Last year when Tad and I did the Chesapeake Bay seaports, the first thing we did upon arrival to a new port was look for bicycle rentals. This took up valuable time and often times the bikes we rented were cheap, uncomfortable, and fell apart every few miles. So, when Tad started researching foldable bikes, I was all in!
We met with Tom at Bainbridge Island Cycle Shop and he asked us all the right questions. What are our biking goals, what are the must haves, and what are the limitations. Tad talked about size, weight, gears, durability, function... I said I wanted a bell and a basket! The two guys took on the next steps without me.
We contemplated an electric assist bike, but decided with so much time on the boat, we needed to make our biking a work out. It was the right decision for us, but I'll confess to changing my mind when I've shifted all the way down to first gear and the top of the hill isn't in sight!
Although Bainbridge Island Cycle wasn't a Tern dealer at the time, Tom had been researching folding bikes for a while and was impressed with Terns technology and reputation. Ironically, Tern was the same bike manufacturer that most impressed Tad. Tern it was!
Next was deciding which bike. Aside from the typical things like construction and durability, these were the deciding factors in our choice to go with the Link D7i
Price - we weren't sure folding bikes were for us, so we wanted to enter reasonably
Wheel size - most foldable's come with skinny tires. We wanted a minimum of a 20" wheel base and heftier tires.
Weight - I needed to be comfortable carrying my bike up stairs, etc. We were also unsure where we would store the bikes on the boat, so weight and folded size was important.
Handlebars - Due to neck limitations, I needed handlebars that were adjustable to an upright position
Servicing - Since out boat has no home port, we wanted to be sure there were good servicing options.
This is Tern's description of the Link D7i
The Link D7i is perfect for getting around in the city, hauling gear, and riding day-in-day-out. Because it’s built around a durable low seven-speed Nexus internal hub, it’s ideal for carrying onto buses or riding in the rain. Rear rack and integrated lighting with electricity-generating hub are included.
- 7-speed internal geared Shimano hub for versatility and low maintenance
- Andros™ handlebar stem for tool-free riding position adjustments on the fly
- FreeDrive™ chain cover protects your clothes from grease and dirt
- Bomb-proof wheels built with Sapim spokes
- Schwalbe Big Apple tires with Kevlar puncture protection
- Fenders for rainy days
- Folds compactly in 10 seconds for storage and transport
- Rear rack and integrated lighting
Our Overall Impression
The bike: We love our bikes! After you've done it a few times, they are easy to fold, lightweight, and ride well. The seat and handle bars adjust easily and the service rep in Newport even fitted me to my bike. We store our bikes in our tender when we are underway, which helps to keep the bikes safe and the boat uncluttered.
Tern and Tern Dealer, a Customer Service team: Tom was great in arranging to have the bikes assembled and mailed to the port where our boat was stored. We simply opened the well-packed box and voila, we were off!
Maintenance and Servicing: We had a ticking sound and found a Tern dealer in Newport who did a slight adjustment and we will do the 90-day tune up in Boston... all included. There are dealers throughout the US.
Images: Storage bag, folded bike, unfolded and ready to ride, stored in tender
Additional options we purchased and love:
- Foldable carry pouch that clips on to the rack. This has been a life-saver for grocery shopping,
- Cell phone holder. Makes using navigation hands-free,
- Carry pouch: I bought a basket, but you need to remove it to fold the bike for storing. I found this zip-up carry pouch by Bikse that works great.
Oh and YES, I have a bell!