Thanks to Tao Jones from WSJ Speakeasy, here’s my 4 paragraphs worth of fame:
I’m far from the only person to have fallen under the folding-bike spell. There’s something about folders that make them eerily addictive. Steve Huang, a graphic designer and avid folder fan, was a well-compensated but unfulfilled insurance broker when he bought his first folding bike, a $100 no-brand model from China. He quickly decided it was too clunky for his purposes, and bought a $400 entry-level Dahon Boardwalk, then moved up to a $550 Breezer i3 — a U.S.-made folder “inspired” by the Brompton. That broke his last shred of resistance.
“I couldn’t help it, I wanted the real thing,” he laughs. “But the starting price on Bromptons is $900. I went home and told my wife that I was thinking of buying another folding bike, and she freaked out. She wouldn’t talk to me all night. Finally, I sold an upright bass I had that I wasn’t playing for $1500, and bought my first Brompton.”
He now has four. He’s quit his insurance job to go back to his first love, graphic design, and to work part-time for David Lam at BFold, New York’s premier folding bike specialist store. And he organizes a regular foodie-folder outing called Brommie Yummie, which brings 30 or 40 Brompton owners together for an all-day ride around the city, punctuated by stops at different restaurants for gourmet nosh. “Our motto is ‘Eat, Bike, Fold,’” he says. Here’s a video of the inaugural ride back on May 23, 2010.
When we discuss why folding bikes are so irresistible, he’s the one who says, “It’s an Asian thing.” Folding bikes make up the majority of the bicycle market in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, driven in large part by space limitations.
“And we all grew up with Voltron and the Transformers,” he notes. “And origami. Folding things is just in our blood. It’s just a part of the Asian collective unconscious”