Folding Bike Blog

Brothers Tour the World on Montague Bikes

Today we bring you a guest post from two brothers, Alex and Greg, who are currently on a world tour riding two Montague folding bikes. They’ve been riding since May 2011, and have crossed 22 countries, cycled 9000 miles and carried their Montague folding bikes on trains, buses, planes, and cars. They even towed one of the bikes behind a motorbike for 3000 miles across Laos and Vietnam!

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It all started in Paris where we were looking for a way to travel a long time around the world, for cheap. By foot ? Too long. Hitchhiking ? Too dependant. What about cycling ? Well… We never really cycled before, so we needed a bike we could fold in case we wanted to hitchhike or catch a bus. We quickly stopped our choice on Montague and the X50. The folding system seemed indestructable, the 26 inch tires are the standard size around the globe… and it looked terrific. After adding all the necessary accessories to turn them into true touring bikes, and upgrading a few components, we were all set up.

02-italy

For the two first months we crossed Europe from France to Ukrania. We cycled about half of it. We hitchhiked for the other half. Two guys, two bikes and two 70l backpacks. That is quite a lot of volume when you intend to fit them into someone’s car, but thanks to the Montague folding design, we always made it work! We even managed to hitchhike in a tiny Fiat Punto, and the owner was already carrying another bike in his trunk. 3 guys, 3 bikes!

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Then came Russia with the Trans-Siberian Railway. There we traveled by train and kept our bikes hidden beneath the bunks. We then crossed Mongolia and China with a mix of trains and cycling. Every time we would arrive in a train station in the middle of nowhere, those bikes gave us a total freedom. We just had to open the bags, unfold, and go. No need to bargain with taxi drivers or walk downtown to look for an accommodation.

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After 3 months in China we went to Laos, which is the big « south east asia chapter » of our trip. We stayed nearly a year visiting all the countries there. Alex got lazy and bought a motorbike for a few months. We tied the X50 to the motorbike with bungee cords. A lot of them snapped and it was highly dangerous, but we had so much fun traveling like that through probably the worst roads we could find.

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We were back on two bikes when we went south through Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. We cycled on the Java island and then caught a large boat for a 5 day trip to Papua New Guinea. This renowned dangerous country was the best part of our trip, so different than what we had ever seen. The cycling part was quite an adventure there. Sealed roads are rare, road signs nonexistent, and river crossings are everywhere. We had no choice but to take 2 boats and a small plane to reach the capital city of Port Moresby.

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From there we flew to Australia. We lived there for 2 years in the desert. We didn’t cycle much during this time as we just stayed there for work. It was a crazy experience in itself, but not one we wish on anybody.

Three months ago we restarted the trip and flew to New Zealand. It was winter there so we added some extra stuff to the bikes : 4 season tents, bigger sleeping bags, and 2 bags on the front fork. We cycled for 2 months. We went all around the country : 2500 miles, freezing temperatures, millions of sheep and very friendly locals.

07-nzfrozentents

We planned to continue to Chile by boat (hitchiking), but having no experience sailing, we found nothing. So we decided to fly to San Francisco and visit a good friend we met 3 years ago in Laos. Then the worst happened when one of our bikes was stolen while we were trying to understand a baseball game. The police never traced it and we had to extend our stay in the city. We spoke with Montague bikes to see if they could help us out because buying a new bike and all the equipment needed was not an option. They quickly answered and few days later Fedex was delivering a Paratrooper Pro. Here we are, ready to hit the road again and take those bikes south, to Central and South America.

You can find even more photos on their website at www.deuxsingesenhiver.com.

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13 Comments

  1. kevin
    Posted November 12, 2014 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    it would be a neat trip to do something like that.your bikes looked good also

  2. Pablo
    Posted November 13, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing about this great adventure. It has inspired me to get a Montague bike and start my own. I’m not sure I will go quite as far, but I plan to travel from Seattle Washington down the west coast through California and Mexico to Panama. It’s going to be an amazing journey!

  3. Posted November 13, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Hi Pablo. Excellent to hear! I’ve personally wanted to do the first leg of that journey for some time (from Seattle down to San Diego perhaps?). Be sure to keep us posted about your adventures, we’d love to feature you on our blog as well! – Ryan

  4. Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Hi Pablo

    That’s great !
    If you need advices with the equipment, let us know. As the bike is foldable, with suspension fork and disc brakes, you will need some specific racks.

  5. Margot
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Very good written article. It will be useful to everyone who usess it, including myself. Keep doing what you are doing – looking forward to more posts.

  6. Mike malafu
    Posted November 17, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Wow !!! very interesting story n adventures. I encourage u boys to keep going until u make it to the finishing line of ur trip n may God guide n protect u guys all the way. I had a great times with u guys here in Aussie n hope we’ll meet again somewhere in the world….good luck n stay safe for the rest of ur trip….luv n missed u guys……mike n sione….

  7. evans
    Posted December 3, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    In nj USA any suggestions on how to carry things on top of rear wheel thanks in advance evans robinson

  8. Pablo
    Posted December 3, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Thanks Alex and Ryan,

    I’m sure I will have some questions as I get closer to my departure. I’m going to try to keep my load minimal so I don’t have to do too much extra work. Ryan – Thanks for making such great bikes! I wouldn’t try this on any other model.

    Pablo

  9. James
    Posted December 6, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Alex and Ryan!

    I own a Paratrooper as well and long ago crossed Europe several times and the US once on a non folding bike with low rider front racks and traditional rear racks. Haven’t been able to find a good solution for front or rear racks for the Montague bike. Can you post a bit on your rack systems and other modifications for touring. Would like to do a similar trip on my own folding bike, but use traditional panniers.

    Thanks for a fascinating read.

    James

  10. Posted December 15, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Hey James,
    We should have a followup from Alex and Gregory soon with stories from the next leg of their journey down the West Coast of the US. I’ll email them to see if I can get more info on their setup (they have limited access to internet while touring so they may not see your comment).

    You can certainly use standard rear racks and panniers with our bikes, you just need to attach the front of the rack to the seattube rather than stays. I believe Alex and Gregory added horizontal supports to make the rear rack wider. Front racks make folding our bikes almost impossible, so you’d need a system that can be easily removed if you want to fold.

  11. Posted December 16, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Hi James

    I will plan a little in depth article about the set up of our bikes.
    Basically we have Axiom Low Rider at the front. We put too much weight on them so they keep breaking (they are designed for 9kg (about 20pounds) if my memory is good) so we keep fixing them. We actually fixed 2 today and it seems solid now. We can’t really blame Axiom for that, we just carry lot of water and food.

    About the back rack :
    On the X50, it’s a normal back rack you lock on the seat post.
    For the Paratrooper Pro it’s a 29″ / disc brakes back rack with no clip, but rigid bars and 2 screws (I think you call it strays in english). I just couldn’t find any with quick release. So I had to replace the seat post collar for a fixed one. Bye bye quick release, but anyway I never change the high of my saddle. I’m happy with it, it seems much more stronger than the quick release one which is not a luxury when you carry lots of gears.

    I think the pictures will speak better than my average english skills so I will try to take some tomorrow and send them to Montague ;)

    The back rack doesn’t prevent the bike from folding. But the front one do. You can still fold, but it won’t fit in the bike bag and take much more space.

  12. Posted December 16, 2014 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Hey Mike M

    Greg and I were surprised to see your comment there and made us realized that our english speaking friends actually know very little about our trip because our website is all in french.
    Luckily we can now give some news on Montague’s blog, but we are also thinking about english version of our website, translate old articles and go bilingual. The only barrier is time and an access to internet really, but it will see the light someday.

    We already post in french and english on our facebook page where we give news (and our position, daily, through a Spot GPS we carry with us). It’s there, and the title in english is “Two monkeys in winter”.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Deux-singes-en-hiver/131770226911819?fref=ts

    Take care Mike, say hi to your brothers, Sione and Salomon !

  13. Alex
    Posted December 19, 2014 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Hi all,
    I’m planning to purchase Paratrooper Pro bike and and use it as touring bile.
    The main question is rear rack.
    I think to use Axiom Mk Journey Uni-Fit Cycle Rear Rack or Axiom DLX Streamliner Disc Cycle Rear Rack with 34.9 rack mount seatpost clamp.
    Will it fit Paratrooper Pro?

    Thanks in advance,
    Alex.

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Posted in Adventure, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Vision Impaired Distance Runner Guided by a Montague

Running from Boston to New York. Blind.

“Blind ultra runner” is not a phrase you hear often, yet this is exactly how one would describe our friend Simon Wheatcroft. He lost his sight at the age of 17 due to a genetic degenerative eye condition – Retinitis Pigmentosa. He began a journey to adapt to his new world, and with the aid of a smartphone and the feeling underfoot, Simon began to run solo outdoors. Seven months later, he ran his first race – an astonishing 100 mile distance.

Simon at Montague HQ

Simon (center – blue shirt) and his team at Montague HQ

Simon is now legally blind, but competes in road races of all distances. His latest accomplishment is running from Boston to New York City over the course of 9 days, and competing in the New York City Marathon upon arrival. At 260 miles total, that’s a full marathon every day on his way to New York. His crew had a Montague Crosstown with them so someone could ride alongside Simon the whole way.

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The natural question is “How exactly does someone run blind?”. Simon started by memorizing the feeling under his feet of a familiar path near his home. This was accomplished with the help of a smartphone app called Runkeeper which reads aloud distance and pace information. The app allowed him to associate those feelings with distance markers provided by the app. After he got bored of his well known path, he secretly learned to run other routes near his home. This time, he did it solo. He made the decision that blindness would not stop him from doing things he is physically capable of.

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While running new routes, Simon will have someone else with him to provide guidance and warn him of any road hazards. Few people are physically capable of the extended running Simon undertook on his way to New York, so to make sure someone can always be next to him, Montague provided the team with a bike. Someone was always able to ride alongside when necessary, and thanks to the folding design, the bike could be kept in the car trunk when not needed.

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Simon completed his run to New York on schedule, and finished Sunday’s New York City Marathon with a time of 5:13:18. Congratulations Simon! We couldn’t be happier to have provided some help along your journey, and we can’t wait to see what you accomplish next!

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Simon’s blog: http://www.andadapt.com/
Corneliuz’s blog (Simon’s lifelong friend and part of the Boston to NYC team): http://corneiliuz.com/
Runkeeper: http://runkeeper.com/
Airbnb (provided hosts to Simon along the way): http://www.airbnbnycmarathon.com/host-simon

One Comment

  1. Christian
    Posted November 10, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    That is really amazing. The fact that someone can run that far really defies logic. Then adding the fact that he is blind to the equation, and I just don’t understand. It must take even more energy to run given that he can’t predict exactly how his foot is going to hit the ground and what he is going to encounter.

    Simon, you are an amazing guy, and you must instill hope in a lot of people who hear your story.

    Thanks so much for doing what you do.

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Posted in Events | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

My Montague Boston Taking Me from Home to Klang Again

By Tailim Sin

I like my Montague Boston folding bike. It is a cool full-sized folding bicycle comfortable and excellent for urban commuting. Below is a ride where we traveled for more than 40km to a neighboring town.

The date was August 31, 2014 and it was Malaysia’s Independence Day. We call it Merdeka Day. Merdeka means Independence in our national language. I decided to take my  Montague Boston with our national flag flying all the way to Klang just for a breakfast together with a group of friends. My ride started from home in the wee morning. The weather was at its best with a temperature of 22°C.

Kuala Lumpur is a busy city with lots of vehicles on the roads, but not on Sundays and Public Holidays. A group of us started from various parts of the city as we rode on a designated route. Along the way the group grew bigger as we rode towards Klang. The Montague Boston is a single speed folding bicycle which can be difficult for ascending tough climbs. Fortunately, this route to Klang was reasonably friendly and we manged to execute it without much problem. In fact, we have successfully attempted this a few times on this favorites route of ours.

At last we have reached Klang Town. The day began to get hotter and humid, and by then our tummies were growling for food. Klang is famous for its herbal meat soup known as “Bak Kut Teh” and it is this cuisine that made us come to this town.

The moment of truth has eventually materialized as we slowly savor and enjoy the delicious food.

One of the several attractions in Klang Town we visited after our satisfying meal. This is Kuan Yin Temple which is more than 100 years old and is very popular among the people of Klang.

The beauty of Montague bikes is that they are foldable which makes them very portable for the travel. Here we were at Klang Train Station waiting for our train back to the capital city of Malaysia. The Montague Boston has a wheel size of 700c, which is bigger than most of my friends’ folding bicycles but it is lighter and simpler. I am proud to own one and extremely satisfied with its performance.

These urban riders are enjoying every minute of it and more adventures to come. Till then see you and all the best.
Let’s #RideMontague .

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