What to do with suitcase when touring on a folder?
I've tried several methods of touring with my folder. One my first folder tour, I turned the suitcase into a trailer, ala Bike Friday method, and it worked out ok. But I prefer panniers over the trailer. In my opinion, the suitcase trailer feels quite wide, and I had some anxiety that a car would clip it.
So on my next trip in Maui I brought panniers and left the suitcase at a storage unit near the airport. This was great, I rode around the island with panniers and got the suitcase for my flight home. I liked this a lot. I'll do this for all round-trip tours from now on.
On the next tour I brought panniers and mailed the suitcase ahead to my destination. But that was expensive! The empty suitcase wasn't heavy, but due it it's size, it was costly.
So for my next one-way bike trip, I'm thinking of leaving the suitcase at home and instead go to a luggage store and get a cardboard box the size of a large samsonite. This means I'd have to end the tour in a town large enough to have a luggage shop.
What how do you deal with the suitcase when touring on a folder?
edit: has anyone heard of a folding suitcase?
Last edited by bokes; 05-04-08 at 12:10 AM.
Using a strong but lightweight cotton/nylon bike-bag (carry with me) and protect the bike inside with clothes and parts of cardboard corded to the bike. Card goes to the garbage at destination. Then it doesn't have to be an exactly fitting cardboard, any strong cardboard (TV, grocery, ...) will do and will be easily to find. Only drawback, it is more comfortable to do in advance (hotel/camping). If you like to bike to the airport a hassle.
Originally Posted by bokes
Small wheels ARE better!
I like to just use a cardboard bike box which I junk away on arrival. When I fly off at another destination, just visit a bike shop and beg/buy another box. Most cities would have bike boxes, even in Indo China.
Unless of course the place you are visiting is really in the boon docks, then the BF Trailer system will be your only option. Soft bags padded up don't seem to offer me that peace of mind, though some folks swear by it.
I was thinking of copying the Bike Friday suitcase trailer method for my Merc. It seems delightfully simple -at the airport carry in your clothes and luggage in a backpack and check in the bike inside the hard case along with the backpack. At the other end, take out the bike and trailer wheels, set up the trailer, stow your backpack and contents in the suitcase, hitch up and off you ride.
The idea seems marvelous - the actuality? Well that may be different. It does have real versatility though, and leaves you entirely self sufficient. Having just come back from a walking holiday in a country where I had five or six words of the language, I can see the advantages of not having to negotiate the purchase of a bike box in a foreign land.
Camping tours are tougher now by air as most airlines are now only allowing 1 bag. Hard to get bike and tent sleeping bag etc in one bag and also must be < 50lbs.
Small wheels ARE better!
Having toured with the BF trailer system, I will say that its the way to go as your packing/transportation problems are over. However, like any trailer behind your bike, it will somewhat affect the performance and distance by 20-30%, depending on how much you carry. The tendency with such a HUGE suitcase is that you carry the kitchen sink as well So dont expect to do that 120km per day distance with something behind you.
I would prefer it for less ambitious touring or vacationing around. All said and done, the BF Trailer system is still the best solution to independent travel by bike.
Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc
The thing I've always wondered about the towed case is the noise it must make—it must boom like a drum over any surface less than mirror smooth no?
Small wheels ARE better!
Yes, it does make some sound but nothing that concerns me too much. If anything, you will feel it "tugging" you from behind over bumps. Smooth road surface - no worries mate.
Ya know I was suspicious of the BF suitcase system, thought it would be pretty odd, or flimsy. Anyhow, we unpacked it and set it up for the first time for a 50 mile ride in all sorts of crazy and narrow roads in Puerto Rico. And I'll tell ya, it impressed me, it was solid as a rock behind us (and we had the double suitcases, stacked on each other, because we were on a tandem)... totally quiet, it almost felt like the big girl was a bit more stable with the trailer than without. And it was so nice to have a waterproof but easy to access place for all our 'need now' stuff, or lunch, etc. And after riding at least 20 miles on a microscopic backroad, with big trucks passing on all sides, I was amazed at what narrow spaces that trailer fit into, I think we measured it as being just about handlebar width. Really pleasantly surprising.