Bike Friday's (www.bikefriday.com) are high tech specialized custom made
touring bikes that fold up into a Samsonite suitcase which doubles as a
trailer to be pulled along behind the bike. No panniers needed and the
trailer is totally waterproof!!! Weighing in at only about 24 pounds
they are great for transporting on airplanes, trains and stowing in
boats. Perfect for Japan! You can also get an extra cloth bag for a
quick fold, carry on. We used these for our STUFF when transporting the
bikes, then switched by putting it all in the trailer when the bikes
were assembled. They are made in Eugene Oregon and have been around for
almost 20 years. GREAT BICYCLES!!
No grease on those white lace taxi seat covers!
Other times we just disconnected the trailer and threw the Bike Friday and all right into a vehicle. Very versitile
Transporting through train stations was easy and best done in off peak hours. We would wheel our suitcases through the boarding gates without a problem.
Our only concern was getting the bike suitcase wheeled across the gap from the platform into or out of the train during short stops. This proved to not be a problem. It was easier than carrying a bag in each hand and squeezing out the door.
They bounced easily up or down and right over the narrow space.
Once on the train we stash our bike cases either in a small luggage area or behind the first seats where there is plenty of space or leave them in the space just inside the doors.
Getting on and off subways was also very easy, again in off peak hours!
Security was never a problem. But we did use our special Dutch locks for quick lock ups. Japan is pretty mellow and second they are pretty unusual bikes so get lots of attention. But we noticed other bikes (a Bike Friday no less) locked up. We would lock the bikes and suitcases all together when left outside at night if checked into accommodation and carry in just what we needed. While camping , we just used the Dutch lock and locked the suitcases. The suitcases also have their own combination locks!
Often we took the bikes right into our room by folding them and then wheeling in the suitcase. In Japan the stairways, elevators and rooms can be very small. Perfect size for a Bike Friday
On ferries we learned to just wheel them on into the hold with trailer attached.
Out on the Road
Ok, we did find a couple interesting tight spots with the trailer. With panniers it would be a problem too! But with the Bike Friday's we found unhooking the trailer from the bike with the air hose quick connect hitch... works great!
If you get in a pinch, even lifting over a guard rail is easy if done separately. It is not any more difficult going up over a curb with a Bike Friday than with a fully loaded touring bike with pannier's. Curbs!! Oh yes, we hit a curb with one trailer wheel a couple times and the trailer did a flip. The bike remained upright and all we felt was a little tug. The hitch did get damaged but because we had a hitch on the right side for Japan we just simply changed the trailer over to the left American side and continued on.
As for riding a Bike Friday.....well some things just need to be experienced for yourself.
WE LOVE OUR BIKE FRIDAY'S!
And of course for Biking Boaties the biggest advantage is space. With Bike Friday's we can now take our bikes with us aboard wherever we go.
AND A LITTLE MORE