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
One trait many touring cyclists share is that they are not fair weathered riders. Even in the most predictable of climates, predicting the weather can make fools of us all, and I've been in that camp many times over. While this can seem disheartening to some, you can always be prepared for the worst. Rain jackets, pants, booties, gloves, and pannier covers are all easy choices for protection, while fenders are often forgotten.
Boo Cycles does not have a touring bike available at the moment, but there are three reasons I want to talk about them today.
One reason I have always been drawn to touring bikes is because they manage to withstand the test of time in many regards. They avoid trends, incorporate ideas that have been proven by time, and through simplicity, look very classy. The Raleigh Sojourn is stylish, yet unassuming from top to bottom, and the steel frame and fork comes with all the bells and whistles you would hope for in a touring bike. Spare spoke holders, pump peg, full fender and rack eyelets, three water bottle mounts, long wheelbase, and a slightly sloping top tube, which makes mounting and dismounting the bike a little easier.
Welcome to the second segment of internal hubs. Last week I took a look at the innovative NuVinci hub, as well as the very popular Rohloff Speedhub. This week, I'll check out two more competitors on the market that are a little more economical for the everyday rider.
While we haven't seen a lot of domestic riders in the U.S. using internal hubs, our European and around-the-world cycling contingents have been heavily spotted with this style of drive train over the years. Why haven't internal hubs become widely used for touring? For starters, it's an aftermarket product that goes against the current standard. When you purchase a bike with a cassette and derailleur that works just fine, it's hard to put down more money on something that is already functional.
Throughout the weeklong Interbike show, I noticed a few emerging trends among all the bikes and bicycle pieces and parts. One such trend is the concept of building a bike that could take you across the country on the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail one year, and down the spine of the Rockies on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route the next. You can call them dual-terrain, all-purpose, or all-arounders—but whatever you choose to call them, the following three are examples of this new style of bicycle.
There are few touring components that have been neglected by the industry more than wheels. Most stock touring bikes incorporate their own custom-built wheels to accommodate the rugged conditions they will face. This is great if you're purchasing a new bike; however, it can be frustrating if you're searching out a new wheelset for your existing bike. While discouraging, there are still ways to obtain the perfect wheelset in this situation, a custom build being among the best choices.
Designing a touring tire with the optimal mix of puncture resistance, durability, a plush feel, and a low rolling resistance is nothing short of difficult. Fortunately, Schwalbe has put out a plethora of touring style tires that balance out the different tire characteristics to fit a wide variety of rider preferences and terrain. On the flip side, having a large quantity of options can also be intimidating. Instead of running down all of the tires in Schwalbe's Marathon lineup, I'll hit three tires that provide a good representation of what they have to offer.
Few things are more frustrating than having to fix a flat tire on the road. If the weather is ideal, it's little more than an interruption to an otherwise excellent day. But if the weather is miserable, prepare to prolong your misery. No matter what the situation is, you want to get the tire fixed as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, a good frame pump or mini-pump will never compare to a good floor pump, but there are some out there that come close, and will get you back on the road in a hurry. Here are a few pointers to help you select the right pump for your needs.
The Trekk Seat Collar by Axiom is an excellent fix for riders who want to add a rear rack to their bicycle, but whose bikes lack the necessary eyelets. The seat collar provides two threaded eyelets that can be reached by most rear racks. The seat post clamp doesn't take on a great deal of load, so you can continue to figure your maximum load based on the recommendation of your particular rack. The only requirement for your bike is a set of fender eyelets near the rear dropouts, which most non-racing models will have.
I'm often asked by touring cyclists about tools. They are generally heavy, so you don't want to carry more than are necessary, but at the same time, not having the correct tools can leave you stranded. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when packing for the road. Terrain, climate, and bike setup can all influence your tool selection. To take some of the guess work out of the equation, here is my general roster of tools that keep me rolling with confidence.
While I don't recommend riding at night, there are times when it's simply unavoidable. For us eight-to-fivers, night rides are the only way to get out during the work week. There are those moments where a wrong turn or mechanical issue will set your arrival time back, and there are other times where you just don't want to finish your ride. Whatever puts you in the dark, you want to make sure you're safe, and prepared.
When touring loaded, your braking distance is increased. Making sure that your brakes and pads are in proper working order is always important, but having quick and easy access to your levers can also prove to be very beneficial.
August is a huge month for the bike industry, and for consumers as well. Manufacturers everywhere are starting to hint at their 2010 lineups, and closeouts on 2009 gear mean incredible deals for you. This leaves many cyclists asking themselves, what's the hottest item out there? Well, sit back and let me tell you. It's not a sleek, lugged steel frame, or a bombproof set of touring wheels. It's far from puncture proof tires, or an indestructible helmet. It just so happens that the biggest thing going on for cyclists right now is the weather.
You already probably know about bamboo shirts, skirts, socks, underwear, furniture, floors, paper, sheets, towels, plates, bowls, spoons, kitchen utensils, cleaning wipes, etc. But you may not have heard of the bamboo bicycle.
The Power Grip pedal strap is a great addition to just about any bike. Simple design in motion, it consists of a single strap, and just a few nuts and bolts. The strap attaches to most standard platform pedals, and installs in a matter of minutes. The tools needed for installation consist of a small Phillips screwdriver, needle nose pliers (to secure the nuts while turning the screws), and a 3mm allen wrench.
The Brooks B17 saddle is an excellent upgrade for any touring bike. Providing cyclists with miles of comfort for over 100 years, it's sure to receive respectful nods of approval from fellow riders. This handmade, leather saddle is made in England, and is one of the best selling saddles in their lineup thanks to its versatility. It will be right at home both on and off road. For all of you seasoned cyclists out there, this is old news to you. This post is for people just getting into cycling, and for those of you who have known about Brooks saddles, but for whatever reason, haven't made the jump.
We have seen riders aboard standard touring bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes, cyclocross bikes, recumbents, and tandems. Of all these bikes, there has been one make and model that has stood out as the clear favorite amongst tourists
Welcome to my weekly column. My name is Joshua Tack, and I'll be posting gear reviews and advice here every Saturday. When it comes to the best bikes, components, and accessories, there are no right answers, and you shouldn't expect to find them here. My aim is to provide you with useful information on touring equipment that will help you decide what will work best for you.