Traveling for the first time with bikes in tow, if I am being honest, is scary…beyond scary. First I was scared to death that I would have a million issues that I would not easily be able to fix, either due to inexperience or having my whole toolkit among other things. I had never folded a cargo bike, taken one apart(cargo bikes don’t normally come apart) let alone dreaming that it might actually fit into a travel bag. With this fear, (and great encouragement from Alan Scholz himself) I jumped in with both feet.
Full disclosure, I am the new Marketing “Guru” at Bike Friday and knew that I would have to bring bikes on this pre-planned trip so I was best able to relate to all of you fine folks reading this. With that let the story move begin…
So when you have a pick of best bikes we make sitting in front of you, that are easy to fold and pack in a bag, being the Papa that I am I really wanted to bring a Haul-A-Day. Mine is set-up with the bottle battery so traveling with my bike was
out of the question. I just assumed no Haul-A-Day on my holiday, until Alan talked me into. Thankfully we had a few stock Haul-A-Day’s here at the factory ready to go(though I did have to add a few family-friendly options to make it easier for family travel).
I had no idea how I was going to get this large bike into the bag I bought but the measurements worked out that it “should” work and thanks to so many of you sharing so much of your travel wisdom via blogs and forums I was able to get pool-noodles with a side of patience.
Off we go for a fun family trip which started in Germany to see all the family on my wife’s side and then up to Norway to see all of my family.
I should tell everyone that this was our main focus on this trip, was to see family and riding was really the bonus(we also have a 7-year-old…bike-focused trips are coming soon). It cost me $100 to take an extra bag which had the Haul-A-Day in it but it was a price worth paying(don’t forget to “demand” fragile stickers).
Zoom forward to flying, taking a train out of the Frankfurt airport(which by the way that is the most amazingly great thing about flying into Frankfurt, how easy it is to get around once you are there), then off to my in-laws house to figure out how to put these bikes back together and…the scary part…did they make it in one piece? Great news…better than great and the best part is that the Haul-A-Day took me about 10 minutes to get it back together and on the road while the pakIT took about 3.
Now the real adventure ensues…well kinda. Reality is, again, this was a family trip so we had tons of family events going on while we were there so riding was the bonus but boy was it a bonus. I have been to Germany around 20 times in the last 20 years(missed a few years but traveled back twice a few times)and never had a bike along and have always relied on people to get around. Having a bike is life-changing because if I felt the need I could just jump on my bike and ride…something we all take for granted yet here I was with the means to just go and go we did. My boy jumped on the back and away we went.
Our little area in Germany is the Saarland, which is filled with history, some of the oldest in Europe with towns like Trier, Saarbrucken, and St.Wendel, is our little spot where we hang our hats. To be able to just jump on the bike and explore does things that you could never get in a car. You see more, smell more, enjoy more all because the pace of life has slowed to a manageable speed which allows you to enjoy the journey…it is a vacation after all. We had a few days(and a little rain) and then it was time to repack the bikes for the next leg of our journey.
Happy to report that it did NOT take an hour to repack Red and she went back into the bag with ease. The pakIT yet again was far easier to pack but the Haul-A-Day was maybe 20 minutes after all was said and done. Packed and ready it was time to explore the land of my ancestors and see how the Haul-A-Day performed as a farm bike. One thing I love about our bikes is the wheel size, easy to climb and actually really comfortable as a gravel grinder. We were staying in the most picturesque setting one could ever dream of which made for the perfect backdrop for our adventures on two wheels. The pakIT was even a champ for gravel grinding around the farm and the kids loved it.
Imagine yourself grinding up some back road then cresting that hill which then opens to mountains for climbing and lakes for swimming…we even found cute little frogs.
Every good trip has to end at some point and ours was nearing its end and it was time for Red to get adopted by another family, and bonus Red got reunited with one of its very own family members back in Oslo. Our friend bought his first Haul-A-Day 3 years ago and his wife wanted her own so we knew it was going to a good home.
We spent some time geeking out about the bike and all the little changes that have come as we put these bikes out on the road and received feedback from so many of our users(being a small manufacturer it’s not hard to make a rolling change so yes, through the years we have listened to you all and made adjustments as needed and for this we thank you). It was fun, me being the “new guy” at Bike Friday, to hear about all the fun things that have been done on our bikes first-hand…we are rich with stories of great adventures and even the greatness of day-to-day life on a travel bike because of you all. Goodbye Red…enjoy your journey as we pack for our next leg in adventures back to Germany.
Packed and ready it’s time to get back to our (second) home and a few more adventures on two wheels. Fun was had and simple joys were found because we had the freedom to go, explore and find what we could find. One of the biggest joys of traveling by bike is that you can do just that…explore. Something we never do when we are home no matter how amazing our “backyard” is, we almost never take the time to look at the details and take it all in. This was maybe the biggest lessons learned for me on this trip. I look forward to the next adventure and now have adjusted my list a bit as I have some ideas on where to go next. We will still make our yearly pilgrimage home but now it’s time to explore other places on the globe…which should we do first? Australia is near the top of the list…what say you world travelers?
If you have any questions about this trip please feel free to ask and I hope I can be of assistance if you plan to travel to some of these same areas.
More pics from our fun trip :