A guide for hitchbiking

This is going to be my first try to give a more or less coherent picture of #hitchhiking with a folding bike.

I am sure that there are thousands (probably millions) of people who have been thinking about taking a folding bike on their hitchhiking adventures. But never did. Because, like me, they didn't find a lot of inspiring information or experiences shared online (there is a bit of information on hitchwiki). Little information makes it difficult to estimate how much fun #hitchbiking is. This short video might give you a nice first idea: https://peertube.mastodon.host/videos/watch/8c8f03f1-d5a4-4005-ada8-ebc896136d38 (Spoiler: it is a lot of fun!) So being in a comfortable situation (money, time, other privileges) I gave hitchbiking a go and went on a two and a half months trip (mostly around Italy). Now, 4 months later (of course I procrastinated publishing this post), I want to give a first overview of what I think is useful to know and consider while taking a folding (touring) bike on your journeys or your day-to-day hitchhiking trips.

This guide-like post focuses more on (nomadic) bike touring with a folding bike. The kind of trips where you take 'all you need'. For shorter distances and smaller trips some of the things mentioned here can be neglected.

I will start with some pros and cons of taking a folding bike vs. hitchhiking without a bike.


(a lot of this can be found on and was taken from hitchwiki and many points are obvious – others maybe not):


What to consider when choosing a bike:

As a reference: this is the bike I chose for my first trip: https://dahon.com/bikes/speed-tr/ – I was very happy with the performance.

Cycling to service stations:

Most of the times it is especially difficult to start hitching out of bigger cities. Service stations are rarely in walking distance. So often, while hitchhiking, you have to take public transport AND walk for a while to find a good spot. With the bike you can look for a service station directly on the highway (you are looking on a map and no, you are not cycling on the highway – people actually ask me that question) and cycle there. Service stations are often protected by fences, especially if the drivers have to pay fees for the highway. Or general for animals not entering the highway. But there is usually an entrance for pedestrians (for the people working there). For now I can only speak for Italy (and Slovenia) – in most cases there was a revolving door which is passable (you have to fold the bike). In other cases there was just a door. Unlocked or locked. Worst case, if it is locked, you basically have three options:

  1. Wait for somebody to enter or exit to open the door. Officially it is forbidden to enter so some people might want to stick to the rules and not let you pass, but if you are nice (or insisting, maybe both) it shouldn't be a problem to convince them to let you pass or at least not call the cops if you do.
  2. If doable you can climb the fence. You have to find a way to carry your bike over the fence. Worked once for me. But it depends a lot on the setting. (risk of being seen, climbability of the fence, your physical condition, whether you can be bothered to do it)
  3. Leave and find another spot to hitchhike (another service station or a highway entrance – the one just before the service station makes a lot of sense).

If people ask (and they do) how you entered the service station it might be wise to initially tell them some previous driver dropped you off. You don't need people working there to know that you entered illegally.

Getting into the car:

This is something that gets easier over time. The first few times it feels quite cumbersome. Mostly because you are not used to lifting the bike, while avoiding to get your hand or your clothes greasy. Also lifting it with the cover around it makes it a bit more difficult. After a while I only proposed to put a cover, as most people don't care very much (unless it is really dirty/wet.) I usually prefer to put the bike on the back seat. It also fits in most trunks, but the back seat is easier and more convenient. You can shift it a bit and it leans nicely and doesn't move around. If you want to be extra careful you could also try to fasten it with the seat belt.

I personally get a bit into a rush when entering a car. Because I don't want to take too long to not disturb the person taking me and also the traffic which might be blocked. Of course with a bike it takes even longer. So often I have to remind myself to just chill. There is no need to rush. The traffic can be disturbed some seconds longer and also the person who is willing to take me usually doesn't mind waiting ten seconds longer. Also rushing might make you lift the bike in way your spine will not appreciate. Folded up, the bike is not as comfortable to carry/lift as when unfolded.

Okay for the beginning this is as good as it gets. And this is a first version. If I come up with some other stuff I consider worth mentioning (and I assume I will) I will edit the info here. Or write a new post.

Ah and if you want to get an idea which distances I cycled and which I hitchhiked (alone or with another person) you can have a look at this map (you can uncheck some boxes to disable the colors): https://umap.openstreetmap.fr/en/map/hitchbiking-map_179033#5/45.321/5.823

I hope I did spark some excitement.

(For more updates about hitchbiking you can follow me on social media if you search for hitchbikerevolution.)