July 2011 Bike Touring Newsletter
Welcome to July’s bike touring newsletter.
It’s been a bike-filled month for us.
We’ve gone on lots of weekend rides around the beautiful Netherlands, hosted tons of cyclists through the WarmShowers network, raised money to get Pete Gostelow back on the road after a robbery and created a new podcast for you to listen to.
Here are all the newest posts on the blog:
- Picking A Laptop Or Tablet For Bike Touring - Do you need a laptop? And if so, which one should you get?
- GPS Systems For Bike Touring - Which one we bought, and some other options.
- Yorkshire. Er… Holland. - Why we’re staying close to home this summer.
- Bike Touring on the C&O Trail - A great trip to take in America.
- Top iPhone Apps For Bike Touring - 9 apps we think you’ll find useful.
- 8 Packing Tips For Women - Things that Friedel loves, and finds really useful.
- Silk Road Highlights - Tips on cycling in Georgia, Azerbaijan and western China.
- Pick-A-Path Bike Touring - Tell this bike tourist where to go; literally!
Tip Of The Month - Too Hot? Get Instant Air Conditioning!
Want to cool down quickly on a really hot day? Our ‘instant fix’ is to find a water tap and soak our shirts with cold water. If we have a hat, we’ll soak that too.
We find the water everywhere: in cemetaries and church yards, in restaurant bathrooms (we’ll stop for a cold drink and soak our shirts in the sink before we go), in rivers and streams, and from springs that run off by the side of the road (see the photo). We’ve even asked people watering their lawns to turn the hoses on us!
Once you’re wet, the wonders of evaporative cooling will keep you chilled for 20-30 minutes. Combined with the breeze as you pedal, it’s a sort of instant air conditioning!
If you suffer from heat rash, soaking your shirts and washing the salty sweat off your body 2-3 times a day can also help your skin from becoming irritated. That said, sunscreen obviously won’t stick around if you’re splashing yourself with water several times a day, so if you do this it’s all the more important that you wear long, loose clothes that cover your body, plus a hat on your head.
You can also use evaporative cooling to keep your water chilled. Just wet a sock and stick your water bottle inside, before putting it back on the bottle cage.
Gear We Love - Macpac Citadel Tent
We recently had a chance to admire the Macpac Citadel tent that our friends Trevor & Simone are currently using. They’ve put the tent through its paces during a 2-month trip from Jordan to the Netherlands, and they really like it.
We think it’s neat too. There are 2 entrances to the sleeping area, and 2 porches – a large one for cooking and a smaller one for reading or relaxing. With lots of space, it seems like the perfect tent for couples – and perhaps a rival to our Hilleberg Nallo 3GT.
The photo shows you what the Macpac Citadel looks like when all the doors are closed (there are 2 happy cyclists inside, waiting for the rain to stop!).
The cost of the Macpac Citadel is about €600 in Europe, compared to roughly €800 for the Hillberg. It also compares favourably if you’re tall. Trevor measures up at 190 cm tall (6’3″) and can stretch out fully in the Macpac Citadel, while Andrew is 180 cm tall (5’11″) and sometimes finds his feet brushing against the end of the Nallo 3GT.
On the downside, the Macpac Citadel weighs 3.4kg – a bit more than the Nallo 3GT (2.9kg). That said, if you value the ability to have your own space (and tent entrance), more than counting every gram, it could be just the ticket.
Featured Bike Tourists - Rebecca & Ryan
Rebecca & Ryan left home in September 2010 to cycle 24,000km from England to New Zealand.
We only recently discovered their blog, but we’ve been enjoying their tales from the road. They’re currently in China and, in a recent journal entry, Rebecca describes the joys of touring perfectly:
“You know that feeling: you’re freewheeling down a hill or cycling in the sunshine, and you feel invincible! Well I get that feeling every single day. Sometimes it only lasts a few minutes, sometimes when everything is perfect it can last 9 hours.”
“I’m not crazy – obviously I regularly dread getting back on the saddle, perhaps the night before, when I wake up, as I’m loading up the panniers or sometimes right up until the second I start turning the pedals. But as soon as my legs are spinning, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Rebecca & Ryan are raising money for 2 charities as they pedal, so if you enjoy their blog, why not drop them a small donation to say thanks for the stories and photos.
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