Does anyone bring their bicycle with them on their travels?

Anyone else keen cyclist or runner? I’m an ex-triathlete and—whilst I’ve got my wardrobe down to a minimum—I’m lugging around a rather large box on my travels containing my road bike. Am not doing the whole bike-touring thing, just using it for adventures, exploring, keeping fit, taking epic photos, etc., and taking my own bike is far nicer than renting.

Finding the balance between that and real work is a bit of a challenge, mostly in terms of a hard ride in the morning will mean I’m a little foggy throughout the rest of the day, concentration-wise.

Still, I’d rather use and enjoy my health whilst I’m young instead of waiting until I retire to do these things.

(If you do bike or run, do you also Strava?)

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Cycling is also rather good for generating nice photos:

etc.

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I’m very curious about this, and keen to hear from anyone who has experience.

Both my wife and I were active cyclists before we started traveling full-time. Having our own bikes is something we miss terribly when on the road, but we haven’t been able to bring ourselves to deal with the hassle of transporting the bikes when we move countries.

Not sure how custom and high quality your bicycles are but in most places you can rent a variety of bicycles.

From street cycles to fixies. They’re rentable in most places.

my friends do. it’s expensive and a pain in the ass but worth it to them.

Whilst I’m nowhere near need professional, rented bikes just are too much of a compromise for me. Absolutely you can rent bikes for just going around town, but it’s rare (and actually expensive) to rent quality bicycles that are suitable for 3+ hour rides.

Or I could bring my own saddle, clothes, shoes, pedals, and measure up the bike etc. but just less faff in the end to bring everything of your own instead of half-assing it.

I like to fly BA; they count a 23kg (oversized!) bike box as part of your inclusive checked luggage allowance. The budget airlines charge through the nose, naturally.

We’ve considered traveling with Bromptons. They’ll fit in the overhead bins on most planes, and if not, they can easily be checked without having to deal with the hassle of a full-size bike box.

In my short experience so far, it is a PITA to transport a bike and far easier to actually ride it! While I intend to tour and am in a different situation to you, I had similar experiences when flying with my old bike for holiday MTBing.

A couple of things to consider:

While the bike can be disassembled to fit in train luggage racks it can mean paying an extra oversize fee (Russia) or, in the case of buses, bribing someone to let you put it there (China/Russia border crossing). In the worst case you will have to send it separately and wait around for it to arrive (Beijing to Manzhouli).

Your nicely-tuned bike might suffer somewhat from repeated disassembly and/or rough handling. So allow some time/money for retuning/repairs.

At the other end of your trip you will have a large/heavy unrideable item which potentially needs to be reassembled in some dark corner at some unsavoury hour or transported by someone with a vehicle large enough to accommodate it (if they won’t let you on the train with it - Beijing Airport). Also consider that some cities aren’t exactly bike friendly. So for both of those reasons I’d try to arrive during daylight hours if you plan to ride your steed to your accommodation.

Of course if you’re not moving countries every month then these small hassles become more bearable.

Thanks for sharing your personal experiences. Very helpful to hear.

Do you think a lot of the hassles would have been mitigated if you were traveling with a folding bike that required less assembly/disassembly and fit in a smaller case?

Hi, yes I think a folding bike would be perfect - small enough to stow anywhere, and minimal assembly time. I’m not sure that I’d want to try touring on one though :wink:

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Here’s a somewhat informative Quora thread on touring with a folding bike: https://www.quora.com/How-good-are-folding-bicycles-for-long-distance-touring

In big cities I think it’s pretty easy to buy and sell bikes. I’ve only done it once, in Chiang Mai, but there I looked at renting and realised for three months it cost the same just to buy a cheap bike. So I did that and then sold it on a Facebook group before I left. If I did it again I would buy the bike second hand too.

There are also some cities where the local government want you people to hire bikes just to reduce congestion. I know you can do that in London, the so called “Borris Bikes”, and here in Mexico City it’s around $30 to hire a bike for a whole year, they have parking lots for them so you just put in your pin and collect a bike. You can then leave it anywhere in the city where there’s a station.

Of course these bikes won’t be as nice as your own bike, but maybe worth trying while you still have your other bike.

Also, I’m on strava, just for running, I’ll DM you my email address :smile:

Well, of course you can hire bikes pretty much anywhere. The problem is that whilst they are great and very convenient for local transport, they are 99-times-out-of-100 terrible for biking in a sports and fitness sense. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an avid user of the Boris Bikes when I am London but they are simply not a viable option for what I am after… hence bringing my own bike.

Perhaps we should split this discussion into these two use-cases as they are really rather different and I worry that we are losing interesting advice (for both scenarios) as they seem to be repeatedly conflated :slight_smile:

The bike I bought and sold in CM I used only for fitness, I had a scooter for getting around. It wasn’t the best bike in the world, but I enjoyed seeing how far up Doi Suthep I could get on it. (Answer: not far).

I’m not really sure what you are actually asking though? If the bikes you can rent or buy locally aren’t fit for your needs, but you want to have a bike what choice do you have but to take your own?

If you have the cash to outlay for a great frame, Surly makes a “World Troller” frame that can be broke down into two parts. This makes it easier to fit under the sizes for “oversize” checked luggage. To save some cash, since it’s a 26" wheel size, and basically compatible with most mountain bike parts, you could buy a used early 2000 MTB with decent components and transfer them to the frame.

http://surlybikes.com/bikes/world_troller

Those S & S Couplings are available on lots of bikes, including the Comotion Pangea http://co-motion.com/bikes/pangea :drool: They add a fair chunk to the price which is why I skipped them when I got my Surly Troll. I imagine that splitting your bike in half means that you don’t have to so aggressively dismantle it to reduce the footprint though.

Just an update for anyone who is curious… my wife and I have just purchased Bromptons. They are small enough to be standard checked baggage, and often can be carried through airport security and gate-checked or even carried on the plane.

We’ll be experimenting with incorporating them into our travels.

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I would also love carrying my mountain bike to places and I miss it during my travels :frowning: . If I could carry it would have been great and MTB is a passion for me .

I travel with a bike. It uses S&S couplers to disassemble.

The breakdown and assembly each take about an hour, so I tend to keep the bike in its suitcase unless I’m in a city for at least a week.

Very cool. I’ve been curious about S&S coupled bikes.

Do you transport it in a regular suitcase or some sort of special case?