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Where Baby Sleeps When We’re Bike Touring

Posted December 13th, 2012

When we began camping and bike touring with our son he was just a few months old. One of our biggest concerns was finding a way for him to sleep safely and comfortably.

Baby Asleep In The Tent

Most advice online was targeted to people travelling by car. Hauling a large and relatively heavy travel cot around by bicycle was not an option.

Since we co-sleep at home anyway, we didn’t actually feel the need for a travel cot. If we had, we probably would have gone for something like this Samsonite Pop-Up Travel Cot. Someone gave us one of these and we were impressed by how lightweight and compact it is.

Samsonite Cot

For overnight camping you’d have to add an insulating layer (the ‘mattress’ that comes with it is pretty thin) but otherwise it seems quite handy for a very young baby that can’t roll over. Older babies will not be safe in this cot as they can easily tip it over.

We never used the Samsonite cot. Instead, we started with a Z-lite mattress, folded up to suit Luke’s proportions. We put it between our two camping mats, and it turned out to be pretty good for changing diapers as well as sleeping.

Sleeping Arrangements

At night, we covered the mattress with a soft blanket. Luke was dressed in PJs, a down sleep sack and a hat. We had another blanket that went over top of him as well. Since temperatures were close to freezing at night, we added a hot water bottle for good measure. As you can see, Luke was a pretty happy camper.

Camping With A Baby

When Luke was 5 months old, we decided to ride our bikes to France. This was a 2-week journey and we wanted a more compact sleeping mat than the Thermarest Z-lite mattress. We invested in the short version of the Thermarest NeoAir. The NeoAir is wonderfully light (just 230g) and we hope Luke can use it for camping until he’s 4-5 years old.

Thermarest Neo Air

By this point, Luke had made it clear that he didn’t like sleepsacks so instead we invested in a sleeping bag that would cover both mum and Luke at the same time: the Vaude Sioux 500 XL.

Vaude Sioux 500 XL

This set-up worked really well for us, and we’ll use it again next summer.

Now that we’re off to Cuba, we’re planning to do exactly what we do at home: co-sleep. Obviously not every family will be comfortable with this but for us it’s the most pleasant and practical arrangement.

Want to know more about bike touring with a baby? Here’s a video of our summer bike tour to France:

And one made by our friend Blanche, which tells more about our set-up.

 

Costs For An Extended Bike Tour

Posted October 18th, 2012

chris & MargoSome months ago we added a new section to the blog: the costs of bike touring.

It’s where we feature the costs of various bike tourists on all manner of trips: from luxury budgets to the bare bones, from the comforts of Europe to rougher roads in Africa and Asia.

The latest addition comes from Chris & Margo. They share the costs related to their 11-month bike tour from Bangkok to Paris.

Read more…

One Nifty Way To Carry Your Essential Tools

Posted September 1st, 2012

A few months ago, we received an email from Allen, who designs bicycle bags and sells them under the Tallac brand.

He offered to send us his Behold case for review. We gladly accepted and since that time it’s been carried all over the Netherlands on bike tours and for daily commuting. It also came along on our tour of Belgium and France.

The Behold

What is it? Put simply, the Behold is a compact and robust case that sits in a cage between the frame and a water bottle holder. The case is made of ballistic water-resistant nylon and the cage that comes with the Behold is made of stainless steel. Fitting it to the bike was a breeze.

Here’s a better view of the case, out of its metal cage. When riding, the case is held in place by clips at either end. It’s easy to clip and unclip.

The Behold

What can you fit inside? A basic puncture repair kit is no problem (you’ll need to also carry a pump, unless you take CO2 cartridges along). If you didn’t want to use a handlebar bag, you could also use this kit to carry some essentials like a bit of cash, a credit card and a mobile phone.

The Behold

We like many things about the Behold. It’s well constructed and could be handy if you want a nifty place to store a few essential tools. Because the bag is stored on your frame, it can stay there and you never need to worry about leaving the tools behind.

People who are primarily bike touring, however, may find it redundant. If you’re carrying panniers then you probably already have a full tool kit in one of your bags so you don’t need to carry tools on your frame as well.

We think the Behold is best suited to commuting cyclists, who perhaps also do a bit of touring on the side. For that reason, we’ll be swapping it from Friedel’s touring bike to our primary commuting bike.

 

The Disaster That Many Bike Tourists Ignore (And How To Prevent It)

Posted August 29th, 2012

There are some things we all do before a bike tour, like making packing lists and planning a route. On the other hand, there are some things that most bike tourists never think about but probably should. 

Backing up photos falls into that second category. In this guest post, cycle tourist Grace Johnson gives us all a lesson on why and how to keep your electronic data safe on tour.

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Have you lost computer data? Who hasn’t!

Backing up photosAt some point all of us have felt a bit lazy and put off backing up our data. The next thing you know… ‘DISASTER’ as your computer emits smoke, dies and you realize that your last backup was a half year ago. Because of a computer crash, a friend of ours lost 9 months of work on her university thesis paper. Still, she was able to go back and re-write the paper. With trip photos – they can’t be re-taken.

You would be shocked if you knew how many people have lost their pictures. I regularly contact cyclists about publishing their photos in Bicycle Traveler magazine and unfortunately many of them reply saying: “I only have low resolution photos since my hard drive was stolen.”

You can also substitute ‘stolen’ for: hard drive fell in water, computer malfunction due to sand, pannier containing electronics fell into a canyon and so on…

There’s a simple solution to this problem: keep your images safe by backing them up. Making backups is like saving for your pension; it’s boring and you know you should be doing it but it’s so easy to put off. Still, think back to events that happened 10 years earlier. How much of the event can you remember without looking at pictures from it? The same holds true with memories of your bike tour.

Continue Reading About Backing Up Data

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Meet Our Newest Little Cyclist: Baby Luke

Posted February 23rd, 2012

We’re happy to announce that ‘TravellingTwo’ has become (unofficially, at least), ‘Travelling Three‘! Baby Luke arrived in the world on Saturday morning.

To say we’re walking on clouds would be an understatement. If the website is a bit quiet over the coming weeks, you know why. We’re doing something far more important than email and blogs. We’re getting to know our new son, and what a wonderful time we’re having.

A Bicycle-Themed Card for Luke

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