Let's face it; sitting in an RV for 5-6 hours in a given day isn't conducive to good health. Muscles aren't worked, and the only cardio you might get is driving down a series of 7 degree mountain switchbacks in your Class A RV dragging a toad.
But once you get to your campsite, it's time to stretch those muscles and see the world around you. National Parks offer lots of ways to do that, with hiking trails and attractions that may require stairs or steps. Campgrounds also offer ways to keep in shape. Some have full-fledged fitness centers, or RVers can simply take a stroll around the campground, which is a great way to say "Hi" to your new neighbors, and maybe meet some new friends. Riding a bike is also great exercise in and out of campgrounds, but bikes can be a problem when it comes to storage in an RV, where space is at a premium.
Barbara and I have been researching bikes for about the last year or so, mainly to improve our overall fitness as we get older, but also looking at what would work for us traveling full-time in our future Open Road 36LA motor home. There are a few ways to travel with bikes; bike racks can be attached to a two-way trailer hitch right above the attachment for your toad (towed vehicle). With road conditions being what they are today, and weather issues along the way, you have to find a good, sturdy bike rack and a quality cover to keep them clean and safe. Some folks will also install a bike rack on the roof of their toad, which would be an impossibility for us with our Mini Cooper convertible. Finally, others will opt to simply attach their bikes to the ladder used for roof access on the motor home. Not only does it look bad, but the jarring the rear end takes on some highways can weaken the attachment of the ladder to the RV, potentially creating an accident on the road, or when trying to perform some simple maintenance on the roof.
Enter the folding bike.
Now, there are lots of folding bikes on the market today, and they have their benefits and drawbacks. Many you will find are what are called "campground bikes", which have smaller wheels and limited speeds, since they are designed for riding on primarily level surfaces. Some of these style bikes are being modified to also have battery power, which extends their range and uses, but these come with a weight cost as batteries are heavy. And weight is a big safety concern for motor homes. One recently reviewed by a friend of ours came in at over 40 lbs!
We opted to look for a more traditional bike that could fold down relatively small; something with lots of gears for riding on roads and trails, but small enough to pack into the back seat of the Mini if we wanted to take them somewhere, because there is NO room in the boot (Mini refuses to call a trunk a trunk) to throw a bike in the Mini. But you CAN put things in the back seat.
The only choice for us was a product from Montague, specifically, the Montague Urban. It's a full sized bike with 21 speeds, slightly wider tires to handle some off-road riding, but narrow and smooth enough to be comfortable on the road. Weighs only 25 lbs. It also has an innovative "rack stand", a storage rack which releases and rotates underneath the back tire to keep your bike upright without a kickstand. And the best thing is that it folds into something half it's size, and just 12" deep, so it can fit inside one of the basement compartments going down the road where it is secure from those who might wish to relieve us of our cycling burden. It also has a convenient carrying bag which will protect the interior of the Mini from grease and gouges when we want to take them places outside of where we're staying.
I had forgotten how much fun riding a bike can be. The Montague Urban reminded me of it. Below are pictures of the bike open, closed and all bagged up.
For more information on the Urban, and the rest of the innovative line of Montague bikes, click here.
We're Dave and Barbara Richard, and we're planning the ultimate retirement experience - travel the U.S. and Canada in style in a Tiffin Open Road 36LA Class A motor home, play golf and stop at every weird and wacky roadside attraction we can find.