The first first Swift folder was born in 1996, the result of a three year cross-country collaboration between Peter Reich, a New York based industrial designer, and Jan VanderTuin, founder of the Center for Appropriate Transport in Eugene, Oregon.


Peter's company, Design Mobility Inc., has created simple compact products ranging from folding lift and transfer devices for quadriplegics to an affordable easy-to-ship home floatation tank. Now settled into putting Swifts together for customers world-wide in his Brooklyn shop, Peter has also worked with student interns at Recycle-A-Bicycle sharing the fine arts of wheelbuilding, production planning, and bicycle assembly.


Jan remains a dedicated bicycle craftsman, and his vision for a perfect bicycle world is evident in the workshops at CAT, including BikeLab, where teenagers learn about fixing bikes; Eugene Rack Works, a youth-run business that builds bike-parking racks; Eugene Bicycle Works, a do-it-yourself repair shop; and Human Powered Machines, which made work bikes and trailers, as well as our folder.


Seven steel prototypes were built between 1993 and 1996 (Peter drew, Jan built, then Peter tinkered, tested, and redrew) before serial production of the Swift began, and the first 62 bikes DMI sold were built using HPM steel frames. In 1998 Wellbilt Industries of Linden, NJ stepped up, revising and providing the next 227 steel frames.


In 2004 the Xootr scooter company, looking to get into the folding bike business, partnered with Peter and tooled up to sell thousands of one ready-made version of the Swift at a more affordable price, imported by the container-load from Taiwan. They also provided more than 400 lighter, more affordable aluminum frames to Peter for his custom-built Swift folder business, before ceasing production in 2018.

Using up the last of these frames, Peter is still willing to fill the occasional custom Swift order.

Competition.

It all started when Jarad, a real racer working with RAB, agreed to put one of our prototypes through it’s paces at the local Velodrome.



He said it felt good- like a real bike, and that’s what we were after.

Next up is one of my most favorite memories to date. Matt won the 2006 Central Park FoldsUp! race on a track-legal prototype.

I was also in the field on that glorious gold and green sun-dappled spring day, and from my vantage point I could see Matt streak off into the distance, followed by the rest of the field.

He said it felt good- like a real bike, and that’s what we were after.


Next up is one of my most favorite memories to date. Matt won the 2006 Central Park FoldsUp! race on a track-legal prototype.

The following year, after competing against a couple of Swifts on her beautifully rebuilt old Moulton, Daisy bought one of our latest aluminum frames and went on a tour of the continent.

That’s a victory.


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