August 2010 Bike Touring Newsletter
Welcome to the August edition of the TravellingTwo bike touring newsletter.
This month, we’re bike touring in Denmark for 2 weeks. It’s known as one of the most bike friendly countries in the world so we can’t wait to check it out. We’ll be going up to the tip of Jutland, the northernmost point in Denmark.
The blog won’t fall silent over the coming weeks. Watch for posts on free bike touring books you can download, and a new podcast interview with Sonya & Aaldrik – a couple who have been cycling around the globe since 2006.
Read on to find links to some of the recent articles on TravellingTwo, plus:
- A unique bike touring tip
- A featured bike tourist
- One piece of gear we really like
Tailwinds and happy touring,
Friedel & Andrew
Tip Of The Month – Emergency Tire Repairs
Tires wear out. Sometimes they do so at the most inconvenient moments, when you are nowhere near a bike store to find a replacement. What then? Happily, there are some easy emergency repairs you can do that will enable you to get to the nearest town.
Steve Langston emailed us this tip for fixing a troublesome tire: “Take the tire off, remove the tube and cover the hole with something. A thin piece of hard plastic works best but so will a credit card or playing card. Then tape it into place with duct tape and re-inflate the tire. The tubes pressure will make it rock solid so you can get back on the bike.”
Dollar bills, granola bar wrappers or even an old inner tube can also be enough to patch up the tire and get you on your way. And sometimes, as blog reader Andy Witty recently told us, even dental floss can do the trick.
“We had a tyre burst on a Sunday in Switzerland. We sewed it up with dental floss and it got us 180 miles and over the Furkapass (2436m) to the next bike shop!”
Sometimes your tire doesn’t wear out entirely, but the cord that forms the tire starts to break down. As the wires that make up the cord become exposed, they can puncture your inner tube. The solution is very simple. Just put a flat tire patch over the area with the worn cord, then replace the tire at the earliest opportunity. Normally it will be good for a few hundred kilometers, after you first notice the fraying cord.
If you have a tip to share for the next newsletter, get in touch.
Gear We Love – Topeak Pump
Buying a bad pump might have been the biggest mistake we made as bike touring beginners. The bicycle tire pump that we grabbed off the shelf of a supermarket turned out to be completely useless. Our faces turned red and our muscles grew sore, as we spent up to half an hour trying – and ultimately failing – to get our newly patched tires up to pressure.
When we finally smartened up and bought a Topeak pump, the payoff was immediate. The next day we had a flat tire, and we were able to pump up the tire easily and within just a couple minutes. Two years later, and the Mountain Morph pump is still going strong. It weighs just 250g and can pump up to 160 psi.
If we were buying a pump today, we’d happily get the same one, or perhaps Topeak’s smaller Mini G Pump. It weighs a mere 150g, and the Mini G offers nearly the same pumping strength as the Mountain Morph. It is also very compact if space on your frame is an issue, and good value at just $13.90 from CycloCamping.com.
Featured Bike Tourist – BiciClown
As far as epic bike tours go, it’s hard to find many people who have committed to a bigger tour than Alvaro Neil, also known as BiciClown.
He currently heading for Mongolia, with nearly 6 years on the road and over 80,000km under his wheels. But what we really love about this tour – more than the distances covered – is how BiciClown gives free performances in the towns and villages that he passes through.
On his website, Alvaro writes a little about the inspiration behind his massive journey:
“I am here because one day I understood that the cemetery is full of dreamers and I did not want to join them. I want death to get to me with an empty wallet and the heart full of landscapes and smiles. I have no pension scheme and I am not concerned about the 67 year pension scheme. Someone has said that you do not fly because you have wings but rather wings grow because you have flown. Let me add, YOU HAVE TO FLY WITH OR WITHOUT WINGS.”
On the BiciClown website, you will find Alvaro’s journals, photos and also the books he sells to help fund his trip.
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