Folding bikes

Cycling is one of the most popular ways for grey nomads to get their daily/weekly/monthly/yearly dose of ‘proper’ exercise … and it’s not hard to see why.

As well as allowing vehicle-weary travellers to get plenty of fresh air while exploring new regions, a bike is also a very practical and useful mode of transport. If you’re camped near a town it can be quicker and easier to pop in to the shops on the cycle rather than fighting for a parking space, particularly if you’re in a larger vehicle. Or, if one half of a grey nomad couple has taken off in the car for the day, the other partner does not have to be ‘trapped’ at the campsite … and it’s just a great way to get up close and personal with all of the interesting sights and attractions within striking distance of your camp.

We have all seen cycles racks on the backs of caravans and motorhomes which effectively declare the travellers to be serious about getting their Big Lap exercise. But we have also all noticed the number of times that those same cycles seem to stay on the racks permanently.

And that is the big dilemma for many nomads packing for the big one … taking the bikes sounds like a great idea and “we’d really like to get into cycling” but “what if we don’t use them and they stay on the racks to become a nuisance”.

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Some people are also concerned about how bike racks will stand up to being bounced up and down on corrugated roads for months and years on end. The answer … at least for some people … has been the folding bike. The advances in technology in recent years has made this form of cycle a realistic and affordable option for grey nomads.

Folding bikes take up much less space in (or on) your rig. You can even buy bikes that combine folding with partial disassembly and can fit into a suitcase! Although there are differing mechanisms avail

able, the basic principle is the same in all folding bikes. Before making your final choice, you should decide which element is most important to you … the bike’s comfort; its fold-down size; the speed at which it can be folded and unfolded; or even the speed at which it can travel.

Folding bikes can look slightly strange as the frame is generally much lower to the ground.than normal bikes and they use smaller wheels (which can make potholes on national park tracks interesting!). The seat poles and handlebar stem are also generally far longer than you would see on a ‘normal’ bike. But hey, grey nomads are free spirits and we don’t mind looking a little different, do we?

Although they have more ‘hinged’ parts and are therefore more susceptible to wear and tear, folding bikes can travel inside the van and so don’t get dusty and dirty, and they are also less likely to get stolen. Prices range for around $400-$1600. Best of all, we are reliably informed that they can be unfolded in as little as 15 seconds!

While news like that may not mean the big bike decision is in the bag, it could just set the wheels in motion. Boom, boom! Happy cycling.



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