October 2011 Bike Touring Newsletter
Welcome to October’s bike touring newsletter.
Autumn is here (in the northern hemisphere, at least) and what a gorgeous season for bike touring. These photos from our latest bike touring weekend tell the story…
That adventure might be our last for a while because – in case you missed the announcement – there’s a baby on the way!
Here are some of the most popular posts on the blog over the past month:
- Cycling The Pamir Highway – In November! – A late-autumn tour through Tajikistan’s highest mountains.
- New Touring Tire – Schwalbe releases a replacement for the Marathon XR.
- Navigating With Your Smartphone – Here’s how to get around with your phone as your guide.
We also released 2 new podcasts this month!
- Interview with Amaya Williams – She’s been cycling the world since 2006.
- Shane’s Big Africa Trip – He’s flying to Capetown in a few days, and cycling home.
Gear We Love – Radical Design Cyclone Trailer
Last month, Stijn showed us his new bike trailer: the Cyclone III from Dutch manufacturer Radical Design.
The most impressive feature of this trailer is how quickly it turns into an ordinary looking duffle bag. Just take the wheels and hitch off with the push of a button, and store them inside the bag.
That’s important, because often bike trailers are banned from public transport. Duffle bags, on the other hand… well, they’re just luggage!
The Cyclone III also converts easily to a walking trailer, weighs under 6kg and can be ordered in sizes for folding bikes (16-20″ wheels) or touring bikes. It’s rated to carry up to 40kg or 100 liters of stuff.
Tip Of The Month – Water Bottles On Your Handlebars
Wondering where to put your water bottle? It can go on your bicycle handlebar, if space is tight on the rest of your bike.
We first saw this on the bicycles of Vicki & Malcolm, two Aussies who visited us over the summer.
Having the bottle on the handlebar frees up space on the frame, and makes the bottle easier to reach.
It’s also a good solution if you don’t have many mounting points on your bike frame, or simply need to carry a bit of extra water for a dry stretch.
There are a few options on the market. We haven’t tried them first-hand, so do your own research, but we think the Klickfix Bottle Fix looks to be one of the best. Topeak also make what looks to be a reasonably robust Cage Mount.
UPDATE ON KICKSTANDS: Last month, we featured a homemade kickstand for your bike. Now, reader Naomi emails us to recommend the Click Stand. She says: “I always have lots of people stop me and ask me about it. I love it. Light and fits in my handlebar bag!”
Featured Bike Tourist – Roff Martin Smith
Normally we feature bike tourists from relatively recent times. They’re the kind of people who tend to have blogs, and a regular stream of updates on Facebook and Twitter.
This time, we’re going back 15 years to Roff Martin Smith’s ride around Australia, in 1997.
We stumbled on his story in a back issue of National Geographic.
Why leave the life I knew in Sydney for 10,000 miles of unknowns? I was hungry for a change—which is what drove me to Australia in the first place. When I was 22 and working in Wyoming, I dreamed of living overseas. My foreign language skills were nil, so it had to be an English-speaking country. I wanted to go far away, and Australia was the farthest out there. Yet after 15 years of living there, I realized I didn’t really know the place. That too would change.
Roff’s story is well told, and the photos aren’t half bad either, so next time you’re at a garage sale or your grandpa’s house, dig through that stack of old National Geographic magazines. You’re looking for the 3-part series Australia By Bike in the December 1997, February 1998 and April 1998 issues.
You can also go hunting for Roff’s book about his journey: Cold Beer & Crocodiles.
*Update: Roff recently emailed us to let us know that he does in fact have a blog: My Bicycle & I
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