (~3.5km) ride on the lakefront bicycle path.

LIKES: Did I mention it’s fun? The genius of the single speed in a flat city like Chicago is that you can concentrate on just riding and enjoying your surroundings. The belt drive is silent and the frame doesn’t creak in the slightest under my 230lb (~104kg) weight. The Strida is in my experience the easiest bike to ride slowly while maintaining one’s equilibrium - exactly what I want in the stop-and-go of Chicago traffic. Folded, the Strida is ideally configured for riding the elevator in my building. Stored vertically, it fits neatly between two bookcases in the tiny but book-laden apartment my wife and I share.

DISLIKES: The very first time I activated the safety catch on the left handlebar, the button disappeared into its hole and hasn’t returned. The handlebar is stable when unfolded and the quick release is tightened, but I’d still like to have both safety catches in working order. As my dealer isn’t a bike shop (as usual with Areaware’s dealer network), I’ll be taking my Strida to Rapid Transit Cycle Shop (Chicago’s folding and recumbent bike specialist) to see if they can repair it. The stock saddle brought me discomfort early and often. It’s too narrow for riding in an upright position (for me, anyway).

Inspired by another poster, I replaced the stock saddle this morning with a Specialized Expedition Plus saddle. It was much easier to get the stock saddle off the bike than it was to get the Specialized saddle on. In all, it was a 90-minute job finished only when I recognized that attacking from above, using my (considerable) weight, would be the easiest way to fit the rails onto their mount. However, the results were well worth the effort: My 3-mile (~5km) lakefront ride this afternoon brought none of the saddle soreness that plagued me on Tuesday.

I now fear that my happy, carefree days with the Strida LT are numbered. :frowning: My wife is making noises about riding and finds the red LT très chic. Meanwhile, my extensive reading here, on Bike Forums, and elsewhere has me dreaming of a single-speed Brompton in British racing green (which is at least thematically coherent, as both the Strida and the Brompton are quirky, British, engineer-designed folding bikes :sunglasses: ). A test ride at Rapid Transit (when I get the safety catch fixed) awaits.

Hey lexm,

welcome to the Strida Forum and many thanks for the interesting impressions of Chicago.

I am sorry you are having trouble with the handlebar release button, I disliked this part too and changed it.

The picture series to be found here: contains a lot of informative pics (starting with picture 16) to change the button to another style, maybe this will help to solve your problem? The person shown took the “long way”, coming from the end of the grip, removing the bar-end plug only.

In case of bended handlebars this way will be impossible, you will have to remove the handlebars as shown in steps 5 and 6 below:

Best regards

Welcome to the fold of the flying Triangle !!

Those buttons are only ‘lawyer proofing’ ie not just to show people the bars are fully engaged, but also to make the poor end user press them, everytime the bars are folded.

Early Mk3’s did not have them, they were only added later (I know cos I got one).

The buttons are spring loaded from below by a simple bent bit of flexible steel/brass, so if you can see the button, thro the hole, you should be able to nudge it back into the hole where it should pop up again. otherwise the bar can be removed by really loosening the QR lever screw under the stem, and jiggling it out as shown >> on page 8 >> as some Strida3’s had user fit folding bars.

Good news - The button holes in the outer stem forging that grip the bars, gradually wear over a few years use (or if accelerated by a file :smiley: ) … so that the buttons just become ‘visual indicators’ that the bars are ‘in’ with a slight ‘grip’ effect, but they do not need to be pressed, the fold is done just by pulling the bars out - much more user friendly and fast.

It took me less than half a year of daily commuting to wear it out on my right hand side. I like it better, so maybe I should give the left hand side a little help…