Long-distance cycling with a folding bike

George Jemmott adds some useful comments to the GPS tracking and mapping strand of thought;

Re: sanoodi, I prefer at the moment. It’s more bike-centric, and doesn’t have such a focus on GPS-enabled phone/computers (of which I don’t have one)

…and then goes on to explain his reasoning as to why he uses a folding bike for his travels;

The bike is a “Pocket Sport” from Bike Friday. I got it because I really liked the multi-modal transportation idea – being able to take my bike on trains, planes, boats, taxis, buses, etc. Specifically, I pull my duffel bag (or in this case, backpacking backpack) out of the suitcase, fold up the bicycle, and put the bicycle in the suitcase. The result is local transportation in one hand and all my camping gear in the other.

Given that idea, Bike Friday came super highly recommended (as does Brompton in England) for long-distance touring. People do self-supported tours around South-East Asia, Africa, South America, etc. Bike Friday’s cheapest model with 20+ speeds that seemed fit for the task was the Pocket Sport.

I’ve really enjoyed it, especially when it buys me advantages like being able to go on the metro during the day in Milano with my bicycle, or being able to take a night train from Dresden to Zรผrich or Milano to Berlin (neither of which allowed bicycles… but if it’s in a suitcase, how are they to know?). If I were to choose all over again, I’d probably get one with a folding seat mast and handle-bar mast if possible, as it’s kind of annoying to either have them sticking out full-length or have to pull them out.

Anyway, unless you plan to check your bike on a bunch of airplanes and whatnot, it’s probably not worth the extra expense to get one of the folders.


ps – the modified Samsonite suitcase is sold by a company that is closely tied to Bike Friday. I have been a bit disappointed in the quality, especially given a wheels-falling-off problem and a yoke-tearing problem which cost me a few days of my vacation in Budapest.

I think I’ll be sticking to the Ridgeback Panorama with some panniers. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. I am still in love with 700 and 26 inch wheeled bikes but the Bike Friday has an attribute that I am impressed with. There is a hard case for the bike that travels on airlines as just another suit case, no extra fees (these days many airlines are charging extra for bicycles). The significance of this case is that it becomes a trailer for your touring gear. Brilliant.

What do you think?