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
If I had to choose one photo I've taken that captures the view of the world you get when you travel by bicycle, this is it.
Up close and intense.
It's 1995. Nelson Mandela has been president for less than a year. I'm on a five-month bike trip in South Africa, where I'm told by dozens, no, hundreds of people that if I travel in the former homelands that I'm a dead man. Period.
Cascade Huts is currently a Silver-Level Corporate Member. They have been members for three years, supporting our programs and mission. Co-owners James Koski and Don Bain took some time to answer our questions and tell us more about their small but fascinating business.
Adventure Cycling was established as Bikecentennial in 1974 by two couples: Dan and Lys Burden, and Greg and June Siple. Simply put, they were visionaries who wished to bring the joy of bicycle travel to more people. Here's a postcard from Hemistour -- mailed 37 years ago -- written as Greg and June crossed the equator in Ecuador, May 7, 1974!
A policeman stopped our progress through the small town of Manteigas, Portugal. There was no traffic -- no apparent accident or emergency. We parked our bikes and waited.
Being a bookworm is not the most convenient of bike touring habits.
Why $1500? It seemed like a good round number that included a lot of cool bikes with great builds at a reasonable price. Today's post is sort of an addendum to that list; it includes some bikes that I missed last year, plus some new bikes for the 2011 season.
The photos in catalogs of bike rides and tours and special package trips are filled with blue skies and sun-drenched vistas.
But let's pause for a little reality check. Weather happens. Blue skies turn gray. Weather forecasts are often painfully wrong. Everyone wants a trip with perfect weather, but everyone's best stories and memories are more often than not, centered around less than perfect conditions.
WomanTours is currently a gold-level corporate member. They came on as a supporter last year during our U.S. Bike Route System fundraiser (which is happening again this May). Our relationship with them, however, goes back several years, as they have used our maps for many of their tours. Jackie Marchand, the company's owner, took time to answer some of our questions and tell us more about their unique company.
It's that time of year at Adventure Cycling when we're starting to get a lot of phone calls from cyclists wondering how many miles they should ride per day on their upcoming tour. If I were asked this by someone I knew well, and had ridden with on many occasions, I would feel pretty comfortable throwing out a ballpark figure. Talking to someone I have not even met, on the other hand, makes guessing a number not just incredibly difficult, but irresponsible on my part.
We followed the directions and soon found ourselves on a separated concrete path in the middle of four lanes of highway. But rather than being filled with glee, we were depressed. We were alone. We encountered not a single cyclist, and only one pedestrian in over 15 kilometers. And yet, we were completely surrounded by traffic. Thousands and thousands of vehicles spewing exhaust while limping along in a never-ending traffic jam.
I know that the current trend is toward low-sodium diets, but I tend to have pretty low sodium to start with, and as it warms up and I spend even more time in the sun I really have to work hard to maintain my salt intake. Folks who spend a lot of time sweating need a lot more sodium (and a lot more fluid!) than sedentary individuals, and there are lots of ways to get it.
Keeping the mud and dirt off your bike isn't mandatory, but it's not a bad idea, for a variety of reasons. For one, it can make it easier to identify frame defects and damaged components, in addition to making it easier to work on your bike in general. It can also help extend the life of some parts, such as your chain, cassette, cables, and housing.
By conservative estimates, I drank nearly one thousand cups of chai during my 5-month bike journey in India. Every chai seller (like the one in the photo above) has his or her own recipe, but the basics are tea, milk, spices and as much sugar as will hold in solution.
Quality Bicycle Products (QBP) is currently our only Titanium Level Corporate Sponsor. They are also the parent company of Salsa and Surly bicycles, both among staff favorites for their own rides. Steve Flagg, the company's founder, took a few minutes to give us some insight into his company and their passion for cycling.