When you use our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
Typically folding bikes are associated with the daily commute. But that isn’t all they can be used for. Increasingly, people are using their folding bikes to make longer trips. This can even include touring, where cyclists can ride for days, or weeks, at a time.
Historically, folding bike touring has been the domain of road or cargo bikes. But more people are choosing the comfort of a folding bike instead. Read on to discover some great reasons you might want to consider touring on a folding bike.
1. Makes Transport Easier
Before starting your tour, you must arrive in the area you want to ride through. With a road bike, this can prove to be a challenge. Not only is it hard to get it on a plane or bus, but you’ll also need to pay high prices.
A folding bike makes transport simple.
Most models will be compact enough to fit in a plane’s overhead locker. Since it will be the same size as a suitcase, you shouldn’t have trouble putting it on a bus. This is ideal for countries with a well-developed train network, as you won’t need to cycle the whole way.
There are a few handy tips you can use to make sure that your bike arrives in good condition. These include:
- Cover it up. A cover will prevent dust and dirt from getting into the bike. Plus, putting it into a bag will make transporting it more manageable. Sometimes, the bike will come with a cover. If not, you can purchase a bike bag. If you want, you can put it in a hard-shell suitcase. This will protect it from being bumped around when getting loaded.
- Check the rules. Each mode of transport will have a slightly different set of fees. They might also have restrictions on the size and weight of luggage. It’s a good idea to ask the airport staff to put a fragile label on the bag when you fly. Make sure you arrive at the airport early. Often, security will want to inspect the bike.
- Choose a lightweight brand. Some brands have a reputation for producing lightweight bikes that can be folded into a compact package. If you are planning on traveling with a folding bike, it’s best to choose one of these bikes.
- Use the handlebars to roll the bike. Many of these bikes will be lightweight and easy to carry. Over a short distance, you can carry them like a suitcase. But you might want to leave the handlebar extended over a longer distance. This will allow you to use the wheels to roll the bike in front of you.
- Stand the bike up. Ideally, you should be storing the bike standing up. If you need to lay it flat, avoid putting anything on top. This will ensure that the chain and drivetrain aren’t affected.
2. Folding Bikes Offer Exceptional Performance
Many people believe that folding bikes have inferior performance compared to road bikes. But this isn’t true. As long as you choose a model that comes from a reputable company, you will be able to achieve similar speeds as a road bike.
When touring, you want to choose a model that comes with a good gear range.
This will make it easier for you to ascend hills. You can even get a model that comes with an electric motor. This will come in handy on a longer ride, as you can use the pedal assistance when you get tired. You just need to ensure you have a place to recharge the battery.
This free cheat sheet will help you choose a trike by providing quick information on the 7 key considerations for buying an adult tricycle!
3. Easier To Overcome Obstacles
Sometimes, when you are touring, you will encounter unexpected problems. These can include:
- Trees blocking the road
- Flooding after rain
- Medical problems which can leave you unable to ride
- Weather conditions making riding unsafe
If you have a folding bike, there are a few ways to overcome these problems.
You can fold the bike down if you encounter a relatively minor obstacle. This should only take a few seconds. Then, it will be easy to walk around it. Carrying a foldable bike will be much easier than a conventional road bike.
Traditionally, a more substantial problem, like a medical problem stopping you from riding, would have caused nightmares. You wouldn’t be able to call a cab because the bike wouldn’t fit in the car. Likewise, taking the bus would have been a challenge.
But with a folding bike, these issues will be eliminated. As a result, you don’t need to worry about becoming stranded somewhere.
4. Folding Bikes Can Carry Luggage
Folding bikes make it easy for you to carry luggage with you. Many models will come with front or rear racks as standard. These can be sturdy enough to meet your touring needs, with many panniers able to cope with around 60 pounds.
You can also carry a backpack if you still need a little extra space.
However, you will need to keep the weight limit in mind.
This will be a little lower than a conventional bike. Most folding bicycles can carry 220 to 240 pounds (100 to 110 kilograms). It’s best to check the owner’s manual to determine how much your model can handle.
5. More Accommodation Options To Explore
At the end of your day, you should be able to fold up the bike. In most cases, this will take a matter of seconds. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have a wide selection of places you can stay. The most popular options are:
- Setting up a tent
- Booking a motel
- Renting a caravan
- Staying at a hotel
You won’t need to ensure a space outside to tie your bike to.
Just carry the folding bike into the room with you.
This ensures that there is little chance that the bike will be stolen. It’s also ideal for electric bikes, as you can charge the battery in the hotel rather than needing a cord to stretch out to the cycle.
6. Provides More Flexibility
It’s common for tourists to want to use a bike for touring an area. This is low-cost and allows them to slow down and explore the location’s rich history. In this case, a folding bike can provide a lot of flexibility.
If you hear about an exciting place to visit, you will be able to pack up your bike and have a look around.
You might even want to hop in a cab or take a short flight to check out a new location. There won’t be any problems putting your bike on a boat. You can even store a folding bike in a train station or airport locker.
7. Folding Bikes Are A Good Conversation Starter
Finally, many people choose to tour as a way of experiencing a new location. A folding bike is still considered a novelty in many parts of the world.
Because of this, you will often get locals who will want to pull you over and have a talk about your mode of transport. Some travel bloggers even report community leaders wanting to have a chat about the ingenious folding bikes.
Touring with a folding bike is an excellent experience. Foldable bikes are very convenient, allowing you to travel and stay almost anywhere. Plus, they are lightweight, allowing you to achieve high speeds, especially if you choose a model with an electric motor. But the most significant benefit is how fun these bikes are to ride.
Mark PlummerMark Plummer is an experienced bike mechanic who has built, repaired, and customized thousands of bikes over the years. A former mountain biking athlete, his cycling adventures have taken him all over the globe from the mountains of Scotland to the South Island of New Zealand. These days he enjoys the benefits of commuting to work and touring on his Dahon and Brompton folding bikes.
This free cheat sheet will help you choose a folding bike by providing quick information on the 7 key considerations when buying a foldable bicycle!
Read These Next
Bike Frame Materials: Folding Bike Frame Design Explained
The most common bike frame materials are aluminum, carbon fiber, steel, and titanium. Here are the pros and cons of each material and why titanium is the best!
Folding Bike Buyer’s Guide 2023: How To Choose A Folding Bike
How to choose a folding bike? Our Folding Bike Buyer's Guide will educate you on choosing a folding bike best suited to your needs, budget, and riding style.