Some of the more interesting experiences I've had were results of plans that changed unexpectedly. Something like that seems to be happening again.
I had expected to teach a short course for July and part of August. However, that course has been cancelled. C'est la vie. Also, the plans of a friend I was going to visit in Paris changed. I could have gone there anyway and spent my time walking or cycling the streets and lingering in the museums (especially the Rodin, Picasso and d'Orsay) and galleries. But, as I've lived in the City of Light and returned several times, I would have preferred to have done those things with my friend.
So, deciding I wanted some adventure in the time I had off this summer, I booked a trip to Prague.
Now I am trying to make a decision. You might have already guessed what it is. Should I:
- bring one of my bikes with me,
- rent a bike
- buy a bike there (I even thought about buying a cheap one and selling it or giving it away when I leave), or
- buy a cheap bike, bring it with me and leave it there?
I returned from my last European bike tour--in the Alps--a few weeks before 9/11. That was also the last time I brought a bike on a flight. Things were relatively simple then, at least on international flights. Passengers were allowed two checked pieces of luggage, with a maximum weight of 44 kilograms (70 pounds.) A bicycle in a box or carrier was counted as one of those pieces of luggage. Air France and KLM, in particular, were accommodating to cyclists (Are you surprised?) but I never had trouble on other carriers I used, including Air India, Tower Air (remember them?) or Laker Skytrain (R.I.P.)
Lately, though, I've heard some horror stories from people who brought their bikes on flights. They don't include what airlines charge for doing so. It seems that policies regarding such things are made in situ by whoever happens to be on duty.
As I'm spending ten days in Prague, and don't plan to spend all day every day on a bike loaded with panniers and such, I'm not quite as fussy about what I'll ride. I want it to more or less fit, of course, and to be at least reasonably satisfying (to me, anyway) to ride.
This is one time having a Brompton might have been handy. I thought about buying one a while back. But Hal, who set up my Mercians said that while he is satisfied with the quality of the bikes (Bicycle Habitat, in which he works, sells them.), he doesn't like the fact that they have proprietary parts that are necessitated by some of the nonstandard dimensions of the bike. Also, while some Brompton riders have told me they like their rides, what they and others have told me indicates that the bikes still have some of the qualities I disliked (some of which have to do with the ride) in folding bikes I've owned and ridden.
I guess I could stretch (and hopefully not blow) my budget and buy a Brompton. Or I could buy some less expensive folding bike. Or I could do one of the things I listed earlier in this post. Or I could stop beginning sentences with "or." Seriously, if you have any suggestions, please let me know.
P.S. I had intended to post this last night. But I had trouble with my Internet connection. I guess that's the price one pays for being cheap: My Internet connection is free.