June 2011 Bike Touring Newsletter

The bike touring season is in full swing here in Holland.

In the last few weeks, we’ve hosted several cyclists, including Rik & Paula and Jim & Sandra – both Australian couples who are taking a year off to see the world by bicycle.

Our summer bike tour is still a few weeks away but in the meantime we’re working on an exciting project: refurbishing our Robin Mather steel touring bikes.

The first step is to get them painted. Then we’ll decide on which accessories to add. Maybe some shiny metal fenders and drop handlebars (although we’re not sure if drops will look silly with Friedel’s step-through frame). It’s fun to dream, and as soon as the bikes get a fresh paint job, we’ll start adding the little extras to make them beautiful.

Recent Posts

Here are all the newest posts on the blog:

Tip Of The Month – Pipe Insulation To Protect Bike Frames

Bike InsulationWhen packing your bike for a trip on a plane, train or bus, of course you want to protect the frame from scratches and dings.

One very easy way to do this is to buy some foam heating pipe insulation at your local hardware store. It has a slit down one side, so it’s easy to fit over the frame and secure with tape.

It’s cheap too. Each strip of insulation (about 1 meter long) only costs a buck or two. With 2 pieces you can easily cover your entire bike frame.

Just make sure you check the diameter of the pipe insulation, and get a size that will fit around your bike frame. If it’s too small, part of the frame will still be exposed.

This technique works well, whether you’re packing your bicycle in a cardboard box or a plastic bag.

Gear We Love – Camelbak Unbottle 70

Camelbak Unbottle 70We just returned from a trip home to Canada, where we were able to retrieve some of the things that have been in storage since we finished our world bike tour. Our Camelbak Unbottle 70 water reservoirs were among the things we brought home to Holland.

These are incredibly sturdy water carriers. They’ve survived 3 years of daily use on our world bike tour and they’re still in really good shape. The protective insulating cover around the plastic water holder helps to keep water cool and protects the plastic from suffering any UV damage.

We have never had a leak with the Camelbak Unbottle 70 water carriers, unlike other water holders which have cracked and become unusable after just a few months.

The wide-mouth opening is also good. It makes filling the reservoir really easy. We didn’t often drink out of the attached tube but we did use the tube to create a makeshift shower when wild camping. Just hang the Camelbak from a tree branch and squeeze the tube to release some water over your head and body.

Mark WatersFeatured Bike Tourists – Mark Waters

Mark works for the Cyclists Touring Club in the UK and runs the very helpful CycleTouring INFormation blog. It’s regularly updated with short snippets of helpful information.

Among the good links and tips on his website in recent months, we’ve discovered new GPS mapping sites‘nature houses’ that offer accomodation in Europe and links to other cyclists on the road.

“The main object of this site is so that I can tell you about stuff almost as soon as I find out about it myself,” says Mark. He encourages you to email your tips to [email protected] (put Ref:Touring Blog in the subject line).

In addition to reading the blog, you can also follow Mark’s updates on Twitter.

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