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
Last week I received a note from a representative of Tourism New Zealand, with some pretty darn exciting news. "Tourism New Zealand has just announced the latest cycle trail opening on New Zealand’s national cycleway," wrote Kelly Stephens. "It is a stunning cycle loop with sweeping vistas. We thought this might be of interest to you to share with your readers."
Unlike other tours I've taken south of the border, this one presented some unique challenges. For starters, the route called for a mix of pavement, sand, and gravel roads. Heading into the Baja desert, we also needed to be sensitive to flat tires from thorns, in addition to hydration with temps much higher than what we're used to this time of year. Here's a rundown on the route, bike selection, equipment, and tools.
We have recently begun posting complete PDF versions of Adventure Cyclist on the Adventure Cycling Association website behind our member wall (see My Adventure Cycling), but this seems a bit primitive compared to the iOS and Android apps that are commonplace these days.
The smiles of the men in this picture, enjoying a beer after a long bike ride, help make up my mental collage of Colombia. They flew by us in a tightly packed pace line as we pedaled our heavily loaded, lumbering touring bikes out of Bogotá. Waves and smiles and they were gone.
Fun media find: This photograph of Adventure Cycling co-founder, June Siple, was picked up by a slew of fashionista-type blogs this year; first published in National Geographic in 1973.
Belt drive transmissions are probably best known in the motorsports world, where you can find them on a fair number of cruiser-style motorcycles. Over the past few years, they have been slowly working their way into the cycling scene, and are currently most commonly found on urban single-speed bikes. The benefits of belt drive over a bicycle chain, which you may already know, are that they are cleaner (since they don't require any kind of lubricant), quieter, and they last longer.
If you've ever used an Adventure Cycling map to navigate our network, you may remember seeing those brilliant pink lines that cross the route on the map panels. Those lines indicate where the narrative directions begin and end. In other words, before you can travel from map panel to map panel, you must first travel from matchline to matchline.
Today we welcome Greg Siple -- co-founder of Adventure Cycling and art director -- as a contributor to the blog.
Technical cycling apparel is never mandatory for touring, but it can make the miles go by a little more comfortably. As usual, this year's Interbike show was full of apparel companies showing off a wide range of styles, intended for numerous audiences. Since I prefer to put my money into my bikes and tours, any time I look at clothing I put a strong emphasis on durability. Here are some items that not only function well for touring, but will keep you covered for the long haul.
Last month, the editor of our Adventure Cyclist magazine took a look at Cateye's INOU, a GPS enabled camera and video recorder that mounts to your helmet or handlebars. I was a big fan of what he had to say about it, so I decided to borrow it for a few rides, and share some of the actual video that comes out of this little guy.
Panniers were everywhere at this year's Interbike show. There were a few new companies to be seen, a couple of veteran companies jumping into the pannier arena for the first time, and a lot of current pannier manufacturers bolstering and fine-tuning their existing supply.
Okay, maybe I can't really call our staff overnight epic (it was only 30 miles each way), but it was epic-ly fun! It was a great chance for everyone to get to ride together, have a look at Paul's hand-made bikepacking setup, and enjoy a lazy afternoon at a time of year when the evenings are still fairly long.
If you're interested in a new touring bike for next year, there's some great news. The pool of available bikes is on the rise! Here's a sampling of four new touring bikes for 2012, aimed at four different styles of touring.
In response to requests from members for an electronic version of the magazine, Adventure Cycling has rolled out the past year's issues in downloadable PDF format. We will continue to offer individual articles from many of our past issues in our publications archive, for anyone to access, but these full-issue downloads are available to current members only.
With the increasing number of Cyclists Only Lodging and Camping listings on our maps, we got to wondering how one of the first of these facilities was doing: the Community Center in Monroeville, Indiana. I was able to connect with some cyclists who had stayed there recently and asked.
Sometimes it's challenging to mix bike touring and fashion. A certain friend is fond of reminding me that I'm dressing for a bike ride, not for the prom, when I complain about my limited outfit options.
There I times that I feel as though the biggest obstacle to packing up and heading out on a bike tour is deciding on a route. The list of places to go, and cool things to see, is so long. How do you pick one route over another? The overwhelming choices can easily cause a person to drag his feet, and even spend years thinking about a tour, instead of going on one.
The time has finally arrived — the Underground Railroad Detroit Alternate, section 1, is ready to ride. Section 1 begins in Oberlin, Ohio, and travels northwest to Sandusky and Toledo before entering southern Michigan, traveling through significant historic communities including Adrian, Ann Arbor, and Detroit.
There’s a place you really should see. In the high desert of south-central Wyoming, “where the rivers change direction, across the Great Divide” (as sung by Nanci Griffith and others).
It isn't easy to look ahead to next year's touring season, especially when we're still in the middle of the current season, but I'm going to do it anyway. The motivation behind this is that a lot of bike companies are starting to slowly release their 2012 offerings as the industry trade-show season opens up. Since bicycle touring doesn't always chase trends and receive a ton of hype, it can be a little hard to dig out the new offerings for next season. But there are a few bikes worth mentioning as a sneak preview for things to come.
Switzerland has been busy over the past few years making bike travel a big part of their tourism program.
When we released the Sierra Cascades Bicycle Route maps in the spring of 2010, it was with our usual excitement. As the summer passed, we received the normal amount of corrections and additions associated with a first edition. What we didn't expect to receive was the feedback about the riding conditions of California State Highway 89 (SR 89). Cyclists were concerned about their safety, sharing this often shoulder-less highway with large vehicles — logging trucks in particular.