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The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions, and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world. My Plan

My 3 Books
I write, self publish and sell books about touring

Picture Gallery
Travel Plan

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About Me
Media/Press Room


Photo Use Info

Read Sample Letter
Continue My Travels

Places I have been
How can I afford this?)

India and Neighbors
May 2010 to present

Alaska / Canada / USA
May 2008 to April 2010

New Zealand
Sept 2007 to May 2008

Sept 2006 to Sept 2007

SE Asia / China
Nov 2004 to Sept 2006

South America
June 2003 to June 2004

AZ, Mexico, and Central America
March 2002 to April 2003

How I started
The 5 years before I left

*Help Support this Web Site and Continue My Travels.

Equipment Pages Index

How Much to Bring and Weight
Some Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
(See more about Sponsorship)

START HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames 
The Steel Repair Myth.
Steel and Aluminum Derailleur Hanger Repair.
Bicycle Touring Wheels
Phil Wood: The Best Bicycle Hubs

Panniers / Bike Bags
Cargo Trailers Vs Panniers
Tires for Bike Tours..
Bicycle Touring Saddles.
Women's Specific Bike Touring Saddles
Brooks Leather Touring Bicycle Saddle Care and Conditioning
Bike Computer
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Sealed Cartridge Headsets

How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps

Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground Cloth
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad
Camp Stove
Pots and Pans
Water Filter
First Aide Kits
Solar Power for Camp

Bike Touring Shorts

Short-wave Radio
Bicycle touring lights

Packing list
Pictures of Equipment Failures

See My Videos Here

(see all 3 book)

Best Pedals For Bicycle Touring, Travel, Bike Camping, Commuting, Dual Sided SPD and Platform.

What are the best pedals for long term cycle touring? As with nearly all bicycle gear questions, there is no absolute right answer. This article will attempt to explain a bit of the technical aspects of pedals, give a few options, and talk about my own preference for bicycle touring pedals.

Bicycle touring shoes and pedals go together as a unit. Basically they serve as the link between the muscles in your legs and the crank arms of the bicycle. There are a few different combinations of shoes and pedals that make that link more or less efficient. Kids on their first bicycles use everyday shoes and flat pedals. Professional cyclists use clipless pedal and shoe systems. Between those two extremes are more specialized pedals, sometimes paired with toe clips or straps. Remember, for the cycle tourist, the name of the game is flexibility. You won't be just riding a bike like a road racer, you'll be hiking, shopping, and climbing stairs while on tour. see also my Bike Shoe page

New to Bicycle Touring and Confused about shoe/pedal options? Get a platform pedal and causual bike/walking shoe


Platform Pedal

Platform Pedals

If you're just getting started with cycle touring and don't feel ready for SPD pedals, there are some high quality flat pedals on the market. Big enough to provide an ample platform for your foot, and much higher quality than the cheap pedals that usually come on new bikes, these high-friction pedals keep your athletic shoes of choice firmly planted where they need to be. These pedals have smooth edges, good news for anyone who knows the agony of catching a sharp spike in the shin or calf.

 Platform Bike Shoes
no SPD clip
great for walking

Toe Clips

Toe Clips

Although they are not my choice, many cycle tourists swear by pedals with toe clips. Basically these are little frames that attach to the front of a platform pedal. They hold your toes to the pedal, adding to cycling efficiency and stability. I find them fiddly and inconvenient. They drag on the ground and make the pedals one-sided. If you're not interested in clipless pedals, I would recommend a flat pedal over a toe strap. Nonetheless, I do frequently meet tourers who travel the world with toe clips.



What Pedals I Recommend for Most Bicycle Touring

Touring Pedals

Combination SPD/ Platform Touring Pedals

My personal recommendation for bike touring is the platform/clipless hybrid bike pedal. One side is flat and compatible with any type of shoe flip-flops, hiking boots, high heels, whatever. But twist that pedal around and there's a clip for your SPD cycling shoe. This makes your bike much more versatile, as a quick trip to the store for beer and chips won't require changing into different shoes.

Hybrid SPD Shoe
(clip optional)
half bike half walking shoe



Pedals for Extended Trips in the Wilderness or Developing Countries

Dual Sides SPD Pedals

Double sides SPD Mountain Bike Pedals

When I'm in a developing country or in the wilderness for long periods of time, I like (and use) a dual sided SPD mountain bike pedals. It has an SPD pedal mount on each side. These pedals are built for hard-core mountain biking, so they're high quality and the dual sidedness is by far the easiest to get in and out of. If ever one side of the clipless pedal attachment system fails, there is the other side as a back-up.


SPD MT Bike Shoe
All bike with a little walking.


My Current Bike Touring Pedal -
The Shimano A530 has it all.  A great high quality set of bearings, a big wide platform for sandals and everyday shoes and solid SPD clip in system that will boost your pedaling efficiency.
Shimano A530
Shimano A530 SPD Sport Road Pedals

The next pedals I plan to buy

These pedal came out since I last bought  Shimano XT is always a good quality
Shimano PD-T780 Pedals

If I were heading to an undeveloped part of the world for a couple years I would buy these.
Shimano Deore XT PD-M8000 XC Pedals

 Very Popular

Shimano M324 SPD Pedals
Shimano M324 SPD Pedals


Why Only Shimano SPD for Bicycle Touring Clip System?

For pedaling efficiency, nothing beats SPD or clipless pedals. A cleat is mounted on the shoe's sole. It snaps in to the spring-loaded clip on the pedal. This system lets you pedal with maximum effectiveness and keeps your feet firmly attached to the pedals over uneven terrain. But why the confusing name? Why are they called clipless pedals when clipping in is exactly how they work? The name arises from the fact that racing cyclists used to attach their shoes to the pedals using toe clips or straps. The new system was called 'clipless' and this confusing name has stuck since then.

Back when I was enmeshed in the world of cycle racing, I wore stiff-soled road racing shoes in which it was impossible to walk more than a few feet. As road racing shoes are completely impractical for cycle touring, I now use mountain bike shoes with SPD pedals. Still compatible with a clipless SPD cleat, MTB shoes give you a little more flexibility off the bike since the cleats don't stick out beyond the sole of the shoe. Mountain bike, commuting, and touring cycle shoes all have recessed cleats to make walking easier. SPD pedals do take some time to grow accustomed to. Well before your bike tour start date, take time to practice on a soft surface until the action of clicking in and out becomes automatic.

The reason I recommend the SPD system is that it is widely available throughout the world. I've no doubt that other systems are excellent, but I don't have any experience with them. It seems a big risk to rely on shoes and pedals that I haven't seen commonly sold in cycle shops in developing countries.

As with all gear for your cycle tour, get to know your new pedals ahead of time. Take some smaller trips and test them. Make sure they're the right match for your style. You don't have to go overboard, but avoid the cheapest pedals on the market. I use higher end pedals with chromoly axles and sealed cartridge bearings and generally try to replace them soon after they start making the constant clicking on each revolution that signals a worn out pedal bearing. For me, that happens after two continuous years of touring.

SPD mountain bike pedals
 Shimano XT M780 SPD Bike Pedals


I have another page about bike shoes for bicycle tours

eXTReMe Tracker


The bikes below are sold online and shipped to your address.  Online bikes are a very good value but hard to find so I have rounded up my favorites.
Shop All Touring Bicycles Here

This is the type of bike I have done most of my traveling on.  Great for road and off road with an agile geometry and accepts wide or narrow tires.

REI brand Touring and Trekking Bikes

This is the bike I am buying next. I am tall and recently bought a mountain bike with 29er wheels and really like how it rides and would like to try this in my next touring bike.

Salsa Fargo

If comfort is your first priority check out these great bikes.  I have never toured this light but I know a ton of cyclist who like this style of bike.

Salsa Marrakes


The new breed of off road bike packing and snow bicycle. I have never owned a bike like this but I bet someday I do.

Fat Bikes


Seasonal - Surly bikes are not always available on line but they are a great deal. 

Surly LHT touring bicycle


Bicycle Touring
Tips & Advice

- Bike Stuff
- Camping

Touring Bicycles

Tools and Spares

Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress
Camp Stove
Water Filter
Pots and Pans
First Aide Kits
Solar Power
Bike Maps
Preventing Flat Tires

Bike Computer
Cargo Trailers
Kick Stands
Commuting Bikes

Camp Shower/Toiletry Bag


Bike Shoes
Bike Touring Shorts

Stealth/Free Camp

What I Have Learned On The Road

Dreaming of Endless Travel

Injustice of Poverty

Much MORE Gear Here!

Sponsors (how?)

Cycle Touring Racks

Tents and ground cloths
Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress Pads

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