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Travelling By Bicycle

The most enivronmentally friendly way to travel? Blog's where cycling is the focus - and some of the most adventurous travellers on the site!
13 years ago, October 4th 2006 No: 1 Msg: #7744  
B Posts: 5,187
We have a number of bicycling bloggers here on travel blog. Here are the big trips being documented here that I know of...

Pedallingpete - cycling around India right now.
Bikepacker - massive 2001 adventure.
pushonnorth - Argentina to Alaska!
Banchory to the Bosphorous by Bike - where are you guys at the moment?
FriendlyBiker - One of the very first travelblog.orggers! (eughh nasty) the 39th member! - twists and turns both on and off the road.

There are bound to be more - what are your favourites?

Anyone tempted to try travelling by bicycle? If so why?

Any cycle veterans care to offer any advice on planning a trip of this nature?

Additional Cycle Blogs - as suggested below:
Stayloose L2M2006 Clare and Vernon Double Leo
Reply to this

13 years ago, October 5th 2006 No: 2 Msg: #7750  
Thanks for the post Ali. Yes, undoubtedly the most environmental way to travel, and don't forget, the ulimately best way to meet people. A westerner on a bike always brings a smile to the locals!

ANDY Reply to this

13 years ago, October 6th 2006 No: 3 Msg: #7784  
Stayloose - brilliant.

I'm serioiusly thinking about doing a big bike trip in the next couple of years, having been reading a good few of the blogs on this site. It really does seem like the best, most rewarding way to travel - you really don't miss a thing.

I was just wondering though, it would be really useful if one of the cyclists, if they have the time, to do a post about preparation for trips, and life on the road. I'm not really sure where to start.

Reply to this

13 years ago, October 6th 2006 No: 4 Msg: #7785  
B Posts: 25
Erika and Robbin (Banchory to the Bosphorous by Bike) are in Lahore (Pakistan), I met them accidentaly there.

V Reply to this

13 years ago, October 8th 2006 No: 5 Msg: #7809  
Hello, we were cycling round the world, but have had to put a pause into proceedings because of medical problems, we'll be setting off again to do the other half of the ride once its all been sorted.

C + V Reply to this

13 years ago, October 19th 2006 No: 6 Msg: #8041  
Hi all! We are bicycling from San Diego to the Florida keys. We have had a great time so far meeting many nice people. Check out our blog! Reply to this

13 years ago, October 27th 2006 No: 7 Msg: #8174  
Hello and thanks very much for the post Ali.

Am currently cycling from Argentina to Alaska. 9 months into my trip in Ecuador just crossed the Equator a couple of days ago. I post a blog on travelblog approximately once a month.

Following up on Conor´s post above thought I would put down a few of my bike-specific ideas down about (1) preparation and (2) life on the road for a long distance trips. It is not meant to be an exhaustive or definitive list.

Preparation-What kind of bike to ride?

I am riding an old mountain bike with a steel frame (English make Orange P7). No front or back suspension. My basic philosophy is the simpler the better. Fewer things to go wrong and easier to fix if they do.

1. Frame

Steel frame is important in case you need to get it welded (I had to get my frame welded twice in Chile).

2. Gears and components

Get good Shimano components fitted (gears, chain, wheel hubs etc).

3. Wheels

Get some strong wheels fitted (sorry can´t remember what mine are called but so far, touch wood, they have been brilliant Dan and Greg will be able to tell you if you get in touch with them see below). Make sure the hole for yor tyre valve is wide enough so that both types of inner tube (Presta and Schraeder) will fit through.
I think 26 inch wheels rather than 28 inch wheels are probably easier to get fixed, buy spokes for and new tyres etc.

4. Tyres

Schwalb Marathon tyres are the ones that a lot of cycle tourists use and are probably the best (met a German bloke a couple of weeks ago who has them and has gone 19,000 km without a puncture). At the moment I have a Specialised Flakjacket tyre on my back wheel and it is pretty good.

5. Saddle

I have gone through 5 so far. At the moment I have a Brooks saddle (without springs) and am really happy with it. Very comfortable after it has been broken in.

6. Pedals

Like most long distance riders I have met, I am riding with waterproof hiking boots (Asolo), flat pedas and straps. Clip in shoes and pedals I think are too complicated plus you have to carry hiking boots if you have them. Would also recommend a pair of sandals that you can slip on easily in case you have to cross a stream.

7. Clothes

Not carrying much. 2 pairs of pants. 2 pairs of socks. 3 pairs of cycling shorts. 3 tops for cycling in. Have waterproof trousers and good waterproof jacket, a windbreaker top 1 pair of long johns and a feather down body warmer.

8. Prescription sunglasses

Are a good idea if you wear glasses. If you are camping contact lenses can be a hassle and you also get sand in your eyes when you are riding in dusty places.

9. Dogs

Are a pain if you are on a bike. They have a chase reflex instinct. This is another way of saying that they are really really really stupid. I now have a DogDazer. Small machine that emits an ultrasonic blast which dogs hate (but is painless). Would recommend getting one. (Rabies jabs only give you extra time to get to the hospital for more jabs.)

10. Water

Get a decent water filiter if you are going somewhere remote. One I have got at the moment isn´t much good as filter has to be replaced after 100 litres (so I have tablets and liquid as well too). You can get much better ones.

11. Helmet

Wear a helmet at all times. On a previous cycling holiday I fell off and now have a big scar on my forehead. I was wearing a helmet at the time, it smashed and it would have been much much worse without it.

12. Trailer or Paniers?

Am Using a Bob Ibex trailer (i.e with suspension) to carry all my gear in. I love my Bob trailer and often spend my nights staring fondly at it. I would recommend them to anyone. But if you decide to go with the more traditional panniers get Ortleib bags and Tubus pannier racks. Again I wouldn´t recommend aluminium panniers. Generally the less stuff you take the easier and more fun the riding is. If there are two of you share a tent and cooking stove.

13. Misc

Pretzl headlamps are useful and so is my Leatherman Wave knife. Also have an iPod (with Spanish lessons on it)

14. www.justgiving.com

If you are going to do a ride why not do it for charity and set up a page on the www.justgiving.com site (I am riding for Medecins Sans Frontieres)? I also have a letter from MSF in Spanish and English to explain to people what I am doing and also thought it might be useful in case in contact with officials, police etc.

15. local bike shop

Find a bike shop near to your home and tell them what you are going to do. Dan and Greg at Moose Cycles in Colliers Wood, London (www.moosecycles.com) gave me a lot of help and were really friendly. I don´t think you need to be a good bike mechanic. I have been able to find mechanics everywhere I have been so far. I am not a good bike mechanic. So long as you try and keep your bike clean , especially the chain and do basic stuff like fix punctures and mend a broken chain you should be ok.

16. www.redspokes.co.uk

Before I went on this trip I went to Peru for a three week biking holiday with a company called Redspokes (www.redspokes.co.uk). Run by a very funny if mad bloke called Dermot. I had a really good time. You don´t carry your stuff, that is put in a support vehicle. If you are not sure if cycle touring is your thing you could try something like this first before going off on a big trip.

17. Brakes

Am using conventional V brakes. Disc brakes too complicated for long distance touring.
Life on the road

1. Riding with other people or on your own is a matter of personal preference. I have met loads of other bikers and people often meet on the road and ride together which can be great fun. In northern Argentina there were about 12 riders in the same hostel (Terra Occulta 361 Cordoba, brilliant really friendly people). Generally I think though I prefer to ride on my own and do my own thing. If you can´t find someone to ride with you should still give it a go. Riding is better than not riding.

2. I don´t carry guide books not much use if you going to be going through lots of small villages and for bigger places it is pretty easy to find somewhere to stay and work out what is going on. I do carry books, novels etc. otherwise I would go mad.

3. Smaller quieter unpaved roads are almost always much more fun to ride than busy paved roads. It takes much longer on an unpaved road though and is harder going but the scenery is better.

Hope the above is what you had in mind Conor

All the best. If you are thinking about doing it do it.

Push on

Pushonnorth aka Tim Malloch

(www.pushonnorth.com) Reply to this

12 years ago, April 5th 2007 No: 8 Msg: #12525  
Hi Ali and Travelblog.

Just a big THANK YOU for allowing me to publish my "2001 a Bike Odyssey" Memorablog on your site. I know Travelblog was set up to allow NOW travellers to contribute and appreciate that you have a soft-spot for non-invasive travelling - the bicycle. I have been amazed at the amount of intrest my blog caused over the last 10 months and the flood of PMs and comments in my inbox. One thing I do hope is that I've inspired at least one more traveller to try our the joys of bikepacking and to reduce the carbon-footprints most of us leave on this wonderful Earth.

Andy the Bikepacker Reply to this

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