Folding Bikes for RVers: Now, you’ve really got no excuse…

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When we went to the Good Sam Phoenix RV Super Show last week, we expected to lead seminars on healthy RVing (and we did). We expected to meet up with fellow Travato owners and circle the wagons (and we did). And we expected to take part in a group ride (and we did). What we did not expect was that the super cool guys from Metro Gnome Music & Cycle To Go would chip in and provide loaner bikes for the riders to try.  And they didn’t provide just any bikes, but slick folding bikes that you could just about fit in an overhead cabinet.  I was intrigued enough that I had Todd demonstrate some of these bikes in this quick video.  Behold!

Metro Gnome Music & Cycle To Go sells several different models of bikes, but the two you can see in this video are a Brompton and a Tern.  They fold differently, but they both get pretty small.  In fact, we got two of them in the doorway of a Winnebago Travato (Thanks, Steve).  I rode the Tern, and while it’s certainly not my race bike, for something I could just about fit under my seat, it rode quite well.  The riders from our group ride who rode the Bromptons also had similar positive reports.

So the bottom line is, now, you’ve really got no excuse for not bringing a bike along on your RV adventures.


James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.

    21 thoughts on “Folding Bikes for RVers: Now, you’ve really got no excuse…

    1. catherine

      It would be good if u give demo on Hummingbird too. Its just 6.9 kilos, which in bike terms is absolutely nothing. Pick it up and it barely registers on the effort-o-meter,it’s folding mechanism is quick and highly satisfying and the engineering quality of the pivots and hinges is delicious and finally the additional lightness is a boon.

    2. Aaron

      Thanks for this video James! I didn’t know folding bikes were a thing until I saw this video last February. I just snagged a pair of lightly used Dahons (only $150 each!) for our next road trip.

    3. James

      I had read that Lance couldn’t keep up with 4 high school kids in Tucson and now a Fit RV video from Tucson. Lance’s mileage must be getting too high, and I guess you haven’t installed that ball valve on the oil drain.

      Sorry, this one was too easy.

        1. James

          Is This the Fittest Couple In the World? – Men’s Health

          How did you not get nominated for this?

          Also I have decided on a folding bike because my car doesn’t have a trailer hitch so fitting in the truck is a huge plus because I can’t get a decent bike rack. Both my vehicles are hatch backs.

        2. James - Post author

          I’ll have to speak with the nominating committee… Totally should be Stef and me.

    4. Peter

      Hi James,
      I have a couple of Bromptons which can lie flat under the rear sofa of our Airstream Interstate. So they don’t take up any internal room, and we just pack additional stuff around them. They always travel with us and are great fun. And we’re always getting stopped to demonstrate the folding!
      The downside? They are nowhere near as light as a road bike and the biking effort is much greater.

      1. James - Post author

        You can pack it under the sofa?! Awesome!
        For general-purpose transport around the campground, it’d be super fun.
        Though for serious miles, I’d still want my road bike.

    5. Interstate Blog

      Well, James, you ought to be getting kickbacks, because I invested in one of the Bromptons today. The answer on the off-road question is no, they don’t make any, not exactly. However, some of the models are more suited to lesser improved road and trail conditions than others, partly by virtue of the handlebars. I chose the “New York Edition” Brompton because it has big wide handlebars instead of the more compact city-style. The width will help stability on everything that falls short of perfect pavement. Obviously these things can’t be ridden like mountain bikes, but the specialty bike shop owner where I bought it said that they can be used off pavement and will stand up to quite a lot of abuse. Miraculously, this model also fits into the closet of our Sprinter 2500-based (non-EXT) Class B – that pretty much sealed the deal for me. Anyway, thanks for the tip. 🙂

      1. James - Post author

        Cool! I can’t help be but a little jealous. I’m kind of intrigued by these bikes.
        Congratulations, and many happy miles to you!
        (and sadly, we don’t get a commission)

        1. Interstate Blog

          So far I’m pleased with its light off-road potential. This morning my dog and I took it several miles down an unpaved utility easement (high lines) and then through some undeveloped land where mowing is done maybe twice per season. Plenty of holes, soft spots, fallen branches, crawfish chimneys, ant beds, long grass, etc. Rough enough so that I had to drop to lowest gear and power through it by brute force. It did surprisingly well.

          One thing that was quite noticeable: even in the roughest conditions, there’s not a single rattle on the bike. All I can hear is the ticking of the ball bearings. That’s pretty impressive.

          My other bike is a middling-range Gary Fisher full mountain bike, so I do have something to compare to even if I’m not a highly-sophisticated user. For the convenience that this Brompton represents and the type of riding I aspire to do while traveling in our Class B, I wouldn’t go to the extra trouble or accommodation to try to bring the Fisher. This should do just fine, and I feel confident that it’s not going to break down on me when I’m ten miles in.

      2. DavidH

        That’s great feedback, we looked at Bromptons recently but they were all M and H variants and looked a bit too unstable on poor roads and tracks. Might look around for the New York Edition.

    6. Interstate Blog

      I’ve been eyeing these things for a couple of years now, because they have the potential to serve as a bridge for those of us boondockers whose Class Bs are not optimized for off-road use. While it is possible to upfit Class B vans for greater backcountry versatility, there are functional trade-offs to doing that, not to mention a substantial cost. So, the idea is, if the van can be parked near a main road and the bikes can get you the last 5 miles down the area’s impassably-unimproved roads, from there you can access the hiking trails on foot.

      However, there’s one logistical issue for which I haven’t identified a solution – how to secure these things deep in the back country? They are four-figure investments and their compactness also makes them particularly easy to steal. Nowhere is that more true than in a place like West Texas where there are no trees to lock them to, and where the best stuff to see is deep in the wilderness. Vanlife continues to be imperfect, obviously.

      1. James - Post author

        Well, the folding action would put all the valuable parts near each other, so locking on the bike end should be easy.
        But if there’s nothing to lock it to, well, I don’t know what to tell you there…

      2. Gary

        In the absence of an adequate object to secure to, I think your best bet would be the Brompton in “trolly” configuration. But I’d probably just stay on the bike, myself.


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