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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

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Places I have been
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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

Australia
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

Introduction
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.
Kickstands
Sealed Cartridge Headsets

How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps

Camping
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

Clothing
Bike Touring Shorts

Electrical
Short-wave Radio
Computer
Internet
mp3
Bicycle touring lights

Books
Packing list
Pictures of Equipment Failures
Shopping


See My Videos Here



(see all 3 book)

 

All bikes need to fit the rider correctly.

The first and foremost aspect of a bicycle frame is that it needs to fit correctly.  Similar to shoes; bicycles are sold in different sizes.  The wrong size will be uncomfortable, handle badly, and forever ruin the appeal of the bike.  A correct fit will make a cheap frame ride better and a high quality frame feel like an extension of your body.  It makes me sad when I see a touring cyclist on a beautiful and expensive frame but obviously the wrong size for the rider.

The problem with determining the correct touring bicycle frame size is that there are many differently philosophies and measurement systems.  I have no idea which system is the best.

Different frame geometry is confusing.  I ride a 63 cm road bike, a 23 inch Mt. bike and my current 26 inch wheeled touring bike has a 60 cm frame.  All of these bikes fit the same rider, me.  It is also interesting to note that if I bought a 700c wheeled touring bike 700c I would have yet another frame size.

Few bikes sold on the floor of the local bike shop will satisfy the high end touring bike shopper.  More experienced touring bicycle shoppers buy their bike or frame on the internet through mail order.  This means that the frame sizing is purely a measuring and  mathematical formula.  Cindie's first touring bike bought for our current trip was too small.  There was no time to return it.  She dealt with it for two years.  She often complained of neck and hand pain.  When we switched to our new bikes and one that fit her correctly her riding pain went away.

I believe that the method and accuracy of the measuring system is as important as the tubing brand.  I suggest picking a brand and model and consulting the dealer about fit.  They are experts for their particular product.

 
BIKE SIZING CHARTS


How to Size Your Bike

 

  1. With shoes on, measure from your crotch to the floor. This gives you your inseam length.
  2. Find the stand-over height on the bicycle sizing chart ("A" in the illustration at right).
  3. For mountain, touring, urban and comfort bikes, the difference
    between your inseam length and the stand-over height should be
    around 2 inches; for road bikes, this difference should be
    around 1 inch.

 


How to Choose a Touring Bike



ust about any bike can be used for touring, as long as it's in good mechanical condition and it fits you well. But some bikes are better suited to the sport than others. It's fine to try a short tour or two on whatever bike you have available. Just remember that touring is far easier and more enjoyable when it is done with the right equipment.

 

Basic Bicycle Types


 

Here's a quick look at the main bicycle categories and how they stack up when it comes to touring:
  • Touring Bike
    Pluses: Touring bikes are designed to perform efficiently and comfortably for extended periods on smooth, hard surfaces. They achieve this through the use of tough, elongated frames and curved handlebars (touring-specific or like those found on racing bikes), allowing riders to pedal comfortably in lower, more aerodynamic postures.

    Most touring bikes offer wide gearing ranges for good performance on variable terrain. Most come with relatively narrow, high-pressure tires (to minimize rolling resistance and increase efficiency on paved surfaces). But many can be outfitted with wider tires to perform better on softer surfaces like trails and dirt roads.

    Minuses: Touring bikes are designed specifically for long-distance cycling. This means they tend to be less effective than other bikes for other kinds of cycling (mountain biking, racing).

     
  • Mountain Bike
    Pluses: Mountain bikes are designed to perform best on soft riding surfaces like dirt roads and trails. They usually have wider, lower-pressure tires for good grip and control, and heavier, beefier frames and components to handle rougher terrain. Mountain bikes are designed to handle heavy loads and most have convenient attachment points for racks. Most mountain bikes have wide gearing ranges, with lower gears for better performance on hills when carrying heavy loads.

    Minuses: Because of their wider, lower pressure-tires and heavier weights, mountain bikes are less efficient than touring and racing bikes on paved roads and other hard, smooth surfaces. However, most accept narrower tires. Their straight handlebars provide fewer hand positions but adding bar ends will give you more options. Mountain bike frame shapes cause most riders to sit up more vertically while riding, which increases wind resistance.

     
  • Town and Trail Bike
    Pluses: Town and trail bikes combine the ruggedness and go-anywhere nature of mountain bikes with the efficiency and road-readiness of bikes designed for paved surfaces. They offer a compromise to riders who are interested in riding and touring on a wide variety of riding surfaces. Compared to mountain bikes, these bikes usually have slightly narrower, high-pressure tires. They also offer elongated frame geometries that deliver better cruising on flat surfaces.

    Minuses: As a combination of two extremes, town and trail bikes cannot compete performance-wise with touring bikes on paved routes or with mountain bikes on rugged terrain. They're designed to provide reliable, basic performance on a mixture of riding surfaces. Most bikes of this type have straight, mountain bike handlebars, though curved bars can be substituted. They tend to be heavier than racing and touring bicycles.

     
  • Road Bikes
    Pluses: Lightweight and extremely efficient, road bikes are perfect for smooth, paved surfaces.

    Minuses: Road bikes are not designed for hours of comfortable riding, nor are they designed to handle bike bags or the added weight of big gear loads. Most do not have attachment points for racks or other storage accessories. Road bike gears are often designed for racing, not cruising, and their limited low gears can make climbing up long and/or steep hills, under load, difficult. Road bikes also tend to have very narrow tires, which on soft riding surfaces can be inefficient and hard to control.

     

Other Factors to Consider


 

Comfort
Touring cyclists spend a lot of time on their bicycles, so comfort is important. The overall fit of the bicycle, then, becomes extremely important. Check out our article on bicycle fit to learn more. The shape and padding of the saddle and handlebars, the position of the brake and shift levers and other factors also affect your comfort.

Efficiency
The easier a bike is to pedal mile after mile, the more enjoyment you'll get from touring. In general, the key to smooth cycling is a solid, well-made bike with high-quality bike components. Proper maintenance is also important. As noted earlier, the specific type of bike you use can play a major role since different bikes are designed for different riding surfaces.

Gearing Options
Gears affect how easy it is for you to pedal on variable terrain. Having lots of gearing options (especially low gears, which help make pedaling uphill easier) makes touring easier and more enjoyable.

Good Brakes
Reliable stopping power is always important. But when a bike is fully loaded with touring gear, it's even more critical. It's very important to check the physical condition of your brake system. Click here to learn more about basic brake maintenance.

Durability
Touring bikes must stand up to lots of miles and heavy loads. Durable frames and components will reduce the chance of mechanical breakdowns.

Bike Weight
Adult touring cyclists should look for bikes weighing around 25-30 pounds. Lighter bikes may be used for touring, but make sure they're durable enough to stand up to lots of hard riding.

Tires
Your bike tires can have a significant effect on performance. They can affect the rolling resistance of your bicycle as well as how it handles in various riding conditions and surfaces. Make sure your tires match up with the route you have planned before you leave home.

Attachment Points
Eyelets and braze-ons are frame attachment points that you can use to attach bike bags and other equipment. (All touring bikes have them.) They're not absolutely necessary for touring (some racks and bike bags can be attached directly to bike frames). But attachment points do make outfitting bikes for touring far easier.
 

 

 

 

 

Bicycle Touring
Tips & Advice

- Bike Stuff
- Camping

Touring Bicycles
Panniers
Racks
Saddles
Tires
Lights

Fenders
Tools and Spares

Tents
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
Pedals
Handelbars/Grips
Headsets
Commuting Bikes

Camp Shower/Toiletry Bag

Lights

Helmet
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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