Cycle Touring the Easy Way I daresay you’ve all seen those cycle tourists, riding their mountain bikes laden down with pannier bags front and rear, struggling along on big fat knobbly tires.
Well it doesn’t have to be that way. As long as you’re within a days ride of civilization, cycle touring can be easy, great fun and a fantastic way to see your state or country.
The Bike Use an old road frame, or a commute bike frame is ideal, use 700c road wheels disc brake compatible, with tires 28 – 32s to handle the rough stuff. Add to this disc brakes, normal road drop handle bars, a suspension seat post, a low level spec drive train with triple chain ring and you can go anywhere without sacrificing comfort or speed. I also have front suspension, but this is optional. (many commute bikes come with front suspension and disc brakes these days)
Carry your gear. You’ll need a carrier fitted to the back of your bike, which is best done by a bike shop, as depending on your frame, you may require holes to be drilled to allow the carrier to be attached. Buy a carrier that comes with a bag that slides onto the rack, these are fairly cheap and very secure, as the bag locks onto your carrier.
What to take. With only one smallish bag. You have to be choosey about what to take. One set of night clothes is sufficient with maybe an extra pair of socks and underwear. I take those long trousers with detachable legs, so I can use them as shorts too. Take a rain jacket that can also be worn at night if it gets cold. You can get cycle shoes that look like trainers, so these can be worn at night, or take some light weight slip on shoes. Toiletries and a few basic tools are also needed. Only take the cycle clothes you ride in, then wash them every night.
In Conclusion This set up is ideal for shorter tours, 4 – 10 day as you will need to find accommodation each night, but in most towns you can find backpackers or cheap motels. If you’re touring in the high season, you’ll need to plan your trip carefully and book accommodation ahead of time. Depending on your fitness and the terrain, 80kms to 120kms per day is easily achievable. Take plenty of stops to eat, drink and to check out the scenery and enjoy.
I have cycle toured many kilometres on this set up, on sealed and unsealed roads, alone and with friends, and it is without doubt the best fun you can have on a bike. Totally self sufficient without being bogged down with huge bags. The whole set-up, including your bag, should weigh no more than 20kgs (44lbs). A bit heavier than the average road bike admittedly, but still easy to ride up the steepest hills.
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