Category Archives: Hardware

Building a Touring Bike – Which Bike For Cycle Touring?

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 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!

Let’s begin building a touring bike! Continue reading Building a Touring Bike – Which Bike For Cycle Touring?

Reduce Cycle Touring Weight – 5 Simple Tips

Five tips to reduce cycle touring weight. Cycling ultralight is an exhilarating experience but even fully loaded tourers can benefit from reducing cycle touring weight by a few kg. Here are my top 5 tips to get you started.

5 Quick Ways To Reduce Cycle Touring Weight

1 | Chief Weight Offenders: Sleeping Bag

When writing my book, the Ultralight Cycle Touring Guide, I made an infographic showing the weight distribution of my equipment. Chief amongst the weight offenders was my sleeping bag. Though down insulated, which has a good warmth for weight rating, my sleeping bag is quite heavy. If your sleeping bag weighs over 800g and you’re camping in normal spring/summer conditions then you may benefit from swapping it for a lighter model. It will reduce cycle touring weight significantly. Yeti, Lightwave and Rab all make great lightweight sleeping bags and there are many more brands with fantastic products. If you’re in the UK Go Outdoors is worth a look. Continue reading Reduce Cycle Touring Weight – 5 Simple Tips

Bicycle Butted Tubing Explained

Here’s a quick 60 second guide to bicycle butted tubing.

Excluding carbon bikes the weakest point on any bicycle frame is where the various bits of tubing are joined, either by lugs or TIG/MIG welding. The thicker the tubing is at the point of the weld or lug, the stronger the frame will be. But if the tubing was of the same thickness across it’s length it would be too heavy.

The solution is butted tubing which decreases the thickness or gauge of the tubing in the center whilst retaining it’s thickness at the ends, where the lugs or welds are.

Bicycle Butted Tubing

bicycle butted tubing explained - diagram
Straight gauge and single, double and triple butted tubing diagram.

The process of butting is expensive but enables a frame to be strong and light. It’s made stronger by having a large welding face at the ends. But, it’s also made lighter by having a slim gauge in the middle where the extra strength is not required.

There you have it. Bicycle butted tubing is a great bicycle technology! For more information check out this page by Reynolds.

Cycle Touring Kit List and Checklist

**Click Here to download the below spreadsheets as an .xlsx file.**

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.

Continue reading Cycle Touring Kit List and Checklist

Using a Garmin Forerunner 310xt for Mapping and Navigating 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

The Infinity Pedal KickStarter Campaign

I’ve been watching the Infinity pedal on KickStarter for a while. I think that Sam Hunter’s pedal and cleat concept has great potential due to its simple and lightweight design. Mechanically it works in a very different way to current common cleat systems.

As the cleat slides over the pedal it compresses it, making it shorter and holding it between two small protrusions on the cleat. A photo might help to explain:

Infinity Pedal
Infinity Pedal and cleat mechanism

Until recently the KickStarter campaign has focussed on the design and production of the mountain bike cleat, but it now looks like an accompanying road version will be released. This means that both road and mountain bike shoes (and cleats) will work with the same bike pedal.

The combination of road shoes and the infinity pedal with cleat will be one of the lightest cycle shoe binding mechanisms available. Continue reading The Infinity Pedal KickStarter Campaign