Small bicycle I can pack inside van for emergency breakdown transport?

When I'm far from help, I like to have my mountain bike packed inside my camper van to use as emergency transport should I get stuck somewhere. Unfortunately, it still takes up a lot of space, even with the handlebars rotated, seat & wheels removed, etc. Here is my full-suspension mountain bike packed in my van, behind the rear seat. The photo doesn't show the wheels, which are mounted against the wall on the right.

I'm looking for something smaller, that I could still ride 30+ miles on dirt track. Packing the bike inside my vehicle is a requirement.

I'm thinking of maybe a cheap BMX bike. Any other ideas?

-- Geoff


Expedition Leader
Keeping a gas powered bike inside a van would make it smell...

There are lots of lightly used folding bikes around - check out craigslist - seem to be more common in coastal areas due to people getting them for boats, rvs etc. "Dahon" is a common, ok brand. "Bike Friday" is much nicer of a bike to actually ride, along with "Bickerton". All depends on how much you are willing to spend and the terrain involved - i.e. dirt versus road tires, how many gears etc. There is a folding frame mountain bike also - called a "Montague" :
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Yeah, as much as I'd love a powered backup, gasoline inside the vehicle won't cut it. Electric would be cool maybe, but if I'm honest with myself I know I need something basic and foolproof.

I also know I don't want something with full-sized wheels, like that folding mountain bike.

The Strida certainly is intriguing. I've looked a various folding bicycles, and I don't really like the big "cube" they fold into. But the Strida folds into a leaner linear shape, especially if I remove its seat and bike rack. I know it's a city bike, but I suspect it'd do just fine on most dirt roads.

Or maybe not. It has only a single gear, and people say your groin slides into the pole on heavy braking. And those tiny wheels would sink into anything that's not dry packed dirt. I'd love to test drive one.

-- Geoff
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I have a small city bike. Yes the wheels are small, but it has 3 sturmey archer gears internally in the rear hub, is light and packs away in a bag. Any bike is better than walking. I combine a walk and a ride alternating whatever fits the terrain and my aching muscles.
Check out Bike Friday

My only choice for a folding bike is Bike Friday. This is a folding bike that can be ridden most anywhere. These are not the choice bike if you are looking for something you can take on a train, unfold the bike and ride off. They are very good folding bikes that ride and hold up as well as any standard diamond frame bike. I have a friend that has been riding a Bike Friday for many years.


Expedition Leader
Bike Friday: Jeezus H! Before I spent that kind of money on a bike I'd put that money in an account, and a Bat Signal on my roof. I doubt even he charges that much for a roadside rescue.

I was thinking more as an activity once set up in camp. You are right, a Bike Friday is too much of a bike just to use as an emergency back up transportation. Quite often I will go somewhere and camp and then ride in the area for a few days. That is where a Bike Friday shines. I have seen many of these bikes riding some very long touring rides.