Chapter 12: Our Favourite Bike Touring Gear
Greg, our favourite Hungarian, was going low-tech from Beijing to Budapest with a tent that cost $12 U.S. from the supermarket. When we asked what it was like in the rain, he told us it was s**t. Greg, if anyone, showed us what is possible if you’re determined enough. –John & Gayle
It’s all about the gear; or at least that’s what some people would have you believe. Just start researching what to take on a bicycle tour and you’ll find there are a million things to spend your money on.
People have been travelling by bike for over 100 years and it’s only recently that we’ve had access to so much high-tech gear. Remember, it’s the spirit that counts more than anything. (Photographer unknown)
We’ve highlighted some of our favourite products over the following pages but no journey or cyclist is identical. What works for us may not be your ideal solution. In addition, there are so many different options that we couldn’t possibly summarise all of them in this (mini guide) to bike touring.
That’s where you come in. We encourage you to do your own research. Read the experiences of other bike tourists. Try things in person. Go to your local camping shop so you can flop on the sleeping mats and crawl inside the tents.
Remember as well that you don’t need to go on a mega shopping spree. Ingenious thinking and compromise goes a long way. your voice can be as effective as a bicycle bell. Just shout ‘hello’ or whistle a tune as you’re cycling. Similarly, a new tarp is nice to have but you can also make your own out of a sheet of plastic.
With those caveats out of the way, read on for some of our equipment recommendations.