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.
Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip.
I have a ProdecoTech folding electric bike. I've been using it to section-day-hike the Florida Trail. Park my car at one trailhead, ebike to another trailhead, then hike back to my car. In the time and effort to go 6-8 miles with a regular bike I can go 18-20 miles with an ebike and still have energy to hike. As an added bonus the frame manufacture and final assembly are in the USA, in my home state of Florida in fact. Parts, of course, are sourced globally. As you say, it is heavy to lift in and out of the car. I usually remove the battery for recharging in the motel and leave the bike in my car.
Loc: Washington State, King County
"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."
Yup, we brought nitrile gloves on this trip too. But they're not something I want to wear for an extended period, and once you've worn them for a while, it's a PITA to get take them off and get them back on, and while it's true that the "touching the chain" parts of assembly/disassembly were limited, it seems that you just don't know when you're going to get grease on something. I found it easier --- or at least not a lot harder --- to bring a tube of degreaser and wash up multiple times during assembly/disassembly. Wearing the nitrile gloves, my hands are just sort of a "grease source" from the first time I touch the chain/sprocket.
Maybe I should have used the nitrile gloves more than I did, but I find them a mixed blessing for this use. I will still bring them on bike trips because they mass very little --- and who knows, maybe even useful for first aid or for keeping hands warm.