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boat bikes

Some of you may know that, for a period of time, we carried a couple of boat bikes on board our first boat. Having picked them up used from another cruiser in Grenada, we found them quite nice to have. Rebecca used hers especially often, finding it convenient to go to the shopping mall, a trip that would otherwise have required a long walk/jog, or a bus ride. Ultimately, because we planned to haul the boat and leave her unattended while we ran charters, we sold the bikes to some other cruisers. Hopefully they found them useful too.

Our friends carried bikes on their boat too. Here’s a post where we are out enjoying them.

What would be the ultimate boat bikes?

Since making public our interest in biking, I’ve had a couple of inquiries from people asking my thoughts about boat bikes. They were specifically interested in what features I thought a good one would have. I told them that aside from the obvious storage issues on smaller vessels, the biggest challenge to a bike in the Caribbean will be the detrimental effect that the salt air will have on it. Like every other metal object on a boat, rust will be an ongoing issue. Even though our bikes never once got wet with sea water, they still suffered.

So, with that in mind, perhaps the ideal boat bike would:

  • have a carbon or titanium frame that won’t rust
  • have carbon rims
  • have sealed gears (Rohloff?)
  • have a Gates carbon drive instead of a chain
  • be small enough to store

Of course a bike like that wouldn’t be cheap, but what’s a few thousand when compared to the expense of a big cruising yacht? Kidding, of course. 🙂


Image source: An Epic Brooks Range Bikepacking Packrafting Trip

Boats on bikes?

While the above paragraphs are focused on bikes on boats, did you know that there are folks who are doing the exact opposite, carrying boats on bikes? Yes, bikerafting, aka packrafting, is actually a thing. And not only do these people carry inflatable boats on their bike trips, they then take their bikes apart, and carry them on top of their boats! Confused? Check out this post, and the following super-cool video, to see what I’m taking about.


  1. You missed a couple:
    3rd (commercial): Pedal powered boats

    Or if you want to go a bit further down the rabbit hole, a 4th: Pedal powered boats that transform between land and sea modes!

  2. I hope you are not considering this to get from the tip of Baja back to the mainland?

  3. And if you take that conglomeration onto your boat you would have a boat on a bike on a boat.

  4. What a great post, I’ve been doing this for almost ten years with varying degrees of success. I’ve tried everything from full sized bikes on deck, taking them apart and storing them in my lockers, leaving them on shore when I can, none of there were ideal solutions and quite costly. The price of a folding bike will be paid in short order by the money saved over cab rides. I’m on my 4th folding bike in varying degrees of quality, it’s a steel framed Brompton and it’s perfect. I’ve had it for 18 months with no issues other than small signs of rust on the small ss fasteners but that may be from camping with her in tropical rainforests and also cycling down the Washington Oregon coast were she was constantly left out in the rain while I was on bike tour. You may want to contact the girl from unite the lines, I know she’s had a Brompton for serveral years on her boat so maybe she could give a better assement of long term storage in the tropics. I’ve got the day off today, I need to ride to the south side to pick up boat parts and study a new tiny home design, then back to the north end for grocerys and booze. Im sure you already know this but when your bike is in tow it’s never work, more like a social adventure, it’s going to be a great day and thanks for sharing 🙂 every boat should have a folder or two…

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