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The Art of Bicycle Touring

A Guide to Preparing for Self-Supported Trips

Topic: Bicycle Touring  
Categories: Howto, Equipment lists


Copyright © 2010-2014 By Neil Gunton - (contact)

Status: Unfinished, not updated for 1579 days
Last update: Saturday June 26, 2010 21:22 (US/Pacific) (edited Sat 14 Jul 2012 16:25 (US/Pacific))
691,369 hits since June 14, 2010 (hitcounts updated nightly)
66 pics

Table of Contents

Introduction: What this is (and isn't) all about

Preliminaries: Common Concerns


      Shopping: How and Where
      Philosophy: Keep It Simple, Multi-use

      The Bike

            What to look for in a touring bike: A checklist
            Bike fit: There's more to it than standover clearance
            Frame materials: Steel, Aluminum, Titanium, Carbon fiber etc
            Types of Touring Bike: Horses for courses
            Touring Bike Builders: A list of the usual suspects
            Handlebars: Drops vs trekking, stems, mirrors and handlebar bags
            Saddle: Brooks vs the rest, and the Perfect Seatpost
            Racks: Front and rear, racks vs trailers etc
            Panniers: Trailers vs Panniers, Waterproof vs Pockets, etc
            Handlebar bag: Nice to have
            Brakes: Disk vs Rim, oh god not this again
            Wheels: Rims, spokes, hubs, what you need (and don't need)
            Tires: Tread, bead, width, puncture resistance, durability and all that
            Pedals: SPD, Time, platform, clips etc
            Fenders: Just get them, ok?
            Kickstand: Get one of these too
            Computer: Why you want one
            Water bottles: What type, and where to put them
            The rest of the components: What matters, what doesn't


            Maintenance: Tools, Repair, Cleaning, Spares
            Tents: Tunnel vs Freestanding, bivvies, hammocks etc
            Sleeping bags: Down vs Synthetic, liners, shape, weight etc
            Sleeping mats: Self inflating, closed foam, air mattress etc
            Stoves: Multi-fuel, alcohol, stoveless etc
            Cookware: Pots, Pans, Plates, Bowls, Spoons, Herbs etc
            Clothing (on-bike): Shoes, Socks, Jerseys, Shorts, Gloves, Helmet, Shades, Layering
            Clothing (off-bike): Pants, Tops, Jackets, Sandals, Shoes
            Health: First Aid, Medical, Vitamin Supplements, Sunblock
            Personal: Towels, Toiletries, Grooming, Shaving, Radio, Diary, Teddy Bear
            Digital: Camera, PDA, Journals, Computers, Solar chargers
            Packing: Keeping stuff dry, Ziplocs, Organization


            Research: Clubs, Books, Websites, Mailing Lists, Online Communities
            Companions: Finding the right tour buddy, Group vs Solo Touring
            Route: Maps, Guides, Self-Planned vs Organized Groups
            International: Issues with touring abroad, languages, local conventions, avoiding wars etc
            Training: Getting your body ready
            Shakedown: Test, test, test your equipment
            Packages: Sending stuff to yourself on the road

On the Road

      Transport: Getting to your start point - Planes, Trains and Automobiles (and Buses)
      Safety: Helmets, Riding defensively, Shoulders, Blind summits, Rumble strips, Potholes
      Sending Stuff Home: The First Rite of Passage for all bicycle tourists
      Pace: It's not a race!
      Attitude: Living in the moment, Talking to the locals, and other Zen stuff
      Eating: Food, food and more food
      Drinking: No, we're not talking about beer
      Accommodations: Free Camping, Campgrounds, Hiker Biker, Houses, Hostels, Motels, Hotels
      Expenses: What you'll spend money on: Food, Accomodations, Repairs
      Hot weather: Dealing with Heat, Humidity and Tornadoes
      Cold Weather: Dealing with windchill, snow and ice
      Wind: The Cyclist's Nemesis
      Bugs: Mosquitoes, Midges, and other Joys
      Hygiene: Toilets, Showers, Washing, Laundry
      Wildlife: Bears, Racoons, Chipmunks and other critters
      Dogs: Getting used to being seen either as a fun game, intruder, or lunch
      Photos: Recording the Moment vs Living the Moment
      Journal: Recording your experiences for posterity
      Communications: Updating Friends and Family via Phone, Email, Homing Pigeon


      Shimmy: The Dreaded Wobble
      Breakdowns: Flats, Broken Spokes and other disasters
      Accidents: First Aid, How to prepare (without going overboard)
      Fatigue: Taking time off from your vacation
      Changing Plans: It's Ok, Really
      Conflicts: When You Find Out You're Not Actually Soulmates
      Giving Up: Abandoning your tour prematurely

Winding Down

      Post tour blues: Back to "real" life


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"The Art of Bicycle Touring" Copyright © 2010-2014 By Neil Gunton - (contact). All rights reserved.
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