Adventure Cycling Blog

Photo by Adam Coppola

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

April 22, 2011
Procession
Procession

A policeman stopped our progress through the small town of Manteigas, Portugal. There was no traffic -- no apparent accident or emergency. We parked our bikes and waited.

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April 15, 2011
Rain Delay
Rain Delay

The photos in catalogs of bike rides and tours and special package trips are filled with blue skies and sun-drenched vistas.

But let's pause for a little reality check. Weather happens. Blue skies turn gray. Weather forecasts are often painfully wrong. Everyone wants a trip with perfect weather, but everyone's best stories and memories are more often than not, centered around less than perfect conditions.

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April 8, 2011
Alone on the Bike Path
Alone on the Bike Path

We followed the directions and soon found ourselves on a separated concrete path in the middle of four lanes of highway. But rather than being filled with glee, we were depressed. We were alone. We encountered not a single cyclist, and only one pedestrian in over 15 kilometers. And yet, we were completely surrounded by traffic. Thousands and thousands of vehicles spewing exhaust while limping along in a never-ending traffic jam.

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April 1, 2011
Chai--A Love/Hate Relationship
Chai--A Love/Hate Relationship

By conservative estimates, I drank nearly one thousand cups of chai during my 5-month bike journey in India. Every chai seller (like the one in the photo above) has his or her own recipe, but the basics are tea, milk, spices and as much sugar as will hold in solution.

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March 25, 2011
The Crater Lake Loop--Don't Miss It
The Crater Lake Loop--Don't Miss It

The phrase might sound trite and overused, but standing at the edge of Crater Lake in Oregon will "take your breath away."

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March 18, 2011
The Gift of Song
The Gift of Song

Then it was time for them to sing for us. They lined up and struggled through a couple of short songs. Then one of the teachers singled out one of the girls and called her to the front of the room.

She opened her mouth and a voice mature beyond her age filled the room. I still get goose bumps listening to it.

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March 11, 2011
Perks of a Summer Bike Trip
Perks of a Summer Bike Trip

There is nothing, nothing better than an ice cream sandwich on a hot, sweaty summer day. Well, maybe a triple-scoop ice cream cone ... or two ... followed by a milk shake ... or two.

But take the bicycle trip out of the equation of the above photo (and scenario), and you just have three guys getting fat in a campground. Not a pretty picture.

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March 4, 2011
School Shows
School Shows


You don't need to be an accomplished speaker, or be on an epic journey, to be an inspiration at a school. And you don't need to wait to be asked by a stranger on a scooter. Be the initiator.

If you are traveling by bike in a foreign land (or even your own country), stop at a local school and ask if they'd like you to talk about your travels. You'll be surprised how often your offer will be graciously accepted.

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February 25, 2011
Stand and Pedal
Stand and Pedal

I will nominate the saddle above as the most uncomfortable bike seat I've ever encountered. The bike was parked among several hundred other single speed bikes in downtown Havana.

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February 18, 2011
The Rolling of the Bulls
The Rolling of the Bulls

Instead of adult runners fleeing from thousands of pounds of angry bovines — you get scores of giggling kids running from realistic bull replicas rolling along on a bicycle tire.

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February 11, 2011
The Seven Wanders of Your World
The Seven Wanders of Your World

Where do you want to travel? It is a simple question that I find many people don't ask themselves. What are your travel dreams? Pedaling across the U.S.? Your own state? Alaska to Tierra del Fuego? A grand world tour?

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February 4, 2011
A View From the Bridge
A View From the Bridge

In the hot afternoon sun in northern Laos, Kat and I took a break mid-span on a bridge crossing a river. The river was smooth. Barely a ripple. And the water was slate gray/green in color.

We heard laughter upriver and saw something floating toward us.

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January 28, 2011
Bottle Exchange
Bottle Exchange

One of the few racing cyclists I met while I was in Cuba was a young man named Alexie. He came over to chat with me in a small town in the province of Pinar del Rio (west of Havana).

I thought he was interested in my bike. It was a Rodriguez, which is a common surname in Cuba. But I later found out he wasn’t interested in the frame or the brakes or the tires. He was interested in one of my water bottles.

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January 25, 2011
Happiness?
Happiness?

The whole morning we struggled to push our bicycles up the steep mountain pass.

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January 21, 2011
The Siren Song of the Road
The Siren Song of the Road

Perhaps it is the road sign in a foreign language — the seemingly unending lane lined with towering bamboo. Where is the road going? And what is around the next bend?

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January 14, 2011
The Old Road
The Old Road

Old roads are more often narrow and follow the contour of the land. They meander. Sure, they aren't as smooth as a brand new road, but I'll take an old, bumpy scenic road any day.

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January 7, 2011
Early Morning Visitor
Early Morning Visitor

We heard the tinkling of bells, high up above our tent site in eastern Turkey. It had to be a flock of sheep or goats ... or both. But we scanned the steep mountains around us and couldn't make out anything a thousand feet above our campsite.

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December 31, 2010
The Hill
The Hill

"Hey Mister. Did you come all the way up the hill?"

I looked to behind me to the west and then ahead to the east. It was flat as the eye could see. I hadn't encountered a hill for at least a week.

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December 24, 2010
Holiday Medley
Holiday Medley

Our latest bike journey ended in the beautiful city of Sevilla (Seville), Spain.

I'm a sucker for Christmas/holiday music and also a huge fan of street performers. These musicians add life to any city. And I love being in the crush of holiday crowds ... especially when I'm observing, rather than shopping.

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December 17, 2010
"Coasting" in Portugal
"Coasting" in Portugal

The west coast in the Alentejo offers dramatic cliffs, stunning views, and little-to-no traffic. You'll have to work to get there. Due to the topography, there isn't a long continuous coast-hugging route. But the small sections that are accessible by bicycle are well worth the effort.

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December 10, 2010
Seville: Another City Embraces the Bicycle
Seville: Another City Embraces the Bicycle

We only planned to bicycle to Seville to catch the train to Madrid after our 2 1/2 month pedal around Portugal. Little did we know that we were headed into one of the fastest growing "bicycle cities" on the planet.

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December 3, 2010
Ecovias
Ecovias

I'd always heard that the Algarve region in Portugal was beach resorts and concrete, connected by too much asphalt. Kat and I were pleasantly surprised to stumble upon a sign for an Ecovia. Ecovias are bike routes that use already existing smaller roads and dirt paths to create an alternative route through the Algarve.

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November 26, 2010
Our 4 mph Hero
Our 4 mph Hero

No campground or hotel we were assured. The sun was low in the sky. No time to pedal to the next town.

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November 19, 2010
Zêzere Valley Ride
Zêzere Valley Ride

The tapestry of sounds will live in our memories, as vivid as the blue sky above the Zêzere Valley.

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November 12, 2010
Blade Runner
Blade Runner

We had left the main highway for a smaller road to avoid truck traffic. But here one came--a large, over-sized truck. We did a double take as it got closer. This truck's payload was enormous.

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