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

October 2, 2010
Three New Bikes from Salsa
Three New Bikes from Salsa

I was happy to see someone comment last week on the newly updated Salsa Casseroll. Salsa has been super busy over the past year updating and adding to their already impressive line of adventure-oriented bikes, so here's a rundown of a few bikes that I was excited to check out last week, starting with the Casseroll.

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September 25, 2010
Brooks, Tubus, and Co-Motion at Interbike
Brooks, Tubus, and Co-Motion at Interbike

After a long hiatus, the Brooks Colt saddle is making a comeback, and this time in color. In it's former life, the Colt was a widely popular premium saddle for road and touring bikes. With deep sides that help prevent chaffing, and a very thick hide, this saddle was known for it's durability, and we still spot some older models on touring bikes here and there, so perhaps we shouldn't call it a comeback. The new saddles will have some unique colors (thanks to natural vegetable dyes), which can add some additional flare to your touring bike.
 

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September 23, 2010
Surly, Ergon, and Shimano at Interbike
Surly, Ergon, and Shimano at Interbike

Lastly, Shimano had their new Alfine 11spd internal hub out on display. It looks to be a great improvement over their 8spd internal hub. The new hub not only gives you a larger range of gears, but improves shifting and rolling efficiency, and even manages to shed some weight over the previous model.

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September 22, 2010
Snow Bikes and Frame Bags
Snow Bikes and Frame Bags

The Dirt Demo portion of Interbike's week long schedule wrapped up yesterday afternoon in Boulder City, NV. For the most part, the touring bikes were being reserved for the indoor show, but we were still able to find some cool stuff to share with you.

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September 21, 2010
Adventure Cycling Association at Interbike

The 2010 edition of the bicycle industry expo, known as Interbike, is taking place this week in Las Vegas, Nevada. For the cycling industry, it is a chance for bicycle related manufacturers, dealers, advocates, and members of the media to get together and have an up close and personal look at the current and future state of the industry.

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September 18, 2010
Blackburn AirStik 2Stage Pump
Blackburn AirStik 2Stage Pump

It's hard to beat the efficiency, and nostalgic look, of a frame pump mounted under the top tube of a touring bike. Unfortunately, if you have multiple bikes, such as touring and mountain bike, a frame pump may not fit on both frames, making a pocket sized pump a more economical option.

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September 11, 2010
Reaching the Summit
Reaching the Summit

When I read about tips for climbing better on a bike, rest assured there is almost always some mention of power to weight ratios. This is great if you are trying to beat your friends to the top, but when your bike is loaded with 40 pounds of touring gear, thinking about your power to weight ratio is just depressing, so let's not focus on that.

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September 4, 2010
Hotel Etiquette
Hotel Etiquette

Respect is something everyone has to earn. As traveling cyclists, that can sometimes be harder to remember — but even during moments of frustration, we should always keep in mind that whenever we are out riding, we're ambassadors for current and future riders. One area where we may forget our duties as ambassadors is when we finish the day's ride and check into the comfort of a hotel or motel room.

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August 28, 2010
Cycling with a Backpack

While you can usually fit all of your touring gear in panniers, or a trailer, we see many people adding a small backpack into the mix. For some riders, this incorporates a hydration bladder that either replaces water bottles, or adds some hydration range between refill stops. For others, it can sometimes replace a set of panniers, if you're in between the need for two and four panniers. I like to haul a small pack along to keep some small items on hand for quick, off-the-bike excursions, such as my camera, wallet, some food, maps, and a book.

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August 21, 2010
Varieties of Handlebars

Changing handlebar styles can significantly change the character of your bike. Sometimes a change is needed for comfort, while other times you simply want to spice up your ride a bit. Here's a brief look at four of the most common handlebar styles that we see roll through the Adventure Cycling office -- might give you some ideas for any upcoming retrofits to your touring bike.

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August 14, 2010
Custom Footwear
Custom Footwear

Contact points on the bicycle (handlebars, saddle, and pedals) are areas that can often lead to discomfort when riding long distances, or stringing multiple days together. To some extent there is a natural break-in period, for both your equipment and your body, and only way to work through this period is to put in the time and miles. I have had good luck with saddles in the past, but for the feet, I have always found myself drifting towards a quicker fix, as hot spots while riding has been an issue for me over the years.

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August 7, 2010
Velocity DYAD Rim Gets Halo Coating
Velocity DYAD Rim Gets Halo Coating

Velocity DYAD rims are hard to beat for touring. They sit a little wider than most rims at 24mm, which helps prevent pinch flats when running wider tires, such as a 700x32 touring tire, and offers a sturdy and comfortable ride. The rims lack spoke eyelets, which on the surface can appear as a weak point, but the V-profile adds more than enough strength near spoke nipples to eliminate the need of eyelets. In fact, if you were to cut a cross-section of the rim, you would see a reassuring amount of material near the spoke holes.
 

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July 31, 2010
Crank Brothers Candy Pedals
Crank Brothers Candy Pedals

While most often seen on mountain bikes, the Crank Brothers Candy pedals are an excellent option for touring. Building on their popular Egg Beater pedal, the company's Candy series has a small platform, measuring 3" wide by 2.5" long, to give you some additional pedal support while touring. They also make it easier to do short commutes in everyday shoes.

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July 26, 2010
Fresh Cycling/Touring Gear Preview from Europe
Fresh Cycling/Touring Gear Preview from Europe

The following items are some of my favorite stuff from the show (please note that some of these products will not be available until 2011):

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July 24, 2010
Biking with Bears

As the summer warms up, many touring cyclists escape to the high, often shady elevations of our Great Divide Mountain Bike Route to beat the heat. This off-road route offers riders plenty of unique challenges in regards to terrain, weather, and unexpected obstacles like downed trees. Other features include isolated camping sites and plenty of wildlife, including bears, especially along the northern half of the route.

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July 20, 2010
Tips For Cycling With A Partner
Tips For Cycling With A Partner

A joy shared is a joy doubled" the saying goes, and it's true that bike touring with a partner can indeed be double the fun of a solo tour. A cycling buddy means there's always someone to celebrate milestones with, lend a hand when you get a flat tire, and chat with around the campsite in the evenings.

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July 17, 2010
Pannier Rain Covers
Pannier Rain Covers

Panniers seem to be the most common option chosen by self-contained bicycle tourists for carrying their gear. I don't have a real strong preference for one pannier brand over another — but one rule I do follow is to always keep pannier rain covers on hand. And so should you (unless, of course, you have waterproof panniers, such as the Ortlieb Bike Packer or Axiom Typhoon).

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July 10, 2010
Touring Footwear

Finding the right footwear for touring is like most things associated with bicycle travel: Your selection will change depending on the style of tour you have ahead of you, and over time you will settle into preferences that work best for you. To get started, here are some options that have worked well for me in the past.
 

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July 3, 2010
Small Items to Remember
Small Items to Remember

When packing up for a tour, I tend to put a big focus on the essentials (tools, tent, sleeping bag, cookware, clothes, etc). Here are three items that may or may not be necessities, so they can be easy to neglect. But all of them are beneficial to have along.

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June 26, 2010
Saving Money on a Custom Build
Saving Money on a Custom Build

Building a bike from the frame up can be exciting. It gives you the opportunity to fine tune the bike to your specific needs, and can give your bike some additional character to set it apart from others. The problem I often run into with building bikes from scratch is that the price can quickly get out of hand. To help maintain a reasonable budget for a custom build, it's important to spend money on key components, and hold back on more trivial parts. Here are some examples I have put into my own builds.

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June 19, 2010
The Creaks

Locating a creak coming from your bike can be a tricky thing to do. While the noise almost always seems to be emanating from the bottom bracket, there are also a handful of additional suspects that are (fortunately) easier to fix.

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June 12, 2010
2XU Compression Wear

Recently, the use of compression wear among athletes has been increasing rapidly. What was once a product focused towards providing support and improved blood flow for people with poor blood circulation, has now taken on a performance oriented design. 2XU, based out of Australia, is one the industry leaders in compression gear, and their compression socksleggings, and tights are now permanently inked under the 'staples' section of my touring pack-list.

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June 5, 2010
Custom Frame Bags

Kicking off this Friday will be the Tour Divide, a 2,745-mile self-supported mountain bike race from Banff, Canada, to Antelope Well, New Mexico, on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. While this event isn't what most people would consider touring, the requirement that all riders must transport their own supplies from Canada to the U.S.-Mexico border brings out some nice gear that can used by us mere mortals. The most visible of which is the frame bags that are used by many of the riders.

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June 3, 2010
7 Free Ways To Entertain Yourself On Your Travels... Without Your Bicycle
7 Free Ways To Entertain Yourself On Your Travels... Without Your Bicycle

Traveling by bike is a blast! But sometimes you need a break from the long days in the saddle and want to do something away from your bicycle that is both fun and free.

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May 29, 2010
26" Wheels

Every so often, I get an email asking whether or not a person should move from a 700c road wheel to a 26" wheel for touring. My touring experience has predominantly been aboard 700c wheels, but there are some good reasons to give a 26" wheel some thought.

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