Easy to Store, Folding Bikes are already the Sales Champion

Adepts Warn Of Special Care When Walking And Doing Maintenance

They pass by and arouse curiosity. They are different from traditional, with wider tires and handlebars. But it’s the smaller size and versatility that have taken folding bikes to gain more and more space on the streets of Belo Horizonte. The ease of folding and storing them in small spaces, besides the possibility of taking them at any time on the bus, subway or taxi, make this type of bicycle is a sales champion in some specialized stores in the capital. For transit authorities, the increase in the number of people opting for alternative transportation is important to improve mobility in the city.

In the accounts of 35-year-old Alessandro Borsagli, owner of a bicycle shop at itypeauto.com on Rua Professor Morais (Neighborhood Employees), nine out of 10 urban bikes sold are foldable.”The sale has grown a lot. People are more interested in the model because they perceive the advantages, “he says. The main differences of the model are the dimensions and the components. The number of marches can vary from traditional ones, with the most common folding ones having one to seven gears (there are marches up to 27 gears, but with a higher cost). The tires are for asphalt, with no blackheads and few grooves. The best-selling models cost between R $ 1.1 thousand and R $ 1.6 thousand.

Despite the differences, since the conventional ones have more marches and bigger dimensions (see art), the foldable skinny one has good performance in the displacements.”Each person should choose a model that meets their need. The folding ones are indicated for the transport in the city, even in a city with hills, like Belo Horizonte. In addition, there are a variety of accessories, such as baskets, which aid in the shopping or transport of objects,”says Alessandro Borsagli.

The businessman, cyclist since childhood and adept at folding bike six years ago, says that the model can be used to exercise. But be warned for some usage restrictions. “It is suitable for the city, not for dirt roads. You also need to avoid going down curbs, jumping obstacles or going through holes so you do not spoil the hinges, “he says. The purchase also requires care, to avoid poor quality parts. “More than thinking about the components, such as a frame and handlebars, the important thing is to be demanding with the hinges, to avoid excessive maintenance or accidents, in case of detachment of these parts,” explains the businessman Vinícius Túlio da Silva, owner of a store in the Carmo-Sion (Center-South). He says the search for the foldable is on the rise.

“Arisca” Anyone who wants to change a conventional bike by folding should also be careful when walking. The narrower handlebar, compared to traditional ones, requires careful handling.”She’s more ‘sexy’, changes direction with any touch. The good side is that, because it is narrower, it is easier to maneuver in traffic,”says the artist Sérgio Guerra, 50. He, who had a collapsible monareta in the 1970s and five years ago bought a new model , Says he is delighted with the new wave.”The bike is comfortable and has a beautiful aesthetic. I think it shines in the urban environment,”he says.

Attracted by the practicality of the model, the psychoanalyst Samir Honorato, 30, gave up the car on day-to-day routes. Until two months ago, I was driving home in the Bairro Santo Antônio, for work, in the Employees’ Neighborhood, in the Center-South Region. “But it started to be unfeasible because the parking space in the building was expensive and there was not much space on the street. My life got much better. I even try to convince friends to make the change,”he says.

Exciting Cycle Paths

The advancement of the folding bicycle model in Belo Horizonte is related to the infrastructure of bicycle lanes and the implementation of the shared bicycle project in Belo Horizonte. The evaluation is by the Superintendent of Development of Projects and Education of BHTrans, Eveline Trevisan. “People have started to use their bicycles more as a means of transportation and have opted for the folding ones more for the versatility it guarantees. The increase is visible in the streets,”he says.

Today, the capital counts on a 70-km bicycle network and the goal is to reach 100 kilometers by the end of the year through the Pedala BH program. According to the superintendent, Belo Horizonte City Hall will sign a contract soon to build another 150 kilometers of cycle paths integrated into transportation networks. “The financing imposes the condition that the routes are next to other modalities, to facilitate the displacements,” he says.

In turn, the shared bicycle system currently has 29 stations and 290 bikes, located in the Pampulha Orla and in the Center-South Region. The project provides for the implementation of 40 stations, in which 400 bicycles will be available by the end of the year.

Improvements In spite of advances, those who pedal in Belo Horizonte take on more agility in the implantation of cycle routes. For psychoanalyst Samir Honorato, who passes through Getúlio Vargas Avenue on the way home from work, the road should have a space reserved for bikes. “There are many fast and fast traffic places that should have unique lanes so we could have more safety,” he said. For Samir, the delimitation of a space for bicycles encourages transportation.

An outlet for the problem, especially at long distances and busier stretches, is the integration with public transport, easier with the folding bike. With conventional ones, bus schedules are limited to Saturdays (after 2:00 pm), Sundays and holidays. On the subway, the permit is daily, but after 8pm. “The BRT follows the same rule as the bus, but with the advantage of having an equipment to accommodate two bicycles in articulated vehicles,” says Eveline Trevisan of BHTrans. According to her, the company has received applications for further use at Move, which are under study.