Montague Navigator folding bikeI’ve been riding bikes for about 35 years and up until a few years ago I had never heard of a folding bike though they’ve been around for a long, long time. Of course, like just about anything, technology has led to all kinds of advancements in cycling and folding bikes is no exception.

Many people think of folding bikes as having the circus style 16″ or 20″ wheels and there are plenty of brands which serve that segment of the marketplace. Another segment of the market, the one which Montague serves, is the rider who wants the convenience and portability of a folding bike but also doesn’t want to give up the superior ride a full-size bike gives you.

There are as many reasons people ride bikes as there are people. From speaking with our customers and in our personal experiences, there are several scenarios perfect for someone to choose a folding bike.

Bike Commuting

Maybe it’s the gulf oil spill, the spike in gas prices we saw over the past 18 months or just a heightened awareness from people trying to be more environmentally friendly, but more and more people are working the bike into their daily commute.

Folding bikes are ideal for multi-modal commuting scenarios. My daily commute to our office in Boston provides a good example of what I mean. I commute into Boston each day by either driving or riding my bike to the train station, in both cases I fold up my bike and bring it with me on the train and then finish my commute to the office by unfolding my bike and riding to the office. Several others in the office drive their car part of the way with their bike folded in the trunk, then ride the rest of the way in.

Travel by Bike

A large part of the folding bike market is from those who enjoy traveling. One of the best parts of working at Montague is hearing the travel stories from people who are using our bikes to see the world (including David Byrne of Talking Heads fame!). Some examples:

  • Boaters who want to have the flexibility to explore the destinations they visit
  • Pilots who want to do some cruising in the locations they fly into.
  • Touring: Short or long distance touring can be done on several types of bikes. However, full size folding bikes give you the option to load up with enough racks and panniers to do a self-supported trip and then fold it up to hop on a train and continue the journey. (To read about the kind of touring I’m talking about be sure to check out Kate Trenerry’s journey along the Iron Curtain trail on her Montague bike.)

Tight Storage

Do you spend all week working in the concrete jungle working during the week and/or live somewhere with limited storage, and want to escape to the woods on the weekend? A full-size folding bike is likely the perfect solution. Keep it folded in a closet during the week (and maybe even ride it to work) then break it out for your weekend trail or rural country road ride. Do you prefer the hip single-speed bikes that are so popular now? We can help there too.

Fitness

Having myself been a former couch potato before getting inspired to train for and finish the Ironman triathlon, I’m all to familiar with the excuses one can make and find a way to not exercise. With cycling being the kind of exercise that virtually anyone can do, a folding bike removes a few of the excuses you can come up with not to go ride. Some of my favorites I used to use:

  • “I can’t by a bike, I don’t have anywhere to store it”
  • “I don’t live in a place safe to ride and I don’t have a car rack to bring a bike somewhere else.
  • “I can’t can’t find a bike that’s comfortable” (some Montague bikes feature handlebars that can be adjusted without the use of tools making it easy make handlebar height adjustments on the fly)

Did I miss any? What are some of the other reasons for buying a folding bike?