Welcome to the December edition of the TravellingTwo bike touring newsletter.
A warm Season’s Greetings to all of you, wherever you are in the world and however you celebrate this time of year.
We’re continuing our tradition of spending every Christmas somewhere different and this year we’ll be cycling through Andalucia in southern Spain. On Christmas Day itself, we hope Santa will bring us a glorious day of cycling, a nice tapas bar to curl up in for a few hours and the perfect tenting spot that night.
While we’re away, watch for a few things we’ve lined up on the blog. There will be a new podcast, a feature on bike touring in Southwest America and suggestions for bike touring books to read this winter.
Here’s what’s new on TravellingTwo.com…
- Reflections On Cycling Through A Snowstorm – It might have been cold and snowy, but the biking was beautiful!
- Beer Cycling Through Belgium – Love beer? Love cycling? Why not combine the two with a bike tour of Belgium’s trappist breweries?
- Tips For Sponsored & Charity Bike Rides – If you’ve ever considering finding sponsors for your bike tour or riding for charity, here are a few thoughts to consider first.
- Free Bike Touring Guide To Brazil’s Beaches – Could there be anything more appealing in the middle of winter than bike touring along the beaches of Brazil?
- New Santos Travelmaster Bicycles! – We finally did it. We bought new touring bikes. Find out why we went with Santos bikes and some of the features we decided on.
- Getting Visas For A Bike Tour – For international bike trips, you may need visas for various countries. Here’s how to cut through the red tape.
Tip Of The Month – Cleaning Dirty Hands
It’s common to need to do at least a little bike maintenance on tour and that usually means dirty, greasy hands. How can you get them clean, without access to a lot of soap and water? The answer can be found in your collection of cooking supplies.
Olive oil. Salt. Sugar. Just pour a little olive oil into the palm of your hands and a spoonful of salt or sugar.
The olive oil breaks down the grease and the salt or sugar acts as an abrasive. Scrub away and then just use some water to rinse. Not only does it get your hands clean, the olive oil makes them nice and soft!
Gear We Love – Folding Bowl
We are lucky ducks!
Last week we received gift certificates for the local camping store, so off we went to pick out some new toys. One of the things we came home with was the Sea To Summit X-Bowl.
This collapsible bowl is made of food-grade silicon, with a hard base that doubles as a chopping board. It’s over 2 inches deep and quite wide; big enough to hold a healthy serving of pasta.
Because the X-Bowl folds flat, it barely takes up any room in your bags. There are also handy measuring marks on the side of the bowl.
We’ll be throwing this in our panniers for our upcoming trip to Spain and giving it a test run. Some people say these bowls are slightly hard to clean but otherwise they get very good reviews.
You can buy them from REI for as little as $6.83 (the green and red bowls are mysteriously half the price of the other colours).
(Update: Since publishing this newsletter, we reviewed these bowls and they’re not as good as we’d hoped)
Featured Bike Tourist Blog – Mike On A Bike
As you’re sitting there, waiting for winter to break so you can get back out on your bike again, spare a thought for Mike Boles, who’s currently cycling across China.
The journey that brought him this far began in summer 2009 in Alaska. Since then, Mike has posted a series of entertaining, insightful and reflective journals describing his experiences on the road.
From his time in Azerbaijan, Mike writes:
“In a small village a boy gave me a bag of pears after I let him play with my helmet. In another a woman grinned her row of golden teeth and asked if she could write, “I love you, Canada” on my pannier.
And in Baku, where I was supposed to be careful, people put their arms around me and ask if I need money (I politely decline).
I’m no stranger to the generosity of others, but in Azerbaijan that kindness melds beautifully with an energy, honesty and insatiable curiosity that makes my heart ache in all the right places.”
Check out Mike On A Bike for more tales from the road.
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