On a 30′ boat, space is always at a premium. Once you account for all the “necessities” (safety gear, tools, spare parts etc…) You find yourself with about a small closet’s worth of space to pack your entire life into. Thus, anything that saves space is precious and worth shelling out for.
At least that’s the justification I used when plopping down a couple of boat-bucks for a pair of Brompton folding bikes :-) To be honest I’ve secretly wanted a Brompton for a while – they are great bikes. Extremely well designed and engineered, and they fold in a snap (unlike many folding bikes where folding and unfolding is an ordeal…). I know some folks may say just go without bikes, but to me it’s non-negotiable. Cruising is all about exploration and new places, and having a bike on board opens up a much wider field of exploration (not to mention expanding your range for things like going to the grocery store from a walkable mile or so to an easily rideable 10-15 miles). We could also have just bought cheaper folding bikes, but as a long-time cyclist I have found that cheap bikes are almost never worth it. They break, they are impossible to keep in tune, they don’t ride well etc… A bike is just one of those things where you get what you pay for. A high-quality bike is an investment, but if properly maintained will last a lifetime.
As for specifics – we went with the M3R model, meaning the 3 speed internal hub, rear rack and M-style handlebars. The reason for this particular configuration is:
- The 3 speed hub gives a good compromise of gear ratios without having to worry about keeping a derailleur in tune.
- The M-style handlebars allow a nice big basket to be mounted on the front tube, which allows you to use the bike as a “shopping cart” in partially-folded mode.
- The rear rack provides wheels that allow the bike to be rolled around when folded & the aforementioned “shopping cart” mode.
I’ll be doing a full review after living & traveling with the bikes for a while as well!