Books. No books! Paper is extremely heavy with respect to its usefulness. Read your tourist guide before the trip and leave it at home. The only thing that I need from a guidebook on the trip are maps of towns. I photocopy these or tear them off the guide – there is no place for sentimentality here. On a long trip it is sometimes nice to have something to read. When this mood hits me, I stay a day or two in some hostel where they have books to lend.
Digital cameras. I’m not an expert in digital photography and am a classical fan myself, but from the volume/weight point of view I’d reccommend the use of digital cameras. Old style SLR film cameras are 3-6 times heavier than digital ones. The spare batteries/charger that you’ll need for digital cameras are in the weight class of spare films for SLRs. You are looking at about 500 g of saving here, minimum, not to mention the volume.
On the picture to the left you’ll see also an evolution of a baterry recharging cable, the leftmost one can be used on any kind of plugs.
P.S. I wrote this paragraph few years ago and now it is obsolete: nobody uses film cameras any more. However, you can read it as “compact versus DSLR” musing. With regard to weight and bulk DSLRs are a huge step backward from compact cameras. And to those of you why prefer the DSLRs because of their superior picture quality, I say: tell me that when you make your first poster print or publish an article in National Geographics.
Locks. My philosophy for securing the bike is to have it always in sight. On few occasions when it is not possible, I lock it with the small cable lock to a solid object – and hope for the best. I assume that any kind of lock can be broken, so you might as well have the smallest and lightest lock, just to prevent any passer-by taking your bike. As you can see on the picture I use now a small cable with combination lock (48 g). The cable is just thick enought that you can’t break it with your teeth – unless you are a character from James Bond movies. This means that you’ll need a tool to break the lock. But if you are determined to steal the bike to the point that you brought the tool, then you’ll break any kind of lock.
Cycling jersey. Make a good use of cycling jersey’s pockets. They are ideal carriers: light, aerodinamic, accessible on the fly. You can store 200 to 300 grams there – possibly everything you need while riding on an average day. Some additional stuff can be tucked under the leggings of cycling shorts.
Bicycle frame. Lot of stuff can be taped on various parts of the frame. I usualy tape less frequently used items to the frame: spare tubes, spare tyre, spare
Bicycle Traveler was launched in 2011. We aimed to create a magazine that showcases bicycle travel and delves into why people dream of undertaking round-the-world tours.
BT’s carefully curated collection of articles and photographs are gathered from a diverse group of cycling enthusiasts worldwide. With the recent boom in bicycle touring, our magazine base has grown to more than 25,000 dedicated subscribers.
As BT begins its 9th year, we are more passionate than ever about publishing high-quality content that resonates with our adventure-minded readers and illustrates the wonderful world of two-wheeled travel.
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The people behind it
Grace Johnson is the founding editor and designer of Bicycle Traveler magazine. Photographer Paul Jeurissen runs the website and his cycle touring and bicycle culture images regularly appear in the publication.
They met on the Trans America bicycle trail in 1981 and since then have taken numerous bike trips, totaling more than 9 years over 5 continents. You can follow their two-wheeled travels at Impressions from Bicycle Travels.
When you see different touring bicycles, you will notice a variety of bicycle handlebars. But which style is best for you and your tour?
So when you choose a handlebar for your bicycle, you should pay attention to a number of factors:
Number of different hand positions available – While touring, I prefer to switch my hand positions regularly to eliminate or reduce hand and wrist problems. If your hands stay in an unusual position for too long, the pain can be unbearable as time passes. So a bicycle handlebar with one or two hand positions may be fine for certain tours and terrain but not others. Also, certain hand positions allow more leverage for hill climbing.
Body posture – Different touring conditions require different body posture positions. If you are battling a head wind for hours, an upright position will just exhaust you quickly. So you will want to be able to get low with your head down. While some bicycle handlebars will stretch you out more to get you lower, your body may put more weight on your hands and wrist, resulting in severe pain. And if you tour mainly off road, terrain will be more of a factor than wind. Consequently, you will want a handlebar that allows plenty of climbing leverage and quick turns.
Stem clamp compatibility– Mountain or hybrid style stems require compatible handlebars and the same for road stems. A mountain/hybrid stem has a clamp diameter of 25.4mm. A regular road stem clamp will be 26.00mm. Compatible handlebars will have the corresponding clamp area, which is not the same as the rest of the bar. A few mountain bars and an increasing number of road handlebars utilize an oversize stem clamp diameter of 31.8mm.Other factors relating to the stem and handlebar will include stem height and length. If the shape of the handlebar is different from your existing bar, you may have to shorten or lengthen your stem to keep your arms at a comfortable stretch. The same applies to the change in height due to the new handlebar. You can raise or lower your handlebar by replacing the stem with an adjustable stem. However, as you change the height of the handlebar, you will also be changing the length of the stem in relation to the distance from the seat to the handlebar. So you may have to buy a different stem length with the adjustable stem.
Brake levers/shifters compatibility – Mountain bike brake levers and shifters fit mountain style handlebars, which have a diameter of 22.2mm where. Road bike brake levers and barend shifters require handlebars of 23.8mm diameters. In other words, you can’t install road brake levers on mountain bike handlebars.
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Mountain (Straight) Handlebars
Mountain style handlebars are great for off-road terrain, but typically they have just one hand position (see number on photo). If you add barends, then you can add another hand position.
TO BICYCLE ILLINOIS Illinois’ Bicycle
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When it comes to buying a touring bicycle, most local bike shops will have only one or two models on the floor, if any. It isn’t that they don’t want to sell a high-quality touring bicycle, it is more an issue of economics and what price range the average person comes in the store to buy.
If you go into a local bike store, the price of most bicycles will start around $300 and go to over $1,500 for higher-end racing bicycles and mountain bikes. Most of the bicycles you will see will be in the $500 to $600 range. Unfortunately, a new, high-quality touring bicycle will usually have a price tag of $1,000 or more. And many of the expedition bicycles that can handle almost any touring terrain will start at $2,000 and go up from there.
When considering a new touring bicycle, I use the following selection criteria:
The following models are just a short list of high-quality bicycles available. Many more models exist. If you would like us to add another model to this list, please email us.
UPDATE: We recently wrote two great articles summarizing the best men’s road bikes and the best women’s road bikes for 2012-2013. Take a look if you want more advice.
Medium to Long Range Touring Bicycles
Cannondale Synapse Alloy 7
This is a newer model of Cannondale touring bikes. While they don’t have the reputation of elite touring bikes, like the Tour I and Tour II had, they are still ideal for touring.
They use all Shimano 105 components (including the shifters… previous Cannondale touring bikes used STI shifters, which are difficult to fix) and are made entirely of aluminum. This means you have lightweight, high quality components on a bike that is lighter than paper (it weighs in at less than 20 pounds).
They come with 700c wheels and use a FSA Gossamer BB30, 50/34 front crankset.
Learn more about the Synapse Alloy 7.
Cannondale Tour I and II
Unfortunately, you cannot buy these bikes new anymore. But if you can find one used, both the Cannondale Tour I and Tour II are excellent around touring bicycles. The compact aluminum frame and cro-moly steel fork are well made and have the basic touring braze-ons: water bottle mounts, front and rear rack mounts, and clearance for fenders and wide touring tires.
The 700c wheels have 36 holes, 14 gauge spokes (adequate for loaded touring) and cantilever brakes for stopping. The shifters are STI, which I don’t prefer for touring. STI brake/shifters are harder to get repaired while on the road, but many cyclists use them with excellent results.
The Tour I uses a 50/39/30 front crankset and 11/34 rear cassette combination for light touring in rolling hills or medium loaded touring on flat terrain. The Tour II uses a 48/36/26 front crankset and 11/34 rear cassette combination that is better for loaded touring in long distance touring. Please read my page on gearing.
This non-commercial site presents much of what I have learned in twenty years of bicycle touring in Europe.
You will find here cycling descriptions and photos for many of Europe’s premiere cycling destinations that I have chosen to ride. You can use these to find a bicycle tour meeting your needs—whether a commercial group tour or a self organized trip. For each destination there are a suggested routes to chose from, and practical details for a trip if you are organizing it yourself..
You will also find here as well my opinions and research on general topics such as budgets for European Bike touring, touring styles, bicycle choices and so on. (Self-organized bike tours are much cheaper!)
Sister Site: www.mayq.com, Cycling into and out of Paris on bike paths and minor roads, including to and from the airports.
Sister site: www.grfive.com, for a month of hiking across the grain of the Alps from Lake Geneva to the Meditteranean.
Email: email@example.com For my background, see this page.
The boxes below in this column, and lower down in the next column, link to pages describing each of the bicycle tours I have ridden. If you wish to select one of these recomended tours based on scenery, difficulty, traffic and climate, please study this chart.
The boxes immediately below link to pages covering general topics.
Eurovelo 6 Part 1:La Loire à Vélo Cycling along rivers and canals from the Atlantic to Burgundy with links to continuations to Switzerland and the Rhine in Part 2, the German Danube in Part 3, and the Austrian Danube in Part 4 (or click above)
Cycling from Hamburg, Germany to Copenhagen, Denmark
Along the dikes of the Elbe River the North Sea in Schleswig Holstein, across central Jutland, and around northern Zealand. Seaviews, farmland, forest, ancient towns, lake district resorts, art colonies, Hamlet castle, Louisiana Museum.
Maps showing other Long-Distance Bike Tours in France, Germany, and