Episode 003

The value of having bicycles on board your campervan


February 17th, 2021

8 mins 10 secs

Your Hosts

About this Episode

A talk about the advantaes of having bicycles on board your campervan while traveling. Bicycles allow access to the areas you visit. Whether you're a serious cyclist or just need a simple, easy way to get around the campground or town you're visiting, bicycles are a great solution.

Podcast episode transcript: The value of having bicycles on board your campervan

Like so many people, I started riding bicycles at a very early age. But at some point in my teens, a friend loaned me a lightweight road bike, and I became obsessed.

I worked in bike shops and I've been an avid bicycle rider of one kind or another ever since.

Especially mountain bikes. When mountain bikes came along, I really got into those and I've been riding mountain bikes for, well, let's just say a long time.

bicycles are the best way to see any area or even a wider region. If you want to get into a cycle touring, it's faster than walking obviously. But I think more importantly, it's slower than a car.

And so it gives you the opportunity to kind of look around and stopping is not a problem, you know, when we're in the van or in a car or even on a motorcycle stopping is an ordeal. Right? Well, find a place to park and, and clamor out and all that stuff.

Whereas with a bicycle, you just hit the brakes and either lay the bike down or put it on its kickstand or lean it up against something. And you're free to walk around a bit.

So, yeah my advice is bring bicycles on the van, in the van, whatever it takes, you don't have to be a cyclist or be “into bikes”, you know, there's nothing wrong with a simple beach cruiser or even even a folding bike or maybe I should say, especially folding bikes.

They're so great for storing away and you take it out and in five minutes, it's reassembled and it's ready to ride around some small town or the campground or down to the beach or whatever's around and local. You can go see it without packing up the whole van and driving around without towing a car or getting out a motorbike.

The bicycle, folding bicycles, any bike, really just simplifies nearby travel. And again, if you wanna get into touring, bicycle touring or mountain biking, you can bring more gear, a more substantial bike and now you're good for many miles of travel on trails or roads all around the area that you're parked up at.

Even a simple beach cruiser is a wonderful thing. They tend to be heavy and cumbersome, but they're one gear and you keep them on a rack on the back of the van or, or tie them down to a roof rack, or if you've got a big van store it in your garage.

Another cool thing that's come along in recent years is e-bikes. If you just don't want this heavy exercise of pedaling everywhere and up steep hills and stuff like that, an eBike might be the answer for you.

The prices come down and the quality's gone way up in recent years and they're readily available everywhere and it's just a bicycle with a motor, typically pedal assisted. So when you pedal, the motor kicks in and helps propel the bike forward and how much you spend will determine how fast the bike will go.

And more importantly, how much battery life or distance you have on one charge and also the weight. I was just reading about . I think it's Specialized bike company, they released an 18 pound electric road bike. Incredible 18 pounds. That's that's getting down into super light bicycle territory. So the possibilities are endless with that.

And, and I've been fortunate enough to get to ride a very powerful, full on downhill bike with a powerful motor that's good for two or three hours of climbing and it's like free shuttling without a car. So you get to the top of the hill very quickly and then you get to bomb down. It's really great.

Again, bikes can be broken down into a pretty small space. So even if you've got a full on mountain biker or road bike, you can pull the wheels off and it doesn't take up a lot of space. A lot of people like to design their garage, under the bed at the back of a sprinter or a ProMaster to hold a bike, mostly assembled.

That's not really my thing. I'd rather use that space for something else. But it's a very popular way to design for bicycles. And you'll see, slide out trays that hold a bicycle with fork mounted and stuff like that. So yeah, lots of possibilities. And again, you can also just strap any given bike down to a roof rack.

There are bicycle bags to fit any size bike. Now it takes up even less space. And it's not obvious that you have an expensive bike in your van or on top of your van, if security is a concern as it probably should be.

Again, my favorite are mountain bikes. Mountain biking's a full blown sport. So you can do that as a pastime where you break out the bike every once in a while, or you can make the cycling aspect van life destination oriented.

I will plan a route through my state Washington state, or down the Oregon coast or into California. And, and just thinking about which trails I wanna hit next and especially true of this region, I can cover the Southwestern United States, just going from trail to trail.

You've probably heard about the trails in Moab and places like that, but there are really trails everywhere and the same is true of road bikes.

Of course, if you ride a road bike, well, that means you can ride anywhere. You don't need trails. So I like to look at it like, I don't need roads. I can ride on any trail, but that's just my preference.

So let's see... most areas do have mountain bike accessible roads as well. So more and more land is opened up for mountain biking, access. And with a mountain bike, you can get over nearly any terrain.

And then there’s fat tire bikes. Even though they have big fat tires wider than three and a half inches that will get you over sand or snow. They don't have to be super heavy. So make sure you go into a bike shop and, and kind of pick some up and test ride them and you'll see what I mean. A lot of times they're very light.

What's your favorite kind of bicycle? What kind of cycling are you into, and do you have questions about getting into cycling?

Go ahead and shoot me an email at [email protected] or just go ahead and drop a comment on any post at vansage.com and we'll chat about it.