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

September 27, 2013
The Perfect Day
The Perfect Day

Almost any day on a bike trip is a good day. But every once in a while, a perfect day comes along. I don't have an official checklist of what qualifies a day as being perfect. But there are those days when your heart sings, and you couldn't keep a smile off your face if you tried. They are the days that first pop into your mind when it's been too long since your last bicycle journey.

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September 13, 2013
Overloaded
Overloaded

When it comes to the stuff I carry on my bike, no one would ever accuse me of being an ultralight bike traveler. When traveling solo, I've been known to pedal with a tent big enough for me and my bicycle. Before the digital camera revolution, a large portion of one of my panniers was devoted to 80 rolls of slide film. I regularly find room to pack a bottle (or two) of wine. How much is too much? 20 lbs? 40 lbs? 60 lbs of gear?

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August 23, 2013
School Encounters
School Encounters

It's always fun to pedal by a school on a bike trip. A bicycle loaded down for an adventure is always a draw. The reaction can vary from polite waves, to smiles and shouted hellos, to all out classroom-emptying chaos. I've never been a rock star, but there are times on the road when I think I've experienced what it's like.

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August 9, 2013
Traffic Dance
Traffic Dance

When we first pedaled up to this intersection, I thought I'd see an accident within sixty seconds. This traffic dance fascinated me. An hour later, not a single scrape. How could that be possible without any traffic signals, stop signs, or traffic cops?

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July 26, 2013
Roadside Smiles: Cambodia
Roadside Smiles: Cambodia

At first glance, Cambodia doesn't have the elements most travelers are looking for in a bike trip — there are few paved roads and lots of dust. The country is relatively flat, so no epic mountain passes to climb. And yet, this small country is one of our favorites.

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July 12, 2013
Biking Bangkok
Biking Bangkok

Kat and I first encountered Bangkok traffic from the perspective of the backseat of a taxi. The chaos of any big city can be daunting. Though neither of us spoke the words, I know we were both thinking, "Not going to bike here." But over years of travel, both of us have learned that first impressions are often wrong.

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June 28, 2013
Taking the Slow Path in Thailand
Taking the Slow Path in Thailand

I enjoy the luscious sense of freedom and speed of a long, well earned, downhill. But more often, the most memorable travel moments come when I am forced to slow down.

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June 14, 2013
The Reluctant Traveler
The Reluctant Traveler

I look into the frightened eyes of this lovely, friendly little animal that I adore, and am reminded that conquering fear is almost always an incremental process.

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May 15, 2013
The Bond of the Muddy Road
The Bond of the Muddy Road

The back roads of Laos can be a challenge, even when they are dry. But add water and you have a road surface that can be both slick as glass and sticky as tar. The rains come often to the Bolaven Plateau, where some of the most expensive coffee in the world is grown.

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March 22, 2013
Cargo Bike on a Budget
Cargo Bike on a Budget

Cargo bikes are all the rage these days. Each year more amazing models hit the marketplace. For someone who hasn't owned a car for eight years, a bike with a lot of carrying capacity is high on my list of desires. Hauling a couple of bags of compost, and/or large ceder boards for a garden project is not an easy task with your average bike.

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March 8, 2013
Bikes and Kites
Bikes and Kites

There are two items that represent the joy of childhood to me: bikes and kites. Riding a bike was easy for me. Flying a kite ... not so much.If I crashed my bike as often as I crashed my kites as a kid, I wouldn't be alive today. Watching the kids in Myanmar fly their kites with an ease I've never known, I suppose my mistake was always going for the largest kite at the store--bigger was better. Except that no matter how fast I ran, my kite would get about 50 feet off the ground, start doing pinwheels, suddenly nose dive, and crash with a fatal thud.

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February 22, 2013
Two Views (Can be Better Than One)
Two Views (Can be Better Than One)

Instead of cycling the main highway in Southern Laos, we opted to pedal the tracks and foot paths along the Mekong. It was slow going, but the ability to be so close to people's daily lives was worth the effort. One early morning we came upon a man who was busy mending a fishing net. I asked if could take a photo and positioned myself so I could capture his silhouette. He was such a master at his craft that his movements, rather than being abrupt, were balletic. Kat was on the opposite side and snapped a photo of the fisherman in the glorious morning light.

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December 29, 2012
The Day of a Thousand Hellos
The Day of a Thousand Hellos

Just how many times did I say "hello" today? I asked myself that question recently in Cambodia (where we are currently cycling). We have been greeting warmly everywhere in this country, but while cycling the tiny roads and paths along The Mekong, the greeting got intense.

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December 21, 2012
The Faces of Bicycle Travel #5
The Faces of Bicycle Travel #5

The smell of wood smoke is in the air along with the squeals of little pigs darting across the road. The roads had wound up and down for days (500-foot to 2,000-foot climbs all day long) as we crossed from one river drainage to the next. There were no restaurants or stores to be found, so we asked a local if she would cook us breakfast. She held a newborn in one arm as she fried up spicy eggs with greens and sticky rice over a wood fire. We kept glancing up to see dozens of kids peeking in to see the foreigners. We emerged out into the brilliant blue sky of the highlands of northern Laos.

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November 30, 2012
The Faces of Bicycle Travel #4
The Faces of Bicycle Travel #4

It is 2:00 am in the little town of Remedios. The Las Parrandas festival has been raging since early evening. The contest pits the two main barrios in town (San Salvador and Carmen) against each other in a show of pageantry, music, lights, and fireworks. Thousands of people have crammed into the town square for the festivities, and Kat is somewhere on the other side of the square with my recorder and microphone collecting sounds.

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November 9, 2012
The Faces of Bicycle Travel #3
The Faces of Bicycle Travel #3

I call this photo Candy Break. I’m at a small roadside store (a shack dangerously perched on the side of the narrow winding road) high up in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh. It is early morning and I’m in search of chocolate. Most of the desserts in India are insanely sweet even for a sweet tooth like mine, and I’m losing too much weight. I discover a chocolate bar that most merchants carry, and I eat at least five a day.

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October 26, 2012
The Faces of Bicycle Travel #2
The Faces of Bicycle Travel #2

We are lying down on the cool tile floor of the kitchen. The smell of fresh tortillas mingles with perfume. A conversation on the side of the road while cycling down the Baja Peninsula led to an invitation to Adriano’s place in La Paz.

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October 12, 2012
The Faces of Bicycle Travel #1
The Faces of Bicycle Travel #1

I have thousands and thousands of images from my bicycle travels throughout the world -- boxes and binders filled with color slides and folders of digital images of street scenes, flowers, sunsets, roads, and landscapes. Each photo represents a moment in time and travel that I deemed worthy of capturing. Yet, if you randomly selected an image and asked for my reaction, it just might be, “I took that?”

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September 28, 2012
Passport to Pain
Passport to Pain

I'm not a big organized bike ride guy. Most of my riding has been solo or very small group travel (like two people). But when I heard the concept behind "The Passport to Pain," I couldn't resist signing up. The ride had at least three things going for it. It was close (Vashon Island is a ferry ride away from my home in Seattle). It was one day (pain is best in limited doses). And it was creative (the concept is brilliant).

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September 14, 2012
Beyond Garden Gnomes
Beyond Garden Gnomes

If you were speeding along in a car on the road from Haines to Haines Junction in Alaska, the above scene might seem normal -- a young kid on a bike pedaling up the driveway, the American and Alaska state flags flying. You might wonder why the family had a phone both out by the road.

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August 24, 2012
Bike Trip Theme Songs
Bike Trip Theme Songs

Every bicycle journey has a theme song. At least all of mine do. A tune that fits the mood of the journey ... or describes the place you are pedaling through ... or sometimes it's just the tune that is incessantly playing on every radio.

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August 10, 2012
The Hidden Gem
The Hidden Gem

Kat and I got out of the city (Seattle) last weekend. We took the Amtrak (reserved two spots on the luggage car bike rack) up to Bellingham with plans to bike out to Birch Bay. Not far out of Bellingham our map indicated a bike trail that ran along the Nooksack River. We always enjoy the opportunity to get off the road, so we pulled into an empty gravel parking lot.

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July 13, 2012
Looking Up
Looking Up

Sometimes our super-saturated, media-driven world can get me down. The sheer amount of bad news one can ingest in a single day via the internet, radio and television can be overwhelming. That's when I want to get on my bike and ride. 

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June 22, 2012
Campfires
Campfires

Campfires. I have always loved them. Loved the heat they provide. The crackle that fills the otherwise stillness of night. The hypnotic dancing of flames that can hold my attention longer than most feature films. I even love the pungent smell that lingers on your clothes long after the last embers fade.

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June 8, 2012
The Great Bicycle Journey Budget Stretcher
The Great Bicycle Journey Budget Stretcher

Time is money. Which is a good thing, because I have a whole lot more time than the green stuff. Carrying a tent has always been the great bicycle journey budget stretcher. The cost of hotels can be pricey. On a three month trip, that cost can be devastating. Especially if you are traveling in a part of the world where lodging is expensive.

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