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#193833 - 02/24/16 02:47 PM Get started with folding bikes
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
My wife is into biking; she biked across the U.S., in one-to-two-states per year fashion over the last few years.

I'm a lot less so. I feel safer on my feet. Biking along highways with trucks and the (happily infrequent) crazy or nasty driver seems to me a LOT more dangerous than bears or snakes or avalanches or whatever on backpacking trips.

But there are places you can vacation with a bike that offer little to no traffic, plus scenery and interesting places to see. It's something my wife and I can do together, so this year we're going to bike the germanic-speaking part of the Eurovelo 6 along the Danube. Not booking a tour, just going to wing it (I'm not fluent in German, but I can do basic conversation, and so many German speakers speak very good English these days).

We've decided to get folding bikes to do this, as the cost of renting seemed pretty high, and shipping full-sized bikes seemed to be expensive and a PITA. 16" wheel size felt too small to us, so we're going with 20" wheel sizes. Specifically, we'll be trying out a bike from a company named Origami. They make a hard-shelled case for it that doesn't require oversized (or overweight) charges when checking baggage with airlines, so we're getting the bike it was designed to fit.

It's a fairly low-end bike, but has a decent aluminum frame. So we might later decide to upgrade a component or two. If we really love this we can always sell these bikes later and pay up for better ones.

We're also analyzing to find the right bike "luggage" (panniers, front/rear bag, that sort of thing) that are just the minimal we need, and that are easy to tote off the bike as well as on it.

Looking forward to all of this, and if folks with experience at this stuff have any advice that comes to mind, ... then thanks in advance for that!
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#193850 - 02/24/16 08:19 PM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: BrianLe]
bluefish Offline
member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 677
Brian, have you considered buying a few used road bikes in Germany and selling them back to a shop when your done? Though the Origamis look like a good urban commuter, they do not appear like something you'd want to do many miles on. You can also break down a road bike completely and have it re-assembled and dis-assembled at a bike shop. I tore one down for a friend; used shrink and bubble wrap and a duffle and he flew Southwest with it as checked luggage.
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Charlie

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#193862 - 02/25/16 10:11 AM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: bluefish]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
Thanks for your reply, bluefish. Let me start by saying that we don't actually plan to do a lot of miles; this is intended as sort of a hybrid of bike tour and just standard vacation. So maybe 30 miles per day, 40 on a "big day". Leaving a lot of time to stop along the way and to explore the destination town each afternoon. I agree with you that if I were doing high daily mileage I wouldn't be keen on compromising too much on the bike choice.

FWIW, there's a surprisingly vigorous community of folding bike enthusiasts. I guess that's true for just about anything these days, however, given the power of the internet to connect folks with similar passions.

People definitely do long distance rides on folding bikes. Wheel size is just one of the factors that make this work; having a gearing system tuned to the wheel size is of course a good idea (!). But overall good components, proper frame size, a good seat, lots of stuff matters here. A smaller wheel makes a bike "more twitchy" according to detractors, and "more responsive" to supporters. We'll opt for "lighter, cheaper, simpler" and so not get any sort of suspension, but that's an option for folding bikes too that can make a difference, depending on typical trail/road surface.

I will say that when we tried out a Brompton bike with 16" wheels we were less comfortable than on a low-end bike with 20" wheels. Brompton makes a somewhat expensive and very popular folding bike that is tuned to the urban environ, folds VERY small and is quite light, but only comes with 16" wheels. So at some point I think that wheel size does get to be more of a factor (this with a very very limited opportunity to compare). But I was surprised at how comfortable we were on a 20" folder.

Note some of the special benefits for bike touring also. Rather than wait for a special bike car on a train that has one, we can get on any train at any time. Put a lightweight soft cover over a folded bike and it's just standard luggage. Ditto bus or taxi. Also could help with bike storage in hotels --- don't need a "bike friendly" establishment, just carry it to the room. Which also means it's more secure and out of the weather.

We did think about buying locally and then selling at the end of the trip. On the buying end, my very limited experience suggests that you can't just go into a bike shop and walk out a half hour later with a bike that's all tuned and ready to go. Perhaps if fortunate, and willing to compromise on what you get. It's the selling end, however, that really concerns me. We would want the bikes right up to the end of the trip, and then we have to get on a plane and go. I don't see how that could work. We're hoping to do this sort of vacation more than once, so that also suggests better economy in owning bikes we can take with us.

Breaking down completely is perhaps an option, but even then I think that you're paying oversize charges to take them on the plane or ship them ahead. If that's the case, might just as well do only the more minimal disassembly required to put in a standard cardboard bike shipping carton. But then you have to typically book directly with the airline and make sure they have space for your bike, and then pay up, and it's typically not cheap, perhaps $150 per bike. Here's a fairly recent reference: http://www.pinkbike.com/news/5-tips-for-flying-with-bicycles-2015.html

I realize that you have experience to the contrary, but how typical is that? Today, btw, when airlines are always finding new ways to generate revenue?
A full sized bike has a 26" diameter wheel. That means that at the minimum, a box that carries it is more than 26" on a side. The rules for most airlines today is that it's oversized if the sum of length, width, and depth are greater than 62". With a 26" wheel, you're already over 52" before you get to the depth. The kicker is that the frame size on a standard bike is way outside of that --- about 40" long on my bike. No way can a standard bike be cut down to fit in a box where the three dimensions sum to less than 62" short of using a hacksaw in the process.

Rats, I don't mean to sound argumentative here, just laying out my thought process --- please take the above as such (!). If I'm missing something in my analysis, I really would appreciate knowing that, so thanks for the interaction (just laying out my thinking like this helps, so btw also apologies for the long response).
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#193870 - 02/25/16 04:45 PM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: BrianLe]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2802
Loc: NorCal
Last time I investigated flying with my bike the freight fee (I won't call it "luggage" even if that's what it would have been) was hundreds, and that's after buying/renting the shipper. I ended up taking shoes, pedals, saddle and helmet and adapting them to a borrowed bike I'd prearranged. Afraid your scenario is quite different, but maybe this will trigger some further avenues.

My concern about traveling overseas to cycle with an unfamiliar format bike is the potential for issues combining learning the new gear while also mastering navigation where traffic and laws of the road are far different. I'm not a good multitasker when distracted.

Good luck!
_________________________
--Rick

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#193893 - 02/26/16 01:28 PM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: Rick_D]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
Thanks Rick! I'd be okay renting a bike except for the cost --- we'll be biking for something like 5 weeks. Do a couple such trips and I think it could come out cheaper to get a pair of relatively low-end folding bikes and carrying cases, and then do some modest upgrades if they seem warranted. We'll see.

We kind of like the idea of having folding bikes for some closer-to-home situations too. Drive to a weekend retreat somewhere, just toss the bikes in the trunk for local tooling around, that sort of thing.

Using a rented bike overseas while mastering navigation where traffic and laws of the road are far different --- no doubt an issue in some places. We'll be mostly on bike path in Germany and Austria, so pretty benign, comfortable, friendly. In other venues, I completely agree, sometimes it's good especially the first couple of days to have every advantage you can get.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#193898 - 02/26/16 04:20 PM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: BrianLe]
bluefish Offline
member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 677
Curiosity got me to look at some of the bikes available and those traveling with them, especially on trains. Getting to be pretty advanced and some of the bikes looked very reliable and roadworthy. You can't use a rear rack and panniers, but I saw a fellow that is using a daypack attached to the downtube and wearing one as well. I imagine a detachable handlebar bag would work , too.
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Charlie

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#193922 - 02/27/16 11:27 AM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: bluefish]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
Quote:
You can't use a rear rack and panniers, but I saw a fellow that is using a daypack attached to the downtube and wearing one as well. I imagine a detachable handlebar bag would work , too.


Perhaps you were looking at 16" wheel bikes? The bike I'm trying out (it's "in the mail") comes with a rear rack. Panniers are no problem, except that you want to stay away from really long ones (with the smaller wheel size). Some will use a front pannier on the back, as they tend to be shorter, but some pannier styles are just relatively wide and short anyway.

If you google the phrase "folding bike pannier" and then click the link that says 'images', you'll see lots of examples of rear rack with panniers.

Detachable handlebar bag is, I think, a wonderful thing for folks doing touring type of rides, especially with the quick-release type of bags. Put passport, wallet, phone, etc in there, and it's easy to just *always* take your important stuff with you, even if stepping away from the bike for "just a moment".
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#194064 - 03/07/16 06:16 PM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: BrianLe]
JustWalking Offline
member

Registered: 01/12/16
Posts: 128
Loc: PNW
Not sure if you've used/seen this site, but it's a pretty comprehensive site with fabulous information (including a long list of bike rental shops) for self supported touring in Germany: http://www.bicyclegermany.com/index.html

Germany is such a bike-friendly country, and you're right, most everyone (in the old West anyway) speaks English. And a few phrases can help get you by if necessary for those who don't. I've self-supported toured in Germany (including East Germany when it was still East Germany), as well as other European countries. It's a great way to spend a vacation. I even had some panniers made out of cuben fiber for my last trip a few years ago. You can borrow them if you like.

You'll have a wonderful time.

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#194075 - 03/08/16 11:45 AM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: JustWalking]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
That's a nice site --- I had not seen it. I'll spend some time exploring it this morning --> thanks!

Since Germany is a popular place to cycle, there are a lot of good sites (some German, a number based in England), and guidebooks too. I've got the Esterbauer guidebook for the Bodensee; this one is only available in German, aber dass ist eigentlich kein (oder am mindestens klein :-)) problem fuer mich. For a more general guidebook, a 7" tablet and eBook format works well for me. My wife wants to have the physical Esterbauer books, however.

The ADFC website has quite a bit of stuff. It's kind of weird for us to think of the equivalent of AAA (Automobile association) being all over bike travel, but it's more logical to Europeans.

I lived in Germany for three years lo some decades ago, and enough sticks that I can get by in basic conversation well enough. And we'll spend time with German friends there, always easier with local contacts.

I appreciate the offer of the pannier loan (!); going that light makes no sense for me I'm afraid. Bike plus gear, food, etc will probably see me peddling about 50 pounds (plus my own overweight self) along the trail, but we're keeping the daily mileage low. In fact, I just bought a pair of "tandem" saddlebag type panniers for this trip that are short enough to work well with a folding bike. The saddlebag style will be, I hope, easier to work with as luggage and just transitioning to/from bike to hotel/gasthaus/airbnb/etc.

I'm particularly jazzed about being able to use just any train, not the bike-specific car on a bike-accepted train. Or, for that matter, bus. Buses are nicer in Europe than riding Greyhound here, so I suspect that sometimes Americans don't think to check that option.

Some folks are happy riding their bikes with lots of traffic and trucks wizzing close by to them. I'm definitely not, so I'm thinking/hoping that there might be more European bike travel in my future, certainly to include the Netherlands, but elsewhere too.

I presume you found less in the way of dedicated bike path in the former east? Today the EV routes I think are still being fleshed out as more and better dedicated bike path in eastern Europe. We'll be on the EV6 (Eurovelo 6, ~Donauradweg), but on a future trip we might well follow the Danube farther east.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#194089 - 03/08/16 11:32 PM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: BrianLe]
JustWalking Offline
member

Registered: 01/12/16
Posts: 128
Loc: PNW
Originally Posted By BrianLe
I presume you found less in the way of dedicated bike path in the former east? Today the EV routes I think are still being fleshed out as more and better dedicated bike path in eastern Europe. We'll be on the EV6 (Eurovelo 6, ~Donauradweg), but on a future trip we might well follow the Danube farther east.


Much of the touring I've done in Europe (Ireland, Scotland, E. Germany, Germany, France) was road riding, not bike path riding. The exception was a short, week-long trip in the Netherlands, almost all on bike paths. All wonderful trips, never felt in any danger.

The time I spent three weeks riding around Arizona, though.... :-)

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#194126 - 03/10/16 12:06 AM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: JustWalking]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1730
Loc: Napa, CA
I've done quite a bit of cycling in Europe: Italy, Spain, France, etc. And I've never taken my own bike, even though I have a really nice folding roadbike.

First it was the cost of checking it on the airplane---but now I fly so much that they wouldn't charge me anyway. Even so, I prefer to work with a local shop and rent a bike in the country I am visiting. It's fun, I get to try a lot of new bikes, and often find that the shops are really helpful in setting my up with something.

In fact, the last two times in Spain, they didn't charge me--they just asked for a local cycling jersey from California...and then they gave me a Spanish one. Pretty cool.
_________________________
balzaccom

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#194934 - 04/16/16 03:47 PM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: BrianLe]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2802
Loc: NorCal
Resurrecting thread to share a new folding bike maker I ran across. Helix survived their Kickstarter and are slated to take orders beginning this month.

First folder l'd consider for riding vs. cruising. Helix is located in Canada. where they will build the frames as well as assemble. I love how tiny it folds, also that it feeds my titanium addiction.

Cheers,


Edited by Rick_D (04/16/16 03:48 PM)
_________________________
--Rick

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#194971 - 04/18/16 11:30 AM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: Rick_D]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
This is impressive (Helix bike). 20 pounds for a folding bike with a 24" wheel is impressive indeed.

However, I hate when the marketing gets out of control. They say that their bike folds to 23" × 26" × 9.5 but then go on to say this overtly bogus claim: "The worlds smallest folding bike". One would assume that a 16" wheeled Brompton is going to fold smaller than that (specs say 23" x 22.2" x 10.6"). My 24" wheeled bike specs say it folds to 12.7"x 33" x 24", so it looks like their 24" wheeled bike folds SMALLER, which is very cool. If true. OTOH, how, I ask myself, do either of the large dimensions come out to be 23" when it has 24" wheels? Marketing, I assume. They do sort of address the issue in a FAQ entry, but I'm unimpressed with their response.

It also says that it folds down to the size of the wheels. Looking at the picture of the folded bike, this is clearly another case of, well, let's just say "stretching the truth vigorously". So I don't know their real folded dimensions, which then makes me wonder about the weight. Best would be to wait for an impartial review (maybe those exist, I didn't look).

FWIW, I've not seen another folding bike made entirely of titanium. Brompton talks on their site about why they don't use all titanium for their titanium version, and I don't think it was about cost.

Cost: I can't find it. Only that shipping it to you alone is going to cost $50 to $150.

Don't get me wrong, I'm impressed with this! I wish them well, and hope that they spur further competition. I love the idea of a 20" wheel using the folding pattern that these guys are doing, assuming that their approach proves out over the long run. The fact that they claim they can fit their folded bike in a standard suitcase --- presumeably without disassembly --- very very cool if actually true.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#194974 - 04/18/16 12:09 PM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: BrianLe]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2802
Loc: NorCal
Scroll down to the specs, pricing is at the end, with one tab per model. $1500-1900, depending on gearing. I get the sense they'll be customized on order so the price is fluid.

My commuter bike has the Alfine 11sp hub but with belt drive. I don't think I would opt for it with chain drive, since the never-greasy aspect is lost.

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#194976 - 04/18/16 03:05 PM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: Rick_D]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 653
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Thanks a lot, Rick_D. Now I want one.

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#194978 - 04/18/16 06:01 PM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: 4evrplan]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2802
Loc: NorCal
smile This is a full-service forum.

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#194984 - 04/19/16 09:44 AM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: BrianLe]
Zuuk Offline
member

Registered: 09/22/15
Posts: 70
Loc: NB, Canada
Originally Posted By BrianLe
OTOH, how, I ask myself, do either of the large dimensions come out to be 23" when it has 24" wheels?


Maybe you have to let the air out of the tires, giving you that extra inch :P

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#194989 - 04/19/16 11:49 AM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: Zuuk]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
W.r.t. a 24" bike wheel where one of the folded dimensions is 23", their FAQ says:

"Many different tires sizes can fit on the same rim. For example, in our case we use a 1.5" wide tire on a ERTRO 507 rim (approx 20"), which brings the overall diameter to about 23". If we used a wider tire, such as a 2.25", the diameter would increase even more. To try and keep things simple, the bicycle industry calls it a 24" wheel. For more information on bicycle industry tire sizing please visit: http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html"

I guess that is sort of fair --- if also sort of tricky (intentional or not). But again, if you look at the picture of the bike folded, even if you took the seat out it doesn't look to me that you can fairly measure any dimension at 23", assuming their total (inflated) wheel diameter is 23".

Maybe I'm going overboard on this one, but I far prefer that when I look at stuff like this online that I can have a sense that I can really trust their data.

I hope lots of people buy these and write up impartial reviews because it IS very interesting. Wouldn't want to be one of the first ones, personally. But who knows, maybe in a couple of years I'll end up buying one and be a passionate supporter.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#194990 - 04/19/16 11:53 AM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: BrianLe]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
One more follow-up, out of curiosity, I just measured the inflated diameter of the wheels on my 20" folding bike, and danged if they aren't just about exactly 19".

I guess it's the bike industry equivalent of measuring a 2 x 4.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#194991 - 04/19/16 01:59 PM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: BrianLe]
Zuuk Offline
member

Registered: 09/22/15
Posts: 70
Loc: NB, Canada
Originally Posted By BrianLe
I guess it's the bike industry equivalent of measuring a 2 x 4.


Ahh, but a 2x4 actually measures 2x4", even though your tape measure continues to give you a 1½ x 3½" every time!

Dimensions on lumber are based upon their green size. As wood dries, it shrinks, so when manufacturing dry lumber, it's planed to the dry equivalent of what an average wet 2x4 would shrink down to (rounded off a bit).

Makes sense though that the tire used would affect the folded size of the bike. I think it's a pretty nice idea to have one. Would beat throwing my old clunker onto the bike rack hanging off the back of my car. Much easier to just chuck it in the back.

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#194999 - 04/20/16 12:47 AM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: Zuuk]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1730
Loc: Napa, CA
Originally Posted By Zuuk
Originally Posted By BrianLe
I guess it's the bike industry equivalent of measuring a 2 x 4.


Ahh, but a 2x4 actually measures 2x4", even though your tape measure continues to give you a 1½ x 3½" every time!

Dimensions on lumber are based upon their green size. As wood dries, it shrinks, so when manufacturing dry lumber, it's planed to the dry equivalent of what an average wet 2x4 would shrink down to (rounded off a bit).

Makes sense though that the tire used would affect the folded size of the bike. I think it's a pretty nice idea to have one. Would beat throwing my old clunker onto the bike rack hanging off the back of my car. Much easier to just chuck it in the back.


Actually, I think lumber is rough-sawn to the 2x4 dimension. But once you plane it smooth, it obviously shrinks. I've lived in a couple of late 1800's houses that were made of rough-sawn studs. They really were 2x4.

Doesn't have so much to do with moisture content, but the difference between rough and smooth sawn lumber.
_________________________
balzaccom

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#195001 - 04/20/16 09:09 AM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: balzaccom]
Zuuk Offline
member

Registered: 09/22/15
Posts: 70
Loc: NB, Canada
Originally Posted By balzaccom
Originally Posted By Zuuk
Originally Posted By BrianLe
I guess it's the bike industry equivalent of measuring a 2 x 4.


Ahh, but a 2x4 actually measures 2x4", even though your tape measure continues to give you a 1½ x 3½" every time!

Dimensions on lumber are based upon their green size. As wood dries, it shrinks, so when manufacturing dry lumber, it's planed to the dry equivalent of what an average wet 2x4 would shrink down to (rounded off a bit).

Makes sense though that the tire used would affect the folded size of the bike. I think it's a pretty nice idea to have one. Would beat throwing my old clunker onto the bike rack hanging off the back of my car. Much easier to just chuck it in the back.


Actually, I think lumber is rough-sawn to the 2x4 dimension. But once you plane it smooth, it obviously shrinks. I've lived in a couple of late 1800's houses that were made of rough-sawn studs. They really were 2x4.

Doesn't have so much to do with moisture content, but the difference between rough and smooth sawn lumber.


Yes, rough sawn lumber is cut to 2x4", but the wood shrinks a lot when dried. My brain wasn't working quite right yesterday, as I kept thinking that 2x4 was 1-3/4 x 3-3/4" planed. Which is correct for green planed lumber. Wood planed at that dimension will drop in size to 1½ x 3½ when dried. So the difference is half dryness & half surfacing.

I used to own a mill where we dried lumber. You would put a bundle in of green wood with the steel straps on as tight as you could put them. You had to be careful when taking the lumber out as the straps could be pulled off the bundles after drying.

We had a claim once because we planed some wood that was too wet (about 30% moisture content) and when it air dried it was under-dimension and couldn't be used. We had to remove all our grade stamps off of every piece. Not fun. I don't miss those days. Those days you look up at the sky and say to yourself, "I'd rather be hiking".

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#196124 - 07/22/16 06:27 AM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: BrianLe]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1146
Loc: Washington State, King County
I just wanted to follow up about this trip, before I forget (having flown home just yesterday).

Overall excellent, and I really enjoyed biking in Germany and Austria --- I hope to bike more in Europe. Overall great and well-marked dedicated bike path or low-traffic roads, and even in the cities it's just great --- so very many dedicated bike lanes, you can really get around even in big cities like (most recently for me) Vienna. Overall the opencyclemaps project does a good job, too, of laying out good biking options.

Both Lake Constance and the Danube bike path (Donauradweg) were great experiences; I reckon we biked 700-some miles in total, keeping daily mileages generally low.

As to using folding bikes for this, a mixed result but overall I don't think I would recommend it. Even on a relatively flat path, it IS more effort pushing along a bike with 20" diameter wheels, and the folding feature didn't help us too often.

It DID help on occasion, however. At one hotel we didn't like the option of parking them on the street, so we folded them up and brought them into the room with us. Our last train ride lacked the bike car we had bought bike tickets for, so we had an easier time of making do with folding bikes there. But in practice we found it easier to buy bike tickets on the trains, so that we could just keep our panniers packed and roll the bikes on and off, and almost every place we stayed along this well-known bike trail had dedicated bike parking for customers, most often indoors or at least covered.

The low-end bikes we bought did fine overall. We both had a flat, one each, both times discovered in the morning; but we didn't have terribly expensive tires. I had to replace on of my tires, my wife just had to patch her tube.
The folding peddles on my bike went wonky, but fortunately in Passau we were staying not far from a really really big bike store, so no problem buying better replacements. I still like the folks who sold us our bikes (Origami), and to be fair I think we got good value for our money, and would suggest that bikes at this price point aren't really meant for longer distance touring (!), but more for casual use. Ours survived the trip to and from Europe just fine in the plastic suitcases we bought (also from Origami) for the purpose. We found the process of disassembly and reassembly (to fit into the suitcases) was more time, effort, and greasy hands than we really wanted to deal with, however. If that Canadian Helix project ever comes to the point where one can buy the bikes, that sure sounds interesting --- amazing if they could get a 24" wheeled folder into a "not oversized" suitcase without significant disassembly. If they really can, I'd be interested.

One thing I noticed in Germany was how very many eBikes there are, electric bikes. Very very common, and as we have aging demographics too I could see these getting more popular in the U.S. On occasion as older, and in my mind at least, less fit folks would pass me going uphill (using their electric bikes), I couldn't help feeling a bit jealous.

I like the idea of an eBike if it means I can go farther or on tougher (hillier) terrain than I otherwise might care to and have fun while still getting exercise. And you can buy folding eBikes. The catch is that they're a lot heavier, and that same aging demographic is going to have trouble carrying a 50+ pound folded bike onto a bus or lifting it up to put into a car trunk. The ones with removable batteries can mitigate that problem some, I suppose.

Bottom line is that I loved biking in Europe (though it's certainly not an inexpensive vacation), and would consider a folding bike again for such a trip if that Helix or similar folding bike advance were to offer a bigger wheel diameter and no significant disassembly to take it on an airplane.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#196127 - 07/22/16 02:07 PM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: BrianLe]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2802
Loc: NorCal
Sounds like a fantastic trip, Brian, thanks for the detailed description and user feedback on the bikes themselves. I'm not surprised the Canadian folks are slow to get going--titanium is notoriously challenging to work with and there are a zillion other things to go sideways. Keeping my eye on them as I'd love to have a bike to toss in the car or camper van. Am not a fan of full bikes on the roof.

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#196129 - 07/22/16 06:03 PM Re: Get started with folding bikes [Re: BrianLe]
JustWalking Offline
member

Registered: 01/12/16
Posts: 128
Loc: PNW
FWIW, I always have a pair or two of nitrile gloves when bike touring, and use them if I have to fix something/take something apart. Keeps the hands free of grease and grime in such circumstances.

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