As Summer rapidly approaches, our minds begin to wander with thoughts of vacations and road trips. We love the fact that folding bikes are so portable. When you start riding, you’ll find that you want to take your bike everywhere, even on trips and vacations. Many of our customers travel with their bikes in cars, airplanes, etc. and have found it to be convenient and easy. It’s not as difficult or daunting as it seems, and you’ll soon find biking will enhance your trips. Through talking with our customers and our own first hand experiences, we’ve compiled a few tips for traveling with your folding bike.
1.Packing And Padding
You will always want to have something to cover your bike with to protect it from damage, even in the car. Most folding bike brands offer a soft carrying case for this purpose that will offer adequate safety. Air travel is a bit more difficult, but it can be done. The Brompton is by far the easiest bike to transport on an airplane as it doesn’t require any disassembly. Tern and Bike Friday can also travel by air with some light dismantling. With any bike, a hard case is ideal for plane travel if you are checking it as luggage. Brompton, Tern, and Bike Friday offer hard cases designed specifically for their bikes. Be sure to let TSA know you have a “personal mobility device”. If you say it’s a bicycle, you may get charged a fee!
Pro Tip: Use some egg crate or your clothing to pack around your soft or hard case for added protection.
2. You’ll Be Surprised Where You Can Take Your Bike
Of course you’ll have no trouble stashing your folding bike in your hotel room or guest room; most come with ample closet space. But while you’re out and about on your trip, you will be able to bring your bike along most anywhere. Tuck your bike away under bars, restaurant and cafe tables, or behind the counter if you’re out shopping (if you ask the clerk nicely). One of the best advantages of owning a folding bike is that you’ll almost never have to lock it up outside, greatly reducing the risk of theft. If you feel weary about taking your bike into a public spot like a restaurant, keep it zipped up in it’s soft case; no one will question you.
Pro Tip: For more inspiration – on one of our trips to Washington D.C., we took our bikes to a museum and left them in the coat check area.
3. Emergency Situations
Even on vacation, some unexpected problems can arise with your folding bike. Be sure to pack everything you’ll need to repair or fix something on your bike while you’re away from home. We recommend bringing a toolkit, extra inner tube, patch kit, and portable air pump as a minimum. If you encounter a more serious snag, there is likely to be a local bike shop wherever you are that could assist you with repairs. If the mechanic is experienced enough, he will know how to fix most any type of bike, even a small-wheeled folding bike.
Pro Tip: If you have a small-wheeled folding bike like a 16” tire Brompton or a 20” tire Tern, you can purchase inner tubes for kids’ bikes at any Walmart if you’re in a pickle.
4. Integrate Your Bike With Your New Surroundings
Traveling by bike is a great way to explore a new environment; it’s faster than walking, but slower than a car so you won’t miss out on any sights. Depending on what city, town, or country you’re in, you’ll be able to incorporate your bike ride with local public transportation. Your small-wheeled folding bike can accompany you on subways, buses, trains, or taxis. This way, you will get the best of both worlds: sightseeing by bike while mingling with the locals to get where you want to go a bit quicker. Experiment by using public transportation at home first, so you will be comfortable and confident while on your vacation.
Pro Tip: Get creative – two of our customers took their Terns on the ferry from San Diego to Coronado Island, and were able to explore the island on their bikes.