Your Questions About Bicycle Touring – Bicycle Touring Professional

by jpc_touring-bicycle

Two weeks in the past I held a reside Web occasion on the place I talked in regards to the 7 main errors I see bicycle vacationers making on their travels… and on the finish of that presentation I requested you to jot down in and ask me a query about your single largest concern with regard to planning, getting ready for, or executing a bicycle tour of your individual.

I then promised that should you wrote in, I’d submit your query and, most significantly, my reply in an article on the web site right here at The submit is per week later that I promised (primarily as a result of I felt it was extra necessary to share with you the beginning of the Localmotive Bike Tour final week), however now the timing is ideal. So right here you go! Listed here are the questions you despatched me about bicycle touring… and listed here are my solutions!

Darren, would you advocate, or discourage utilizing a backpack water bladder on a 19 day, 1200 mile journey? Would it not be higher to stay with body mounted bottles and the stopping to refill extra incessantly?

Trent Whittaker

Hey Trent,

I often discourage folks from carrying hydration packs or any form of backpack on their bicycles excursions. There are two causes for this:

1. The burden of the pack could cause neck, shoulder, and again ache.
2. Your again tends to get all sweaty.

As a substitute, I like to recommend you carry as a lot water as you possibly can on the body of your bicycle (in 2 or 3 normal bicycle water bottles) and should you want further water, think about doing one thing like I do on this video:

Hope this helps!

Hello Darren!

To start with, thanks so much on your web site and all you might be doing for selling bicycle touring. It’s nice!

I watched your latest clip in regards to the errors made by bicycle vacationers and puzzled should you might share your experiences, ideas and practices on dealing safely with cash in your journeys. I shall be going to South America in a number of months and I would like recommendation. I’ll arrive to Caracas and begin to pedal right down to the south till Ushuaia. How a lot money ought to I’ve on me at any explicit time, the place ought to I preserve my cash, which bankcards ought to I deliver alongside, how might I be as sensible as attainable moneywise? I’d be extraordinarily blissful should you might give recommendation on these points. Thanks prematurely!



Hello Vieko,

I usually carry not more than $200 USD money at a time on my travels. I often have 2 bank cards and a couple of ATM playing cards that I carry (linked to separate accounts). This fashion, if I lose one card (like I did on my final journey by means of Peru), I’ve the opposite card to fall again on. In South America (and plenty of different components of the world), money is king and credit score/debit playing cards usually are not taken at most small outlets, eating places, and many others. So it’s good to have money on you always.

Some vacationers advocate carrying their money in a pockets that’s hung round their neck or saved between their pant legs, however I’ve by no means completed this (an excessive amount of work… and form of annoying). Whereas bike touring, I usually carry my pockets and different valuables inside my handlebar bag (See this outdated video: And I by no means let that handlebar bag go away my facet.

Additionally, ensure you arrange on-line banking so you possibly can pay any payments you may must pay while you’re touring. And when you’ve got somebody again at house who can mail checks/pay payments for you (if wanted), that’s all the time good as effectively.

I’ve personally by no means had something stolen from me on my travels… however I do know a number of individuals who have been robbed whereas on their journeys. If you’re tremendous involved about getting robbed, you possibly can cover your money and credit score/debit playing cards in two separate locations (one in your handlebar bag and one in a pockets hung round your neck for instance) so that you just may, after being robbed, nonetheless have one set of money/bank cards.

Additionally, earlier than you allow in your journey, ensure you {photograph} your entire credit score/debit playing cards in order that if they’re misplaced or stolen, you and somebody again house has all the knowledge wanted to cancel these playing cards immediately. You possibly can {photograph} the playing cards after which e-mail these pictures to your self. That manner, should you lose your playing cards, you possibly can log into your e-mail account and you’ll have entry to the knowledge it’s good to rapidly cancel the misplaced/stolen playing cards.

Lastly, put your pockets and all different necessary gadgets again in the identical place each time you pack your bike/gear. By doing this, you’ll know one thing has gone lacking just by trying and seeing that that merchandise isn’t in it’s regular place.

Hello Darren,

Thanks for all the nice info. I’m beginning to assemble what I would like for a tour, Kona Sutra. Vancouver to Ventura. What do you advocate for bike locks and pannier safety. I shall be utilizing Ortlieb panniers. Are you aware something about their cable lock system?

Thanks Once more,

Thomas Paulsen

Hello Thomas,

Congrats in your plan for a motorbike tour down the Pacific Coast. And the way cool that you just plan to cease in Ventura, CA. I grew up in a metropolis referred to as Camarillo, which is positioned nearly 20 miles from Ventura. My father works as a health care provider in Ventura to this present day… and the town is just about my second house.

Anyway, about your query: When I’m on tour I do my finest to by no means (or nearly by no means) let my bicycle out of my sight. The one time it’s not inside view is after I go right into a grocery store, financial institution, or one thing like that. The remainder of the time it’s both inside my view or locked someplace safe (reminiscent of inside a resort, storage, broom closet, and many others).

However there are occasions when you’ll have to depart your bicycle for some time and also you wish to ensure that the bike, panniers and the issues in your panniers don’t get stolen. I’m not accustomed to the Ortlieb locking system, however that is what I do every time I must briefly go away my bicycle:

Hello Darren,I listened with nice curiosity to your webcast and I discovered the 7 errors actually worthwhile info. Thanks very a lot. I’ve three questions.

First – what’s a sensible most that an individual can journey on a one-day journey? There’s a circle route the place I reside which is about 160 miles (~ 260 kilometres) spherical journey. Components are very hilly and there may be one lengthy climb of a number of kilometres which might be in direction of the top of the journey. It’s a stunning scenic journey alongside the ocean and thru the mountains on Southern Vancouver Island. I nonetheless want to start out coaching for it critically – I’m simply questioning for the ‘common’ rider if it is a reasonable and attainable purpose.

Second – what’s the minimal gear to deliver on an prolonged journey of two plus weeks? Garments?, bike restore equipment? I’m using a CRUZBIKE recumbent so I would like the lightest attainable gear as hills are an actual problem on this bike. I’ve no funds so I would like to do that on a shoestring. I don’t want a range or any cooking as I’m planning a uncooked meals weight loss program plus chocolate bars after all.

Third – is it reasonable for seniors to go on prolonged bike excursions? I’m 62 years outdated, with none severe well being issues and my dream is to journey throughout Canada from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland and I assume I would wish to journey again as effectively.

Any recommendation you could possibly provide could be appreciated. Thanks,

Don Brown

Hello Don,

Thanks a lot on your e-mail.

1. As for the way lengthy your common bike owner can cowl in a day, it relies on quite a few components. Will you be touring mild (with simply you and your bike)? Or will you be touring with a fully-loaded bicycle (and carrying tenting gear, clothes, meals, and many others)? Will the terrain be flat or hilly? Are you in fine condition? And many others, and many others, and many others.

Personally, my longest day on the highway was simply over 150 miles (241 kilometers). And through my 11 years of long-distance bicycle touring, I’ve most likely solely completed a few dozen days that had been over 100 miles. As you seemingly know by now, most touring cyclists are likely to cowl about 40 to 60 miles per day.

That stated, I’m certain you could possibly try this 160 mile day so long as you awakened early, traveled mild, ate effectively, stayed hydrated, and rode effectively into the night.

My guess, nonetheless, is that you’d take pleasure in your self a complete lot extra should you broke that 160 mile day up into two 80 mile components.

What’s the furthest you will have ever ridden prior to now? If in case you have by no means ridden over 80-100 miles in a day, then attempting to leap straight to 160 might be going to be fairly a push.

2. As for the minimal quantity of substances you want, this too relies on how you propose to journey and the place you propose to sleep. When you plan to sleep in motels, hostels, and many others, then all you want is a change of garments or two, your toiletries, panniers, and fundamental bicycle restore devices (reminiscent of a pump, spare tube, multi-tool, and many others.). However in case you are planning to camp alongside the best way, then you definitely want a tent, sleeping mat, and sleeping bag along with no matter else you may want for the tour. A map, cash, meals, and cellphone (in case of emergencies) are additionally seemingly wanted – regardless of which manner you propose to journey.

3. And as for whether or not or not you are able to do an extended bike tour on the age of 62, sure you possibly can! You won’t consider it, however the bicycle touring inhabitants is split up into two main camps. There are the younger school college students who are likely to journey on a brilliant mild price range in a single camp… and the older retirees who go on lengthy bike excursions now they they lastly have the time to journey. See this text for extra info As you will notice, there are a variety of individuals your age (and older) who’re touring lengthy distance through bike. And so long as you might be in good bodily situation, you need to be capable to do it too!

I’m taking a solo tour from vancouver to san diego actual quickly and I’m good to go aside from being actually paranoid of getting my bike stolen. I feel I’ll simply by no means attempt to go away my bike except it’s  a resort room. Any suggestions? Nice web site! Thanks!



First all thanks very a lot on your web page and e-mail.  I’m very inspired by what you stated within the e-mail and web page.

I would really like introduce to you myself as beneath,

My identify is Sunwook Kim, Dwelling in Seoul, Korea.

I, aged of 58 was recognized with Lung Most cancers stage 4 in 11 of November 2010. I’ve completed 4 units of Chemotherapy on seventh of February 2011 then I’ve being taking an “Iressa” from 22 of March 2011.

After I was in good well being it was my dream to discover the world by means of a motorbike tour with my pretty spouse Jearan Park. My preliminary plan was to complete the tour in 5 years, ranging from 1st of June 2012. Sadly it was postponed indefinitely owing to this ruthless lung most cancers. The docs say that my well being situation is healthier now. Expectations will be saved together with me additional. As per to the docs, common medical consideration and care is crucial factor. Within the midst of all these I can not cease eager about my dream too. I do know that my dream is the right remedy for me now, it retains me alive.

So why ought to I defer it additional. I wish to begin my world tour on the first of Might 2014. The primary stage of the tour will begin from New York to Los Angeles for 18 months.

Earlier than I get victimized by this cruel illness, my unique plan was simply biking, sighting by means of cities and nations. However my new plan is after I go to any city, village or a rustic; I wish to meet most cancers sufferers and share my life & sorrow with them and encourage them to reside with hope by understanding the character of this tough activity that the God has gifted us!

Whereas interacting with the general public and remainder of the world all through my World Bike Tour, I’m trying ahead for a volunteer supporting group comprising of an online designer, article editor (Korean/English languages), visiting nation’s organizer, public relations specialist, strategic planning specialist and Advocacy & Engagement specialist who may give me a serving to hand to make my dream a hit.

Can be keen to inform me fairly frankly and confidentially what you consider my World Bike Tour plan.

Howdy Sunwook,

And thanks a lot on your e-mail.

I’m sorry to listen to about your well being situation, however I feel it’s nice that you’re planning this bike tour as one thing to sit up for and inspire others to remain optimistic whereas struggling with comparable circumstances.

I feel your bike tour is a good concept, and I feel you might be very sensible to know that you will want a group of individuals that can assist you with net growth, advertising and marketing, PR, and many others. Many individuals who do bicycle excursions for charity suppose that they’re going to be capable to do all of this stuff (and journey 50-60 miles per day) all by themselves. However doing it on their own could be very, very onerous. So, sure, it’s good to get another person (or a group of different folks) that can assist you with this stuff.

Different that than, I feel you will have a terrific concept. Simply just be sure you are in a wholesome state earlier than you are taking off in your tour and be secure on the market.

If there may be another manner I may also help, please let me know.

What are the fattest tyres you possibly can match on a 2009 Fuji Touring….I wish to take myself from Cairns, North Queensland, Australia, to the tip of the cape york penninsula (probably the most northern level in australia….there’s some fairly nasty dust tracks fr om what I’ve learn and principally I’m questioning if my bike can take it….

tristan cornell

Hey Tristan,

Usually, you don’t desire a 700c wheel on an around the globe bike tour as a result of the components for 700c wheels will be very onerous to seek out in some nations outdoors of North America, Europe and Australia/New Zealand. 26 inch wheels, nonetheless, are normal and straightforward to seek out just about in all places on the earth. See this text:

That stated, you could find tires which can be as vast as a mountain bike tire for 700c wheels, though they’re usually known as 29″ wheels in these instances. These too are very onerous to seek out in lots of components of the world. However should you simply desire a tremendous vast 700c highway tire, then 40-45mm is a reasonably widespread tire measurement for that.

Hey Darren

Thanks a lot for all of your knowledge. I like that i belief you after watching a few of your movies, you actually appear to know what you might be doing. Which is why i wish to ask you a pair query and that i hope you will have a while to assist me out. This shall be my very first bike journey and i’m going in opposition to all odds proper now. Nobody thinks i can actually do that however i do know in my coronary heart that i can and that i wish to. My query that i’ve for you is, The place ought to i start on the lookout for a good bike. Im not choosy and that i don’t want the perfect bike. I dont have lot of cash so i’d simply want one thing that can principally carry me and my issues with me. (im going from Vancouver, Canada to California… and possibly additional) So for touring bikes which can be on the cheaper facet and even locations to get cheaper or used ones. Is there something to look out for when im making my choice? Okay and yet one more query… the place are some good locations to do analysis on a majority of these issues (as im in canada and im fairly certain you cant level me within the actual route) Okay it could be cool to listen to again however i wont be mad should you dont reply. And thanks once more for sharing this data to folks like me 🙂 Its such a tremendous world to be in and im glad that individuals like you possibly can assist others actually take pleasure in it the best way we wish to!!!

Additionally, is it secure to journey to california in september. My plan is to depart from vancouver however this shall be my first bike journey and i do know it’ll be somewhat chilly however will or not it’s fairly harmful?? Additionally do you ever fear about somebody stealing your issues while you sleep?

Hello Natalie… and thanks on your e-mail.

As for locating a very good touring bike at an reasonably priced value, there are a pair locations to look. Your native bikes outlets are a very good place to start out, however most outlets both don’t carry touring bikes… or their choice is restricted to simply 1 or 2 bikes. and is one other good place to seek out used touring bikes. Many individuals purchase a model new touring bike, then do their tour, after which by no means journey the bicycle once more. So if you could find one in every of these individuals who now not desires/wants their touring bike, you possibly can often get a very good deal on the factor.

And in order for you extra data on touring bikes, my Important Information To Touring Bicycles is an efficient little useful resource that introduces you to all of the several types of touring bikes which can be out there and provides you some extra info on easy methods to discover a touring bike, what to search for in a very good touring bike, how to make sure the right match, and many others.

From what you inform me, nonetheless, you won’t want a full-blown conventional touring bike. When you plan to journey mild, you may simply want a motorbike that has some form of rear rack functionality. If that’s the case, you could possibly use a hard-tail mountain bike… or a highway bike that’s designed for mild touring. Both of those two forms of bikes shall be a complete lot simpler so that you can discover at your native bike store, storage gross sales, or on-line… and they’re going to work simply high quality for shorter, lighter bike excursions.

As for touring in California in September, sure it’s secure and try to be high quality. You might have to put on hotter garments, however try to be high quality. Which route do you propose to take? If you’re going to cycle the coast, then you may be high quality. Chilly possibly, however high quality. Have you ever seen this text about me biking in Switzerland within the useless of winter? California must be high quality!

How do you make sure that you will have a adequate provide of water when your area is restricted?

Benji Marton

See this text/video:

If I do a 1 week Bicycle tour with only a backpack and no panniers….will that trigger fatigue. I’ve completed a day tour with a backpack and to date so good. I’m simply involved on lengthy length. My Osprey backpack has a mesh again to advertise cool air movement and may haul 20-25lbs.

Marv Placino

Hello Marv,

You usually wish to keep away from a backpack of any variety whereas bicycle touring as a result of it might probably trigger aches in your neck, again and shoulders… and it tends to make folks sweat (even with these cool air movement backpacks). You are able to do it, however you’re going to wish to preserve your weight down as a lot as attainable.

The higher possibility, nonetheless, is to get that weight off your physique completely. And investing in a rear rack and set of panniers might be one of the best ways to do this.

I used a small hydration backpack on my first two bicycle excursions and my most up-to-date 9 bike excursions I’ve used panniers. And whereas I do journey quick 1-3 mile distances close to my house with a backpack, I’d by no means do an prolonged bicycle tour with a backpack (and all that further weight) on my again.

Hello Darren,

Thanks for the presentation on the 7 errors you see.  Makes me really feel like I’m extra ready than I believed!

Anyway, as per your homework, I even have two main questions in the meanwhile:

1.  Moreover flats, what main mechanical issues is one more likely to encounter? (I assume damaged spokes is one, and if that’s the case, what do folks carry for drive-side damaged spokes on rear wheel; ie mini chain whip?)

2.  Maybe extra attention-grabbing debate, I’ve heard completely different accounts of optimum weight distribution.  Some folks carry extra weight on entrance, some on again.  What’s your tackle weight distribution entrance to again, and on low-rider mounts on entrance?

Thanks.  Sustain the great work!


Hello Nathaniel,

Thanks a lot for tuning in to the reside webinar on the 7 main errors folks make on their bicycle excursions. As on your two questions:

1) Flat tires are going to be your commonest drawback. Different widespread issues you’re going to need to take care of embrace: adjusting your brakes and derailleurs and guaranteeing that your racks and panniers are secured in place. In any other case, you hopefully received’t have any main issues (though they do occur). If one thing main does happen and also you don’t know easy methods to repair it, simply get your self to the closest bike store and have them repair the issue (however ensure that they present you the way they fastened it so you possibly can attempt to repair it if/when that drawback happens once more sooner or later).

As for fixing damaged spokes, I’ve by no means needed to take care of that in all my years of bicycle touring. I often carry a spare spoke or two and will exchange a damaged spoke if I wanted to, however I’ve by no means truly wanted to… and hopefully you received’t both. Spokes often break as a result of they’re broken throughout delivery or since you are carrying an excessive amount of weight in your bicycle. So so long as you pack mild, you hopefully received’t have too many issues.

2) As for weight distribution, I don’t put a complete lot of thought into it actually. However I do have a tendency to hold a lot of the heavy stuff within the again (tent, range, meals, and many others) and the lighter stuff up entrance (garments, some meals, toiletries, and many others). My weight distribution might be 60-70% within the again and 30-40% within the entrance. See this text I wrote for the Journey Biking web site as effectively for extra packing your panniers recommendation:

Hello there ,im biking from Alaska to Mexico in July and I haven’t began planning the route but what’s one of the best ways of route planning ? And am I more likely to run into any bears !

Rob Fletcher

Hey Rob, your route from Alaska to Mexico must be comparatively easy. There may be actually just one primary highway you can take to journey from Alaska to Vancouver. And when you get there, you should use the Journey Biking Pacific Coast route maps to get you the remainder of the best way.

For extra route planning assist, see these two articles:

1. An in depth information to bike tour planning.

2. Instruments for planning a self-supported bicycle tour.

And as for bears, sure, it’s attainable that you’ll encounter some while you’re on the market. I often don’t fear about them an excessive amount of (as they’re often extra fearful of you than you might be of them), however you may wish to get your self some bear spray and likewise educate your self on easy methods to grasp your meals at night time, and many others.

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Your Questions About Bicycle Touring – Bicycle Touring Professional  
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