The Adventures of Grandma & Grandpa

One big world, 2 bikes, 6 grandchildren many postcards…

To Fold or not to Fold

We’ve been thinking for some time now on how to make life easier when transporting touring bicycles on public transport. The restrictions and a variety of rules, especially on trains, can make journeys very stressful with loaded cycles. So, we’ve decided to give folding bikes a go for our upcoming winter trip to Portugal.

Rather than splash out on expensive, yet superior folders such as Tern or Bike Friday, we chose the Carrera InterCity from Halfords. At £350 each, we can try the folding touring option out without breaking the bank for now.

Our first excursion is a trip down to Ramsgate in Kent. It was easy and straightforward on both the London Underground and Southeastern Trains from St Pancras, and they easily fitted in the boot of a taxi to our accommodation.

img_20161105_113929506

On our first short ride around the town we were surprised how comfortable the bikes were. It seems like our Ortlieb panniers will fit okay, but we’ve yet to try them fully loaded.

All will be revealed later, but so far so good.

Tags:

5 Responses

  1. David Arthur says

    We have toured a lot with Dahon folders, and in many different countries. I imagine that like all folding bikes (and indeed all bikes) they are a lot easier to ride to places than carry to places! Ours have been very versatile, but especially come into their own while travelling on local public transport where we live in China. Like everything, they have their advantages and disadvantages, but we feel that using the soft-sided Dahon bags that we are able to pack up to 20kgs in, and being to carry all our camping gear etc at reasonable speed and comfort, the advantages just win!

    • Grandma&Grandpa says

      Thanks for your comments and suggestions. Jenny had a Nahin once and had no problem with panniers and camping gear as a solo rider. We didn’t want to break the bank and then find that it’s not for us. That’s why we went for cheap and cheerful Carrera InterCity. So far, so good, but Portugal will be the test. Good luck.

  2. Barry Ensten says

    How easy are they to fold? Brompton’s are really well thought out.

    Barry

    • David Arthur says

      The Dahon bikes take about 20-30 seconds to fold, plus time spent taking the pedals off, if you need to. When folded they are pretty compact. If you are just folding them to take onto a train or bus, it is quick, but taking apart a touring folder to make it fit in a bag, along with a lot of camping gear, is something you would not want to have to do very often! Having said that, we are still looking for the perfect way to pack the bike for air travel, (a) to try and make sure nothing gets broken, and (b) to not have to either transport or store a big bag/case while we ride. We use the black soft-sided Dahon bags. They are very good, can be folded and stored empty in a pannier during the ride, but are difficult to carry when loaded, and often get knocked around, even with “fragile” in evidence. One option that friends of ours have used to good effect is to use a clear plastic bag to pack the bike in – the logic is that if the handlers can see what they are handling, they could very well be more careful with it!

    • Grandma&Grandpa says

      Quite easy although the handlebars stick out a bit. 20″ wheels make it much larger than the 16″ mini promotions.