BYOB: Bring Your Own Bike – exploring the open road on two wheels with Vanna Mae

Published on March 29th, 2022

With gas prices soaring and plans changing due to an unpredictable economy, a lot of us are thinking of creative ways to get around while traveling in our campers. Last year, I chose to use a small foldable electric bike as my second mode of transportation. It’s given me a way to get exercise daily, run errands and save on gas while exploring places with ease.

woman on an ebike in front of an RV

Finding the right bike for you

With so many bikes to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. It can also be tempting to just buy the most popular bike on the market. But the truth is, everyone’s needs for a bike will be different, and having an idea of what you are looking for is important vs buying what everyone else has. 

Taking my time during the research phase and making a list of “must-haves” helped narrow down my search and focus on what’s important to me. It helped me get exactly what I wanted and find the right accessories I needed for my bike. It was also important to me to find a bike that fit within my budget. 

Some questions I asked myself were: How will you be using your bike? Where will you store it? What can you realistically afford? What types of places are you looking to take your bike?

It’s important to be realistic about what you can handle. Bikes, especially e-bikes can be big and bulky and weigh a lot. Before buying, think about how much weight you can lift and where you will place your bike once you have it. 

When I was shopping for my bike, I knew I wanted to store it inside my RV. I measured the areas I wanted my e-bike to fit. That’s when I discovered foldable e-bikes that folded at the frame. That was a game-changer for me because it wouldn’t take up too much space and I could hide it away when I wasn’t using it. 

All that hard work helped me to find my perfect foldable e-bike that wasn’t popular or well known. But it was the perfect e-bike for me and the style of traveling I like to do. 

woman with her bike in front of a stream

Electric bikes make a difference

The e-bike I have is called a Fiido D2s. This small compact electric bike folds and fits perfectly in my 19ft Class C RV, it only weighs 40 lbs so it’s easy for me to lift. When traveling I store it in my bathroom and when I’m parked it fits perfectly in my front cab.

One of the reasons I went with this particular e-bike is that I can use it like a regular bike as well. This bike also has gears and does well in most terrains. From the rocky deserts in Quartzite to the smooth cracks and city streets of Vegas, I’ve been able to take my little e-bike in all different types of terrains with ease.

My small e-bike has the option for peddle assist and has a throttle. This e-bike only goes 15 mph, but I don’t see the need in going any faster. It’s easy to charge my e-bike off-grid with my portable 100w solar panel or my Jackery 1000w. My e-bike only uses 85w of power to charge. It’s become the best boondocking e-bike I can take with me wherever I go.

woman with her bike in front of an art mural

Staying safe while riding

Awareness of my surroundings is my way to stay safe while riding my bike or being in my RV. If my gut doesn’t feel right about a place, I trust my instincts and leave. I don’t second guess it. It’s good to have a healthy dose of intuition and to listen to it.

I always wear a helmet when riding and take my time getting to places. There’s no point in being in a rush and causing an unnecessary accident. When I reach my destination,  I always search for safe spots to lock my bike. For locking my bike, I invested in a foldy lock bike lock because it’s compact and tough to break. It folds up and fits perfectly on my seat pole. I make sure to lock my bike properly by locking the frame of the bike and not just the wheel. If I’m at a coffee shop or getting food, I make sure to park my bike where I can see it.

Having an e-bike complimented my RV life experience. Taking the time to explore places I can’t get to in my RV has made a difference in the quality of my nomadic lifestyle. I’ve saved a bit of money by not always using my RV to get around. It’s also good exercise and gives me a reason to get outside my RV and see the world. 

Do you also have a bike you take with you on the road? Have any questions, suggestions or thoughts on using a bike to get around while using a camper? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

woman with her bike in front of a coffee shop

About the author: Vanna Mae is a visual artist and influencer, traveling around the country in her 19ft Class C RV with her cat Indigo. Keep up with their adventures on Instagram @vannamaeart and on YouTube.

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