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Book Review: Twenty Miles Per Cookie

Posted September 13th, 2012

Twenty Miles Per Cookie Anyone who’s interested in bike touring with kids has likely heard of the Vogel family.

Nancy and John – the parents of twin sons Davy and Daryl – have taken their family on all kinds of two-wheeled adventures.

In 2011 they finished a 3-year ride from Alaska to Argentina and before that epic trip they biked 9,000 miles around the U.S. and Mexico.

It is that initial big bike adventure – through 19 U.S. states and five Mexican states – that Nancy describes in the book Twenty Miles per Cookie: 9000 Miles of Kid-Powered Adventures.

We dove into Twenty Miles per Cookie during a recent bike tour across Europe (our first family bike tour with our son Luke) and found it to be an inspiring and refreshingly honest account of bike touring as a family.

Nancy doesn’t just describe the rosy parts of the journey, like meeting ‘road angels’ along the way, but also the many challenges from bad weather to physical exhaustion.

One quote that really stood out for us was this one:

In my many years of traveling I’ve found adventure is, many times, only one step away from disaster. It springs from the unknown – from having no idea how we will meet our basic needs. It is stressful, but the kind of stress I can look upon and say, “What an unexpected turn of events!” It’s those days that make for the most memorable experiences, and are, therefore, the most rewarding days of a journey.

That – in a nutshell – is what we took away from this book: the message that adventures might not always be easy but they are worth having. Adventures are something that we personally will continue to prioritise as a family, even though sometimes they push us to our limits.

The only thing that disappointed us a bit was the book’s length. Some of the stories left us hanging. We really wanted to know more about the details of the trip but before we knew it we were turning the last page.

Overall, however, it’s a good little read and definitely worth a look if you are thinking about bike touring with kids. If you want to know more, check out the Vogel’s website Family On Bikes or watch the video below.

 

Book Review & Contest: How To Get To The North Pole (And Bike Around The World)

Posted June 26th, 2012

How To Get To The North Pole How do you cycle around the world? Here’s one view.

Just go. Any bike, any tent, anywhere. It’s true, the toughest step is always the first one! – Matt Bridgestock

That quote kicks off 24-pages of solid advice on cycling around the world. It’s one of 7 chapters in a new book for future explorers: How To Get To The North Pole … and other iconic adventures.

Author Tim Moss does a fine job of laying out the basics of cycling around the world, complete with statistics, anecdotes and inspiring quotes.

Essential questions such as Where do you sleep? and What do you drink? are all answered in a straight-to-the-point style. There’s an overview of the gear required, along with common challenges such as saddle sores, steep hills and accidents.

We particularly liked Tim’s summary of the first steps towards a round-the-world trip:

1. Get a bike, any bike, and start riding it everywhere you can.

2.Test yourself and see how far you can ride in a day. Aim high. You can always catch a train back.

3. Plan a trip. Fly overseas or start from your front door. Do it in a weekend or take a month off work. The details don’t matter, just give yourself a taste of life on the road.

4. If you are left hungry for more then you can start planning the big one. Work out a route you would like to follow, start accumulating the gear, apply for some visas if you want and set a date.

It really doesn’t need to be more complicated than that.

True planners will, of course, want more detail (such as what’s available in our Bike Touring Survival Guide and the Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook) but this book has the basics down pat. We found it a fun and inspiring look at biking around the world.

Want to win a copy?

We have two copies to give away. There are two ways to enter:

1. Leave a comment and tell us what your ideal cycling route around the world would be.

2. Get onto Twitter and re-tweet this message:

Win a copy of How To Get To The North Pole (a book by @nextchallenge) from @travellingtwo http://travellingtwo.com/12569

You can enter until midnight (Central European Time) on Thursday, June 28th. Winners will be announced on Friday, June 29th.

Good luck!

 

Posted in Books, Contest

Bicycle Touring Books

Posted June 24th, 2012

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Posted in Books

Cycling Sojourner: A Bike Touring Guide To Oregon

Posted May 18th, 2012

When we bike toured across Oregon state in the summer of 2009, we didn’t have a guidebook.

We puttered our way through small towns with only a simple map to guide the way. Along the way, we discovered more than our fair share of entertainment. Roads stretching out to the horizon, fantastic farmer’s markets and incredible apple pie in the one-horse town of Wagontire are all strong memories of our time in Oregon.

Cycling Oregon 2009

Just imagine how much more fun we might have had with a little guidance, perhaps in the form of Cycling Sojourner: A Guide to the Best Multi-Day Tours in Oregon.

Cycling Soujourner It’s a new book, authored by Ellee Thalheimer (also a writer for Lonely Planet and a host of cycling publications).

Inside you’ll find guides to 8 routes around the state. Most rides are around 5 days long and altogether the book provides enough information to keep you cycling for at least a month – probably longer.

Ellee tells anecdotes in each section about the people she encountered on tour, including a coal miner who taught her how to shoot a gun and “Papa Pinot” – one of the state’s best known winemakers.

We liked a lot of things about this book. For the person who wants detailed route advice, there are good maps and turn-by-turn cue sheets.

Cycling Soujourner

The friendly, easy-going tone is also a plus. It’s helpful without being preachy and includes plenty of handy and inspiring tips for bike touring newbies.

In the section about bike touring in general, for example, the book rightly points out that you don’t necessarily need a specific touring bike to travel by bicycle.

If you are a cyclist, then you probably have a bike you can take on a tour. You can use a carbon road bike or heavy steel commuter without braze-ons (which allow you to attach a rack) by using a trailer. You can use rigid mountain bikes with slick tires. Cyclocross bikes, folding bikes and recumbents will do. Touring-specific bikes, especially ones with couplers for airplane travel, are nice but not necessary.

There are also tips for saving money. How about about making your own armwarmers simply by cutting the feet off a pair of wool socks, or creating waterproof gloves by slipping a pair of dishwashing gloves over thinner liners?

Oregon was already a great bike touring destination before this book came out. Now, a few more of its secrets and most attractive rides are even easier to access. Nice work, Ellee!

Posted in Books, Map

A New Bike Touring Guidebook For Malaysia

Posted May 10th, 2012

Pedalling The PeninsulaAnyone planning to cycle around Malaysia will want to check out a new guidebook about the country, Pedalling Around The Peninsula.

It’s written by Malaysian bike tourist Sandra Loh. She has included stories from her own bike tour to the four corners of Peninsular Malaysia plus 10 sectional maps, roughly showing the routes that she took.

Sandra said she was inspired to write the book because she wanted to share the beauty of her home country with other cyclists.

You can cycle here anytime from mid February until September. There are lots of beautiful country roads to explore and interesting sights. Only light clothing is required, plus a good rain jacket.

Pedalling The PeninsulaShe also offered some additional tips for cycling in Malaysia:

  1. Since Malaysia is in the tropics, do expect hot and humid weather to prevail throughout the year. The best times to start cycling is at dawn, when it is much cooler. Rest during the hottest time of the day (12 noon to 3pm) and continue your journey in the late afternoon. Carry extra water while on tour because dehydration is most likely to occur easily in this hot weather. Sunglasses and sunblock are also highly recommended!
  2. You can find a lot of rest areas when travelling from one small town to another. The best place to take a breather is at petrol stations or small food stalls. Budget hotels are mostly available in small towns.
  3. We cycle on the left side of the road. A loud bell or a whistle will be useful as the locals here tend to ride on their bicycles on the wrong side of the road!

In addition to her book Pedalling Around The Peninsula, Sandra also writes about bike touring on her blog.

Posted in Books, Map