Monday, November 2, 2009

Bike around the world

So the other day, I rode home from the airport.

That accomplishment really captured my imagination.

I fantasize now about biking to the airport, packing up my bike somehow, jetting off to some distant place, unpacking my bike, and then continuing my ride.

Rental cars? Where we're going we don't need rental cars.

There are ways of accomplishing this.

S&S Couplers

One is a product from S and S Machines called Bicycle Torque Couplings (BTC), and which most of the rest of the world call "S&S couplers."

It enables you a trusted bike mechanic to essentially saw your frame in half and install these couplers. After that, you're able to disassemble your bicycle whenever you please in such a way that it fits into regular-sized luggage. That is, you can check it as you would any other bag and not have to pay an over-sized baggage fee.

Some frames, like Surly's Travelers Check, come pre-built using this technology. Other bikesworks offer to retrofit your favorite frame.

The appeal of this technology is obviously having a full-sized, travel-ready bike. Larger riders like myself might be skeptical of the integrity, comfort, and cargo capacity of the other obvious travel solution: a folding bike.

Folding bikes

Which brings us to folding bicycles. Like the Bike Friday variety.

They don't really appeal to me. And they don't really seem marketed as a solution to airline travel the way S&S Couplers are. Rather, they seem marketed to urban commuters who have short distances to travel and who are worried about space on the train for their bikes. Or space in their office cube for their bike.

I know Bike Friday's site has pictures of folks on tour with their foldies, but I'm just not really buying it.

But they do have their place.

And there are some groovy looking ideas on the drawing board.

Other powered

And then just for fun, there are motorized devices like Honda's the U3-X, and Yike Bike.

Being the elitist that I am, I commend them for their small footprint and then dismiss them for not being human powered.

And more importantly, you can't take those things on a tour of the San Diego countryside. They are commuter tools. Not traveling tools.

And in summary

I think the solution for me would be an S&S Coupler ready bike. And as far as those go, Surly's frame is pretty awesome.

I'm going to go pour over the specs and daydream.

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