From Circuit Breaker, the talk about exercise has been booming all over the world. A lot had turned to indoor exercises like yoga, but some had turned into cycling. During this phase 2, I had the opportunity to ride the Iruka, the Japanese folding bicycle.
Mr Masaki Mark Kobayashi, an ex-CFO designed the Iruka. He had his first experience with foldable bicycles in 2004. After seeing the extent of what folding bicycles could do, he shortly bought one after. You can bring folding bicycles to the train, and onto buses. You can also store them in your car boot.
A misconception I had about folding bicycles was that it would be slow because it was foldable. After riding the Iruka, I learnt that was not true at all.
Before Riding the Japanese Foldable Bike
The last time I rode a bike was during a secondary school class outing where we went to East Coast Park. On that day, I remembered feeling exhausted and I did not go far with the bike. I thought that bikes were really inefficient.
Exercise was also not my thing. I did not have a lot of experience in exercise other than going for walks or occasional runs. I did not even know my neighborhood that well. So getting the Iruka was a bit daunting as I did not have much in mind.
Getting to Know my Neighbourhood
A few days before I got the Iruka, I took a walk around my neighbourhood to at least map out where I wanted to go. It took about 3 hours because I had wanted to at least have a plan or how far I wanted to go. I did not want to be lost in the middle of nowhere with the bike too.
Then when I finally took it for a spin, I realised I had already covered all the places that I wanted to go in less than an hour. It bewildered me.
During the ride, I will admit that I was clumsy. There were times where I lost my balance. To be honest, it was what I expected because it had been a long time since I last rode a bike. Yet, I still managed to go to places I planned to go and more.
This is because the Iruka was a really friendly bike that was easy to ride due to it’s design. Though it took some time getting used to on my part, it felt much easier because of the bike.
The brakes was one of my favourite things about the bike. Since I was still clumsy with cycling, when I felt like I needed to stop, the brakes were really responsive.
One thing I also noticed as I rode was that I did not feel so exhausted. The ride with the Iruka felt smooth and buttery. I had difficulty turning corners but with the Iruka, it felt really easy to me.
Running Errands with the Iruka
When I was out, my mother asked me to stop by the grocery to buy some groceries. This was great, since I could simply fold down the Iruka and bring it with me to the grocery.
I also attracted some people’s eyes and an aunty was really impressed as I folded down the Iruka in front of her. She did not even know that foldable bicycles existed. The aunty was also impressed with how quick you can fold down the Iruka, and how you could roll it.
I also mentioned on how the rear wheel slotted into the centre slit. This was why it has become so compact.
I rolled the Iruka to the grocery store to run some errands. I rolled the Iruka through the aisles, and it really is so compact as I was able to navigate the aisles with no problem.
After that, I unfolded the bike and rode it home.
Going to Work
The next day, I had to go to work, so I decided to take the Iruka with me. I rode the Iruka to the MRT station with a bag on my back. After the ride out the day before, I felt like I got to know the bike. Compared to how I felt before I first rode the Iruka, I felt really confident riding the Iruka to the MRT. Instead of taking the usual 15 minutes to walk to the MRT, it took 5 minutes instead.
I had to fold up the Iruka and roll it into the train. You can also sit with the Iruka as well.
<insert photo of folded iruka on train>
You can bring the this bike on the train, and it doesn’t take up much space. It is compact and light, weighing only 11.9kg. It didn’t get in people’s way as I rolled it into the train.
Get an Iruka
Riding the Iruka has definitely changed my point of view on bicycling. My boss gave me this opportunity to ride the Iruka for the weekend. I personally don’t have a bike right now, but this has definitely made me think to save up for a foldable bike in the future.