March 26, 2011
When planning out a bike trip, it is really easy to focus solely on the route from point A to point B. However, once you hit the road, you may find a town that you are crazy about and want to hang out in for a few days, or perhaps you will hear from locals about some incredible sights that are 10 miles perpendicular to your direction of travel.
For these reasons, it can be a great idea to chalk up a few days to mystery. A day to leave the panniers or trailer behind, and take a day adventure you never anticipated. If you're on a long extended tour, it can even act as a mental release: You can come back to the same location and bed you slept in the previous night, know exactly where you want to have dinner, and have a good breakfast spot predetermined for the upcoming morning. Most importantly, knowing from the start that your plans are going to be flexible can ease some pre-bike tour anxiety.
Photo by Josh Tack. Rider is Sarah Raz, searching out hidden coffee bean fields deep in the western slope of Mexico's Sierra Madre.
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.