I just picked up a Chiorda Safari folding bike, with I coaster hub and I believe 16″ wheels, and a leather seat.   Made in Italy, and has a decal from a Hudson,  NY bike shop.  I havent really done a lot of research on this bike yet but I think its from the early 70s.  I’ll try to track down more info when i get a chance.  I bought it off a Puerto Rican gentleman who resides in the south end.  He said it was his son’s bike, and i don’t know how old the son is, but amazingly I — all six foot plus of me) can ride this bike with ease.

vintage folder bikes make me really happy, I can  hardly explain it.  When was in Europe last summer I was fascinated with them and couldn’t stop photographing every one I saw.  Then one day I was walking through a flea market in Frankfurt and spotted a yellow one with 24″ wheels, made in ‘West Germany.'(photos here)  Had to have to it, and had a huge smile on my face every time I hopped on it.  But the time I got to Prague I knew it that schlepping it from city to city, much less flying it home, would be impractical, so I left it with a buddy over there for him to enjoy.

Ever since I let go of that Kalkoff, there’s been, well, a void in my life.   UNTIL NOW!!  Yesterday I brought my mom into the bike shop and we were strolling thru the streets of the south end (which by the way is like a really nice historic neighborhood. like the back bay, but bigger.  that was news to me), when I spotted in the distance in front of a public housing development an unexceptional kid’s bike with a ‘for sale’ sign on it. But next to this bike, was another bike, and for a moment I thought I saw a Brooks saddle, so went over to get a closer look, and  it wasnt Brooks, but when I saw the bike … my heart skipped a beat.  a vintage folder, with an integrated rear rack, and looking more closely, made in Italy.  The resident came out of his home and said that bike wasnt for sale, but he would check with his son.  I gave him my number, walked away, and got a call back 10 minutes later.  The sale was good to go.

Today I came back with the cash during my lunch break, and then I rode it up the street back to the shop, and I came in the shop grinning and sort of making pleasure-induced grunting noises; “guys, look!  yeah!?! right? huh?”  Another mechanic we have, who is always being hilarious without intending to, looks up, nonplussed, and says with sincerity, “oh you found it in the trash?”

It needs an overhaul, and maybe i’ll think of something more creative to dowith too, but I’m pretty happy with it as it is.. It will be project #3 behind getting an early 80s Ross Gran Tour up and running as my primary commuter, as well as overhauling Swedish-made Crescent I picked up last month as a rain bike.  So I may not get to it for a while.  but man is it going to be sweet to bomb down Mass Ave on this.

14 Responses to “say hello to my little friend!”

  1. Rachel Says:

    That looks like a fun project, especially sine you have the skills and access to many of the parts, possibly for cheap or free.

  2. John Says:

    Enjoy your blog. I like Klapprads, also. I scored a ’72 German folder this month. http://www.flickr.com/photos/39389118@N07/sets/72157621474584178/detail/
    Had been owned by an older couple who traveled around with it in their RV. It’s a 20″ single-speed and I’m now awaiting a Sachs Duomatic hub. Doing a complete teardown/cleaning/repaint (probably) as I wait for parts.

  3. Ashima Jain Says:

    hey, amazing. i have the same bike…except with a busted front fork. mine looks like it might be in better shape. is yours working? its the same color. i have been looking for parts, the rest of it in mint condition. email me and i’ll send you some pictures.

  4. explodedhub Says:

    mine still rides, I keep it in the shop and use it to grab lunch . I switched the original steel wheels with a pair of turquoise-rimmed, white tired wheels i got off a girls bike waiting for trash pickup. i’m not as excited about this bike as i was when i first bought it, but it’s still pretty sweet.

  5. David NYC Says:

    Wow! My first bike was that same bicycle, except mine was red with WHITE tires. What a trip to see pictures of it again! Hope you’re enjoying it, it was great fun as a kid!

  6. Konrad Says:

    Hi, yesterday I bought exactly the same bike in Poland, city of Lodz. Even colour is the same but I think it needs painting. The price was 20€ :)).

  7. Konrad Says:

    Hi, take a look at my bike.

    Now most of the parts are new, unfortunately there was no posiibility to make them shine in a simple way…so I’ve decide to replace most of them.
    Brooks saddle looks really good with this bike IMHO:)

  8. bob mohan Says:

    I bought an almost identical bike about 20 years ago as a church yard sale for $15. My daughter used it growing up and I stored it for the last 12 years or so. Now her son will soon be riding a bike (gotta raise ’em right!) and guess what , he’ll be riding the same bike his mom did as a child. It was imported by “Instamatic Corp of Elkhart IN and marketed as Deluxe Insta-bike.

    contact me if you’ld like to see pictures, it in great shape.

  9. Davide Says:

    Hi ,

    this was my first bike when I was a child!
    (in a small village in south Italy).

    I bought it aroung 1975 and I paid it 35.000 Lire yes I still remember the price because I put the money together for what my many relatives gave to me … and I spent several hot summers riding it … it was a nice time!

    I hope you will have fun with it!

  10. kimberly Says:

    i just bought the same bike today! for $90 the only diff is mine is white and it has a head lite on the frount finder i was told it is a 1969 Chiorda Safari folding bike

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