Getting bikes airborne

Anyone who has travelled with their bike will know that they are easy to move about while they are on their own wheels, but very hard work when they are packed up and need to be carried! Airlines are also quite specific about how one packs bikes and so are some train operators. Coach operators generally don’t want to take bikes at all!

Whilst my ‘go anywhere Anthem’ was great to ride on tour, it was a big and tedious job to pack and unpack at each end. This detracted significantly from the fun of touring. I decided that I needed a more readily ‘packable’ bike, something that would fit easily into a taxi or car when necessary (along with my partners’ bike!). It also needed to be easy and quick to pack and unpack. I spent about a year looking at all sorts of collapsible bikes and was seriously tempted by some of them – the ease and tiny size of some of the packed machines was amazing.

The Dahon Tournado when it first arrived. I have since covered the lagging with coloured fabric to make it easier to pack.

But eventually, I settled on a Dahon Tournado. This bike does not ‘fold’. Instead, it comes apart easily into three bits by removing a clamp and three screws! It is a full sized cycle with it’s own suitcase (with wheels) and plenty of space for peripheral bits such as cycling shoes, helmet and tools.

The Tournado is a touring bike. It took me quite a while to get used to the narrow handlebars and the different location of the brakes and gears after the mountainbike. I also had an annoying recurrent shoulder pain caused by long hours in the saddle, which I hoped would go away with the narrower handlebar positioning.

I commuted with this bike for a few months before I got fully used to it. The bike was a lot lighter than the mountain bike and was therefore a lot faster ride. Despite a bit of jarring on unavoidable stretches of uneven ground (I miss the gentle suspension of the Anthem!), it is now my bike of choice for daily riding. But not only is it a very nice machine to ride, it also has some nice features including a Brooks leather saddle and Brooks leather binding on the handlebars.

My Tournado visits Auckland, New Zealand.

When travelling, the Tournado is very easy to assemble and to pack down. I had to make very few adjustments to the settings when I got it, and each time I pack and reassemble it, the seat height is the only thing I need to get right and that is easily done. Everything else just works! That is my kind of travelling bike!

Unfortunately, Dahon are no longer making Tournados. Such a nice product – this is a real pity. However, I must admit I have never seen another Tournado anywhere, so perhaps there were not very many made.

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4 responses to “Getting bikes airborne

  1. I like your bog -thanks for sharing! I love the idea of traveling abroad and bringing your bicycle with you- but I agree, just thinking about the process makes me cringe! I am starting local this summer (A bicycle/train ride from Ottawa to Vancouver) as our Via Rail welcomes even the least packable bikes and it’s only a $20 extra charge!

    • Appreciate your comments a lot, thank you! I hope that you will be able to get some tips and ideas which will get you touring too. It is so much fun and such a good way to see a new destination. I am following your blog too, and look forward to reading about your Ottawa trip!

  2. Hi! Love the blog. I also have a Dahon Tournado in NYC and love it. Have you put racks on the Tournado? If so, which ones? Thanks. Dave.

    • David, thanks for your appreciation of my blog, I am delighted to meet another Tournado owner!
      I have a lightweight rack that fits on the back of the bike. There is nothing fancy about it, it is just a standard setup with adjustable brackets, designed to fit most bikes. It does not weigh much and I can fit it into the Dahon case with no problems.

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