Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Panniers for Folding Bicycles?

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Panniers for Folding Bicycles?

Old 11-08-23, 12:02 AM
  #1  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: Portland
Posts: 99

Bikes: 1983 Woodrup Giro Touring w/ Huret Duopar, Campy high flange hubs, Deore Dyna-Drive crank pedals and brakes 1987 Bridgestone MB2 bafang mid-drive added in 2015

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 64 Post(s)
Liked 24 Times in 17 Posts
Panniers for Folding Bicycles?

Hello all,

I am an old dog bike tourist trying to learn new tricks.

I am now considering touring with a folding bike. I believe there is a community of people who are already very experienced at this and I would like to short-cut the learning curve and just accept what they know.

What I know about traditional bicycles is transferable to choosing a folding bike. But what I know about bicycle panniers may be a limitation when it comes to folding bikes and rather than go back to first principals and experiment I would rather know the conclusions that others have reached with regards to carrying your luggage on a folding bike.

Transferring my full sized bike panniers to a folding bike is my first instinct but I am pretty sure it is about as sensible as those people you see who start bike touring with their gear in a back country backpack on their back.

What do you use?

Single bag on the front or back or dual panniers front or back? I would like to minimize the number of bags I check on an airplane or carry on and off a train.

I plan to tour for at least a month. I would like to take a full carryon suitcase worth of clothing etc. Then maybe rent an apartment and take weekend tours using the train with a lighter kit.

Since retiring I have mostly enjoyed staying close to home in the Pacific NW and have used Amtrak as a crutch to compensate for my decrepit physic.

I developed my bike touring skills in the 1970s and I have been satisfied riding my old bike with my old kit in the old way and as long as I don't go too far from home .... life is good at Bag End of Hobbiton and Amtrak is happy to transport my old 61cm touring bike with 27" wheels.

Life gets more complicated when I leave the happy realm of Amtrak. Last year I went to Spain on a lark. Bringing my bicycle with me was going to be more expensive than renting a bicycle so I rented a bicycle for 3 weeks when I arrived in Barcelona. It was a wonderful trip but I realized that it could have been better. The touring bicycle I rented was an albatross around my neck when I wanted to ride a high speed train or to get from Mallorca to Valencia.

I want to go back to Spain and explore more cities using the high speed train but I like having a bike that can carry my luggage when I get off the train. A folding bike seems like an inevitable part of my future.
kevmcd is offline  
Likes For kevmcd:
Old 11-08-23, 04:56 AM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 11,189

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 47 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3456 Post(s)
Liked 1,454 Times in 1,133 Posts
I have not toured on a folding bike, but have seen a few others that have.

I did an Adventure Cycling (ACA) trip over a decade ago. The guide, his wife, and one participant rode Bike Fridays. The guide and his wife each used the Bike Friday suitcase as a trailer and each also had a rear rack. For airline travel, the bike went into the trailer which was a suitcase. I do not recall if the guide had panniers. The one participant had a rear rack with panniers, no trailer and no front panniers.

Photo of the guide's wife below:



One of the Bike Friday bikes with a trailer is on the left in this photo.



A lot of people have posted their trip documentation on this website, some used folding bikes:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/

There are a few other websites where people have posted their trip writeups, but I am not sure where. Others on this forum could list them.

When I think of bike touring on a folding bike, I think of Bike Friday bikes. There are other brands too, but the ones I have seen or read about were Bike Fridays with 20 inch wheels. They make a few models that have been used widely for touring. My folding bike is an Airnimal Joey with 24 inch wheels, I have not toured with it.

Keep in mind that folding bikes are a compromise. I suspect some will disagree, but my opinion is that some folding bikes are designed for portability at the expense of rideabiliy. And others are made to emphasize the ride, less focus on portability. My Airnimal is in the second category, it rides very well but is large when only the first fold is used and it takes a lot of disassembly to fit it into an airline sized case that meets the 62 inch criteria. But it would easily meet the Amtrak criteria for a folding bike as a carry on with minimal effort to fold to the Amtrak size.

I think first you should decide if you plan to travel by airline, airline size criteria for folding bikes is quite different than Amtrak. If you plan to only tour on Amtrak, you could have a bigger folding bike.

If you think you would only rarely need to fold a bike, there is the option of a coupled bike instead. These are full size bikes, but the frame can be split to allow it to be packed into a smaller case. Most common are S&S coupled bikes, many brands have built bikes with these couplers. Another option is Ritchey Breakaway bikes, those couplers are specific to that brand and model of bikes. There is another company out there that is selling couplers, I think it is a tandem bike company, but I do not recall whom.

Bike photo below is my heavy touring bike, it has S&S couplers on the top tube and downtube, so I can split the frame to pack into a smaller case. But packing and later reassembling a coupled bike is a chore that is measured in hours, not minutes.



If your plan is to rent an apartment for a month or two, then go to a different city and repeat, I would rent a car to travel to the next city and skip Amtrak. And if you did that, you could ship a full size bike by Bikeflights.com or Shipbikes.com if you were renting small cars.

I do not recall what vehicle we rented, but two of us drove a rental with our touring gear and two bikes in the back to where we started our tour. I think it was a minivan, below.



There is the right kind of bike out there for virtually anything you want to do, but you really need to figure out what kind of travel you want to do.

You describe renting housing, but you do not mention if plan to sleep in motels or camp. You really need to figure out more detail on what you want to do. When you say you want to have a full suitcase full of clothing, that is not a normal way to tour on a bike.

You certainly could use front panniers, rear panniers, both, etc., on a folding bike. But how much gear you want to carry will vary a lot based on where you plan to sleep that night.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Likes For Tourist in MSN:
Old 11-08-23, 05:41 AM
  #3  
Rider. Wanderer. Creator.
 
john m flores's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 768

Bikes: Bike Friday Pocket Rocket, Cinelli Hobootleg, Zizzo Liberte

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 389 Post(s)
Liked 771 Times in 375 Posts
Just returned from Andalucia Spain with a pair of Bike Fridays. First international trip (flying) with folders. Multi-modal travel is significantly easier with Bike Fridays vs. full size bikes and with suitcases versus bike boxes. Getting to/from airport is easier, hailing taxis and Ubers is easier, train stations and trains are easier, and small European hotel rooms and elevators are easier.

We hoteled, so we only carried two panniers each. We started and ended in the same hotel; they happily stored out suitcases for us.

We used the same panniers that we use on our 700c bikes and there was no issue at all. They handled pretty much like regular bikes on the paved and unpaved roads we explored. At no point in time did we think, "700c bikes would have been better here."

Based on our experience, bikes of all sizes are permitted on local trains. On mid-distance (MD or Media Distancia) trains, up to three bikes per train are allowed. They have three bike hooks in one of the cars for them and you need to pay for them when you purchase your ticket - 1 Euro per bike for trips of less than 100km, 3 Euro for longer. But as the guidebooks have said and in our personal experience, three is not a hard and fast rule. We ended up with four on our train and nobody cared. On the longer distance, high speed trains, the bike will need to be folded and put in a bag or box. We did not do that on this trip, but if we had to, we'd have to figure the smallest lightest bags that we'd have to carry with us for this purpose.

Some photos

Bike Friday All Packa with rear rack with Arkel panniers and and fork-mounted 4.1 liter Ortliebs


Bike Friday Pocket Crusoe with front rack and Ortlieb panniers


All Packa on local train. It wasn't busy so nobody cared. There seems to be a strong bike culture in many of the place we visited.


Pocket Crusoe on Media Distancia train. You can see how much more compact the bike is versus full size bikes.


Media Distancia trains officially are limited to three bikes. But here's the fourth.

All Packa and I squeezing into a tiny Spanish elevator.
john m flores is offline  
Likes For john m flores:
Old 11-08-23, 07:38 AM
  #4  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 13,210
Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2735 Post(s)
Liked 969 Times in 792 Posts
Tourist - great questions and overview

John- great photos and that wide wheeled bike Friday is a cool little beast.
djb is offline  
Likes For djb:
Old 11-08-23, 07:46 AM
  #5  
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,013
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 287 Post(s)
Liked 120 Times in 88 Posts
I use the same Ortlieb rear panniers and Ortlieb handlebar bag on my Bike Friday New World Tourist, as on my old touring bike with 700c wheels. I've never used front paniers on any bike.

After flying with my Bike Friday, I've been able to leave the suitcase at hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs, or with friends. As for trains which do not accept bikes, I bring the largest plastic trash bag sold. I fold up the bike and put it in the trash bag. It's a lot easier to put in the trash bag if I remove the pedals first. My friend (who also owns a Bike Friday) and I did this with our bikes to take them on TGV trains in France which either did not take bikes, or which had no bike reservations available. I was touring in Italy last month and the regional trains all took bikes for a 3.50 euro fee. No folding or bagging necessary. A couple of times, the ability to fold the bike has allowed me to get the folded but unbagged bike into minibuses in Thailand and in Colombia.
axolotl is offline  
Likes For axolotl:
Old 11-08-23, 08:54 AM
  #6  
Bike touring webrarian
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 2,071

Bikes: I tour on a Waterford Adventurecycle. It is a fabulous touring bike.

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 120 Post(s)
Liked 94 Times in 53 Posts
I have 2 touring bikes. One is a Bike Friday New World Tourist and the other is a Waterford Adventure Cycle with S&S couplers. Both can be disassembled (Waterford) or folded (BikeFriday) and put into a hard-sided case for travel. I have uncoupled the Waterford and taken in a car's trunk numerous times. I have folded the Bike Friday, put it in a bag, and taken it on trains.

The Waterford is a full-sized bike that comes apart with a good deal of effort (90+ minutes to disassemble /reassemble). It rides like a standard bicycle and it is my preferred touring bike. However, traveling with it is a drag. The bike case is square and only has 2 small wheels on one edge. This provides only the bare minimum of mobility assistance for a 50 pound case. Since the Waterford is a normal sized bike, all gear carrying methods work without problem. These days, the Waterford stays at home in the US.

I have family in the UK and often travel there to visit. I use these visits to tour in both the UK and Europe. In the past, I brought the Waterford. But, tiring of the travel hassle, I bought a folding bike to leave in the UK. When I tour in Europe, I fly to the UK, pick up the Bike Friday, and fly on to my European destination. The Bike Friday comes in a large, but sturdy suitcase with the usual modern wheels and handles. It is easy to roll through airports and looks like a regular suitcase. Reassembling and disassembly are quick (20 minutes) and the bike, while twitchy, rides like a "normal" bike.

Like axototl, I usually find a place to leave the Bike Friday suitcase at a hotel or someone's house (friend or warmshower's host).

As I no longer camp, I have been able to reduce my gear to 2 panniers. Rear panniers are used with the Bike Friday.



Front Panniers and a large frame bag are used with the Waterford.




The Waterford handles well with just the front panniers. However, the rear panniers and the rack weights the Bike Friday heavily in the back and without enough weight upfront (in the converted rear rack bag), the bike has a tendency to "rear" up when pushing hard when starting or going uphill. While I have learned how to pack the Bike Friday to minimize it, I'm not sure with my set-up that I can eliminate it entirely.

I wrote a review of the Bike Friday after I bought it and then did a tour on it. I wrote about my 10-years of experience with an S&S coupled touring bike.

I have found it to be much easier to take bicycles on trains as bicycles following whatever rules the train system has for bikes. I have a large bag that the Bike Friday can be put into and carried as large, unwieldy luggage. The few times that I've put the Bike Friday in a bag, it was very hard to carry (50 pounds slug over a shoulder) and I needed to stop and rest every few 100 feet (luckily, I knew this and rented a room next to the train station). In addition, the Bike Friday I have doesn't fold very well (the handlebar stem comes off and isn't hinged). If you get a folding bike that quickly folds into a small package (say a Brompton) that you can either roll or carry easily, then taking it on a train will be greatly eased.

If your plan is multi-modal travel (planes, high-speed trains) with a bike, I'm not sure a folding bike will fit your needs any better than a non-folding bike. My recommendation is to plan trips that minimize plane travel and use trains that take bikes. These trains often take longer but, for me, that is all part of the experience. In my travels, I've found that taking bike on ferries is usually without hassle.

Last edited by raybo; 11-08-23 at 08:57 AM.
raybo is offline  
Likes For raybo:
Old 11-08-23, 09:01 AM
  #7  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: Portland
Posts: 99

Bikes: 1983 Woodrup Giro Touring w/ Huret Duopar, Campy high flange hubs, Deore Dyna-Drive crank pedals and brakes 1987 Bridgestone MB2 bafang mid-drive added in 2015

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 64 Post(s)
Liked 24 Times in 17 Posts
Thanks everyone for the reply. It surprises me how dominant the Bike Friday's are among bike tourists when I expect they are a tiny fraction of the folding bike market. But they make a quality product and pay attention to the details that matter.


One of details that I am struggling with is how to use my panniers on a folding bike. Bike Friday makes this easy because they elevate the rear rack far above the rear 20" wheel so maybe its height off the ground is not much different than the rack height with a 700C wheel. I don't think this is true of any other folding bikes and if it is I don't know if the rear rack on other brands could really support the panniers. It seems that pictures I have seen of people touring with Brompton's show them with a special large single bag either in the front or back. A large single bag could be an advantage on airlines as it would be easy to check. 2 panniers are 2 bags and that can be expensive to check on an airline. I was in that position in Paris, I wanted to check my bags and go explore but I didn't want to pay the ridiculous baggage charge. But if you plan in advance it probably isn't too difficult to figure out how to strap them together and put the inside a nylon duffel to make them 1 checkable bag.


The other detail important to me is the rear hub. I prefer not to have a rear cluster and derailleur. Since I plan to mostly be in urban environments I would like to keep the grease off my hands and I've seen a lot of rear derailleurs damaged when bikes are transported and a geared hub seems like an easy way to avoid these problems.


I've been leaning towards a Dahon which I can get on the second hand market for about $600 with an internally geared rear hub. There are plenty of Bike Friday's for sale but the tall frames are extremely rare. I need a folding bike equivalent to 34" standover height. Bike Friday makes 3 different size bikes and that is probably why they ride better than everyone else's universally sized folding bike. But it makes it hard to find a Bike Friday on the second hand market if you are tall. I prefer not to spend a lot of money since I am getting on in years and it is hard to predict how many more bike adventures are left.


This thread has been useful and maybe I will think about how to make an elevator for the Dahon rack or move the mounts on my panniers. I will also look harder for a tall second hand Bike Friday but finding one with an internal hub is unlikely.


My trip itinerary is still fuzzy. Using what I learned last year I am thinking of flying to Spain a week and a half before the first of the month and then shop for apartments and a Spanish language school in either Seville or Granada. Then rent an apartment for a month and explore Spain on the high speed trains on the weekend. The bike would be used every week day to commute to school and on weekends it would get me and my luggage to and from the train station and hotels and around whatever city or countryside I found myself in.


Thanks again everyone!
kevmcd is offline  
Old 11-08-23, 09:24 AM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,866
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1251 Post(s)
Liked 754 Times in 560 Posts
Heel clearance might be an issue with rear panniers and 20" wheels and most panniers. I'd think front panniers and some gear on top of the rear rack might be a good way to go. If you go rear panniers they may need to be small and/or be shaped to maximise heel clearance. Some discipline in packing light would allow lower weight and volume and make the packing easier and the riding more pleasant.
staehpj1 is online now  
Likes For staehpj1:
Old 11-08-23, 10:08 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
robow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,866
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 595 Post(s)
Liked 281 Times in 192 Posts
Looking back, I'm sure I've toured with at least a half dozen individuals with Bike Fridays, and though one did pull that "suitcase trailer", all the others used their standard Ortlieb panniers with no difficulty that I was aware of.
robow is offline  
Likes For robow:
Old 11-08-23, 10:19 AM
  #10  
Rider. Wanderer. Creator.
 
john m flores's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 768

Bikes: Bike Friday Pocket Rocket, Cinelli Hobootleg, Zizzo Liberte

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 389 Post(s)
Liked 771 Times in 375 Posts
Originally Posted by staehpj1
Heel clearance might be an issue with rear panniers and 20" wheels and most panniers. I'd think front panniers and some gear on top of the rear rack might be a good way to go. If you go rear panniers they may need to be small and/or be shaped to maximise heel clearance. Some discipline in packing light would allow lower weight and volume and make the packing easier and the riding more pleasant.
Bike Friday are designed to carry panniers, so they've got longer chainstays than other 20" wheeled biked. Heel strike has not been an issue at all for me.

I also have a Zizzo Liberte folder that I used as a town bike, with a rear rack and panniers. I have to set the rear panniers as far back as possible, where the leading edge of the pannier is close to the rear axle - in order to avoid heel strike.
john m flores is offline  
Likes For john m flores:
Old 11-08-23, 11:27 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 11,189

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 47 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3456 Post(s)
Liked 1,454 Times in 1,133 Posts
Rear racks on a small wheel bike need to be as tall as on 700c bikes, otherwise your panniers are too low and could be a problem with ground clearance or possibly the drive train. I found that if I used my Carradry rear panniers on my folding bike, the pannier was too close to the shifting mechanism on my Sram Dual Drive for comfort.

But, you should be able to buy and fit just about any rack to a folding bike. That said, a rear rack that pushes the panniers further back may be needed because folding bikes usually have shorter chainstays.

If you needed a rack that was really portable when off of the bike, the Racktime Foldit Adjustable is held together with a lot of nuts and bolts. I am not sure how stiff it is when loaded up with heavy panniers, that could be a weak spot. And if you buy a Racktime or Tubus rack for the rear and need longer stays to attach to the front of the rack to the chainstays or other mounting point on the bike, they make longer stays as options.

I was thinking of taking my folder on an tour on Amtrak, bought the Racktime Foldit Adjustable rack for it, photo below, this bike has 24 inch wheels, I used the optional extra long stays for the rack:



The trip did not happen, so I can't tell you how it worked out.

Originally Posted by kevmcd
...
I've been leaning towards a Dahon which I can get on the second hand market for about $600 with an internally geared rear hub. ....
I do not know how many times I have started reading a thread where someone wants to buy a folding bike, but late in the post they say they want to spend about half as much as they would expect to spend on a full size bike.

If you want to buy a used Dahon for $600 for a trip that otherwise will cost you many thousands, maybe it will work out ok.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Likes For Tourist in MSN:
Old 11-08-23, 11:46 AM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 11,189

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 47 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3456 Post(s)
Liked 1,454 Times in 1,133 Posts
Originally Posted by raybo
...
I wrote a review of the Bike Friday after I bought it and then did a tour on it. I wrote about my 10-years of experience with an S&S coupled touring bike.
....
Great writeups.

The Bike Friday writeup reminded me of riding my touring bike over the Golden Gate bridge. I was taking a photo with my camera while riding and some local roadie was swearing at me for slowing him down for a few seconds.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Likes For Tourist in MSN:
Old 11-08-23, 06:09 PM
  #13  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: Portland
Posts: 99

Bikes: 1983 Woodrup Giro Touring w/ Huret Duopar, Campy high flange hubs, Deore Dyna-Drive crank pedals and brakes 1987 Bridgestone MB2 bafang mid-drive added in 2015

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 64 Post(s)
Liked 24 Times in 17 Posts
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
.........
......
I do not know how many times I have started reading a thread where someone wants to buy a folding bike, but late in the post they say they want to spend about half as much as they would expect to spend on a full size bike.

If you want to buy a used Dahon for $600 for a trip that otherwise will cost you many thousands, maybe it will work out ok.
I'm not too worried about having the perfect bike. I will only be riding a few miles fully loaded from the airport to the hotel and then a few times switching hotel or to apartment. Weekend trips should be with very light panniers and during the week maybe one pannier with a couple books and spare jacket.

If I can find a fully loaded large frame Bike Friday with internally geared rear hub I might pay twice as much. There are at least a dozen 2nd hand Bike Fridays in the PNW on craigslist and facebook but all of them are small or medium frames.

The Dahon comes with a solid rack. My panniers are nothing special so if I buy the Dahon I will probably modify the panniers and add an auxiliary set of mounts that set the panniers higher and further back to prevent heel clip.

One of the great things about bike touring is that it is very egalitarian. I love riding my Woodrup Giro Touring with campy, cinelli, huret and shimano components. But anyone can get a good enough bike for $300 and have a great adventure.

Thanks again everyone!
kevmcd is offline  
Old 11-08-23, 06:35 PM
  #14  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: Portland
Posts: 99

Bikes: 1983 Woodrup Giro Touring w/ Huret Duopar, Campy high flange hubs, Deore Dyna-Drive crank pedals and brakes 1987 Bridgestone MB2 bafang mid-drive added in 2015

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 64 Post(s)
Liked 24 Times in 17 Posts
Originally Posted by raybo
............
.....................

If your plan is multi-modal travel (planes, high-speed trains) with a bike, I'm not sure a folding bike will fit your needs any better than a non-folding bike. My recommendation is to plan trips that minimize plane travel and use trains that take bikes. These trains often take longer but, for me, that is all part of the experience. In my travels, I've found that taking bike on ferries is usually without hassle.
I understand completely with what you are saying and in the past what you describe has been my strategy. Last year after renting a touring bike in Barcelona I went directly to the ferry terminal and took the ferry to Majorca, then ferry to Valencia and slow train back to Barcelona and slow train to Girona. But when I go back I want to be able to take the high speed trains and see more of the country. Another possibility is to just take panniers and try to rent a suitable bicycle in each location. A titanium Brompton might be the perfect solution. I am willing to go with an imperfect solution.
kevmcd is offline  
Old 11-09-23, 02:40 AM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
50PlusCycling's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 1,121
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 549 Post(s)
Liked 797 Times in 405 Posts
I’ve toured on a Birdy and on a Moulton. I used ordinary Ortlieb panniers, mounted on the front. Rather than mount rear panniers as well, I instead used a fairly large weatherproof bag, with the necessary compartments. I don’t like to carry too much in the way of stuff, in places where hotels are few and far between, I’ll carry a compact tent, sleeping bag, and mat, but I don’t carry cooking gear.

Both of the bikes could be easily put in a bag and carried on a plane, train, or bus. In some cases I can transport them as they are. Assembled and ready to go, they are easier to move around an manhandle than a full-size bike.
50PlusCycling is offline  
Likes For 50PlusCycling:
Old 11-09-23, 05:03 AM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,866
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1251 Post(s)
Liked 754 Times in 560 Posts
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
I do not know how many times I have started reading a thread where someone wants to buy a folding bike, but late in the post they say they want to spend about half as much as they would expect to spend on a full size bike.

If you want to buy a used Dahon for $600 for a trip that otherwise will cost you many thousands, maybe it will work out ok.
I can see that working out for what the OP proposes. He is talking about going back to Spain and exploring more cities using the high speed train but likes having a bike that can carry his luggage when he gets off the train. Seems like a used dahon could possibly work out well for that.

FWIW, my tours have been on either old or cheap bikes and I haven't regretted my choices. I did the TA and some other tours on a $599 Bikes Direct bike (Windsor touring) and some other tours on my decades old race bikes (Cannondale crit and mtb). I have considered doing something on my old Dahon hopping around on public transit at times somewhat like the OP is thinking of, but probably will never actually do it.


BTW, the idea of a trip costing many thousands kind of boggles my mind. I think I spent $1500 or so on the Trans America in 2007 and that was probably my most bike expensive trip.
staehpj1 is online now  
Old 11-09-23, 05:34 AM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 11,189

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 47 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3456 Post(s)
Liked 1,454 Times in 1,133 Posts
Originally Posted by staehpj1
I can see that working out for what the OP proposes. He is talking about going back to Spain and exploring more cities using the high speed train but likes having a bike that can carry his luggage when he gets off the train. Seems like a used dahon could possibly work out well for that.
...
BTW, the idea of a trip costing many thousands kind of boggles my mind. I think I spent $1500 or so on the Trans America in 2007 and that was probably my most bike expensive trip.
Yeah, the bike is more of a portable commuter, not really a touring bike to carry a load.

I think my Iceland trip cost about $2500 in 2016. Almost half of that was the air fare, would have cost $300 more if I did not have S&S couplers. Mostly camping, stayed in four different hostels for the indoor nights, was about a month. I was surprised how cheap it was for camping, most nights were between $8 and $15, but they charged by the person, not for a "campsite". Food from grocery stores did not cost much more than in USA at the time, the only thing that cost a lot was food cooked by others, and alcohol.

And my Canada trip in 2019 was probably about $3000, but that was a total of about six weeks. Campgrounds were like in USA, you rent a complete site so campsite cost was high. And transport was complicated because almost all flights in and out of Halifax were on Canadian Airlines, so flying to and from Madison WI was impractical, I took a bus to Chicago and rented a motel near Ohare before my flight out. That trip, I think the S&S couplers only saved me about $80, but that trip was when my S&S flight savings was sufficient to pay for the initial cost for couplers and the case.

My USA trips were a lot cheaper, but foreign air travel with a bike can get expensive. And living in Madison, the airport here consistently scores as one of the ten most expensive airports to fly in and out of, so any trips that involve a plane are expensive.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 11-09-23, 05:51 AM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,866
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1251 Post(s)
Liked 754 Times in 560 Posts
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Yeah, the bike is more of a portable commuter, not really a touring bike to carry a load.

I think my Iceland trip cost about $2500 in 2016. Almost half of that was the air fare, would have cost $300 more if I did not have S&S couplers. Mostly camping, stayed in four different hostels for the indoor nights, was about a month. I was surprised how cheap it was for camping, most nights were between $8 and $15, but they charged by the person, not for a "campsite". Food from grocery stores did not cost much more than in USA at the time, the only thing that cost a lot was food cooked by others, and alcohol.

And my Canada trip in 2019 was probably about $3000, but that was a total of about six weeks. Campgrounds were like in USA, you rent a complete site so campsite cost was high. And transport was complicated because almost all flights in and out of Halifax were on Canadian Airlines, so flying to and from Madison WI was impractical, I took a bus to Chicago and rented a motel near Ohare before my flight out. That trip, I think the S&S couplers only saved me about $80, but that trip was when my S&S flight savings was sufficient to pay for the initial cost for couplers and the case.

My USA trips were a lot cheaper, but foreign air travel with a bike can get expensive. And living in Madison, the airport here consistently scores as one of the ten most expensive airports to fly in and out of, so any trips that involve a plane are expensive.
A few notes on that. I spend zero on alcohol so I save a bunch compared to some. I tend to camp for free a lot. Flying out of the Baltimore MD area wasn't bad. Tallahasse is, but I haven't toured much since I have moved here. Also my touring has been continental US. So I get sticker shock when i see folks talk "many thousands". Not doubting you or saying anything negative about it, I just have a hard time relating.

Some folks do some touring carrying moderate lods on Dahons or similar bikes. They aren't likely to be carrying heavy loads or takling mountainous terrain.

Last edited by staehpj1; 11-09-23 at 05:54 AM.
staehpj1 is online now  
Old 11-09-23, 06:02 AM
  #19  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 11,189

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 47 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3456 Post(s)
Liked 1,454 Times in 1,133 Posts
Originally Posted by kevmcd
I'm not too worried about having the perfect bike. I will only be riding a few miles fully loaded from the airport to the hotel and then a few times switching hotel or to apartment. ...
Only one of my foreign trips involved a taxi, in that case there were two of us to split the taxi fair.

My other foreign trips involved a shuttle bus to and from the airport to near a hostel or hotel I was to stay at. Shuttle buses are quite affordable.

My last foreign trip, my luggage is in the photo, two panniers were my carry on and my personal item on the plane. The black case is the S&S bike case and has backpack straps. The orange bag is a backpack. I had camping gear (tent, sleeping gear, cooking gear) so I probably had at least twice as much luggage as you will have. The most difficulty was that I had to walk two trips between a hostel and the train station to carry it all, could not carry both backpacks at the same time.



I did not attempt to bike out of the airport on any occasions, but some people do that regularly. If that works for you, great.

If you do not have a luggage scale, you might find it useful to have. One trip with accidental overweight bag will more than cover the cost of the scale.

I met the gal in the photo below in Iceland. Her and her boyfriend bought folding bikes and had them delivered to the campground in Reykjavik. Their initial plan was to backpack in Iceland but when they arrived there they realized that was impractical so their Plan B was to buy folding bikes and strap their backpacks on them.



I have no clue how this worked out for them. Her first attempt, the pack started to fall off the rack before she got 100 feet. I was in the process of leaving, so I gave her a strap that I did not need anymore, maybe that was enough?

I really hope that they survived that trip, but they really seemed to be clueless about what they were doing. This is not the way I would go bike touring in a foreign country.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 11-09-23, 06:50 AM
  #20  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 8,605

Bikes: Mike Melton custom, Alex Moulton AM, Dahon Curl

Mentioned: 37 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1660 Post(s)
Liked 1,808 Times in 1,053 Posts
1) Folding bikes are the golden ticket for using Amtrak.

2) Folding bikes don't have to have small wheels. Here's forum member pinholecam 's touring Changebike:



3) Airline flights, you know, pack/unpack the flight cases and assemble/disassemble the bike at the terminal, but there's a big difference between demountable bikes (S&S coupled, rinko'ed, some BikeFirdays) and true folding bikes when it comes to riding up and hopping on the train. I can ride up to the platform and be on the train in an unrushed 30 seconds:



4) Here's my Dahon Curl - which will fit in a 62-inch suitcase without disassembly - fitted with 23L of Ortieb goodness for light tours:



5) You might have to change your touring paradigm and forgo using standard touring bike panniers on your folder. Here's the man, the legend, 50-years-on-the-road Heinz Stücke and his pannier-less Brompton:


Last edited by tcs; 11-09-23 at 07:31 AM.
tcs is offline  
Likes For tcs:
Old 11-09-23, 07:05 AM
  #21  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 8,605

Bikes: Mike Melton custom, Alex Moulton AM, Dahon Curl

Mentioned: 37 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1660 Post(s)
Liked 1,808 Times in 1,053 Posts
Originally Posted by kevmcd
I am now considering touring with a folding bike. I believe there is a community of people who are already very experienced at this and I would like to short-cut the learning curve and just accept what they know.
Facebook's Brompton Touring group is educational and inspirational.

You might enjoy:

tcs is offline  
Likes For tcs:
Old 11-09-23, 07:15 AM
  #22  
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,866
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1251 Post(s)
Liked 754 Times in 560 Posts
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
I really hope that they survived that trip, but they really seemed to be clueless about what they were doing. This is not the way I would go bike touring in a foreign country.
People do all sorts of things that seem pretty ill advised. Sometimes they wind up with a successful adventure and sometimes an ordeal that ends quickly. I have seen some that I figured were definitely doomed turn out either way.
staehpj1 is online now  
Old 11-09-23, 07:30 AM
  #23  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 8,605

Bikes: Mike Melton custom, Alex Moulton AM, Dahon Curl

Mentioned: 37 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1660 Post(s)
Liked 1,808 Times in 1,053 Posts
Originally Posted by kevmcd
I've been leaning towards a Dahon which I can get on the second-hand market for about $600 with an internally geared rear hub.
Brand new Dahons available for $600 (Hit) or just over (Mu D8), with an advertised 15% off that. Derailleurs, though.

I will probably modify the panniers and add an auxiliary set of mounts that set the panniers higher and further back to prevent heel clip.


Dahon's Traveler Rack:




Priority Bikes has just introduced a folder with hub gear and belt drive, $750. Unfortunately, they bodged the fold design.

Last edited by tcs; 11-09-23 at 07:43 AM.
tcs is offline  
Old 11-09-23, 07:35 AM
  #24  
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,866
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1251 Post(s)
Liked 754 Times in 560 Posts
Originally Posted by tcs
1) Folding bikes are the golden ticket for using Amtrak.

I can ride up to the platform and be on the train in an unrushed 30 seconds:
Can you say more about how Amtrak treats folding bikes?

4) What kind of 'touring' do you foresee? Camping/cooking/completely self-contained? Inn-to-inn, eating out? Ultra-light or all the comforts of home? Here's my Dahon Curl - which will fit in a 62-inch suitcase without disassembly - fitted with 23L of Ortieb goodness for light tours:
That looks like a nice setup. I tend to tour with pretty minimal gear so something like that could work for me.

My Dahon Helios fits in a 62" Samsonite Oyster, but it is a pain to pack. I have a bag (Dahon EL Bolso Carry Bag) Dahon sells for taking their bokes on buses and so on. It basically hides that it was a bike and has a shoulder strap that makes it easy to lug. It is kind of heavy and bulky to take along, but not as bad as a suitcase. You couldn't use it to fly with the bike though.
staehpj1 is online now  
Old 11-09-23, 08:21 AM
  #25  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 8,605

Bikes: Mike Melton custom, Alex Moulton AM, Dahon Curl

Mentioned: 37 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1660 Post(s)
Liked 1,808 Times in 1,053 Posts
Originally Posted by staehpj1
Can you say more about how Amtrak treats folding bikes?
Amtrak's full-size, non-folding bike transportation policy is train-route and station-dependent. Our OP reports no problems on the routes he's taken so far with his regular bike. Their folding bike policy offers a generous 34" x 15" x 48" (860 x 380 x 1120 mm) and treats folders as hand luggage. You have to schlep it yourself, but on/off at any station.

https://www.amtrak.com/bring-your-bicycle-onboard

We've just stowed the folders with everyone else's dunnage:



My Dahon Helios fits in a 62" Samsonite Oyster, but it is a pain to pack.
So-called tri-folds (the fold design invented by Andrew Ritchie for the Brompton) with 16" wheels just fold and drop in square-shaped suitcases. They make several different specialized cases, but here's my Dahon Curl in an off-the-shelf Samsonite:



Uh, yeah, you'd want to pack/pad around the bike (without going overweight) before turning this over to baggage handlers.

Last edited by tcs; 11-09-23 at 09:26 AM.
tcs is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.