Wednesday, November 28, 2018

On being Other in a world that would rather I wasn't

So this is the blog where I get the most political.
Because bicycles, sustainability, economic justice and social justice all intersect here.

So when I'm called out for speaking my truth, for calling out a case of cultural appropriation, and then getting my head handed to me by the folks who basically rule in my professional landscape, well, that really hurts.

Here is the text of a post I shared elsewhere, and then retracted because it was too politically charged and the language deemed too hurtful.

Can you handle metaphor? Promise? Great. Read on.

***    ***    ***   

(from a FB post earlier today)

I'm about to get my head handed to me somewhere. But I think this needs to be said.
I watched the newest video from the vocal band Six13. Six13 is an a cappella group of six Orthodox Jewish men and their harmonies and arrangements are often amazing. Their musicianship is evident in everything they record.


Their latest video is a "parody" of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," with the lyrics re-written to tell the story of Chanukah but the vocal harmonies left the same as in the original.
It's well-crafted.


AND --

I actually did not like this at all. And I had to think about why I didn't like it. Because on its face it is pretty cool.
Until I finally realized that I struggle to appreciate this because six frum boys appropriated the musical genius of a man whose pansexuality and flamboyance they might not defend publicly if he were still alive today.


Cultural appropriation of queer people is a real thing. And it troubles me deeply. Especially when it's done by people who think it's perfectly fine to condemn the individual human being while at the same time borrowing his artistic gift.
And I guess that's why I can't get excited about this.
Sorry.


As a queer person, I'm just calling it like I see it.


Cultural appropriation is theft.
Cultural appropriation is murder.


***    ***    ***    ***

So that's what I originally posted. At my personal FB page, which probably has too much overlap with my professional life. (Yeah. I'm gonna work on that.)

And within five minutes of hitting "post" I was besieged by over a dozen Jewish professional colleagues who PM'd me to tell me my post was inappropriate and that I owed the group an apology because my words were so hurtful.

I sent the apology. And, because I'm sensitive to the realities of my professional landscape, I also decided to pull the post by marking it "Me Only". I didn't delete it because while my words are intense, they are still how I feel. And at some future moment I will want to return to them and re-read them and ponder.

These guys may be all over the map individually, but they move with ease through the Orthodox world, and within a system that says queers are not acceptable and that women should not sing out loud within earshot of men because inserting the controls for men's sexual urges is actually the woman's job. (No Jewish stream is monolithic, but Orthodoxy is more unified and leans more rightward on a lot of social issues than most other streams of Jewish identity. So, sorry, but yeah, that's a thing.)

The older I get, the angrier I get -- especially about everything I've had to stuff over a lifetime of being not only other, but silenced for it. And I guess that at some future point I'll be compelled to choose between keeping peace in my professional landscape so I can get work, or throwing up my hands and deciding that I'm going to be like the Shondes, a Jewish band who will likely never perform in a mainstream Jewish space again because of their sexual and global politics.

I'll put this aside for now. Anyone who wants to read it here, read away. If you want to seriously engage, and if you can do that without attacking me, great. I'd love it. But if all you want to do is tell me to shut up about my pain and anger, I'm not interested. See ya.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

introducing my new blog

In the past I've shared occasional forays into my drumming world at this blog.
But as my interest in drumming has grown, and I've made more time for drumming in my daily musical life, I figure it's time to make space for it elsewhere.

If you or someone you love is into drums and percussion, check out DRUMLOVE, my new blog devoted to drums and percussion and everything related to it.

Check it out!


Monday, November 12, 2018

2018 Coffeeneuring Challenge # 9 & 10 ("Make mine a double")

Everything is bonus now, but since the Challenge is ending soon I've decided to add more as I'm able to. The weather turned cold last week, and this week the lows are down into the 30s at night. The air is cold and dry, and as long as I bundle up it's actually pretty nice riding.
Today I ran errands after my morning's work. My first stop was New Seasons Market on North Williams, to pick up a couple of staples and have a cup of coffee.


Stumptown Coffee makes a special blend for the New Seasons Market chain. It's robust and very flavorful without being overly strong.

I coupled it with a favorite treat -- New Seasons' Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Krispy bar. Try it.

After that, I rode over to a friend's house not far from the market, to pick up my official Unpresidented Brass Band t-shirt. It's a little cold to play gigs in a t-shirt now -- word on the street is that we'll also be ordering hoodies soon -- but it was nice to finally get a t-shirt after playing with these guys a few times.

After I left my friend's house, I pedaled over to Breadwinner Cycles Cafe.

I still had some coffee in my mug, but I needed a bathroom and figured I could find something cheap to buy while I stopped there. I enjoyed a fabulous peanut butter cookie (I can basically eat peanut butter every day. I love the stuff) and relaxed with a magazine while I watched a new frame being brazed.

Breadwinner Cycles, a partnership between custom frame builders Ira Ryan and Tony Pereira,  has grown in both reputation and production since its beginnings several years ago. Today the workshop is housed inside a spacious industrial building with room for a small cafe. A large window allows cafe patrons to watch the craftspeople at work.

I will never buy a frame here -- I have all the bikes I need and they work perfectly fine for me -- but the bicycles made here are exquisite, beautifully and durably-made works of true craft. I've known these guys a long time and am happy to patronize their business in any way I can. (Breadwinner has a nice partnership with Water Avenue Coffee, which is locally roasted and absolutely delicious. Get some.)
I ran a couple more errands on the way home. The air was cooling as the sun sank lower in the sky, and the wind picked up again. Although my bad knee was beginning to complain, I still enjoyed riding along with the wind behind me for a change. By the time I rolled up to the house it was going on 4:30 and the moon was high in the evening sky. When I looked for it again a couple of hours later, it was larger, lower in the sky and about to set.  Long winter evenings are returning, and with them shorter rides in more layers, and hot tea when I get home.



This will possibly be the last intentional ride I log for the Coffeeneuring Challenge. It's been fun, but at this point I've got a ton of prep still to do for my big extended [music] tour of the year, coming up at month-end. I'll ride more, of course, but at this point I'll file future coffeeneuring rides under Off-Season Coffeeneuring (see #alwaysbecoffeeneuring).

Buckets of appreciation to Mary G. for hosting the 8th year of the Challenge. One of my favorite colder-weather ride series and I enjoy it every year. Looking forward to the Errandonnee later this winter, and of course the annual #30daysofbiking next April.

Until then, I'll be looking for reasons to enjoy short neighborhood rides.
Happy riding!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

2018 coffeeneuring challenge # 8: Havurah Shalom

My synagogue community, Havurah Shalom, holds worship services every Saturday morning without fail. Our Conservative-style gathering includes lots of singing and praying, all centered around a Torah service where we read the weekly portion from the Torah scroll. We end by blessing wine/juice and breaking bread together. Sometimes there's a kiddush lunch, too.

Today's service, part of a worldwide movement called #solidarityshabbat, was advertised as a "slightly expanded" regular community minyan. Sweetie was really tired and underslept, so she stayed home and I rode into town. I made coffee to take along in my thermal cup (Nossa Familia Italian Roast. Get some) and rode away from the house in cool air with a touch of leftover nighttime dampness.
Photo: Interstate Avenue bike lane, leading up to the Broadway Bridge. Those are grain silos. The Willamette River is below, on the other side of them. Trains bring wheat from Eastern Oregon, and it's loaded onto ships headed for Asia and Europe.
Oregon is a major contributor to US exports opf hard wheat.













Below: On the Broadway Bridge, with the Fremont Bridge in the distance.


My tallit (prayer shawl) in its bag.
I didn't need to stick it in a plastic bag because it stayed dry all day.











The All-Rounder, parked outside my shul, Havurah Shalom. The sanctuary was packed to standing room only. People sang and swayed to the music, and talked with each other about our collective fear. We resolved to move forward together to help each other and make our community and our world safer and better.

It was a really good morning to spend in community.

Riding home was sweet. I rode along tree-lined streets turned golden by the changing season.
Riding under trees that were shaped like a leafy canopy took my breath away. Knowing that within a month it would be gone, I had to stop and admire it. And give thanks.
































(looking eastward on N. Ainsworth Street.)
There is nothing like riding at a slow enough pace to actually notice beauty. Total: around 9 miles.

I may try and squeak in another one or two Coffee rides before the Challenge ends.
Happy riding!

Friday, November 2, 2018

2018 coffeeneuring challenge # 7 -- bento-neuring edition: Gino's Teriyaki

It got too late in the day to get coffee, so I went for lunch. Gino's Teriyaki has been a mainstay on Killingsworth for years. Last summer it changed owners and the menu and service have slowly crept downward. Still, I had hopes for something decent.
The chicken bowl was okay. They were out of soy sauce. (Really? What Asian restaurant runs out of soy sauce? Seriously.)







The bike rack is just ridiculous.
Nowhere else to go without sticking the back end out into a car parking spot.
And when I do that, someone complains.
..::sigh::..










Meanwhile, the place looks sad and quiet. At the height of the lunch rush there were exactly three people eating inside. The sign on the window advertising "Cashier Wanted" had been there for a few weeks. Good help is hard to find, I guess.
My lunch was merely okay. I drank a whole lot of water (beverage requirement fulfilled.)
But I needed a ride to forget it.
Fortunately, the fall colors are still pretty splendid around here so I didn't lack for pretty sights to lift my spirits.

Mood: better after a two-mile ramble around Woodlawn neighborhood.

It's not coffee, but I rode at least four miles and I drank something with my lunch. I'll call it good. Though I suspect I won't go back unless the place changes hands again.
Because right now, it's a plateful of meh.





In other news: The local black community paper, which I read over lunch, interviewed folks about why voting matters to them. Four of the five featured all gave perfectly sound reasons for voting.

The fifth said this:
Pathetic.
Entitled brat.
Yeah, I know.
But still, if you don't vote you shouldn't be allowed to bitch.
(Harrumph.)

Looking forward to riding into town tomorrow for services, and getting some good coffee on the way home. Wherever you are, be sure to vote next Tuesday -- and happy riding!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

2018 coffeeneuring challenge # 5 & 6: ashland, oregon

Just got home from a week in Ashland, Oregon, seeing the final week of plays in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2018 season with family and friends. Knowing that there'd be a lot of sitting around, Idecided to take the folding bike and run it through some longer paces.

In order to accommodate the show schedule (6 plays in 5 days), I opted to do # 5 early in the week, a stretch of the rules but still well within the spirit of coffeeneuring.


Ride # 5: Case Coffee, Ashland.

This began with a ride around downtown Ashland to see the lay of the land by bicycle. The folder worked beautifully and once I dialed in the saddle height I was very comfortable.
First stop: Brothers Restaurant, where I was treated indifferently by a distracted waiter and served a small coffee for three bucks that turned out to be lukewarm and weak.
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I didn't sip it until I'd gotten back to my bike, so by then I decided not to make a stink. But I knew I had to find something better or I'd be sad all afternoon.

So I saddled up and rode out onto Siskyou Boulevard, out to the far end of Southern Oregon University, where I saw a cafe called Case. I decided to toss my coffee and try again.
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I was pleasantly surprised. The coffee was fresh, hot and had an interesting almost floral finish that worked well with cream and sugar.
I would return to Case three more times during my stay in Ashland, because the coffee was simply and reliably awesome every time. I learned that there are two locations: "Upper" Case on Siskyou (whee they roast their beans) and "Lower" Case on Lithia Way (a smaller, more intimate location)  near our hotel. Both had great coffee and a nice selection of pastries.

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The ride there and back was lovely and allowed me to see more of Ashland than just the downtown quarter neat the OSF theatres. I'll certainly visit Case again next time I'm down there.
Total: 5 miles

Ride # 6: Pony Espresso, Ashland.

This began with word first thing in the morning about the synagogue murders in Pittsburgh, PA. Sweetie and I were devastated but knew the place to go was the shul where we'd planned to attend services anyway. I decided to take the bike so I could have a slightly longer a ride out into the country to Temple Emek Shalom. The community was warmly welcoming and glad to have us join them, and praying with them was a balm for my head and heart. I promised that I'd return when my travels brought me back to Ashland.

After services, I took a scenic route back to town along the Bear Creek Path and wound up at Pony Espresso Cafe, where I stopped for a fresh cup of Columbian and a piece of lemon pound cake I'd brought along from the Oneg Shabbat table at the shul. Nice combination. And a longer ride on a gorgeous day that was sunny and unseasonably warm, with a high of almost 70F.
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Total: about 7 miles.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

2018 coffeeneuring challenge # 4: taco bell. (i know, i know.)

I left the house around 12:30 and rode to three different places that all turned out to be closed on Sundays. The fourth place had a line out the door. In the end, I decided to go to Peet's, where I thought I had a little something left on my card. But on the way there, I was confronted with yet another block of tents parked along a sidewalk.

My heart sank.

Shit, I thought. Will this ever get better? And what can I do about it if the people with the power and wealth won't do anything?
An estimated 4,000 to 5,000 men, women and children go to sleep outside every night in Portland, due to a crippling combination of things that all point to the one big thing: poverty.

When you're dirt poor in a city, you can't always access medical or social services. The cost of transit fare may be enough to halt you in your tracks. Rents are rising much faster than wages. There is a severe lack of affordable housing that the city and development interests are simply not acting to remedy.

So we have a ton of people forced to sleep outside.
And their numbers are growing.

Distraught at the sight of another row of tents, I lost all interest in coffee. But I hadn't eaten anything since around 7am and it was going on 2:30. I had to eat something in order to take my meds, so I went to the closest place I could find: A Taco Bell.

Yeah, I know. It really is all that bad.
I ordered a veggie burrito and some cinnamon twists, and ate them with my own bottle of water while I watched the people around me.

Inside and outside the restaurant, people who looked like they hadn't bathed or eaten in days clustered around benches, fell asleep at an inside table, or nibbled the edge of a paper cup that had held liquid hours ago.

My "lunch," such as it was, cost less than three bucks. Fast food is cheap and that's why poor people eat lots of it.

Not sure whether or not I'll continue the coffeeneuring challenge. Today, like so many other things I do in my day to day living, it feels sort of pointless. I'll see how things go tomorrow.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

2018 coffeeneuring challenge # 3; arbor lodge coffee


Saturday came and went. After helping to lead services at my shul, I picked up my new glasses at the optometrist, came home and crashed for a long Shabbes nap. I woke up at 4, realized I hadn't ridden all day, and decided to take an evening ride. The sun was low in the sky and would set soon, but there was still plenty of light as I made my way to The Arbor Lodge Coffee. I got there half an hour before closing and was treated to a free cup at the end of the pot of coffee, and a day-old snickerdoodle for twenty-five cents.
 
I also bought a patch. The price was right (three bucks) and I liked the design. I'll make some space for it on one of my bike bags.

I continued on to Overlook and turned south onto Willamette Boulevard, enjoying the cooling air and the dramatic drop of the sun behind the west hills.

I was also really enjoying the Dahon folding bike, which I plan to take with me to Ashland next week so I can get some riding in between plays at the Shakespeare Festival.

I'd attached a Bushwhacker "Shasta" handlebar pouch to hold my coffee cup, at the suggestion of a reader of this blog (thanks!). It's not perfect -- it hangs at a slight angle because the straps are not positioned exactly to fit the folding bike setup -- and has no extra pockets the way the fancy, locally-sewn ones do; but for ten bucks it fits the bill nicely without getting in the way of pedaling, and it's far more affordable than the locally-made models that start at $50.

Autumn here has been warm and dry, so the leaves have taken their time in turning and falling. But there are enough leaves on the ground now that I think we're on the downward slope of the season. Rain is forecast for the end of next week and after that most of the rest of the leaves will make their way to the ground. I've been enjoying the rich colors on my rides



Sunset at Overlook (with the Willamette River and industrial complex below, and the West Hills in the distance; and moonrise as seen from N. Rosa Parks Way.
Total: around six miles. It was still just barely light enough when I got home that I quickly mowed the lawn before the light faded. One less thing to do tomorrow, and more time to ride.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

2018 coffeeneuring challenge # 2: world cup coffee & tea

Today's adventure dawned clear and cool. The ride into town was delicious, cold enough to need a sweater, wool cap and full-finger gloves but not freezing. And whenever I rode in the sun my back ws pleasantly warmed.
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I rode into northwest Portland and up to World Cup Coffee & Tea, where I ordered a cup of the dark roast and a bagel. I had invited other Portland coffeeneurs to join me, but none did. It gave me an opportunity to people-watch and enjoy the changing colors of fall.

I also introduced myself to the new manager, gave him my card and told him of my musical history with the cafe. I suggested we talk about me coming in and playing live music some Sunday morning. He was interested and said he'd be in touch.
Before I left, I got a ginger cookie that was absolutely delicious.
So if you go there, get the ginger cookie.

Friday, October 12, 2018

2018 coffeeneuring challenige #1: Starbucks, NE MLK & Ainsworth

I went with the tried and true today, a warmup for Coffeeneuring and a longer test ride of my new (to me) folding bike. Scored well on both counts.

I know some people are down on Starbucks, but sometimes when you need decent coffee and there's nothing else nearby, you know what you'll get there. Because if nothing else, Starbucks is consistent, and consistently far better than Dunkin' Donuts.

I also wanted to try out a longer ride on the new folding bike that I got last month and which I've been steadily upgrading and tweaking to make it better.

A minor saddle adjustment along the way was all I needed to make this a pretty happy ride.

I still can't stand the folding pedals, but I'm not ready to pop fifty bucks for something fancy.
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 The cup I've taken with me on almost every Coffeeneuring ride since I found it seven years ago, from Klean Kanteen, is still going strong and still keeping my coffee hot (or cold, as was the case with today's frappacino). I found this lying on the sidewalk on the Broadway Bridge. The brown paint has chipped off even more and at some point it will all be gone. A great thermal cup and worth every penny, even if I had bought it. Which I didn't in this case.
Tomorrow, the Portland-area social kickoff of the Challenge, a meetup in the morning at World Cup Coffee & Tea on NW Glisan. Cheers!
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Thursday, October 11, 2018

UPDATE: the dahon folder, version 3.0

After installing the B'Stone "half moon" handlebar, I still wasn't happy with the Dahon I'd recently acquired. It was geared too high; the rapid-rise derailleur was fussy and giving me fits; and the plastic pedals were flimsy and uncomfortable. So I resolved to take one more crack at making this bike make sense for me before giving up on it.

1. I ordered a new crankset with a smaller chainring. The loose-bearing bottom bracket came with a spindle that was a touch too short for the new cranks, and the raced bearings were just awful. I overhauled it with loose bearings and a slightly longer spindle from the parts box. Switching from 52t to 48t was a revelation. Also, the cheesy, plastic anti-chain-jump device was no longer needed with chain guards on both sides of the chainring, so I yanked it from the seat tube altogether.

2. I scored some all-metal folding pedals really cheap on eBay. They are sturdier, but no more comfortable than the plastic ones they replaced. I'm not ready to spend $50 on fancy pedals so I'll live with these for awhile.

3. I fine-tuned the stock derailleur, after realizing that installing anything else simply would not work on this frame. I'd have to live with rapid-rise and make it better if I could. The biggest hassle was the placement of the limit screws (really, Dahon? whose bright idea was it to put them where no tool could easily reach without first loosening the derailleur from the hanger hole? Stupid, stupid). Once I sorted it all out, I adjusted it and made it as good as I possibly could.  A smaller chainring up front helped make the gears shift more smoothly as well.

4. A small saddlebag to carry everything while still fitting with a folding bike was the last touch.

The only challenge remains how to carry a water bottle on this bike. There are two eyelets on the main tube but the cage would be positioned horizontally; and where would the cage go if I want to fold the bike? I'm looking for a clip-on bottle cage that will fit the handlebar securely until I'm ready to take it off for folding. (Suggestions welcome.)

The test ride around the block was pretty nice -- better hand position, easier and smoother pedaling, and overall better fit have convinced me that this has a place in my stable, and I'm going to keep it.
Some more minor tweaking is probably still in order, and maybe a different saddle; but basically it's all there.





Sunday, October 7, 2018

now that we know our government is officially corrupt, how do we act?

Okay.
So let's talk about Mass DIsobedience for a moment.
What does this look like? What does this mean?

A proposal:
-- use social media to and to reach out to like-minded folks and to BEGIN conversations.
-- once connections are established, continue these conversations OFF social media, face to face, on the local level. This is important, because we need to get to know and trust each other and we need to be able to talk and plan away from the prying eyes of five zillion social media consumers (and the government).
-- once local groups are organized, decide what your brand of civil disobedience will look like: protests at City Hall? Helping build bigger and safer homeless encampments? Driving to the state capitol and having a die-in? Chaining yourselves to the doors of a government building?
-- consider the likelihood of mass arrests for these actions.
-- how will those arrested deal with going to jail? The legal entanglements that come after that? Child care while incarcerated?
-- parents of young children may want to consider providing additional childcare for others; or, if they feel called to be on the front lines, they might want to arrange for a safe place (relative/community/etc) to send their kids to, ideally far from the government's reach if possible.
-- Does anyone envision a general strike? It's no longer enough to simply stop coming to work, as there are many, many very poor people who will gladly take your low-wage service job in order to stay housed. A general strike at this point will likely need to include blocking access to the means of production, whether it's an Amazon warehouse, a hotel, an airport baggage facility or an Amtrak depot. Consider what kind of numbers your effort will require and recruit for that.
-- Be willing to acknowledge your white privilege in the presence of black and brown people. Since you cannot deny it, USE it to subvert the dominant paradigm wherever and whenever possible. For some that will mean speaking up when you see a person of color being attacked/harassed. For others it may mean finding more underground ways (both legal and illegal) to use your privilege to benefit others without that privilege (you're smart, figure it out).

Finally, recognize that if you're serious about civil disobedience in 2018, it will mean that your actions can be interpreted as being illegal and punishable by a corrupt government. The law will not necessarily be on your side. So perhaps be prepared to be treated like a criminal even when you know you're not one. And lay the groundwork to protect your loved ones in the event that this happens.
I'm not advocating any particular action over another, or over a lack of action. I'm just laying out some of the many possibilities of what disobedient actors may be up against. Use common sense and consider your options. And then, act in whatever way makes the most sense.
Be careful out there, and look out for each other.

Monday, September 24, 2018

8th annual Coffeeneuring Challenge begins October 12!

If you follow this blog, you know the drill. Each October since 2010, the fabulous Mary G. has facilitated the annual Coffeeneuring Challenge. The format is simple: 7 rides to a coffee shop of your choice (a different one each time, please), two rides a week, for seven weekends. Document your adventures along the way. Choosing a theme (or a theme-within-a-theme, you multitaskers)
is optional.

I'll be documenting my rides right here at Rancho Beth.

I'm on my own Friday the 12th, but will host the official Portland Coffeeneuring Meetup on Saturday, October 13, 9am at World Cup Coffee & Tea in NW Portland.
Be one of the cool kids by bringing your own reusable mug.


Official Rules can be found HERE.

Happy caffeinating, and happy riding.


Friday, September 21, 2018

First ride: Dahon Mariner folding bike

I've never owned a folding bike before. I saw no need, living a mostly local life with a bike that already did everything I asked of it and easily fit on the front bus rack. Since I travel with musical instruments, taking along a folding bike as well would be impractical at best.

Today, a friend handed off a folding bike she'd gotten from someone else. I pumped up the tires, lubed the chain, adjusted the brakes and took it up and down the block. It didn't feel wobbly at all.
So I decided that when I ran errands later, I'd take the folder out on an extended ride and see if it was something I'd want to keep in my stable.

My friend who knows more about folders than I do (and who sells them in his shop) told me it's a pretty nice bike, and probably retailed for $600-650 when new.

As folding bikes go it's not unattractive.


















That said, it's still sort of goofy-looking if you're accustomed to a non-folding, standard bike.

This one came with SKS fenders, rather nice road tires and a rear rack that, while proportioned to a 20" wheeled folding bike, would still be useful for at least some portage.

The adjustment range seems adequate for most adults (though anyone over 6 feet would find it a little on the short side for extended riding).

The plastic pedals are cheap and not terribly durable. They're also not very comfortable; and if I keep this bike I'll swap in something easier on my feet.

The straight handlebar is a non-starter for me. If I keep this bike, I'll definitely swap in something with at least a little more sweep, even if it partially defeats the folding purpose.

The biggest bummer on this bike is the shifting. A cheap derailleur, made by an anonymous factory and stamped with the Dahon logo, sits in an odd position, bypassing the cable housing stop and requiring full-length housing to function. Worse, the cage is too short to allow for  good chain-wrap in the largest cog.

And even worse than that, it's a Rapid Rise derailleur, so when you pull cable the gearing actually gets lower, and when you let cable out the gearing gets higher. I know some people like it, but I've never been a fan. Combined with the entry-level grip-shift it does little to inspire me.

Replacing it will be a bother, another reason to let it be and pass the bike along to another home.
But I'll give it a week or two before I decide.