Thinking of bike touring? Learn from the experts (video below)…
More Info About Bicycle Touring
Discomfort is the first thing many people think of when they hear the words “bike tour.” You’ll be perched on a tiny bike seat all day… Crouched on the ground cooking around a camp stove in the evening… Tossing and turning in a tiny tent all night… With the proper planning and attention to your needs, bicycle touring does not have to be uncomfortable at all – you just have to figure out what you will need to be comfortable.
Bike tourists have carried all kinds of strange items on tour – lawn chairs, guitars, even down comforters! We each have different items we consider essential, and the important thing is to figure out what it is that you need. It is true that you can’t have it all, but you can have a lot!
For planning purposes, it’ll help to think about your day in three distinct parts: biking during the day, relaxing in camp in the evening and sleeping in your tent at night.
On the bike: Your clothes must be comfortable. You’ll be wearing them all day in the sun, and they have to fit properly. Some cyclists prefer regular cotton t-shirts; others prefer special cycling clothes. You may prefer padded bike shorts or regular shorts. There is no one way to dress while biking, but be sure you’re comfortable in your choice. There is nothing worse than wearing ill-fitting clothing that rubs you raw as you pedal.
Your bike also has to fit you. If possible, go to a good bike shop with experts in touring. They will be able to look at you on your bike and see if you are positioned correctly. You don’t want your handlebar too low about your seat, or you’ll have too much weight on your hands. Too short of a reach and you’re bunched up, too long, and you’re reaching too far.
In the campsite: Cyclists are an interesting bunch – we all like different things. Some of us are comfortable sitting on the ground, while others carry a chair of some sort. Some of us cook dinner in one big pot; others want a variety of pots. Some continue to wear their cycling clothes all evening; others need to change as soon as they get off the bike. Some cyclists are OK to hang around shooting the breeze all evening, while others need a book or some craft to keep their hands busy.
The evening hours are the hardest for many people. They are tired and want to rest, but can’t rest unless they are comfortably set up. Consider what you will need and make sure you pack it on your bike.
Sleeping: Consider your tent carefully. Are you OK being crammed in or do you require more space for sleeping? Will you feel claustrophobic if the tent is down low over your face or will you need a higher profile tent? What a pillow? Some cyclists carry down pillows, while others simply stuff clothing into a stuff sack. Big thick inflatable pad or thin closed cell foam?
If you don’t sleep well at night, you won’t function well during the day. Make sure you take enough comfort items to allow you to sleep.
Bicycle touring doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable experience – in fact, it shouldn’t be. Plan out what you will carry so that your needs are met, and it’ll be a fantastic experience!