24 April 2020

Books about Folding Bicycles and Folding Bike Travels.

Bikepacking and travelling by bicycle have become more popular than ever before. There are many people who have cycled through countries, crossed continents or even cycled around the world. Nearly all of them do it on a mountain bike or some sort of gravel or rugged road bike. 

Only a few have done it on a folding bike, which I find kind of strange. Because sometimes the road is too boring to cycle, or what happens if you're having an off-day and you just don't feel like biking at all? 
A folding bicycle allows you to both cycle or fold your bike and easily catch a train, a bus, or any other form of transport. 
So next time you go on a biking adventure, be it a short weekend city trip or a couple of weeks bikepacking around the countryside, it's maybe time to consider using your folding bike. 
To get some travel inspiration, the following people have written a book about their folding bicycle adventures. I've placed these books in my personal favourite order. 
I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! 

1. A Hitch-Biker's Guide Through Africa: Cairo to Cape Town on a Folding Bike by Jo Charnock

'Travelling the length of Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town, on folding bikes? Were we completely mad or had we come up with an idea that would prove to be the simplest and most fun way to travel?'

A Hitch-Biker's Guide Through Africa is the story of this extraordinary adventure, of two people with two folding bicycles who travelled the length of Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town. This African odyssey was a spur of the moment decision which didn't give the author and her partner much time to plan. They guessed that folding bicycles would allow for versatile travelling. The freedom of cycling could be backed up with public transport or hitching a ride, especially when distances were far and carrying enough water could be a problem. What they hadn't anticipated was just how easy the trip would prove to be.

In her first book, author Jo Charnock gives a first-hand account of this incredible journey and the couple's often surprising adventures. After nearly six months on the road the trip ended with nothing but fantastic, positive experiences brought about by the people they met, and the unmatched natural beauty of Africa.

You can get the book here.

2. Unfolding Travels by Gianni Filippini 

UNFOLDING TRAVELS is an account of a traveller’s desire to cycle along some of the most beautiful roads in the world.

Despite the constraints of modern living and a chronic lack of time, the author shows that life-changing adventures should not be limited to students’ gap years or armchair accounts of explorers’ tales.

With a little courage and a lot of enthusiasm, a few weeks off work is all it takes to be able to fulfil your travelling dreams. You might be a newbie or a seasoned cyclist, either way, never think it is too late. If you are afraid or think you are not ready, just start pedalling. Inevitably you will find out that, whether you venture near or far, you are alright; the rest is learnt along the way as it is needed. Once you return, the freedom you have experienced, as well as the sense of achievement, will leave you wanting more.

Life at 15 miles per hour is just about perfect. A cycling tour allows you to travel the world in a more intimate way, as you have never done before: slow enough to take in the sights and smells of a place or to stop and accept the kindness of a stranger, as well as fast enough should you decide not to linger.

Follow the author along some of the most memorable roads on Earth, on cycling tours spanning a decade and four different continents. Riding a Brompton folding bike was always going to be a challenge, find out whether it was a gamble well worth taking! These travels are still unfolding...

This series of inspiring cycling adventures will surely motivate you to set off on your own epic journeys.

You can get the book here

3. Adventures in China on a £15 Folding Bike by Tom Bruce

Round the world cyclist, Tom Bruce, travelled to China with work but obviously couldn't live for a month without a bike. He purchased Valentino, an ancient rusty folding bike, for a price of £15 from Ebay. After a quick makeover, Valentino was ready to go to China so was stuffed into a suitcase and let loose on the city of Wuhan and the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River.

This short book contains two parts. The first part contains the story of a cycle tour along the Yangtze River, where Tom cycled 160 miles on the ancient bike, climbed high mountain passes, ate with locals and travelled by bike, train and boat. The second includes five cycling micro-adventures, exploring the parks, lakes and the city centre of the giant city of Wuhan, that Tom had never heard of before travelling there.

This book provides a great insight into Chinese life in both rural and urban areas, in the city of Wuhan and the Yangtze River Valley and contains over 50 photos of the journeys.

You can get the book here.

4. Brompton Bicycle by David Henshaw

This is not a book about travelling but "Brompton Bicycle" tells the fascinating story behind one of the world's most unusual and popular folding bikes. It also details how you can modify and convert your Brompton for such uses as a child carrying and tackling hilly country and acts as a unique maintenance and repair manual, full of tips you won't find in any standard bike repair book. In short, everything you need to enjoy this incredible bike to the full. The first edition was hugely popular with the legions of Brompton fans; the second edition contains an extra 32 pages, with a whole new chapter on where Brompton may be heading in the future plus new coverage of early folding bikes in the U.S., more detail on the military use of folding bikes and, of course, the low-down on new products and company developments.

You can get the book here.

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