What is the issue?A dinghy or berth will take the crew to the shoreline, but after that sailors tend to get about on foot.
Why address this?Walking is great exercise and very pleasant. However it is very, very slow. When this is the only form of locomotion the amount of errands that can be achieved, or places visited, in any day are pitifully small.
How to address this?I would recommend an investment in a folding bike and I have done so since.
Looking back on our circumnavigation I believe that the additional mobility of a bike would have enhanced the experience by speeding us about ashore. It would have dramatically increased each landings roaming range and enabled us to achieve much more in a shorter amount of time.
This is especially the case when you consider the simple excellent folding bicycle solutions available. Some fold down to little more than the size of their small wheels and can be carried about in a handy sized luggage bag. Yet they are perfectly ride-able and will offer years of solid service. Hence the space they take up on a yacht is negligible considering the service they offer. A further key benefit is security in uncertain areas. You may take the bike aboard when it's folded or indeed with you into buildings that you are visiting with carry bag options.
Here is a list of consideration I benefited from when selecting my bike that may prove useful.
1/ Be prepared to invest to get a good folding bike. Folding bikes require highly skilled welding and materials for construction as the frame and solid joint in the middle of the bike is crucial to a good ride. Going cheap here will result in a poor bike and miles of daily regret.
2/ Conversely don’t get too hung up on a folders weight relative to regular bikes as folding bikes tend to be heavier due to the additional folding requirement.
3/ Smaller wheels make for more compact boat or luggage storage. However the small wheels tend to be slower on the road and take more from the rider. So it is a stowage space efficiency versus bike efficiency tradeoff that has to be determined by your vessel and expected usage. An average folding bike has a 16 inch wheel and a 20 inch wheel is considered on the comfortable side for long distance riding. At the very high end, for long distance or mountain bike enthusiasts, full sized bikes are available.
4/ Likewise narrower tyres are faster and fatter tyres slower. But if roads are bad narrow tyers will transfer the hard surface into the rider.
5/ Folding mechanisms vary and this is something you should try before you buy.
6/ For the boats shop runs a basket or preferably a luggage rack are essential extras. If commuting regularly or touring mudguards are also worthwhile.
7/ Don’t get put off a particular bike because of substitutable standard equipment items, for instance a saddle, that may be easily changed.
Good folding bicycles are an expensive acquisition. However looking at the circumnavigation in the rear view mirror, I believe they are worth it.
With thanks to:Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.
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Bill Forde wrote this review on Jul 22nd 2014:
Im planning an extended cruise long distance next year or maybe 2016 and I bought a Dahon Jack folding bike and a special padded Carry bag to keep it from scratching woodwork as I sail. It fits neatly into a spare cabin sois never in the way. The Dahon is a full size strong bike with 26" wheels and aluminium 400 frame. Its light and strong. I converted it to electric with a hub motor and split Battery pack that goes on a removeable panier on the rear rack. I have a DC to DC converter that charges the batteries from 12V Via 180watt solar panels as I cruise. When I arrive anywhere I can unpack & unfold the bike in a few minutes. If I feel like exploring the countryside I can add the Battery pack if I choose and I get a 150 Klm range with powerful assistance. I have a great Burley trailer which doubles as a 2 wheel shopping cart and is strong enough to carry 40l of diesel if required. I Travelled 40KLM with 40L of water on the trailer to test it and it was a dream, easy peasy. So no taxis and no petrol and lots of freedom to explore foreign treasures. More info and photos available on request
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