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The Neither Authoritative Nor Concise Guide to Riding Bikes in Southeast Asia (It’s Free!)

Posted June 10th, 2011

The Neither Authoritative Nor Concise Guide to Riding Bikes in Southeast AsiaIf you’re going to ride your bicycle in Southeast Asia, here’s a free book that you absolutely have to read.

The Neither Authoritative Nor Concise Guide to Riding Bikes in Southeast Asia is the quirky, handwritten memoirs of a bicycle tour through Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. It was created by Melanie Swanson, a bike tourist from Oregon who is biking around the world, and turned into an eBook by Tyler & Tara.

Download It For Free!

As soon as we opened the book, we couldn’t stop reading it. Melanie has a great talent for combining tales from the road with a surprising number of helpful tips that you’d only know if you’ve actually cycled in Southeast Asia.

Best of all, the book is funny! It held our attention from front to back and we laughed our way through every page.

Often, the information is helpful for general bike touring too. We particularly liked this page, which urges you to “leave your iThingy at home” and gives tips for things to think about while you ride:

The Neither Authoritative Nor Concise Guide to Riding Bikes in Southeast Asia

So take a look; learn about cycling in Southeast Asia and have a laugh at the same time. Thanks for making it Melanie, and good luck with the rest of your trip!

A Bike That Can Cross Oceans (and other amazing 1930s bikes)

Posted February 16th, 2011

Digging through old magazines the other day, we came across this gem of a photo that answers the question all long-distance bike tourists have to deal with: “How do you cross the ocean?”

It’s a question we’ve personally been asked so many times that it drives us bonkers to hear it. “With a plane, of course!” we want to scream. Some bike tourists even make up ridiculous answers to the water-crossing question.

But did you know that someone thought of the answer to this very dilemma way back in 1932? Oh yes they did… and here it is.


Perfect! Now where can we get a couple for our next world bike tour? And can you get luggage racks for that? (Source: Popular Mechanics, December 1932 and Popular Science, December 1932)

Of course this piqued our interest, so we did a little more searching and discovered something else equally amazing: a trailer that is, uh, shall we say a little on the big side.

Big Bicycle Trailer

It doesn’t surprise us that the two people who went bike touring with this are from Holland. After all, some Dutch people currently bike tour on huge cargo bicycles (big enough to hold a full-size bed). What is amazing is that these friends in the 1930s went to France with their larger-than-life trailer! We doubt it was level cycling all the way to France, let alone around the country. What a shame that we don’t know their names. That would surely be a story worth telling. (Source: Popular Mechanics, March 1935)

The deeper we dug, the more fun and interesting things turned up. There was a story entitled ‘The Amazing Return Of The Bikes’ with pictures of bicycle basketball and a description of the newest “gadgets” of the day.

“Other ‘gadgets’ are a speedometer which shows both the speed at which the bicycle is traveling and the total mileage covered, a streamlined saddle, balloon tires, rims of chrome-plated steel in place of wood, a combination headlamp and horn unit, the lamp equipped with an automotive type lens, and a ‘pencil-type’ tire gauge.” (Source: Popular Mechanics, January 1935)

bicycle basketball

Finally, we give you an image of a 12-year-old inventor who created a bike that might be suitable for arctic expeditions or commuting during harsh winters. (Source: Popular Mechanics, May 1931)

Ice Bicycle

We wonder what ever happened to Billy Bataille. Did he go on to invent other bicycles? How well did his invention work? It seems unlikely we’ll ever find out but if anyone has a lead, do let us know!

I Like Heavy Parts

Posted September 28th, 2010

We’ve always travelled with a full load of touring gear.

Multiple books. Food for a few days. Electronic gadgets. These are just some of the things that weigh us down.

Sometimes we feel a bit guilty about it. Maybe we should be trying harder to choose lighter things, and weed out all the non-essentials?

With this in mind, I had to laugh when I saw this sign in a bicycle workshop over the weekend. I think we’ll keep all our stuff!! What a great excuse for our slowness…

Posted in Bicycle Comedy

Solving A Critical Bike Touring Problem

Posted April 1st, 2010

As seasoned bike tourers will know, it can be a problem to find a bathroom when you need one on tour.

That’s why recently we reviewed these peeing devices for women. Some men felt left out though, so we’re happy to announce that now there’s a solution to help both women and men on tour…

Of course, this still leaves the problem of where to put the luggage. Happily, our cycling friends in Western Australia have adapted this idea perfectly for bike touring….

We here at TravellingTwo look forward to sharing pictures from our readers who use this solution on their next tour. And… Happy April Fool’s Day!

Posted in Bicycle Comedy

A Bike For Your Valentine

Posted February 11th, 2010

Planning on a romantic Valentine’s Day bike ride?

This bicycle (spotted recently on one of our walks around The Hague) might be just the decoration inspiration you need to sweep someone off their feet. The Dutch are always dressing up their bicycles, but we’ve never seen one quite as impressive as this!

A Very Pink Bike

Posted in Bicycle Comedy