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Photo by Colt Fetters
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.
I love being home for the holidays ... but I also have fond memories of Christmas on the road. There is something magical about celebrating a familiar holiday in a foreign land.
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.
I had to see the opening weekend of Invictus, Clint Eastwood's latest film about South Africa's epic run for the Rugby World Cup in 1995. Not because I'm a diehard Clint Eastwood fan, or a fan of the sport of rugby. I had to go because I was there.
I received a call from a member asking when would be the best time to start the tour she and her husband were planning for next spring. As the call continued, she told me she and her husband had crossed the U.S. last year. They had had a great time, but they were looking to up the adventure-factor for this next trip, and put together a killer loop using sections from four of our routes.
As I write this, snow covers the ground outside my window and the thermometer reads an absurd 20 degrees below zero. The cycling season has come to a screeching halt, obviously; now, however, the dreaming and planning wheels are spinning up to speed.
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.
As I write this sentence, the temperature in Seattle is 25°F. Pedaling around the city would be a blast ... except for the black ice. When the temps rise above freezing, that infamous Northwest drizzle will return.
Yes, there are those hardy individuals that embrace the cold and wet and freezing. For the rest, winter is a time to dream of warmer climates and climbs. Time to plan that next great bike trip that includes less ice and more ice cream.
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.
The beauty of cycling in India was seeing the country that most tourists and travelers were missing. I met a group of backpackers in Jaipur. They had bussed from Agra and their next stop was an overnight bus to the desert city of Jaisalmer. So much distance covered in the dark.
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.
When packing for a trip lasting anywhere from three weeks to three months, you might find that your gear needs can change dramatically from the beginning of your tour to the end. But why oh why carry that extra fleece jacket or pair of wool tights when you could send them to yourself on the road and save the weight and room in the meantime? And how to do this you ask? Simple, use the zip codes you find in the Service Directory on our maps.