In New York City, there are almost too many road hazards to count for bicycle commuters. First off, you have crazy drivers, not only in cars, but buses and taxis as well. Pedestrians jump out into the street constantly to flag down cabs. Trucks double park and unload their cargo right in the bike lane. Plus you've got potholes, sewer grates, road construction, and more.
Experienced cyclists can learn to avoid all of this and ride to work safely, and bicycle lanes have worked wonders in recent years to prevent bike accidents. Of course, there is one unavoidable hazard that strikes occasionally and is practically impossible to bike through: snow. The winter months are scary, because a random snow storm can prevent even the most avid cyclist from hitting the road. In the last two years, I've found that there is one great solution to dealing with snow and ice...
Let's say you ride your bike to work in the morning and it's a pretty clear day. You work for eight hours, and come outside only to find a blizzard. Now you've got a full size bicycle and you live ten miles away. How do you get home? Sure you can try to fit it in the back of a cab, but most regular taxis won't take a bike. You can try to fit your bike on the subway during rush hour, but it's hard enough to get your body in there. The only practical thing to do is use a folding bike.
In New York City, folding bikes are kings of the road. They're allowed on Long Island Railroad, Metro North, and PATH without any issues. Bikes not allowed in your building? Get a cover for your folding bike and it's no longer a problem. They fit in cabs, subways, and buses without taking up more space than a large suitcase.
So let's look at this story from a different standpoint. You ride your folding bicycle to work in the morning, and despite the small wheels, you find that it handles pretty well. Instead of worrying about a bike room or street parking, you can bring this right up to your office and park it behind your desk. When you leave your job to ride home and discover the blizzard, just hail a cab or hop on the subway. A bike that folds is a portable solution to an urban lifestyle. Plus, you don't have to worry about theft or rust, since you can bring it inside with you.
The English-made Brompton folding bicycles make the smallest folded package. These are great space savers for small apartments. The widely popular Dahon folding bikes come in several frame styles and wheel sizes, to cater toward any rider. The Xootr Swift folder is the most similar to a full-size bike ride. There are many different types of folding bicycles for many different riding styles.
Stop into the NYCeWheels shop on the Upper East Side and test drive a folding bicycle!