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Bicycle Travel How to Get Started

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Question:What gear does someone need to travel long distances on a bicycle?
What kind of bike do you recommend?

Luke’s Answer:

Bicycle Travel Gear

Cycling is a great way to travel on a really low budget. If you combine cycling with camping you will have an independent and free lifestyle that lets you see another side of many places. Below is some info about how to get started.

There are 2 basic paths you can follow when gearing up to travel long distances on a bicycle, and the path you follow will come down to how much money you are prepared to part with in the process. You can buy new specially designed bikes and accessories which often cost a small fortune, or you can shop around in classifieds and pick up some of these same items used or even make your own equipment.

Start with choosing a bike. You can begin a cycling journey with any kind of bicycle that you feel comfortable riding. The most fail-safe way to go is to choose a bike that is termed a ‘touring bike’. These bikes tend to
be made of steel, have longer frames and ‘braze-ons’ which you can mount luggage racks from. Steel absorbes the bumps in the road and resists breaking and long frames provide a stable ride with a heavy load.

Once you have your bike, there are countless accessories available to make the journey more comfortable and what you choose to cart around will depend on the level of comfort you require. If you are buying new gear, check out some of the online businesses based out of the UK as you can get items
greatly reduced in price with free shipping around the world.
(Chain Reaction Cycles or Wiggle Bicycle Supplies)

Below is a list of cycle accessories that I recommend for a comfortable trip.

  • Pannier racks or cycle trailer to carry your bags. A trailer will generally cost less than panniers and racks.
  • Pannier bags to attach to your racks or a waterproof bag to go in your trailer.
  • Pedals and shoes that clip in or straps that hold your feet to the pedals (greatly increases pedal power!).
  • Brooks leather saddle. Like a hammock for your rear end!
  • Bike pants with a padded chamois. Nerdy looking but saves your butt.
  • Camping stuff that goes great with cycling.
  • Hennessy Hammock! Keeps you off the ground, dry and away from the insects and super stealthy. Not great in the cold or in tree-less areas though..
  • Water storage bag. Ortlieb and MSR make great ones that also double as a shower.
  • Water filter to remain independent and keep the cost of buying water down.
  • Non stick cooking pan is great for an easy clean up when water is scarce.
  • ‘New Wool’ like Icebreaker and Smartwool make great clothing that does not stink after a day of sweating.
  • Head torch rather than normal torch can be used on your helmet as well as around the camp.

That is my selection of my top tips for getting out and exploring the world on a bicycle.

Enjoy.

Luke

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Filed under: Bicycle Travel, Start Traveling, Travel Gear

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3053 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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