When I began to ride bicycles again as an adult, I invited my friend John W. Robot (a.k.a. JohnBot) out to ride. In the summer, I’d ride to “College For The Easily Amused” – the Twin Cities (Spin Cities) local yo-yo club that we are both part of. Yes, we’re nerds.

John said he didn’t have a bike, but another one of our yo-yoing compatriots led on that he does in fact have a bike that he bought in Japan. My curiosity was peaked, so I kept pressing John about it. He said it isn’t very useful because it’s a folding bike, and it’s very small. My crazy modder/engineer mind now demanded to see the bike because I knew we could turn it from a novelty into (slightly more) useful transportation.  This bike has some neat quirks including a drum-brake that everyone I’ve spoken to claim will last the lifetime of the bicycle (or rider).  It also has the front and back brake levers reversed from what I expect… a trait that John insists keeping because it’s part of the bike’s character.


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At my age, it’s not often that I get to say this anymore:

I’m too young to remember but… Bike shops back in the day had a mechanic who was also versed in welding and brazing. He may not have been a bike builder by trade, but knew how to add accoutrements to an average bicycle such as eyelets for racks, fenders, bottles, etc. Today that person doesn’t exist in the bike shop, but s/he does still exist, in the form of your local bicycle builder.

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