News & Politics

The 1960 Folding Bicycle


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March 23, 1960, Vol. V, No. 22

The Folding Bicycle

By John Wilcock

There’s hardly anyone who doesn’t look incredulous when I remark that I have recently acquired a folding bicycle. It’s made in Japan, imported by S. Itoh and Co., and retails for $65. (I’m getting mine at a trade price because of the supposed publicity value of this column.)

The bike weighs about 35 pounds — about the same as one of those uncomfortable metal office chairs — and can be carried for short distances with one hand. Although it folds down to the size of one wheel, it can be unfolded and locked into a standard-sized bicycle within one minute. It is, I believe, the only make of folding bicycle: during the war, paratroopers dropped carrying collapsible bikes, but they had to be reassembled with tools before they could be ridden.

The negotiations which led to my purchase of this novel item were conducted by a charming guy named Ernest Scher who brought my cycle downtown in the back seat of his small foreign car. I told Ernest that I had a rather obvious question to ask him.

“I’ll give you the answer before you ask the question,” he said. “No, it doesn’t fold up when you’re riding it. It can’t.”

Once I’d learned how to operate all the locking screws, I leaped on the bike and rode uptown. It seemed fine. A little wobbly, maybe, but safe enough. When the weather gets warmer, maybe I’ll ride it uptown to work in the mornings. Once at the Times, I can fold it up, carry it upstairs in the elevator, and fling it under my desk for the day. Or maybe I’ll check it in a parcel locker.

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956. John Wilcock is still going strong at]


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