Cycling Alternatives – Tern Link D8

Cycling has made me stronger, leaner, and healthier.  I ride a trike, though, because of several disability issues that are unlikely to ever go away completely.  Because of an intermittent balance problem, bicycling on roads with cars that go at speed is just not a good idea.  That’s one major reason why I ride a trike.  Though the problem occurs only a couple of times a year — and so far, only when I’ve been on foot — it comes on without warning, and requires immediate remediation (via a pill I carry at all times). Three wheels, then, make a lot of sense.

But I’ve been beginning to wonder if I might be able to ride a bicycle on trails where several thousand pound vehicles won’t be an issue, and where all speeds involved are likely to be slower.  In the unlikely event of a completely unexpected fall on a trail, I’d probably only cause damage to myself, and, possibly, my bike.  I’d also like to have a more compact cycle, that I could take in the trunk of my car, and on trains, too.  And I’d like to be able to ride on the trails when it’s rainy or misty; I can’t do that on Pegasus.

So I’m beginning to consider an ancillary cycle to supplement the riding I do on Pegasus.  When I was in New York earlier this summer, I test rode the Tern D8.

Yeah, I fell in Internet love with the D8.  On paper, it looks like a perfect “does-it-all” folder for a recreational cyclist.  It’s reasonably priced for a quality, just-above-entry-level folding bicycle.  Internet love aside, it’s pretty cool in person, too.  I picked it up at an UES shop, and test-rode it in nearby Carl Shurz Park, along the East River (or Estuary, for those of you who prefer precision over tradition).

The guy at the shop told me that 10-15 minutes of riding would be enough to tell me if the bike were right for me, but I’m not convinced, especially since the cycle I use regularly is such a different beast.  But I did ride long enough to learn that the D8 is a very nifty little bike.  Here’s the shot with the view included:

Man, is New York amazing.

In spite of the fact that I’m only used to riding a trike, the Tern was very easy to handle after the first couple of minutes. It responds more sharply (is that a technical term?) and immediately, than a full-sized bike, and, therefore, demands a faster reaction time from the rider, but adapting to that was easy.  I was whipping around the park in no time.

I didn’t encounter much in the way of hills in the park, but the inclines I tried were easily handled by the available gears, and shifting was smooth and effortless.  The bike was extremely comfortable; it folds like a dream, and, at 26 pounds, is plenty easy enough to lift and carry, though not for long distances.  Did I mention that this baby is fun to ride? Ohhh, yeah!

My one concern is that the handlebars aren’t adjustable, and I really will need to spend more time on it to be certain that they wouldn’t be an issue on a long ride.  Maybe I can talk the shop into renting it to me for an hour or so?  Even several ten or twenty minute sessions won’t be as useful as seeing how it feels over a much longer ride.  It’s a big leap from a trike — even one as nimble as Pegasus — to a smaller, lighter, folder.  If I make this move, I want to choose the right bike.

If I buy it, I’ll also get a Tern Trolley Rack, too, since that will make it much easier to transport the D8, folded, through train stations, and potentially elsewhere.

The Trolley bolts onto the frame, with or without the included cover, and you just fold and flip the Tern, and then pull it by the seat.  There are two small wheels attached to the almost vertical bar rising beside the rear tire, on the rear ends of the (nearly) horizontal bars.

Since this might become the vacay-and-weekends-away vehicle, the Trolley might extend use potentials.  (The image — the best I’ve seen that shows the Trolley clearly in relation to the frame — is from Evans Cycles, a UK dealer.)

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