The Adventure Cycling blog covers bicycle-travel news, touring tips and gear, bicycle routes, organizational news, membership highlights, guided tours, and more. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for daily updates.
Photo by Adam Coppola
Adventure Cycling was established as Bikecentennial in 1974 by two couples: Dan and Lys Burden, and Greg and June Siple. Simply put, they were visionaries who wished to bring the joy of bicycle travel to more people. Here's a postcard from Hemistour -- mailed 37 years ago -- written as Greg and June crossed the equator in Ecuador, May 7, 1974!
Being a bookworm is not the most convenient of bike touring habits.
Why $1500? It seemed like a good round number that included a lot of cool bikes with great builds at a reasonable price. Today's post is sort of an addendum to that list; it includes some bikes that I missed last year, plus some new bikes for the 2011 season.
WomanTours is currently a gold-level corporate member. They came on as a supporter last year during our U.S. Bike Route System fundraiser (which is happening again this May). Our relationship with them, however, goes back several years, as they have used our maps for many of their tours. Jackie Marchand, the company's owner, took time to answer some of our questions and tell us more about their unique company.
It's that time of year at Adventure Cycling when we're starting to get a lot of phone calls from cyclists wondering how many miles they should ride per day on their upcoming tour. If I were asked this by someone I knew well, and had ridden with on many occasions, I would feel pretty comfortable throwing out a ballpark figure. Talking to someone I have not even met, on the other hand, makes guessing a number not just incredibly difficult, but irresponsible on my part.
I know that the current trend is toward low-sodium diets, but I tend to have pretty low sodium to start with, and as it warms up and I spend even more time in the sun I really have to work hard to maintain my salt intake. Folks who spend a lot of time sweating need a lot more sodium (and a lot more fluid!) than sedentary individuals, and there are lots of ways to get it.
Keeping the mud and dirt off your bike isn't mandatory, but it's not a bad idea, for a variety of reasons. For one, it can make it easier to identify frame defects and damaged components, in addition to making it easier to work on your bike in general. It can also help extend the life of some parts, such as your chain, cassette, cables, and housing.
Quality Bicycle Products (QBP) is currently our only Titanium Level Corporate Sponsor. They are also the parent company of Salsa and Surly bicycles, both among staff favorites for their own rides. Steve Flagg, the company's founder, took a few minutes to give us some insight into his company and their passion for cycling.
When planning out a bike trip, it is really easy to focus solely on the route from point A to point B. However, once you hit the road, you may find a town that you are crazy about and want to hang out in for a few days, or perhaps you will hear from locals about some incredible sights that are 10 miles perpendicular to your direction of travel.
Now that spring has officially arrived, many of our thoughts are turning to summer adventures. Most of us may still be stuck at our desks, but there's an online game to help fuel the stoke (and mentally prepare for the hardships) of bicycle travel. Ray Swartz recently created "Armchair Bike Touring" to virtually recreate the experience, complete with scenic photo stops, broken spokes, and endless snacking.
Spring may be here, but it hasn’t sprung at our place in the Wyodaho Tetons. We have four feet of snow on the level, and it's still coming down as I write this. But just across the road there’s a foothills ridge, wind-scoured and south-facing, that will be free of the white stuff soon.
It is really hard to beat a solid set of fenders that are bolted to your frame and fork, I won't argue that. However, there are a few clip-on fenders that offer great coverage, durability, and versatility. Clip-on fenders are a good option (maybe your only option) if you don't have fender eyelets, or perhaps you have multiple bikes and want to swap a set of fenders from one to the other quickly.
Winners of the 2nd Annual Adventure Cycling Photo Contest.
This coming week, I'll be traveling with Adventure Cycling's special projects director, Ginny Sullivan, to the 10th annual National Bike Summit. The summit has come a long way since its inception when, as Congressman Jim Oberstar joked, you could fit the attendees in a phone booth.
With spring right around the corner, and the daylight hours increasing, it's an exciting time for cyclists looking forward to putting in some miles. However, the early spring season can be a challenging time to ride as far as flat tires are concerned, especially in the northern climes. There's a lot of gravel, glass, and miscellaneous debris on the road that gets covered up by snow through the winter, only to rear its ugly head as the snow melts. On top of this, the conditions are often damp, and road debris tends to stick to bicycle tires better when the tires are wet. So, making sure you have a good barrier between the surface of your tire and the air inside your tube can be very important.
I get emails all the time from people who ask: “I'm planning to go on a bicycle tour sometime soon. What kind of touring bicycle should I get?”
Yesterday, Mo and I were taking our picture in a photo booth (long story) and we started talking about how fun it would be to take a tour where the theme was photo-booth portraits.
Looking back (and a little bit forward) on a season of winter riding, the Canari Static Jammer gloves were a big surprise for me. Just looking at them, they don't appear to be padded up enough to handle the cold winter bite, but the windproof/waterproof fabric does a great job of keeping your hands protected, while allowing some breathing room to keep too much moisture from building up inside.
We've met with many states over the past couple of years about the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS). As we move from awareness building to the implementation process, it's become exceedingly important that states and their partners understand the vision as well as the "how to" of getting it done.
On a mountain bike, space is often at a premium. One of the most effective places to cut both space and weight on a bicycle camping trip is your shelter. Even light solo tents usually weigh two to three pounds and take up quite a bit of space. Bivy sacks can feel claustrophobic and don't always provide the best protection from the weather. A great method is to use a SilNylon or polyethylene "tarp," rope, and stakes to construct a barrier from the elements.
About a month ago, I wrote up some tips for purchasing a used bike. What I neglected to include in that post was where you could go to find a used bike. In the past, I have found places such as Ebay, Craigslist, and local listservs for bicycle clubs useful. These are all good places to find a used bike; however, in some cases, your local bike shop can also be a good starting point.
If you've ever used an Adventure Cycling map you already know that they include a very valuable tool called the Service Directory. We've never told the businesses we list there that they are on our maps; we've never asked these businesses if they are enjoying having cyclists at their stores and in their communities. And we've never talked to those businesses to let them know what they can do to be more bike-travel friendly. What does this have to do with those images at the tops of our maps?
Even when you're out on tour, you may find yourself riding around town in the dark. Maybe you're heading to the store to stock up on food, or checking out the nightlife away from camp. In such cases, it's a good idea to make sure you are visible to traffic. While headlights and tail lights are great for this, you also want to be seen from the side, especially at intersections. Spoke reflectors are certainly helpful, but they aren't a lot of fun. If you really want to make your presence known, the Bike Glow is worth taking a look at.
A couple of years ago, I received an email from a writer pitching me an idea that she thought our readers would be interested in. Seems the town of Twin Bridges, Montana — almost in Adventure Cycling’s backyard — was in the process of establishing some sort of accommodations for cyclists.