Traveling the country with Portland Nutcases and our new (very affordable) Citizen folding bicycles!

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I was 10. I had a 3 speed pink banana seat with handlebar fringe… It was a cruiser-looking thing with no fenders that left a mud track up my back as I sped through puddles. I had no fear then. I rode free. Then the helmet law went into effect and my parents got me a very uncool, giant, styrofoam egghead monstrosity that I refused to wear, and thus, I lost my bike privileges. Rightly so.

I hadn’t been on a bike since.

But, you know what they say; it’s like having sex with an elephant… you never forget it! (That’s how the saying goes, right?)

20 years later my Husband and I head to a classy PDX bike shop, at which we are told that the $169 bike we want is not acceptable. What we “really need” is a $1500-$3000 Brompton with all the fixins.

I wanted an affordable, folding bike that would fit in ALFie’s tight corners and the bike experts in Portland told me that any bike under $200 would leave me dissatisfied due to it’s lack of resale value, tendency to last only a few years, and due to it being best for only short treks around town and country (no mountain trails or Tour de France for me! HA!)

Little did they know, they were talking me right into the Citizen Tokyo — a simple, folding, short commuter that had little value to bike thieves, would last for a few years (at least), was perfect for short commutes (see: to the RV bathrooms, across farms, from bus to grocer, around quaint shopping districts, through beach boardwalks and old ghost towns…); AND folds into a tiny, lightweight, origami-style pile that fits into a canvas carrying case, but still retained enough craftsmanship to carry our weight, ride over gravel, and had a decent Shimano gear system (which is apparently a great thing). They have 16″ wheels, weigh under 30 lbs, and ride close to a normal bike if you adjust the seat and handlebars properly.

We ordered two online, received both via FedEx from Florida exactly one week later, and had them checked out at a local shop to have them greased-up and looked-over.

They are impressive for the price, VERY compact and easy to store, handle perfectly for our needs, and they are super cute. I might even add some handlebar fringe.

Now, which locks and helmets should we invest in? Let us know!

-Kristina-

Update: Thanks to our reader and friend, Tim, for suggesting the Nutcase helmets! We love them, they are Portland-made, wicked-stylish, and don’t make us feel like eggheads at all! They come in every color and finish imaginable (our choices were matte black and metallic gold with glitter)! Plus, they have the best combo of ratings, fit, style, and price that we could find! 

We’ve been riding our Citizen bikes all over the country during our travels. The bikes and helmets have held up even better than expected! AWESOME!

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3 thoughts on “Traveling the country with Portland Nutcases and our new (very affordable) Citizen folding bicycles!

  1. My parents are former RV people, and we still get their camping world catalogs in the mail (when you become an RVer, any state can be your home). Anyway, that catalog teaches me that portable solar and foldable bikes are cheaper when you buy them for purposes that aren’t cool, like RVing. Anyway, Velo Cult in the Hollywood neighborhood has these u-locks that are less expensive than Kryptonites, and they look just as good. I think they’re branded as Portland locks, but I can’t find any information online. And helmets? Look up Nutcase. Local company doing fun designs on helmets, and very affordable. http://nutcasehelmets.com/

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