I saw today that Garmin has announced a new sports watch, the Garmin Forerunner 920XT. At first I was very excited to see a shiny new Garmin Forerunner product. I’ve been expecting and anticipating some big advances in display resolution, connectivity and features in Garmin products for a while now.
My reasoning behind this is that other areas of mobile device tech are rapidly evolving and to remain competitive (or at least, interesting) Garmin would have to pull its sleeves up and make something more than a box with a GPS unit inside. Technically they have – they’ve made a box that works with the Russian GLONASS system too. But I’m my opinion it’s an underwhelming product to release in late 2014.
It’s finally time for my Alpkit Fuel Pod review. I’ve been using the Alpkit Fuel Pod for the last month where it’s been invaluable on several long rides and some light touring. It’s not the first top bar mounted frame bag that I’ve used, I previously carried my essentials in a Topeak Fuel Tank, but Alpkit’s Fuel Pod it might just be the best.
Alpkit Fuel Pod Review
Coming from an ultralight cycling perspective the Alpkit Fuel Pod is a promising product. The materials are strong and light, the total weight for size medium, including straps, is a mere 80 grams.
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.
Transporting bicycles around the globe on trains, boats and planes is at best a chore and at worst an expensive and stressful endeavour likely to decrease your life expectancy. But, it’s a necessary evil for many cycle tourists and you only have to try it once to realise that not everyone is as thrilled with your cycling plans as you are. Here’s what you need to know to have a smooth journey when transporting a bicycle.
Transporting Bicycles on Ferries
The simplest and most hassle free method of transporting bicycles, especially when heavily laden with panniers and touring gear, is to use a ferry.
Ferries, in some form or another are found nearly everywhere and any ferry that takes cars and even those that don’t, in my experience, will also take bicycles and typically there is no weight or size restriction. On large commercial ferries that go from country to country you ride on with the cars, tie the bike up at the side of the car deck with some kind of rope (usually provided, but often some extra bungee straps are useful). During the voyage the lower decks are closed so take what luggage you need with you up to your seat, cabin, etc. Once the journey is complete you go back down to the vehicle levels, find your bicycle and roll off the other side, just like a car. No hassle, no fuss, perhaps a slight extra cost for taking a bike, but usually far less than the price the charge for cars. Continue reading Transporting Bicycles On Ferries, Boats and Trains→
A soothing alarm gently forces me out of my dream and triggers an automatic reflex as my arm glides out from beneath the sheets to hit the ‘off’ button. By now I’m so programmed by routine that I spring into action like clockwork and pull on my cycling clothes. My brain won’t fully engage until I’ve eaten something and the portion that’s controlling me now only has one simple objective; find the kitchen and consume honey and peanut butter on toast. Though full of people, the house is deadly silent, my family are sleeping and my neighbours won’t be awake until after I’m gone – these next few minutes are mine alone. I can’t hang around, I must move quickly, efficiently and quietly. I have a cold dark ride ahead and I don’t want to be disturbed. This is my favorite time of the day.
My bike sits waiting for me in the garage, she’s ready to go, I can almost feel it. I can see the thin coating of frost on the garage door and I know when I grab the bike’s frame its painted aluminium surface will suck the warmth from my hands making me hurry. The next ten minutes pass by unnoticed as I go through the motions of a predictable and safe routine. But as I glance at the clock I see that time is running out. My body as well as my mind knows what comes next and I feel excitement growing.
I can imagine myself cycling and envisage every turn, hill and camber in the imminent ride. As I boil the kettle my mind wanders forwards, I see myself climbing up the hill out of my village, lit by dim orange street lamps. My heart is fooled by the daydream and responds, it beats faster in my chest and I feel restless. I wolf down the last round of toast, finish off my tea and head for the door. Continue reading How My Work Commute Kept Me Sane→
Ultralight Cycle Touring and Fully Loaded Bicycle Travel