This post on buying or building a touring bike assumes no prior technical or mechanical knowledge of bikes. I’m writing it to help anyone that has ambitions to cycle tour but doesn’t know what touring bike to get or what extras they might need to buy.
The most common questions I get asked are about buying or building road touring bikes for around £500 (840 USD). For road touring bikes £500 is also the price point at which reliable, entry-level, bikes become available so that’s what I’m going to assume here.
If you’re considering your first tour then I’m especially honored that you’ve visited cyclefar.com. I’m sure that, armed with the right knowledge, you will love cycle touring and I expect you have some big adventures ahead of you!
Cycle tour planning and preparation is more is more like planning an expedition than a holiday. There is just so much more to consider when you’re constantly on the move with your bicycle. Here is list that will help you with your cycle tour planning. It will take you from dreaming about a cycle adventure to living it in 8 steps.
#1 Pick a Destination and Date
The first step in cycle tour planning is to decide where you would like to cycle tour. There are numerous considerations when choosing a route including:
How far is the destination?
How much will it cost?
Do you need to acquire visas?
Will the destination have the facilities you need for a cycle tour (good roads, campsites, B&B’s, healthcare, public transportation, food, etc)?
What’s the climate like for your dates?
Do you have the necessary equipment for the country and climate?
Most importantly you should choose a country you have a strong desire to see by bicycle. That will drive you to finalise your cycle tour planning and get going with living your adventure. For inspiration on locations you could take a look at My Top 5 Favorite Cycle Touring Countries or spend some time browsing Google Maps.
Here lies my top 5 favorite cycle touring countries. As a mere mortal I can’t claim to have cycled extensively in every country on Earth but I have done a few tens of thousands of miles in about 35 of them and, of course, I have my favorites.
The quality of the roads and amount of traffic weigh heavily on my subjective opinion. As does the food, climate and experiences with people. ‘Subjective’ and ‘favorite’ are the keywords here but I hope that if you’re looking for inspiration on locations one of these will spark your imagination.
#1 | Turkey
I had a rough start cycling in Turkey but except for those first 48 hours it was probably the most enjoyable travel experience I’ve ever had, it’s an amazing place to ride a bike.
I cycled through Turkey with Ellie, from Bodrum on the south west, to Istanbul. Bodrum didn’t win my heart but as soon as we got inland and headed north everything else in Turkey did. Just a few miles from the coast we began to climb up the first of three large ranges that lay between us and Istanbul, the roads were quiet, people stopped to chat to us and figs grew at the road sides in abundance. A nice touch is that Turkey has water taps and shade shelters dotted about at the sides of the roads, stumbling across one is a welcome oasis in the heat.
I was really impressed by the Turkish food. Commonly you can find lots of crisp salads, spicy meats and fresh yoghurt. Their olive oil, balsamic vinegar, bread and molasses are all world class. If you like food, people and rugged terrain then you’ll love Turkey. Continue reading My Top 5 Favorite Cycle Touring Countries→
I recently made a cycle touring kit list just as I make lists for everything else. It’s one of the many techniques I use to minimise making silly mistakes, forgetting things and managing priorities. If this sounds a little like you then perhaps you will like my cycle touring kit list too.
Here is my master cycle touring kit list, the one that informs all the other smaller kit lists I make. If I’m packing for a cycle trip this is the first thing I look at.
I never take everything, it’s more a selection that I can pick and choose from to make sure I don’t forget anything on a cycle tour.
The Garmin Forerunner 310xt is something of a gem for navigation. The sparsely detailed line drawings it creates provide you with the bare minimum of navigational information to get you from one point to another via a chosen route. I’m intentionally refraining from using the word ‘map’ when talking about the Garmin’s display as that’s too grand a word.
I know that introduction didn’t sound too favourable but bear with me, the Garmin 310xt is still an incredible GPS device. Admittedly the breadcrumb style line routes that it draws may only be adequate, but look at it another way and you’ll see that they’re just good enough! Couple this adequate display information with a 20 hour battery life and a waterproof chassis weighing only 72g and you have a really neat little sidekick for travelling. Continue reading Using a Garmin Forerunner 310xt for Mapping and Navigating a Cycle Tour→
Photo courtesy of Ellie who was kind enough to take a few snaps of me lying on my deathbed in Zadar, Croatia.
One of the most difficult things to deal with when traveling is sickness. Without the comforts of home there is no option to crawl under the sheets of your bed with a cup of tea and watch David Attenborough talk about insects and you can’t raid the kitchen for a can of Heinz tomato soup, the miracle remedy for all ills.
Food poisoning is fairly common within some travel destinations. It usually comes on fast, is very unpleasant and can last up to a week in severe cases. Some people are more susceptible to food poisoning than others. If you’re going to high risk countries like India, Morocco, or even the USA where they have deplorable food handling standards you might like to take some broad spectrum antibiotics. I’ve never used antibiotics, and I would resist using them up to a point, but if I was very sick from eating unhygienic food I’d certainly consider it as a one off. I’ve also seen them work very quickly on a friend with food poisoning.