In a few short weeks, my fiance and I will be gearing up, and heading to Fairbanks, Alaska, to kick off a five- or six-month tour down to Mexico. If you're interested in our route, you can check out the outline we've got in mind here. So far, we've never managed to stay on route, always wandering around to nearby sights, so we'll see what happens in the end. If you want to follow our progress, we'll be updating our Tumblr page.
Anyway, the point of all this is that today marks my final blog post for this column. With that in mind, I had a hard time deciding on what to focus on, so I'm just going to throw out a potpourri of things I'm into for various reasons. Here we go!
Gravel Rides: We talk a lot about bicycle-friendly road features such as shoulders and rumble strips, in addition to being visible to traffic. These are definitely good conversations to have, but don't get so focused on paved roads that you forget about gravel. Farm roads, logging roads, and forest service roads are my favorite spots to ride. Slow-moving traffic at low volumes and quiet surroundings are a couple of perks. While the surface is rough, you can still get by on your 700x32 touring or cyclocross tires. In addition to gravel and dirt roads, I'm also a huge fan of the videos that NCC HAC Gravel Metric have been putting out.
Kamp-Rite Midget Bushtrekka: It's a pop-up camper for your bike. I won't recommend that you try to take this across the country, but I still think its awesome.
Salsa Fargo 2: I have a problem I'm going to need to address at some point. My last four tours have all been on different bikes (Cannondale XR800, Surly Long Haul Trucker, Ritchey Break Away Cross, Cannondale F4). This time around it's going to be a Salsa Fargo 2. For a tour that will be 50% paved, and 50% dirt, it's hard not to be excited about this bike. It's also just a blast to use on day rides no matter what style of riding you have planned.
Touring Hair Styles: Both Sarah and I are really into the idea of trying to grow out our hair while we're on this tour. I've never grown my hair out too far, but I'm hoping by the time we hit Montana, I look something like this.
TET Cycles: There's no shortage of custom bike frame manufacturers out there, but there is a shortage of custom builders with reasonable prices. Working with steel and aluminum, Tom Teesdale can handle bikes, trikes, and custom forks, all within an attractive price range.
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.
During the month of May, Adventure Cycling Association is hosting the Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. campaign to raise awareness and support for the U.S. Bicycle Route System. To learn more about the campaign, donate, or get involved, visit our fundraising page.