On the Train with the eFormula

by Jack R. on November 21, 2014

by Mike from DIYBIKE.com

Commuter trains look different when you hold a ticket in one hand and an electric assist folding bike in the other.

This is especially true if you travel to the city from Connecticut, where parking spaces at train stations are often scare, expensive or both. Being able to ride a bike to the Stamford train station instead of park saves at least $8 before I even step onto the platform.

Since folding bikes are allowed on trains anytime, getting on Metro North on peak hours was easy. Even though the fold of the Dahon eFormula isn’t as swift, small or simple as an eBrompton (more on that in another post) the bike is reasonably small – even with the battery pack attached.

I am not sure if the bike will fit in the overhead rack – it didn’t get in anyone’s way sitting in the vestibule so I didn’t feel like trying. I still conducted a test: from time to time, it is necessary to move from one vestibule to another and I did so carrying the Dahon eFormula through the narrow aisle. I imagine that doing it for more than one train car length would have been tiring (I had to hold the bike at mid-chest level in front of me with both hands) but for this simple maneuver, it was fine.

The move also meant that carrying the bike through a turnstile would be a piece of cake.

All the times I bring a folding bike on the train, I always unfold it after the Metro North passes the Harlem stop so I can roll it out at Grand Central Terminal. Doing the 15-second Dahon fold – even with a few people standing around me – was easy.

This particular train I was on arrived in the dreaded ‘lower level’ track, which meant I had to climb some stairs in order to avoid urine-scented elevators. Since the weight of the Dahon eFormula feels evenly distributed when unfolded, I was able to grip the top tube just over the crank and carry it up without banging the bike into my fellow travelers.

And, of course, the feeling I got from not having to descend from GCT’s main hall into the subway system – and instead exiting the station and into the day – is like no other.
Not only that, but the bike fits under most desks and if your feet do happen to hit it during your workday you’ll probably smile a bit knowing you can ride the bike home.

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