BICYCLE TOURING FOR BEGINNERS: An Essencial Check List

bicycle touring for begginers

So, You were planning this since you remember. You´ve read all the Bicycle Touring for Beginners (and Dummies) Books out there (and you looked even more bike touring covers books). You were thinking about this anytime you see a cyclist on the road full of gears. You see the tent and how cool it looks, and how freedom he/she must be feeling right now. But You are kind of afraid because it´s a whole new world out there. So, where should I start to look at.

Here, I will try to help you to Check 5 Essential Points for Bicycle Touring.

First, Where the Heck are You Gonna Go To

I bet you already have an idea, right? Or maybe you are just thinking, “I don´t really care so much, as long as I have mountains in front of me”. Well, that´s me. You may want beaches all the way, or the dessert, or even ice all around you! I know some crazy and brave cyclists that went on a ride to Antarctica!

Anyway, either you choose it long time ago or just picked a place with eyes close on a map, you should start to define some points:

Is the starting point the same as the finish line? This will really simplify the organization of your trip. So that You could let bags, boxes or even containers you may had used for getting there at the starting point.

Extra Help?

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Knowing your trip beforehand will allow you to check the slopes and to consider before how much fast (or slow) you will be riding. For a rough calculation you could set 4 miles/hour to 9 miles/hour uphill and 11 miles/hour to 17 miles/hour downhill (ohooo!!)

Check the weather for the day and place you will be. Specially rain seasons and melt seasons. A good tip is that, early in the morning, thaw rivers have less flow, but this won´t avoid that you will get wet when you need to cross that river!

Other tips is to check the direction of the predominant winds (trust me, I know!) that could really be a big problem if it´s strong. We should even reconsider to do the trip to the other direction we thought originally.

We must verify the schedule of our transportation to get to our starting point. This could sound not a big deal, but arriving too late, or too early could add extra issues to, for example, put up the tent.

To know how many hours of sun light you´ll have check the sunset and sunrise time. This will help you to plan how much distance you will be able to make per day.

Define how many “check points” with water and food for supplying you can get per stage. You may need to divide stages if you believe that you won´t have enough water or food. Remember: 3 liters (0.89 gallon) it´s a very good number to take in account.

Bike Equipment: 4 Must-Haves

First of all. Are you riding alone or with a partner/team? This is really crucial because you can share the load and the equipment (you don´t need 3 tents if you are 3, right? Maybe yes, but I assume that these ones are good and trusty fellows :D)

Bicycle touring for begginers

If you travel solo, you should need to keep more space for the whole equipment.

Stove: There is 2 types of stoves (with all their own world of alternative). First, you have the one that uses a Butane/IsoButane/Propane Fuel Cartridge (“Liquid Gas” for the rest of the mortals). Advantages are that the actual stove it tends to be less expensive, but the cartridge is more expensive. And you will be generating more residuals with this empty cartridges. By the way, they do not work too well at high locations.

The other type of stove uses liquid fuel. Could be alcohol, gasoline, etc. They are more expensive but the actual fuel it´s cheaper. And you can get it in most of the places you´ll (“oh…the places you´ll go :D)

Pot Sets: This is really a great choice since they are light and do not take too much space when you put them one into the other. An option is just pick up a small pot max capacity 1.5 to 2 liters. Don´t forget to add the fork, a knife and a spoon!

Tent: Should be light for carrying it and have a good “habitability”. Personally I prefer the igloo-type tents. They have more space and you can set them up really quick. Do not forget to check win resistance and water resistance! I remember when I realized that my tent was not rain-proof…once started to rain inside…oh mama.

Sleeping Bag. First and most important tip: Never get cold! If you are traveling in summer you may be fine (although take in account the places you will be camping: even in summer, nights can be really cold!).

Remember: You CANNOT sleep when you are cold.

Check for different stuffing: feathers and synthetics. The sleep bags stuffed with feathers are more expensive but smaller. Synthetics tends to be cheaper but they are more voluminous. Try to put a foam or aluminum mat under your bag in order to isolate a bit the cold of the floor.

Clothing for Your Trip

Personally I prefer using cyclist clothes (Jersey sets, shorts, long sleeve pants, depending on the weather) since I think is more comfortable. For the rest of your clothing, you know what they say “treat your self like an onion” (well I am not really sure if people give that kind of advice, but you get the idea). Wear clothes in layers. You start with a thermal shirt, softshell vest, a micro polar o polar jacket and finally a windshield jacket.

The advantage of this “stacking” is that you can combine them based on the temperature. Of course, try no to put the windshield jacket before the shirt 😀

And this is really personal, I love using cargo pants above the thermal pants. I feel like I am in a real adventure. And I love the extra pockets of course

Having you Bicycle in good conditions

I would not recommend doing a trip with a bicycle with just one single Speed. 18 and above is ideal. Remember that you will be conquering the top of the mountain! Well, maybe not so extreme, but you will be going up hill and down hill most of the time. And it´s not only for up hill, it´s really nice when you are going dowhill, and you can speed the bike up!

To be honest, I never had any problem when I had the bike in conditions. On the other hand, I faced some issues when I did not. So, get you partner to the workshop! Also consider learning a bit about bike repairing too ;). More than the basic of repairing a flat tire.

OK, but how do I carry all this bike gears?

This is my advice to you. A good 50 liters panniers for back seat and a 36 liters bag to set it on the panniers will be good enough and will allow you to ride comfortable. Consider adding a 6 liters front bag.bicyle touring for beginners

For a nice distribution, you can use this as a guide.

  • Panniers: All you need mostly for you. Clothes, sleep bag
  • Back Bag: tent, isolation matt and more equipment
  • Bag at the Front: First, food! 😀 Something you could be picking while you drive. Nuts, Cereals, a Fruit (maybe for the next post!), a windshield, flashlight and Sun Cream

I hope you like this post, and I want to wish you a great first (or not) bike touring trip!

Regards

Jason

Bicycle Tail Lights – Safety First

It is always surprising how bicycle riders are sometime unaware of how little are seen by cars drivers at night. Recognizing an object when the Sun is out, takes more time, and the driver has to be closer to see it.

bicycle tail lights

So when somebody drives a car in the middle of the night, the bikes suddenly appear in front of them and it can end up in a crash accident, that can be fatal. And We know who is the most likely victim. On your bike you are the most fragile part of this equation. A friend of my used to say. “You are the only soft part here”. Clever Guy. So, how is the easiest, cheapest, and fastest way to minimize this? Star with a loyal friend: Bicycle Tail Lights

You have to see your self like a pedestrian. We tent to feel like we are another vehicle in the same situation, same rules, same right. We should, I really believe this

But in the are, We are not. Specially if you do not live in those bicycle-friendly cities out there in the world.

We have to take care of our selves

Saving your Life could be as Simple as This

Knowing that this is not the only thing you should do, it´s a really importan part of all this: Being Seen!

We are not talking here about wear bicycle gears here, plasma auras (even there is some cool bicycle plasma tail lights!) force shields, o even hiring Captain America (maybe also his clone, just to have both side of the bicycle covered) to protect our bikes and us from the cars at night. It´s a bit simpler, its just a light. Even a small led light can make the whole different, even though I personally recommend a minimum of 3 lights, and even better if they are leds lights. Also, try to have those that have flashing lights, because it´ll say to car drivers: “Hey, this is not a normal car light. Could be something else so pay attention, be careful”

It´s Cool, Come on!

Being Flashing in the middle of the night like a cool U.F.O. some advantages. Today´s Bicycle tail lights “dress up” your friend for adventures in many different ways, with many different colors, giving it some kind of great glow. (nice glow man!). We can almost feel like one of the actors from The Fast and the Furious movie!

bicycle tail lights

Well I am not completely sure about that but you get the point. There are even some tail lights with lasers, come on! It´s that cool or not?

Treat your Bicycle like a Car

Would you go out with your car if lights are now working properly? With not light at all? Probably not because it is a potential accident. If we also think that We have no chance, no defense or we´re just simply “the defense”, We would NEVER go out without the red light on our bikes.

We should treat the lack of lights the same way We would treat having a flat tire. We simply cannot ride it. I know it might sound too extreme, but once you turn this into a habit, a must, it would turn into something really normal, and you will feel unconfortable if you don´t have that tail lights. It will save your LIFE.

Some Tips for Tail Lights

Personally I prefer led flashing lights. Minimum of 3 leds. They are so bright that is almost impossible to see them directly (yes, I did that haha) There is another type of lights also, like laser. They generate some kind of square shape-like on the road that surrounds you while you ride, this is really awesome.

And crazy things like plasma-type light. They display some kind of crazy rays like those Tesla coil glass spheres. I bet a car will do pay attention to you in the night when he/she sees you riding like a crazy scientist who just got a great idea in his lab and had to go out in the middle of the night to “shape it out” 😀

Some useful type of tail lights are the rechargeable one, they tent to be a more expensive though. They normally have USB ports, so that you can charge them not only with a normal plug at home, but also with a computer. The advantage of these ones is that you do not have to carry extra batteries when you ride in the night. Or not knowing when their charge will be zero.

Before a long ride at night, you can plug your light in and you are ready to go. BUT…

It´s always about context right? So, sometimes lights that work with normal AA or AAA batteries are better for long rides, because you will be sure that you have your extra batteries in your pocket ;). Specially if you are planning to cross over the desert of Gobi right? 🙂 “A Plug Please?, Anyone?”

I also recommend the good all fashioned RED color. Most of the drivers are used to recognize the red light as a warning sing without even think about it. That is a plus when there is no time enough to completely recognize that´s a bycicle.

So, ALWAY Use Your Bicycle Tail Lights

  • There is not excuses for not using them:
  • They could Save you Life
  • Multiple Price Options
  • They are relatively small and they don´t take too much space off
  • You can pull the off and put it in a safe please if you need (specially the expensive ones)
  • They are really FUN!
  • Yes, You will feel like Vin Diesel or Michelle Rodriguez 😉

 

 

I hope you enjoy this post and you are at least a bit more aware about safety after reading this article.

Please, I would love to hear about you and your experience about this topic. Not a fancy one but It can and it will safe your like.

Also feel free to comment below this article to if you will.

Best Riding Wish

Jason

About Jason

Hello Awin

Welcome to the World of Bicycle Gadgets and Tools to improve our adventures on that faithful friend. Here you will found gadgets, tools, and info about the latest (and “not so latest”) improvements and accessories. And other stuff, like repairing, maintenance. Let´s improve our bikes!

JASON´S STORY

I love bicyles. Bicycle is equal to Freedom. I´ve being riding on a bike since I was a kid. First hanging with friends, some kind of excuse to meet each other. Then the passion started to lead me to longer rides, and finally today my bike is my freedom and partner to see the landscapes, the roads, the sunrise, to feel the wind on my face.

 

DOING OUR TRIP MORE FUN!

Even though the Bike it´s enough, it´s nice to have gadgets to enhance it. Having the proper tools to maintain and repair our bicycle in order to fully enjoy the ride. Having no surprise when We are in the forest, the road, the beach, even under the rain! Not to mention Safety!

 

WE ARE A GREAT COMMUNITY!

We will be testing, and recommending great gadgets and tools! The use of them, and information about our Bike and Trips. And I would love to hear your experience! I look forward to sharing all We know with you.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

Or just email me directly at jason@bicyclegearsandgadgets.com !

All the best,

JASON SMITH

BYCYCLE GADGETS AND TOOLS