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. Interested in becoming a guest blogger for Adventure Cycling? Share your story with us.
Photo by Colt Fetters
Oh no you didn't! Valentine's Day is less than 24 hours away, and you're empty handed? If you're reading this, there's a decent chance both you and your sweetheart are cycling aficionados, and that might be all it takes to save the day. Here are some cycling related gifts that require little effort, and don't need to be shipped to your door.
You can find disc brakes standard on just about any mountain bike, but slowly, some stock touring bikes are experimenting with disc brakes on a few models. The Jamis Aurora Elite, Kona Sutra, GT Peace Tour are a few companies that are starting to stock touring bikes with disc brakes.
A few months ago I put up a post about S&S couplings. Reading through some of the comments on that post, I was thrilled to see someone mention the Ritchey Break Away system. While Ritchey does not offer a true touring bike, their Steel Break-Away Cross Bike is an excellent choice for long distance touring, and it's the bike I chose for my most recent, month-long, loaded tour of Mexico.
Whether you prefer your pedals to be platform, clipless, or toe strap, the Shimano PD-M324 pedal can accommodate you. While Shimano bills this as an all-purpose mountain bike pedal, it has rapidly become one of my favorite pedals for touring.
No matter where in the world your bike travels take you, one accessory to remember to drop in your pack is a bike lock. It's not that people can't be trusted, for the most part, the strangers you encounter will be far more courteous than you would expect. But there is a great deal of money and often sentimental value put into a bike, and you want to make sure it is safe from misfortune (especially if you are camping, and are unable to store your bike behind a locked door).
The FiberFix Spoke is one of those products I would rather not have to review, but two days ago I heard the unfortunate 'ping' of a spoke breaking. Normally I tote along a few spare steel spokes, but I've heard a lot of talk about the FiberFix option, and decided to give it a shot.
All my life I have toured with panniers, and this marks the first time I´ve made my transition to a trailer. It's not that I have anything against panniers, or want to jump in on the debate as to which is more efficient. I just wanted to see what all the hype was about.
With 3.7" tires, the Surly Pugsley is best suited for the snow and sand, but like most bikes, it has broken out of its intended niche and has been utilized for commuting, mountain bike races, and touring.
Trips back home to Iowa always bring me back to my cycling past. Familiar roads, memories of RAGBRAI, and my first true touring bike, a Trek 520. The Trek 520 was first introduced in 1983, and continues to make its way through the production line as one of the most popular touring bikes today. With a large following, there seems to be no slowing down for this model.
While the winter season often means that you spend less time on your bike, it doesn't necessarily mean that you should spend less time with it. Your bike has seen many miles throughout the course of the year, and this is an excellent time to give it a tuneup before you zero out your cycle computer and start logging the miles for 2010.
Have you been thinking about taking a bicycle tour, but don't yet know how to pack your panniers? With more than nine years of bicycle travel experience under my belt, these are the seven things I recommend you keep in mind when packing your panniers for your next big bicycle touring adventure.
Black Friday may be over, but that doesn't mean you can't find some great gifts for the cyclist in your family or circle of friends. Whether you're buying for the holidays, a birthday, or just because you in a generous mood, here are ten bike products under $25 that any rider can appreciate.
Winter will be setting in shortly, but that doesn't mean the riding season is coming to an end. While we don't see a lot of people on extended tours through the winter months, there are still plenty of folks hitting the road to stay in riding shape for their early 2010 tours. Here are some tips to help keep you as comfortable as possible while riding outdoors in the cold, and hopefully they will make the winter months seem less intimidating, and get you in the shape you need to be in to make your next tour more enjoyable.
As airline fees for bikes continue to climb, so does the popularity of bike couplings. The most common option right now is the S & S system, which allow the main triangle of your bike to be disassembled at the top tube and downtube by threaded couplings. Through doing this, you can get most bikes to fit in a case that can be checked as regular luggage on a plane.
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.