February 2011 Bike Touring Newsletter
Welcome to the February edition of the TravellingTwo bike touring newsletter!
We’re busy this month putting the finishing touches on an eBook full of tips and advice for a long distance bike tour.
Want To Win A Free Copy?
We don’t have a photo one for our chapter on laundry! Do you have a good photo of doing laundry on a bike tour? It might be of laundry drying on your bike, or clothes on a line in a campsite.
Email us the photo or a link to it, or upload it to our Facebook group. The photo we pick to go in the chapter gets a free copy of the eBook! You’ll have to be quick though. We’re going to choose on Friday, February 18th so get those photos in by Friday morning at the latest.
- Packing List For Lightweight Bike Touring – See how we cut our gear in half for our latest bike tour.
- Crossing A River With Your Bicycle – Here’s how to do it, with a video of us crossing water in Spain! h
- The Art Of NOT Planning A Bike Tour – A story about Lee, a remarkable Chinese cyclist we met in Turkmenistan.
- Bike Touring In Indonesia – Chris & Liz give tips, based on their bike route across Indonesia.
- How To Check Your Panniers In At The Airport – After our very popular article on Packing A Bike In A Plastic Bag For Flying, here’s what to do with your panniers.
Tip Of The Month – Laundry Soap
Since we’re on the topic of laundry, did you know that you can buy laundry soap in hard bars, just like hand soap? It’s cheap, and the perfect small size for carrying on a bike tour.
Look for it in the supermarket, when you need laundry detergent but don’t want to buy the huge quantities that are sold for home use. It’s not stocked everywhere, so you may need to hunt around to find it.
Other options for finding laundry detergent on a bike tour include:
- Taking a little laundry powder from your home supply and putting it in a ziplock bag.
- Checking in laundromats for smaller boxes of soap.
- Buying concentrated detergents from the camping store (expensive, and not always very effective at cleaning in our experience).
- Asking campers in cars and RVs if you can buy a little of their supply.
Gear We Love – Ergon Handlebar Grips
Sometimes your hands can get a little sore from a whole day of riding. You may even get a “pins and needles” sensation, which comes from staying too long in one position and putting pressure on the nerves.
Good handlebars really help to aleviate this problem and we think Ergon Grips are among the best out there. They have a curved area that helps to support your palm. Some models also come with short or long bar extensions, for even more options to move your hands around while riding.
Ergon Grips also give you a good surface to grab the handlebars with, so your hands aren’t sliding around in wet conditions.
Even better is that if your beloved Ergon Grips wear out, you may be able to get a bit more mileage out of them by turning them around! See more on this tip from Tour.tk (scroll down to the tip from October 2008).
Featured Bike Tourist – Toko Op Fietsvakantie
This website tells the story of Dennis & Marijcke, who have cycled in more than 30 countries, including a 2-year world trip on a tandem bicycle. It’s mostly in Dutch, but more English pages are being added and for the rest it’s worth the trouble to use Google Translate.
Their videos are the highlight of the website, and a great way to get a taste for a country before you go cycling there. Want to know what it’s like to bike tour in Laos, Argentina or Kazakhstan? Watch and find out…
On their tips page, there’s a nice idea for creating a packing list. “Write down everything you pack. When you return from your bike tour, line up everything you have not used and write down everything you missed. After a couple of vacations, you get a fixed list of items.”
Recently, Dennis & Marijcke went to Madagascar. Of course, they made a video about it, and they’ve also shared their GPS tracks from the journey.
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