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
Just because we're moving into summer doesn't mean that you're in the clear as far as rain is concerned. Getting soaked is one thing, but getting yourself and all of your gear drenched can really dampen your mood. Fortunately, staying dry doesn't require a ton of additional gear that will fill up your panniers/trailers when the sun is out. Here's a quick rundown on some solid rain gear for your body and equipment.
There is an art to knowing which travel advice to embrace and which to ignore.
Every touring cyclist has had the experience of some local telling them that the road up ahead is flat, only to discover that it is hillier beyond belief. Or that the next town is just over the ridge, when there are three ridges to climb over.
The truth of the matter is that I'm a shy person. I'm a friendly person, I'm just shy. I feel nervous around new people, and it takes me awhile to think of things to say. Sometimes I blurt out really awkward things at first, just to top it all off. Needless to say, doing the traditional things new friends do isn't that appealing to me: sitting around over a cup of coffee trying to think of conversation topics is basically a fate worse than death.
Any time I'm planning out a trip, regardless of location or distance, the very first thing I do is break into an Excel spreadsheet. Keeping things organized in my head has never been one of my stronger suits, so I need to get it all down on a list before something else grabs my attention. Lists also give me a little more confidence going into a tour as reassurance that the things I've planned for have been taken care of.
In recent weeks I have come across a couple of indications that the hidden gem of a route known as the Allegheny Mountains Loop is growing in popularity. The route covers terrain both paved and gravel with grades ranging from 1 percent to a steep 18 percent. It also provides lots of opportunities to enjoy a more primitive style of camping, with regular indoor lodging stops available, as well.
Piggybacking on our pannier discussion of last week, I want to introduce a newer bag that's a little more urban. The Arkel Switchback is designed to take you from the office/school to the grocery store to the gym, in one fell swoop.
When looking through different types of cycling apparel, short-fingered cycling gloves for the warm season are easy to miss. For starters, the idea of wearing gloves when it is 80 degrees and sunny out doesn't seem completely intuitive. With shorter rides, you may not feel any discomfort or need for cycling gloves, so packing them up for a longer trip may not even cross your mind. Also, some people just don't find them necessary, kind of like the guy who isn't too concerned about cycling shorts, and rides across the country in cut-off jeans. Everyone has a preference that works for them. But if you're new to cycling, or just haven't given much thought to cycling gloves, be aware that they do offer benefits you may appreciate.
Based on some of the phone calls and emails we get, it seems the "Riding Conditions" section on our route network maps is often overlooked. Probably not on purpose; I mean, you just bought a map, right? So you open it up and are looking at the maps, and you can get engrossed in seeing where you are heading. However, reading the "Riding Conditions" is worth your time, I promise.
We're only a couple of months into prime touring season — and the weather's been less than hospitable for bicycle touring, at least here in the Northwest.
Pretty much once a week someone calls and says, "So, just lay it out for me. Which are better? Ortlieb or Arkel panniers?" If only it were that easy! First off, I'll start out by saying that Arkel (Canada) and Ortlieb (Germany) are both fantastic companies that stand behind their products. If you ever have any problems with them, you'll have no problem getting them warrantied or replaced.
I've lost count of the number of times I've jumped off my bicycle and raced to get that perfect sunset shot, only to be disappointed with the results. The images are usually washed out and boring; nothing like the dramatic event I witnessed in person.
One of the easiest and most liberating ways to travel by bicycle is traveling without a bicycle — renting, that is. For many, renting a bike after arriving at a destination is the perfect solution. If you have ever considered traveling to a far-off land and renting a bicycle once you arrived there, the following is a short breakdown of some of the places you might find a bicycle for rent.