I always leave the car at the Millbrook car park and on the way back I took the scenic route back along the river. Crossing over the bridge by the lock I spotted a guy sitting with two inflatable canoes on the river bank. I've been toying with the idea of getting one so I stopped and had a long chat about the pros and cons of having one of these instead of a rigid one.
The big advantage is the space saved. I was told that this particular model was no bigger than a large suitcase when packed, so no roof rack is needed as they will fit in the boot of a car. Inflation takes about twenty minutes and this is down to the order in which the canoe needs to be blown up. Floor partial inflated, then the sides, more air in the sides, etc. An important point made was that as the canoe skin is material it needs to be fully dry before packing away. This will undoubtedly mean that if you've had to pack it back into the boot of the car you'll need to re-inflate it back at home.
In use the canoeist reckoned that he needed to paddle 20% harder with these than he would with a rigid one. And that's a lot more work.
I was glad I had a chat with him as it gave me answers to a number of questions about inflatable canoes. Personally I like the idea of a Canadian style canoe rather than a kayak as it's more the romantic image of paddling to my mind.