/ Folding bikes for touring

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estivoautumnal - on 24 Nov 2017
It's a faff! Dismantle and box up your bike. That's after driving from bike shop to bike shop to find one that hasn't squashed all of their bike boxes. Pedals off, etc etc. Then either store your bike box at the first B&B if doing a circular or trawl the bike shops at the end if not. Then there is the taxi to the airport. If you are speaking in foreign then 9 times out 10 the taxi turns up and is not the people carrier you ordered but a bog standard car that with luck and dry weather be able to lash your bike boxes on the roof rack and so on.

Now that's all very well when cycle touring for a month or more but for shorter trips does anyone have experience of touring with a folding bike?

I'd be interested in hearing from any folding bike tourers in general and specifically about the Tern Eclipse Tour. It's a pricey bike so any feedback on that one would be appreciated. i.e. do the 24" wheels make it just as faffy as a full size tourer or should I be looking at a Brompton-ish bike or similar with 20" wheels.

They do look a bit silly but the ability to stick them in a large suitcase makes a lot of sense.

Feedback (from folding bike users) would be most welcome.

Ciro - on 24 Nov 2017
In reply to estivoautumnal:

If I may offer some non-folding-bike-user feedback:

I recently flew to Mallorca for a bike tour, and instead of boxing my bike simply stuck it in a large plastic bag, as per the CTC reccomendation. Was accepted no question by the Easyjet staff, the bike arrived in the same condition it left, and the bag folded up nicely and took up very little space in my luggage for the duration of my trip. The return was equally easy.

I did take the bars off and tape them to the top tube, to try to protect the gear shifters, but I left the pedals on (because I couldn't shift them) and it didn't cause an issue. I bought a CTC bag so that if there was any problems with the airline I could point out that the Ts&Cs say "a bike box or bag" and this is a bag sold for bikes, but next time I'd just pop into a mattress shop and get one for free.

First time I've tried that method, most happy with the result
Clint86 - on 24 Nov 2017
In reply to estivoautumnal:

I've used a Brompton a fair bit even though I'm tall and I think they suit medium to shorter people really. They cycle well, are quite well geared, brakes good, safe upright riding position for cities, easy to get on and off in traffic, can accelerate quickly, can carry luggage although you will need specialist rack/bags. They do store very well in cars/buses/trains, especially if you carry their dedicated bike bag. Not so good on steeper hills as you can't really strand up in the pedals. You can take them into buildings/toilets/tents/etc for security.
johnl - on 25 Nov 2017
In reply to estivoautumnal:

Have a look at the Airnimal range, serious folders with 24" wheels that have been around for quite a while now. Mine rides like a full size bike and they even have a carry case that converts into a trailer. Not cheap but then neither is the Tern.
nniff - on 25 Nov 2017
In reply to johnl:

I’ve got an airnimal as a commuter. It’s nice to ride in comparison to a full size bike. It doesn’t fold up as small as a Brompton but goes a lot better. It takes a rack and panniers. You can get a wheeled case for that works as a trailer. You put your baggage in the trailer, ride to the airport , put the bike in the trailer and off you go. Clever
BigBrother - on 28 Nov 2017
In reply to estivoautumnal:

I will try and write more when I get time if you are still interested. I have 2 Dahons, one is the 24 speed touring version with front and rear racks and the other is, I think, the precursor to that model with 21 gears but didn't come with the racks. Both use the SRAM dual drive gears and both have 20" wheels.
abr1966 - on 28 Nov 2017
In reply to estivoautumnal:

I have a Dahon Mu Uno......single speed but a great bike, I used it when train commuting and had a 3 mile ride at the other end. I've also done 15 mile rides on it no bother.....if you get a decent folding bike with gears you could tour. There's a video on YouTube of some guys touring Shetland on their Bromptons which is worth a watch...
Dave Cundy - on 28 Nov 2017
In reply to estivoautumnal:

I've just had a very successful trip to France with my road bike (a Wilier 10 speed with an Alpkit bar bag, a bespoke Alpkit frame bag and a single Apidura saddlebag).

I flew easyJet from Bristol to Nice.

I also packed my bike inside a CTC bag. I removed the pedals, rotated the handlebars, unscrewed the rear derailleur, dropped the saddle and finally, put loads of pipe insulation around the frame. I then put it in the plastic bag (now on its 3rd trip). They didn't bat an eyelid at either airport. They also didn't quibble with me carrying 3 small bags onto the aeroplane (bar bag + saddle bag + small rucksack).

Once the bike was rebuilt in Nice, I put the insulation and bag into the small rucksack (circa 15 litres) and rode into the countryside for an hour or two. I then found a quiet spot and hide the bag under a bush. I picked it up 10 days later at the end of my tour ! This saves the time and cost of storing it in a locker at a railway station.

An alternative would be a cheap hotel for the first night and leave the bag there.
richlan - on 28 Nov 2017
In reply to estivoautumnal:

What you need is a bike frame with S&S couplers
LastBoyScout on 29 Nov 2017
In reply to estivoautumnal:

Friend of mine has done this at least a few times with a Dahon in a suitcase.
estivoautumnal - on 02 Dec 2017
In reply to LastBoyScout:

Thanks for the replies everyone.
Puma - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to estivoautumnal:

I'll give a +1 for the airnimal. I've done quite a few touring trips with mine, the fold isn't as easy as a brompton but they are good bikes and carry a big load. With a brompton you'll feel the bumps, tough if you plan longer days.
dovebiker - on 04 Dec 2017
In reply to estivoautumnal:

Similar concept to the S+S couplings, takes 700c and fits in a case that doesn't incur airline oversize baggage. I had the road frame in steel for a while and then had a custom titanium CX frame built to replace it - add an extra pair of tyres and you're ready for a road or trail tour. Rides like a regular bike, takes about 10 minutes to build-up and only weighs 100g more than a normal frame. Comes with me regularly on holiday. Most airlines no longer accept the poly-bag. I saw some guys riding Bromptons on a tour on the Isle of Harris - didn't look they were enjoying it on the twisty descents.

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