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Trailspotting Biking Gear

Category: Blog Update
Last updated: August 2022

We're only occasional cyclists - mainly to explore the many rail trails around New Hampshire. Still, in response to questions we receive about the bikes that you see in our photographs we thought a short article would be helpful to provide some answers. Trailspotting doesn't run advertisements, use affiliate links or receive products for review - any opinions we have are our own, and you can easily find the products we mention below with a quick internet search.

Folding Bicycles

The revellation that we could buy three folding bicycles and fit them all in the trunk of our Volkswagen Jetta made the decision easy for us, particularly as the cost of the bikes was equivalent to paying just for a bike rack and hitch to be installed. Carrying them in the trunk also meant we could travel for multiple days with the bikes secure in the back, without worrying them getting stolen from a bike rack. I often now routinely keep one in the trunk for convenience. Another advantage we found was that the bikes are easy to adjust to any size and age of rider (from the age of around ten). The main disadvantage is that these folding bikes with 20" wheels are slightly less comfortable than a full-size ride, but we're happy to live with that.

Zizzo Via Folding Bike

The US-based Zizzo Bikes company have a range of products and are known as a reliable source for budget bikes. Despite being one of the cheapest of the range, the Zizzo Via that we chose features fenders and hybrid tires as standard and we've found them to be great at handling unpaved trails and even more rugged terrain. Which is saying something considering I'm a 6'2" and 220 pound lump of a human and I've been riding a stock Zizzo for a few hundred miles now. We paid around $300 for each bike at sale prices (from Target and Bed Bath & Beyond).

Our Zizzo Via bikes on the Goffstown Rail Trail.

Lectric XP 2.0 Folding Electric Bike

We recently plumped for our first electric bike, the Lectric XP 2.0 foldable and at $1000 it's on the cheaper end of the electric bike scale. The 500 watt motor is mounted into the rear wheel, and the standard battery will give us around 30 miles of trail riding providing we're using it in pedal-assist mode. Weight is around 64lbs, which is on the top end if you plan on lifting this folding bike into the back of the car on a regular basis. I removed the cargo rack and fenders to strip off some weight.

Our one e-bike has been a big help for shared rides, where riders are usually most comfortable spinning at different speeds. The electric bike helps the slower party keep pace in comfort, and the group can cover more trail than we otherwise would.

Personally I'm not yet sold on the electric bike, mainly as it introduces a range anxiety constraint into my trip and I find myself watching the battery level as much as I'm looking at the trail scenery. Sure, the bike is still ridable when the battery is exhausted, but it's much harder to move with the extra weight and fat tires that comes with this being an electric bike. Other more expensive e-bikes may have a better balance of range, weight and unpowered rideability but I'm too much of a cheapskate to find out.

Our shiny new Lectric XP 2.0 on its inaugral outing. It's no longer this clean.

Biking Accessories

To round things out we thought we'd suggest some equipment useful to folk starting out on their biking journey. Here's a list, beginning with the most essential first. Note that we don't recommend a handlebar phone mount, as the vibrations from them have been known to damage smartphone cameras.

• Bike helmet
• Lights (from dusk 'til dawn)
• Pump, spare tube, repair kit, tire levers, Multi-tool
• Bell
• Water bottles & cages.
• FlatOut tire sealant & valve core removal tool
• Seat post bag
• Chain lube

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