September 2011 Bike Touring Newsletter

Welcome to September’s bike touring newsletter.

Here are some of the most popular posts on the blog over the past month:

Gear We Love – Wheel Locks

Wheel LocksA good touring bike needs a good lock, and in Europe the wheel lock is a seen on nearly every bicycle.

It attaches to your bike frame, above the rear wheel, and it functions like this: put the key in and push down on a lever so that a metal ring slides between the spokes of your back tire, locking the bike.

We have the Abus Amparo 4850 LH NKR locks on our touring bikes and we love them for brief stops along the way. They take only seconds to engage, and are always ready to go – no more rummaging around in your bags for a lock, or unwrapping a lock from your bike frame.

Of course, this isn’t a total bike security solution. For longer stops, overnight security or high-risk areas like cities, you’ll want another lock so you can secure your bike to a fixed object. For brief pitstops, however, the wheel lock is ideal. We use ours all the time.

When we started writing about wheel locks, we realized just how much we had to say, so we created a whole page full of pros and cons on these locks:

Wheel Locks: A Good Lock For Bike Touring?

Tip Of The Month – Do It Yourself Kickstand

Bikes With Sticks for KickstandsWay back in the first edition of our newsletter, we talked about how to make a bicycle kickstand out of a stick. Yes, a stick. That might sound silly, but if you don’t have a kickstand on your bike or if yours breaks en route, it’s a nifty thing to be able to do.

At the time, we didn’t have a good photo of this trick in action. Now, Emma & Justin have sent us a picture and a little description of how two sticks found by the roadside prop their bikes up, and perform many other tasks:

We broke the sticks off at a suitable height so they could be propped up against the bicycle frame. Good sticks usually have a bit of flex in them and are a little green – drier older sticks often aren’t strong enough. Benefits including being able to park your bike in the middle of fields, forests or on sand easily and we’ve even used them as part of sun shelters in the desert. They’re much cheaper than a stand but there’s an art to parking your bike using a stick and ensuring that it doesn’t fall over. They can be used as dog deterrents but I wouldn’t want to suggest anyone go out and hit animals with them. Waving around and shouting should do the trick.

Emma & Justin are currently in China, and heading for the edge of the Tibetan Plateau. Check out their great blog, Rolling Tales.

Featured Bike Tourists – Finding Sachi

Finding SachiFinding Sachi is the blog of Sachiko Takao and her bicycle tour around Japan, in search of wonderful Japanese food. She’s biking the country from south to north, from Okinawa to Hokkaido.

The first blog entry explains her reasons for the tour, and how she was a relatively inexperienced cyclist before starting the trip.

Just to give you an idea of what a challenge this is going to be for me, the longest cycling I have ever done in my life was up to two hours at a time, and that was just strolling along the beaches in Los Angeles, followed by a glass of beer and French fries.

And the most recent entry describes her ride along railway lines, lakes and through forests in the north of Japan.

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