Join Date: Aug 2006
Bikes: Dahon Helios, Dahon Jack, Trek MTB
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Crimson, I am so glad you posted about this, because I have been thinking the same thing. I would like to broaden this topic to not only include Air, but any form of mass transit including trains, ships, buses, subways, you name it. My fold up, also a P8, changed my summer and I don't think I will ever travel again without seriously considering bringing a bike along.
This summer I from New York to Montreal and back, then San Francisco and back. I've taken the bike on several train trips along the Bos-Wash corridor using Amtrak, and I have used it quite a bit on the New York City subway. There are several water-taxi options around NY which I have not tried yet, and then there in Long Island Rail, Metro North Rail, and New Jersey Transit Rail all of which I intend to check out. Of all of them, Metro North is the only one that requires someone to have a "permit" to bring a bike on board. I have not heared of anyone challenging this by throwing their fold up into a bag. The over head compartments on metro north are really small and I think the P8 wouldn't be safe up there, but there is plenty of room near the doors for larger pieces of luggage. The beauty of traveling with a fold up right now is that most people don't even know what it is, but then they are very positive to find out it's a bike.
The hotels I stayed in, in Montreal and San Francisco, could not have been more cooperative. They had no issues with the bike and in fact were both very helpful at giving me some tips and information on local places to ride. I have found that it makes sense to visit a good bike shop whenever visiting a new city. I suggest purchasing a bike map on the city. That was critical in San Francisco because the maps not only suggest safer traffic routes but they allowed me to travel around the city without needlessly climbing hills. The San Fran map include slope grades on the map so I could see where all the hills were. Riding accross the Golden Gate Bridge down into Sausalito and taking the ferry back to the city was a real highlight.
Traveling with a fold up completely changes the way I feel entering a new city. I got a chance to explore and get the lay of the land quickly and saw some beautiful sights not ususally taken in by other tourists. Montreal has some beautiful bike paths along the Saint Laurence. There is some interesting urban renewal going on in the old industrial sites along the canal and Olympic Park and the old Expo site are really beautiful places to ride. I have taken the bike into several restaurants and never had a problem, but I admit I carry a nylon bag with me and I toss the bike in there if I think I am going to have a problem. Anything that covers it up and I suppose even a trash bag would work. Out of sight out of mind. I do lock the bike up frequently, especially if I find a place where I want to walk around. The 22 lb. bike is great for traveling, but it's not the kind of thing I want to take for a liesurely stroll. When I lock up I take the seat with me making it an added disincentive for thiefs. A neighbor of mine just warned me to keep doing that because his seat for the same bike was just stolen (just the seat!) and it is taking forever to order a new one from Dahon. Apparently they are back ordered.
So I think this bike has started a whole new way of traveling for me, and I would love to hear from other fold up owners on any experiences they have had traveling with their bikes. Where are the cool places to visit with the bike? Has anyone had any problems traveling with their bike or would anyone like to offer any tips or thoughts about travel with a fold up? May the wind always be at your back, fellow travelers.
Choose your thoughts, change your mind.