While working in China I was able to test 23 folders and settled on the Strida-5.
I travel 9 months out of the year and stay away from home many weeks at a time. The Strida-5 is perfect for my kind of life style. I used to bring my fixed gear on these trips but could not load the bike on high speed trains that do not offer baggage cars or bicycle storage areas and those that did normally would not let me bring the bike on because of the chain grease issue.
So after testing folding bikes in Taiwan and China I settled on the Strida-5 and sense June of 2008 this has been the only bike I have ridden. In that time the bike has been ridden in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the US. I have ridden 3 50 mile organized rides on the Strida and on weekend trips have covered 60 to 65 miles each day for two days. Basically 30 before lunch and 30 miles after.
The only modification I have done is to switch the pedals out for Speedplay Frogs. Having the ability to provide power to the rear wheel over 340 degrees of rotation improves the machine’s climbing ability and also increases its handling abilities. With the Frogs I can ride hands off and can even take my jacket off while riding. I admit that I always rode my fixed cleated in and have been riding fixed geared machines sense 1974 so after the first three months of pedaling with standard pedals I knew I had to upgrade to improve my spin rate and power delivery.
I have a hard case for the Strida so air travel is easy. The only tools I now have to bring with me are a three Allen wrench Parks, a Parks truing wrench, a 15 mm cone wrench (for the pedals) and a hand pump. When I was traveling with a standard fixed gear I had to bring a lot more tools for assembly and maintaining the bike during extended stays.
I enjoy the 56 inch gearing. My road fixed is geared at 66 and my mountain bike fixed at 50. I enjoy a pedal cadence of 90 rpm so the 56 inch gearing is enjoyable for me and it allows me to ride the Strida on the street and also on dirt rails to trails. This fall I had the time so I rode the Des Plains River Trail from the Wisconsin boarder south 45 miles, spent the night and rode back the next day. This trail is hard packed limestone and the Strida-5 handled it very well.
I am 5’10.5 and have the seat height set so I can only touch down with the tips of both shoes and I have the seat adjusted as far back as it can go. As such I have no issues with the riding position.
I road my normal 14 week spring training session on the Strida-5:
Weeks 1 & 2 - 1 hour every day
Weeks 3 & 4 - 1.5 hours every day
Weeks 5 & 6 - 2 hours every day
Weeks 7 & 8 - 2.5 hours every day
Weeks 9 - 10 - 3 hours every day
Weeks 11 - 12 - 3.5 hours every day
Weeks 13 & 14 - 4 hours every day
I was working on the road and living out of a hotel so riding is approved by my wife, partying is not. I rode to and from work every day so even the 4 hours a day was pretty easy to get in and when I traveled to different cities on the weekends I actually rode more than 4 hours each day.
After my spring fling to get in shape I ride the following schedule on the Strida-5 weather, attitude, job, and wife permitting:
Monday - 2 hours
Tuesday - 3 hours
Wednesday - 4 hours
Thursday - 3 hours
Friday - 2 hours
Week days are easy to get the time in because I ride to an from work and to get in the time I ride many different routes with Wednesday stopping for breakfast on the way to work and dinner on the way back (hours are time spent on the bike, not eating). You cannot race on the Strida so my training rides have become fun rides used to keep in shape for the fall organized rides and to tour new cities my job takes me to.
Saturday & Sunday - fun ride one day or the other but not both except one weekend a month attend an organized ride of 25, or 50 miles and ride on both days.
I think most of the complaints about riding the Strida for distance is that you have to be in shape to do it. The Strida is not forgiving over the miles so if the first mile sucks, they all will. I actually enjoy riding this bike more than my 700c fixed road bike when I am in shape.
So now that winter is here I will ride a lot less, I use winter to date my wife and focus on her to the point that she cannot wait until spring training and travel begins.
A little about me so that you can judge the value of this post:
I am 53 years old, married for 29 years, made Cat 2 on the Velodrome and raced until I was 49. Was never great, did make 25th in the nation (masters level 40 to 45 age group) when I was 40 but I think a lot of my competition were sick and did not make nationals that year.