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Old 04-04-2014, 11:29 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21. Tow vehicle: 2012 Toyota Tundra Crewmax Platunum.
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Is anyone taking folding bikes along when camping?

The recent thread on the unsuitability of many bike racks for trailer use made me rethink our plan to carry our full-sized, low end mountain bikes when we start camping in our Escape.

Seeking an alternative, I got in touch with two couples who take folding bikes along when camping. They love the bikes they got from Bike Friday, an Oregon manufacturer of high quality, sweet riding, smaller-wheeled bikes which can be collapsed in seconds into their storage bags.

As well as being smaller and weighing less than conventional bikes, these units can be stored in the most advantageous position when traveling, instead of always hanging from a rack at the rear of the trailer. We would also save the cost and weight of the 2" "bike ready" receiver.

Bike Friday - Custom folding and travel bicycles hand-crafted in Oregon

Bike Friday allows extensive customization of every bike to meet the buyer's specific needs (sound familiar, Escape owners?). REI and bike shops sell other brands, including some that are de-featured and much cheaper for those who just want to potter around, rather than take extended rides or hit the trails.

If anyone is taking folding bikes along when camping, how has the experience been?
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Brent and Cheryl.
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Old 04-05-2014, 02:38 AM   #2
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We recently purchased a tandem from Bike Friday that breaks down and packs into two suit cases. Haven't journeyed with it yet thanks to arm and wrist surgery, but plan to do so soon.

Neal & Sharon

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
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Old 04-05-2014, 03:55 AM   #3
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We bought used Dahon Folding bikes a few years ago from a rental place in Vancouver.. We take them in the back of our Escape vehicle--they fit very nicely(no carrying bags so we do have to make sure they don't rattle too umch together)-I think they weigh about 25 pounds each.

Have done the nice pathway around Wenatchee on them and this summer after the rally we will take them up to Kelowna to do the Myra Canyon train trestle area...

Easy to store at home, easy to transport..
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Old 04-05-2014, 06:32 AM   #4
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I have only rode one once. It was not too bad to ride at all, and it would be great for toodling around on, but I would not want to take it on a long ride though. While nice that they aren't on the rear of the trailer, storing them somewhere inside would be an issue. The is no place to put them away in our 19, so they would have to store in the car.

It seems everything is a compromise.
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Old 04-05-2014, 07:38 AM   #5
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Hi: Catchlight... Our experience was a total disaster!!! I bought 2 black friday deals from Camping World. Had them delivered to friends Florida address and tried to ride them there.
Found the small wheels very tricky to control. To many injuries to count one handed... but they do have pushbutton up shifters for the 6 speeds.
No space to carry them folded or otherwise so I bought a Swagman Rack for the trailer. Near disaster on I95 at Jacksonville Fla. as the crossbars are to big for the clamp. Thanks to the cable locks we didn't lose a bike but they are... well... broke in looking now!!! YMMV... as Donna says. Alf p.s. We may be in our second childhood...but not try so hard to act like it!!!
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
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Old 04-05-2014, 08:25 AM   #6
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CW sells two types of folding bikes, I have both kinds. There is a custom cruiser, single speed with coaster brake like the ones I grew up with. then there are the smaller wheeled ones Alf mentioned, more compact and a little lighter. Both are great to get around the campground or scurry into town for a forgotten item. Exercising is always good. There are bags available for both which once inside make storage a snap, particularly for those non 5.0 owners with a cap on the rear or a SUV with a rear hatch.
Sometime life gets in the way of living.......
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Old 04-05-2014, 08:35 AM   #7
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I have a cole of folding bikes. One is an Airnimal Chameleon. It has 24x1 wheels, and ultegra components. It fits into a suitcase and trades about 10 - 15 minutes to assemble or disassemble. When I was working, I carried this bike on business trips so I could get an early morning or evening ride in. I have also taken it on multi-day tours like Cycle Zydeco. The other bike is a Tern Eclipse s11i. 11 speed internal geared hub, and 24x2 wheels. Great for riding on state park trails, around campgrounds, to the grocery store etc.

I didn't choose Bike Friday because I have a local dealer who sells Airnimal and Tern bikes (along with Dahon and Brompton). But I have seen several and they are good bikes.
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Old 04-05-2014, 09:32 AM   #8
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Yes we sometimes take at least one folding bike. I 'am sure they were not what you had in mind. A top speed of 20mph @ 100 miles per gallon. Weight 60lbs. + 20lbs for carrier. They fold below the bed rails. And can park under my bring along carport. Great for running up to the campground bathroom, fishing dock, or just cruise and meet. Talk about 60 year olds acting like kids!
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Old 04-05-2014, 10:50 AM   #9
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We met some folks camping who had the Girl Friday bikes and loved them also. They were people who were quite into biking and did some longer trips and they worked for this as well.

I think you might be back to the old 'you get what you pay for' as I belive they are quite pricey. My husband tried one of their's and really liked it.
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Old 04-05-2014, 11:00 AM   #10
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We tried out many folding bikes. The smaller wheels were just not satble enough for me. I'm sure others may have a different experience. So we went with the Dahon mountain bikes with 26in wheels and a decent gear ratio. Stuffed them into the Casita for a while, then bought carriers and put them on the roof rack. They seemed to get heavier over time so we finally had a bike rack receiver welded to the frame and were very happy with that (maybe we could have done that to begin with and used regular bikes but it's always a process isn't it?). We now use the bike rack on the Escape - still love to have our bikes with us (just never fold them anymore).
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Old 04-05-2014, 11:06 AM   #11
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I have an aluminum framed, single speed 20" folder with a coaster brake - doesn't get much simpler than that.
It usually only goes along on trips like the Oregon Gathering where we spend a week or so in one spot & I do lots of visiting around the loops.
Paul & Norma
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Old 04-05-2014, 11:33 AM   #12
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folding bikes

When the motorhome with rear bike racks went away and the pick-up towing a trailer was gone we tried a number of folding bikes that fit in the back of our jeep GC. Each one fit differently and felt different and we didn't want a custom built $1000 bike that may disappear at a camp ground. We settled on Giant brand, had a loaner for a weekend, The wheels are tubular and with a lot of spokes they are listed for 300# capacity. I may not hit that number but when the dog rides along I get closer. We ride for 20 to 25 miles at time, they are just about as comfortable as our full size bikes, just a couple of miles slower and fold in a minute in a bag. Check the Giant web site for specs on the Expressway. We'll have them in Texas, Utah and BC.
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:27 PM   #13
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We have been carrying our Dahon Mu8 bikes for 5 years now. First in the back of out CRV and now in the Santa Fe. We love them. We did not opt for Bike Fridays becaus they were twice as much. Probably twice the bike also. We just finished riding most of the boardwalk in Ventura. It is always nice to have them and they are always clean. Many pictures of them in use on our website.
Tim and Julie
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:55 PM   #14
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I own so many things with rubber tires I'm not buying anything new for my new 5er. I have an old beach cruiser... a HUFFY. Yep have to work harder than a lightweight bike, but I consider that extra exercise.

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