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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum
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  #1  
Old 02-13-2004
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Cruising with Bicycles

Has anyone taken bikes with them while cruising? Were they worth the effort or more of a pain due to storage concerns?
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Old 02-14-2004
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WHOOSH is on a distinguished road
Cruising with Bicycles

N:

We''ve cruised with bikes for some years now. The answer to your question is highly dependent on a list of variables, and bikes seem to be treasured by some cruisers while never used or never missed by others. Things to think about are:
1. Do you use a bike now? Are you inherently a biker? If not, why will you use one when cruising, given that there are invariably public forms of transportation available.
2. How big & accommodating is the boat for the bikes...and
3. How small & accommodating are the bikes for storage on your boat? (You''re likely to kill any boat you store on deck on passage).
4. Where will you be cruising? The ICW is an ideal cruising venue for a bike because, with the exception of the undeveloped areas, there is usually room for you on the roads or you can fall back and use the sidewalks. In the Caribbean, there''s usually no room for a bike on the road, traffic is intense & conjested, and/or the road surfaces are miserable (altho'' Grand Cayman and parts of Puerto Rico are delightful exceptions).

We thought we''d use our bikes primarily for sightseeing. Instead, they are used primarily for ''recon'' purposes and to fetch things from distant suppliers (hardware store, cyber cafe, grocery shopping, etc.). So in the end, for us, I end up viewing the bike in much the same way I think of our dinghy.

Jack
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Old 03-13-2004
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Cruising with Bicycles

Get the generator set up and pull the bikes out, being careful not to let that black drooling chain touch anything. Assemble the wheels and seats in the cockpit and make sure theyíre all set to go. Set off the gen-set and get aboard the skiff. Toss in everything and put the bikes on top of it all then row ashore.

Coming back, get the bikes back aboard and toss up all of the provisions and gear that we went ashore for. Put the gen-set away and disassemble the bikes. Lug them below (watch the chain) and store them forward wedged between the hull and the gen-set. Tie them off ready for sea.

They are a big pain in the butt and take up a ton of space but Iíve seen so much more then I would have with out them! My vote is that they are worth the effort.
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Old 04-13-2004
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peragains is on a distinguished road
Cruising with Bicycles

We cruised Lake Michigan last summer and took along our new folding bikes [Dahon Mariners]. Secured them in their travel bags to foredeck stanchions, port and starboard with no problems. Used them in every port. My mate[59 years and an experianced biker] and I [66 years and hardly on a bike since age 15] swear by them. Six speeds, lighhtweight, easy to ride and handle. Try one out at your local dealer and shop e-bay, etc.
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Old 04-13-2004
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Cruising with Bicycles

A boat bike should have aluminum rims, handlebars etc., not chrome plated steel. Have to pay a little more but also lighter, easier to handle. Best is an aluminum frame - steel frames can rust from the inside out. Handling a bike the messiest part by far is the chain. There are now wax based chain lube emulsions (White Lightening is one) that you can get at any bike shop. The chain stays clean enough to grab without getting greasy black hands. Doesn''t seem any more corrosion susceptible. Might have to re-apply more often (every 50-100 miles)than oil based lubes but worth it.
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Old 04-13-2004
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Cruising with Bicycles

As with most things in sailing these days, it''s always easy to find ways to increase the cost of something by 100% or more so that we can seek a 10% improvement. I''m sure there are bikes that offer little opportunity of rusting, and let''s remember the kevlar-reinforced rubber bike ''chain'' that''s now part of one new folding Euro bike (at only $700+/- USD or so). When folks find $4-$5K for a refrigerator/freezer installation, or end up paying $1K by the time their high-output alternator is hooked up and working (without self-destructing), it''s no wonder when niche distributors & retailers come up with relatively exotic product choices at relatively stratospheric costs.

By contrast, I first started using a Dahon aluminum wheel-rimmed but steel framed folding bike in 1987; it also has many other steel parts. It''s been aboard a boat about half of the last 17 years, it''s comparable in cost, tho'' not in features (fewer) or size (smaller) with the current steel-framed Dahon. It shows a little surface rust, I changed the seat so it''s more comfy, and I''ve been thru several rounds of tire & tube changes. I used it this past winter to ride all around London, a conjested, traffic-competitive environment on a scale with New Dehli and more challenging than New York. I can''t imagine a better endorsement for the confidence I still have in this now-elderly but fully functional bike...and I can''t imagine what ''problem'' one would be trying to solve by buying something more exotic and pricey.

BTW it''s nice to hear folks can sail around Lake Michigan with bikes strapped to the lifelines...but dont'' try it near salt water. Even in a bag, it''s very, very hard on a bike...even an aluminum/plastic one that still has steel gears, bearings, cables and such.

Jack
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Old 04-14-2004
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Cruising with Bicycles

Bikes with aluminum frames and components used to be pricey. Not any more. You can find aluminum frames on all but the cheapest department store bikes. If you have a steel frame suggest Frame Prep, again available from any good bike shop. It''s made to rust-proof the interior of steel frame bikes. One treatment should last the life of the bike. Rust-through from the inside is less likely on thick-walled clunker frames than good steel bikes, but it happens.

No need for exotic chain setups. A good cleaning followed by use of a wax based chain lube means you can handle the bike without getting greasy.
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