Saturday, September 10, 2011

Folding Bikes

When we left Kentucky, we sold our bicycles. Selling my bike was one of the more difficult downsizing decisions that I had to make. I bought my bike, or at least the bones of it, almost 20 years ago with my Bar Mitzvah money. It was the first big purchased I ever made. Over the years, I upgraded it, and I even motorized it when we lived in Chicago. I zipped back and forth from law school on that bike every single day for three years--snow or shine. Because a lot of effort went into that bike, I was sorry to see it go.

When we decided to live on a boat, we had plans to buy folding bikes. Actually, we had decided to buy folding bikes upon moving to Miami even when we planned on living in a condo. There aren't any hills here, we don't ride fast or far, and the smaller package of a folding bike is very convenient.

We were therefore very excited to find out that Sea Gem came with two nearly new Dahon Espresso folding bicycles. They are full-size folding bikes, so none of those tiny little wheels waiting to get stuck in a pothole. Here they are on the pier in front of Sea Gem:

We rode around our neighborhood (Miami Beach is one of the most bikeable cities I've ever seen) on them today and they were at least as comfortable as our old non-folding bikes. We already have our next bike adventures picked out, and because they fold and can be stored aboard Sea Gem, they will come with us everywhere we go (like everything else we own, other than our cars). They are a lot of fun for cruising around Miami Beach, but they will be essential for getting around some of the more remote islands we'll be sailing to where transportation would otherwise be very difficult.

For storage, Sea Gem's original owners had heavy waterproof bags made for the bikes. The bags can be strapped to the deck and appear secure for nearly any conditions. We've already had Sea Gem in tropical-storm-force winds, and the bags did not budge and the bikes stayed nice and dry. Here is what the bikes (in their bags) look like strapped to the deck of Sea Gem:

If you look to the left of the wooden post, you can see them (blue bags) right next to the main cockpit. Because we enter and exit the cockpit from the other side of the boat, the bikes are completely out the way, yet easy to access when we need them. My sentimental attachment to my old bike aside, moving to folding bikes was one of the most painless downsizes we made. For our purposes (i.e., not bike racing) we give up nothing and gain a lot of convenience.


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