Many people know how to cycle, but for those that don't several misconceptions hinder their learning and hold them back.
Before riding the CarryMe foldable bike, I had not cycled for the past 6 years because the last time I rode a bike resulted in me falling flat on my face and ending up with a scar on my chin.
Needless to say, I was pretty scarred (literally and figuratively) by the incident, and the idea of being on any bicycle, let alone a folding bike, terrified me. Since then, I steered away from any activity that required me to be on a bike.
Once, I even walked for 2 hours just to get to Coney Island because I refused to hop on a bicycle. Thinking back, I could have saved a lot of time and energy if my stubborn self had just cycled there. The journey there ended up taking far longer than me walking around the whole of Coney Island.
The fall also led to the formation of countless misconceptions about cycling. Clearly, my past traumatic experience created a bias against bicycles and cyclists in general. I gave myself 101 reasons never to get on a bike ever again.
Fast forward to today, I work at Mighty Velo and I have had to bite the bullet and jump back on a bicycle as part of the work I am involved in.
Riding the CarryMe foldable bicycle for a few weeks now, I have almost forgotten about my fear of riding! Lightweight and easy to manoeuvre, the CarryMe compact folding bike has been a breeze to ride and has cleared many of the misconceptions I held as a non-cyclist before.
1. The weather is too hot to cycle
Living in a country like Singapore where the weather is always sweltering hot, I hardly ever step outside. When I do, I scurry onto a bus or to the MRT station where I take a train to my next destination.
Surprisingly, riding the CarryMe micro folding bike actually eased my discomfort in the heat as the wind actually made the insufferable weather a little more bearable while I was cycling versus when I had to walk under the blazing sun.
If you’re wondering whether foldable bikes can go as fast as a regular bike, yes it can. Folding bikes can go pretty fast. Weighing only 8.4kg, the CarryMe compact folding bicycle is able to go up to a high speed with minimal effort, which makes for a breezy ride.
2. Bringing a bicycle around is inconvenient in Singapore
Bringing a foldable bicycle around Singapore is definitely a whole different experience compared to a typical bike.
Before my experience with the CarryMe compact folding bike, I was not exposed to the idea of a folding bicycle at all – I didn’t even know such bikes existed!
Bringing a folding bike is way more convenient than having to lug around a regular bicycle which is not only huge and unwieldy but requires locking up at a bicycle parking space. Having an LTA-approved foldable bike like the CarryMe micro folding bicycle also would eliminate the need to consider where to park your bicycle, as you can simply fold your bike and bring it into malls, cafes, even onto public transport.
This means that you can cycle to and from anywhere you like, without having to go through the hassle of parking it outside. Simply fold it up and you’re good to go!
Although you might get a few stares (as it is a unique looking bike) and get attention from authorities, like how the SMRT staff advised me to use the lift instead of the escalators, I reckon it’s only because the idea of a foldable bike is not as common yet.
Folding bikes will get more recognition in the future and may possibly become the norm as car prices continue their upward climb, so I don’t consider it a problem in the long run.
On the other hand, it’s a great conversation starter as the folding bike piques others’ curiosity. Strangers often come up to me to ask me about my “weird-looking bicycle”, and I’d be happy to introduce them to my travel companion, the CarryMe compact folding bike in which I have to explain that it is a foldable bike.
3. Clothing choices are limited when cycling
A lot of people might think that you can’t be fashionable while you cycle.
While ladies do have to be careful with their choice of bottoms, there’s really not much else to worry about. There are also a plethora of choices out there and many alternatives that can solve your wardrobe frustrations.
Can’t wear a skirt? Opt for a skort instead! Pants and shorts are generally safe choices and they never go out of style. You can always play with different prints and styles as well, and maybe even dress to compliment your bike!
4. Cycling is dangerous for both cyclists and pedestrians
I used to be annoyed whenever I was strolling casually on the sidewalk, and I hear the chime of a bicycle bell from behind, signalling me to make way.
Why do cyclists have to share the same path as pedestrians? I could not wrap my head around why anyone would think it was a good idea to put the two together on a narrow pathway, putting us pedestrians at risk.
Before using the CarryMe compact folding bike, I only cycled in parks where there were separate paths for bicycles and pedestrians. Now that I’ve experienced both positions, I realized that cycling doesn’t pose as much of a threat to pedestrians as I thought.
All a cyclist requires is for the pedestrian to keep to the left, and the bicycle actually does not require that much space, so pedestrians can continue walking normally without having to go out of their way to let a cyclist cycle past them.
Another perk of the CarryMe micro folding bike is that if you don’t want to cycle on a narrow sidewalk, you don’t have to! You can roll the folded bicycle through these paths without having to worry about knocking into someone. How easy is that?
5. Cycling doesn’t save much time
I convinced myself that walking could be faster than cycling, in order to justify never getting on a bicycle again. Singapore is well-connected and easily accessible with bus stops and train stations. I could easily take a bus and get on with my day just the same, right?
Using the CarryMe folding bicycle has saved me so much of my time. If I miss my bus, I don’t have to wait 20 minutes for the next one anymore. I can hop onto my folding bike, cycle to the MRT station, fold it and roll it onto the train.
I don’t even have to worry about squeezing in the bus during peak hours! The CarryMe folding bike is so public transport friendly cause of its compact size. It leaves a small footprint inside of buses and trains so no-one really minds having it on there.
After I started using the CarryMe micro folding bicycle for my first and last-mile commute, I eventually began to appreciate the convenience of a folding bike and cycling as a way of commuting. A foldable bicycle is definitely a practical tool to shorten our everyday commute and help us maintain an active lifestyle as well.
All the misconceptions I held previously were so easily debunked after a few weeks with the CarryMe folding bicycle! I only regret that I would have discovered the perks of travelling on a bicycle sooner if I had just given cycling another chance during the few years after my fall.