January 2011 Bike Touring Newsletter
We hope you all get out on your bikes for some fantastic adventures over the next 12 months.
A 3-week jaunt around Andalucia was our latest bike tour. We just got back and we’re still basking in the glow of that post-tour happiness. There were some challenges, such as plenty of rain and mud but overall it was a fantastic 800km bike journey.
We’re already planning our next tour (perhaps a summer exploration of Holland) and we’ll fill the months between now and then with some charity fundraisers, like Swimming the North Sea in February.
- Earn Money While Travelling: The first in a series. Learn how we sell our photographs for a bit of pocket money on the road.
- Ride With Larry – If you haven’t seen this film trailer, take 10 minutes right now. Larry is a great inspiration for everyone thinking of doing a bike tour.
- Packing A Bike In A Plastic Bag For Flying – We all want to know the perfect way to pack a bicycle for a flight. If your airline will accept it, we think this plastic bicycle bag is as close to perfect as we’ve seen so far.
- Bike Touring Books To Read – Looking for a good book? These are the bike touring tales currently on our bookshelf. Add your favourites to the list by leaving a comment!
- Lightweight Bike Touring – In our latest podcast, we interview Stijn who tells us how he does extended trips with a minimum of gear (less than 10kg).
Tip Of The Month – Wheel Truing On The Road
If you ride your bike long enough, chances are you’ll eventually have a wheel that is no longer circular and needs to be trued. You may take it to a mechanic, or you may decide to do it yourself.
To take on the job yourself, it’s helpful to have a dishing gauge, which measures whether or not the rim is centered over the hub locknuts. It’s a big tool though and you’re not going to carry one on tour. From Marten Gerritsen, we recently learned how to make your own dishing gauge in any cafe.
Just rest the rim on 2 coffee cups and pile up some change under the locknut. Now flip the wheel over. If your wheel is symmetrical, the change will be the same distance from the locknut on both sides. If not, keep on truing.
Gear We Love – Platypus Wine Holder
Before we went to Spain, we wrote about 10 of the cool new things we were taking along.
Of all of them, the big hit was the Platypus Wine Holder. We just can’t tell you how convenient it was to be able to buy a bottle of wine in the supermarket and get rid of the empty glass bottle immediately.
At first, we worried the wine might somehow leak out and spill in our packs but after a few days we stopped worrying. The seal at the top seems extremely robust so far. When you serve the wine, the angled spout makes it easy to pour.
The wine holder folds down to a tiny size when empty and also makes a good extra water carrier, if you need the water more than wine! It might even come in handy at home, or for other activities like picnics or going to the beach.
Featured Bike Tourist Blog – Tom’s Bike Trip
You may remember cyclist and adventurer Tom Allen. We featured his bike tour of Mongolia on the blog a few months ago.
Tom’s latest project is a 4-part film series on his journey in Mongolia. It’s really professionally done and well worth taking time out for.
While you’re browsing around Tom’s blog, check out Winter? What Winter? where he decides to take a bus to Oslo for some “proper” winter bike touring.
“A cyclist friend in Stockholm thinks I’ll have a fantastic time, whereas another based in Tromso is adamant that riding in northern Scandinavia in winter would constitute a particularly chilly and uncomfortable form of suicide,” Tom writes.
We have a feeling that we haven’t heard the last of Tom’s adventures. We’re looking forward to the updates from winter cycling in Norway!
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