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Retirement, Travel and Cycling?

Old 10-01-22, 10:36 AM
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Retirement, Travel and Cycling?

I have a question for retirees who travel to warm weather destinations. Do you rent a bike or travel with your own? I am thinking of buying a folding bike to take with me when I travel overseas. Also where are some of your favourite destinations and experiences?
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Old 10-01-22, 11:02 AM
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Old 10-01-22, 01:06 PM
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A folding bike may be a good idea. For some ideas you might read the book by David Byrne (from the band Talking Heads) wrote "Bicycle Diaries" about his travels around the globe with a folding bike.
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Old 10-01-22, 08:23 PM
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We take our bikes on a bike rack on the back of our 5th wheel when we rattle around the Lower 48 in the winter. Good deal for far.

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Old 10-01-22, 10:10 PM
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Not retired yet but I've traveled internationally with my bike. I find it stressful, and a pain. I'll do it again for long brevets, but for normal rides likely not. Airline practices are unpredictable, they misplace bikes, and the TSA can make a mess of your careful packing job.

Alternatively, twice I've traveled somewhere, purchased a used bike locally, ridden it, and sold or gave it away. I think I did better than airline fees in both cases.

Warm is relative. I've enjoyed riding the Florida Keys, Reno NV. I'm thinking about southern Arizona this winter. I've never had an international bike trip to a warm climate in the winter. New Zealand was decent in their fall; I'd like to go back in their summer.

I have ridden in South Africa and India, but those were short guided excursions while there on business. They were kind of amazing, but I wouldn't do either without a local guide. Not really my thing but other people like that kind of experience.
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Old 10-01-22, 10:13 PM
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I took my vintage bike overseas to ride the Eroica vintage ride in Tuscany. For vintage rides, I think that this is preferable to renting a sight-unseen vintage bike at the ride because you really don't know what you will get, what condition it will be in or what gearing it will have, and Eroica is a hard ride with big hills, big miles and difficult conditions. However, it was a royal PITA dragging around a bike to different areas, even though completely broken down and in a travel box. Not to mention, the airlines will likely charge you a fee. We found that the luggage agents do not know the airline rules regarding bikes and will charge you for things that the rules say are free. Even if you don't get overcharged, it still counts as one of your pieces of luggage so you will likely end up paying extra luggage charges. Not only that but you are subject to theft loss and possible rental car window breakage when the thieves break them to liberate the bike. If I didn't have a special need for a vintage bike I would never consider traveling overseas with my own bike if the country I was heading to had fair availability of rental bikes. The price would be well worth the saved hassle and risk and airline fees. A folding bike may slightly decrease the hassle factor but you still have a heavy bike to haul around on your vacation. Not my idea of a vacation.
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Old 10-02-22, 04:07 AM
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Originally Posted by GordonP View Post
I have a question for retirees who travel to warm weather destinations. Do you rent a bike or travel with your own? I am thinking of buying a folding bike to take with me when I travel overseas. Also where are some of your favourite destinations and experiences?
A folding bike would be easy for traveling. I am retired and live in Thailand. Thailand is a an international cycling destination. I travel with my road bike too, and have been fortunate (lucky) not having any damage. Have fun and stay safe.
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Old 10-02-22, 07:52 AM
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Question for you: Since you're in Quebec, Canada, is your idea of 'travel' being a 'snowbird' who goes to a warm destination to escape the Canadian winter, or are you just taking a few weeks to travel somewhere? Thee's a big difference in pushing the limit on a 90-day USA visa or going to Florida/Caribbean/Central America for two weeks to enjoy the warm sunshine and a few beach-related activities.
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Old 10-02-22, 08:47 AM
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Thanks for all of the replies! I've cycled toured fully loaded in Europe and Canada in the past and I probably will do light credit card touring in the future. In North America, I would use my car to travel since train travel is not the best with a bike. In Europe, I am thinking of long term stays in one area and using trains and rental cars so having a bike would be nice. I am also interested in hub and spoke tours in the USA and explore some of the rail trails and the Erie Canal.

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Old 10-02-22, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by ARider2 View Post
A folding bike may be a good idea. For some ideas you might read the book by David Byrne (from the band Talking Heads) wrote "Bicycle Diaries" about his travels around the globe with a folding bike.
Thanks for the suggestion, I will have to find a copy.
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Old 10-02-22, 09:17 AM
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My wife and I dismantle our bikes and carry them in the car (small SUV). We've tried car racks a couple of times but never had good luck with them for long trips.

We just bought a winter home in Tucson and equipped the place with a second set of bikes. That's obviously a favorite destination now. We ended up there largely because of the quality of the cycling.

The last time we flew overseas with the bikes, they flew free as regular baggage so we took them with. I used bikeflights.com for domestic trips a couple of times.
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Old 10-02-22, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by skidder View Post
Question for you: Since you're in Quebec, Canada, is your idea of 'travel' being a 'snowbird' who goes to a warm destination to escape the Canadian winter, or are you just taking a few weeks to travel somewhere? Thee's a big difference in pushing the limit on a 90-day USA visa or going to Florida/Caribbean/Central America for two weeks to enjoy the warm sunshine and a few beach-related activities.
I haven't spent much time in the southern states but I am interested in North and South Carolina and Arizona. I will have to do more research on other states. Even though Canadians can spend 6 months in the US at a time, I am thinking about two or three months max per trip.
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Old 10-02-22, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by GordonP View Post
I haven't spent much time in the southern states but I am interested in North and South Carolina and Arizona. I will have to do more research on other states. Even though Canadians can spend 6 months in the US at a time, I am thinking about two or three months max per trip.
If you're heading as far as Arizona I'd highly suggest a Arizona, Utah loop. You could hit Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Monument Valley, Arches, Canyon Lands, Capitol Reef, Boulder, Escalante, Bryce Canyon and Zion NP in a comfortable 3-4 week time frame. You can easily mix in some fabulous cycling along that route to break things up. We took 23 days for that trip and didn't feel rushed. Of course we could have spent twice that, but that time gave us the most memorable trip we've ever had.
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Old 10-02-22, 03:10 PM
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I met a couple who go every year to the Yucatan in Mexico and use their folding bicycles that go be air and then are carried on the bus to the town they will use for their base. This would also be great for larger islands in places like Northwest USA and Canada and the Caribbean. Even Europe along the rivers and canals where I have use a rental bike a folding bike would have worked equally well. In Europe and China where there are high speed trains you can take the folding bike with you into a passenger car and put it in the special luggage section of the car. I greatly prefer dealing with motorists in Europe and Asia to those in the USA which are very aggressive on the whole.

Check though on luggage rates for the airlines as it varies widely and they give great rates for golf clups and surf boards and skiis but make up the differene with "irregular" luggage.
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Old 10-03-22, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by GordonP View Post
I have a question for retirees who travel to warm weather destinations. Do you rent a bike or travel with your own? I am thinking of buying a folding bike to take with me when I travel overseas. Also where are some of your favourite destinations and experiences?
I've done a few bike tours with folding bikes. It's still a PITA.

You still have to do some disassembly and reassembly. Fragile components like derailleur hangers can get damaged in transit. TSA is likely to muck about with it. It's a heavy and bulky object that you need to get to and from the airport. Higher-end folding bikes tend to cost more than similarly spec'ed standard bikes, and will still need a fairly expensive case, though they are also fully usable for almost everything a standard bike can do. Plus, one major reason people use folding bikes for air travel was to avoid airline oversize baggage fees, and that's changing. AFAIK Delta, United and American no longer charge extra for flying with a bicycle.

Generally speaking, unless you have some other use for a folding bike, you may be better off with a high-end bag like the EVOC ROAD.

On the other side of the equation is whether a decent bike will be available at your destination. If you're using a bicycle touring company, they're likely to offer rentals of pretty good bikes; if you are on your own, it may be difficult or expensive to rent a bike.

And of course, it depends on your use. Do you plan to do a week-long bicycle tour? (In that case, there's a whole subforum on BF dedicated to that btw.) Do you plan to just do daily training rides? Ride one or two days a week? Use it to get around town, rather than rent a car? All of that is going to impact your decision.
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Old 10-04-22, 02:39 PM
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Old 10-04-22, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by phedge View Post
If you're heading as far as Arizona I'd highly suggest a Arizona, Utah loop. You could hit Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Monument Valley, Arches, Canyon Lands, Capitol Reef, Boulder, Escalante, Bryce Canyon and Zion NP in a comfortable 3-4 week time frame. You can easily mix in some fabulous cycling along that route to break things up. We took 23 days for that trip and didn't feel rushed. Of course we could have spent twice that, but that time gave us the most memorable trip we've ever had.
Oh man. That would be an epic ride, I’ve always wanted to ride in those areas. Maybe after I retire. Oh wait!! Been retired for 6 years…It might just be the incentive I need to get back out there riding. I know my wife would love to do and SAG along. We’ve visited all those areas but seeing it from the saddle it so much better.
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Old 10-07-22, 12:11 PM
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Overseas we rent a bike. The airlines charge very high baggage fees and they are tough on luggage and take no responsibility for any damage. I had a very strong Pelican case destroyed by the American Airlines baggage handlers in Miami and fortunately it was on my return from the Caribbean. The only time I would do otherwise is with a folding bike going to a destination where I could get any damage done by the airlines repaired. The advantage of a folding bike is being able to take it onto a train or canal boat or bus in Europe or Latin America.

Years ago many cyclists would have bikes built for them in the UK or Italy or France and then fly over and ride them for a trip and then bring them back home. At that time it was the best way to get a Colnago or Masi or similar bike.
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Old 10-09-22, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
My wife and I dismantle our bikes and carry them in the car (small SUV). We've tried car racks a couple of times but never had good luck with them for long trips.

We just bought a winter home in Tucson and equipped the place with a second set of bikes. That's obviously a favorite destination now. We ended up there largely because of the quality of the cycling.

The last time we flew overseas with the bikes, they flew free as regular baggage so we took them with. I used bikeflights.com for domestic trips a couple of times.
I just met a couple who are travelling around North America in a VW van and they had problems with people trying to take their bikes off of their bike rack!
Tucson sounds like a great destination for cycling. According to Google Maps there are lots of bike paths.
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Old 10-09-22, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by phedge View Post
If you're heading as far as Arizona I'd highly suggest a Arizona, Utah loop. You could hit Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Monument Valley, Arches, Canyon Lands, Capitol Reef, Boulder, Escalante, Bryce Canyon and Zion NP in a comfortable 3-4 week time frame. You can easily mix in some fabulous cycling along that route to break things up. We took 23 days for that trip and didn't feel rushed. Of course we could have spent twice that, but that time gave us the most memorable trip we've ever had.
I will have to look this route up. How it the weather in January/February?
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Old 10-09-22, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by GordonP View Post
I will have to look this route up. How it the weather in January/February?
It's a good news bad news thing. Good news is you'll have the place almost to yourself. Bad news is the weather is cold and unpredictable. If it's mild and cold you'll be fine, if a storm hits they start closing roads and you're stuck for a while. Some higher elevations and mountain passes are closed all winter.

We did the end of September to beginning October. Was still fairly crowded but manageable. Weather was perfect if a little chilly at night and at higher elevation. The ride on Byway 12 to Boulder Utah was about as amazing as possible, fall colors and clear skies with a population of around 200 and a few amazing restaurants, Boulder is worth an overnight.

If you're looking for warmer in January/February, Tucson is your best bet. Great cycling and hiking all around the area.
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Old 10-10-22, 08:45 AM
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We snowbird from Alaska to the Lower 48. Traveled with bikes on a stout Thule rack up and down the AlCan Highway a couple of times. Just had a very a few big hitch system welded on to our 5th wheel and will leave the truck, RV, and some bikes in Lower 48. There is some discussion in the RV community about a hitch on a 5th wheel but I think that is sorted now. So we will simply fly to and from Alaska and have our rig and bikes ready to go. Theft is a different issue

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Old 10-15-22, 12:56 PM
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We did our first bike tour in August and loved it. They provided everything, and it was so fun to meet new people that were all enjoying the same tour. I had researched so many options to do it ourselves, but am so glad we did an organized tour for our first trip. A number of the people in our tour group had done other tours. We plan to stay in touch with all of them and get their advice for which tour to do next. I really appreciated a guide who had researched the back roads so we stayed away from traffic, and having a van to take us to a starting spot that was better than the hotel, or pick us up if we had an issue.
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Old 10-18-22, 08:04 PM
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Ritchey Break Away. Standard size frame, manageable suitcase packing.

I've had over 200 flights with mine, 3 continents, many countries. I take it on 3 day trips and longer. I've never paid a fee to check it.

The case, fully packed with clothes, shoes and bike is aways below 50 lbs.
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Old 10-20-22, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ARider2 View Post
A folding bike may be a good idea. For some ideas you might read the book by David Byrne (from the band Talking Heads) wrote "Bicycle Diaries" about his travels around the globe with a folding bike.
Serious points for not calling the band The Talking Heads. That was always a pet peeve of Bern's (you don't say The Led Zepplin.) and the motivation behind the title of their first live album "The Name of This Band is Talking Heads."
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