The Folding Bike has Convinced Commuters and Brussels Residents Alike
Up to now we saw them regularly in the city’s train stations in the arms of people starting off to work. Even a few years ago they still seemed unusual, catching our attention, but now they are everywhere. The folding bicycle has definitely conquered the city.
That commuters appreciate folding bikes is logical. They are easy to carry and free of charge in all Belgian public transports. Although it is fairly habitual for a classical bike to be transported on a bus free of charge, this is possible on trams or metros only under certain conditions and on trains there is an extra charge for non-folding bikes, in addition to all the other trouble involved.
The folding bike is thus essential for anyone wishing to combine a bicycle with public transport. As they say, today’s commuter no longer wants to waste time in traffic jams or wait for a bus, but prefers to unfold a bike and get moving.
Now that we no longer commute the same way as before, the folding bike holds other advantages. Some people try to find ways to make their trips useful, like Simon who combines his bike commute with exercise: ‘My office has moved and is now located right next to the station, so most of the time I get off at the previous stop to ride my bike. If not I would not get enough exercise.’
Once equipped with a high performance folding bike, workers in Brussels readily use it throughout the day. If you want to make a classy entrance at a meeting, walk in carrying a folded bike.
The folding bike also fits easily in a car: it is thus practical for a weekend in the countryside or holiday travel. And although this is still uncommon, combining the two transport modes is certainly feasible to reach downtown Brussels.
Folding bike fans, however, are not just commuters. Many Brussels residents have also chosen this model because it is so easy to store in a flat. The way apartment blocks and neighbourhoods are arranged in Brussels makes it hard to park bicycles. Pending more bike sheds in public areas and improved anti-theft measures, the city residents adapt to the situation, or rather adapt their bike.
The folding bike is not a recent invention, but it has been greatly improved in terms of comfort, stability, weight and even its look. If at one time, it felt a bit ridiculous riding along on those tiny wheels, it has now become a must for anyone wishing to tame the capital’s traffic.