November 2011 Bike Touring Newsletter
Welcome to November’s bike touring newsletter.
As winter closes in, we’ve been making the most of every chance to go cycling, most recently with a weekend tour to the Dutch island of Texel. We’ve also been rebuilding our old steel-framed touring bikes. They have a new coat of paint, and quite a few new parts.
- Hilleberg Nallo 3GT review – The tent we’ve been using for 5 years now.
- Free Mexican Road maps – Download these if you’re going cycling in Mexico!
- Bike Touring In China – Louis & Lysanne answer 10 Questions about their recent tour of China.
- Video of Cycling In Georgia – Watch the story of a bike tour through the eastern European country of Georgia.
- Free Touring Bike Buyer’s Guides – Looking for a bike? Check out these guides from the Adventure Cycling Association.
Gear We Love – Ergon Pedals
We recently put Ergon’s PC2 pedals on Friedel’s touring bicycle.
They’re a bit expensive but have been well reviewed by other cycling bloggers. The unique contoured surface and sandpaper-like coating helps your feet stick to the pedals, without the need for special shoes.
Why the change to these pedals? Well, we’ve tried a lot of pedals for bike touring over the years, and our recent favourites have had cleats.
The problem with cleats, however, is that they can easily scratch and damage your shoes. It’s not a problem if you’re wearing sneakers or stiff-soled cycling choes but it is an issue if you use your touring bike to commute to work in dress shoes – like Friedel does. We’re hoping that the Ergon PC2 pedals will give good grip, without ruining Friedel’s shoes.
First impressions are positive. There’s a high ‘sticky’ factor, and the pedals are very comfortable, if a bit larger than most other pedals. We’re looking forward to testing them more over the coming winter months, and giving a full review on the blog in 2012.
Tip Of The Month – Homemade Chainstay Protector
In our Bike Touring Survival Guide, we give instructions for making a chainstay protector out of an old inner tube.
Making your own is free, economical and very effective. In fact, we love this little trick so much, we have one on all our bicycles.
All you have to do is cut a length of inner tube, make a slit on one side, slide it over the frame and use zip ties to hold it in place. In this version, we’ve also used a bit of crazy glue to hold the edges of the inner tube together.
If you’re not sure why you need a chainstay protector, here’s why. Every time you ride over a bump, curb or hole in the road, your chain is likely to jump and hit the frame. This can easily scratch the paint, so it’s better to have a chainstay protector if you want to keep your bike frame in good shape.
Featured Bike Tourist – Antony Watson
Meet Antony Watson, otherwise known as Bean On A Bike. He’s spent the past 200+ days pedalling his way from the UK to Ethiopia, and we stumbled on his blog thanks to a kind tip from a reader
As the name of his website suggests, Antony has been on a quest to reach the birthplace of coffee. Now that he’s there, he’s sharing some great stories, about coffee ceremonies, dancing goats and tentside surgery.
We really appreciate the fact that Anthony is spending a bit more time in Ethiopia than most cyclists do, and his writing is colourful. Take for example this description of his first wild camping experience :
I tucked into my sleeping bag in anticipation of a deep sleep. No chance. Within minutes, the blood-curdling cries of Hyenas could be heard calling to each other in the far distance; presumably coordinating yet another nightly attempt on a raid of the local livestock.
Read more on Bean On A Bike.
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