Bicycles come in all shapes and sizes these days, from fold-up bikes to full size bikes, all with any number of gears that you want, if you even want gears. They come in two-wheeled and three wheeled versions and sometimes even four-wheeled versions. They can be pedal bikes, or have gasoline engine or electric motor auxiliary power, and either part time (as a boost) or full-time, so you can just sit back and ride! But when you can find a company that specializes in both bicycling AND camping, you’ve got a match made in heaven!
For our minivan conversion you could use almost any kind, depending on how you want to carry it, and how you want to use it. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any that have both folding capability AND power assist, but other than that, almost any combination is possible. If you want to carry the bikes concealed and out of the weather, then folding bikes might be best. They would easily fit into a large storage pod, or you could even carry them inside the van if they didn’t get in the way. A regular bike, though, would be best carried on a bicycle carrier mounted to the rear receiver hitch.
Also, bikes that have power assist (either gas or electric) will usually be full size bikes, and are slightly heavier than their pedaled counterparts. Some electric bicycles look like most common bicycles, while others actually look like small scooters or mopeds. No matter what kind of bike product you are looking for, you want a supplier with a huge selection, and excellent customer service. The UrbanScooters.com Home Page is a good starting point for your search. Besides scooters, they also have a great selection of electric and gas bikes and accessories.
For weather protection, there are covers available to go over a set of bikes when mounted to a storage rack. Also, for security, it’s always a good idea to use good heavy vinyl coated cable locks to lock the bicycle to the carrier, as well as to run a cable through both wheels and the frame of the bike. We have heard instances of people steeling the wheels off some bikes, even when they couldn’t get the frame. I guess they sell them on eBay or something… I don’t know.
No matter where you go, you should always carry your cables and locks with you, so that if you stop to go in anywhere, you can lock your bike AND wheels, so that no one can ride away with them.
As with anything mechanical, things go wrong, whether it be normal wear and tear, or whether the mountain was tougher then the equipment. So no matter what bicycle you choose, you want to make sure that you can get parts for it when you need them. For that you need a supplier that is backed by a larger company, and has the best stock of parts that you can find, and whose customer service is top rate. After all, you don’t want to get delayed in your own travels because someone is out on their own vacation! So do your research and choose wisely.
And as a final note, always wear proper safety gear. Head injuries are one of the most serious accidents when riding bikes. Even knee and elbow pads are a good idea, just in case you take a tumble.