The problem with starting a blog about biking the world half a year before you actually begin biking the world is that there’s not a whole lot to write about until you actually set off. By this time next year, I hope we’ll have tons of really interesting things to say and share and teach about the ins and outs of cycling rural stretches of eastern Africa and beyond, but for now—though we still have some planning and prep to write discuss—there’s not much to add about our meager few months of bike touring experience in Iceland and Morocco and the American northeast. We aren’t exactly experts, but we know of some people who are, so if what you’re here for is authoritative and comprehensive and inspirational and just really great tips and tales about biking the world, consider stopping by the pages below until we have a little more to share of our own. (Obviously, this isn’t a sponsored post—these folks are all just pretty awesome.)
FRIEDEL & ANDREW of TRAVELLING TWO
A Dutch couple that cycled 60,000 kilometers around the world between 2006 and 2009, Friedel and Andrew host a super-friendly site that offers really, really great country-by-country, cyclist-specific tips. Friedel presents a really valuable perspective for female cyclists (who are often under-represented in the bike touring world), like, well, different options for peeing along the road. Of course, the vast majority of both Friedel and Andrew’s stories and advice are for anyone and everyone, and though I’ve never personally left a comment, they seem very responsive to those who do. More recently, they’ve sprouted a few youngsters and have begun to write about how to keep bike touring as a family, which is awesome.
TOM ALLEN of TOM'S BIKE TRIP
I’d seen Tom Allen’s name on bike blogs many times, and didn’t really give it much of a thought until looking for a good adventure read a few months ago. Janapar: Love on a Bike came highly recommended, and for good reason: it’s a really well-written and really captivating telling of Tom’s cross-continental bike trip as a young twenty-something, but with tons of suspense and adventure and romance, too. I read it in one sitting, learned there was an accompanying documentary pieced together from the video journal he kept along the way, and watched that the very next day (also excellent).
Tom’s site contains the stories of Janapar but much more, too—loads of really exhaustive posts on how to tour, what to bring, how to prepare, and what to expect. Tom’s also done a lot to get folks going on their first bike trip, starting an adventure grant and giving away his own bike and gear to someone looking to set off on their first tour. More recently, Tom’s been helping the country of Georgia chart out some new mountain bike trails, or something like that.
ALASTAIR HUMPHREYS of ALASTAIR HUMPHREYS
Another legend of the bike touring world, Alastair’s blog (and especailly) books are absolutely terrific. Moods of Future Joys is available for free from his site as a PDF (Kindle-friendly versions of that one and his several other books are available for purchase), and tells of his long, trying journey from his home in England to the tip of Cape Town, South Africa. Thunder and Sunshine picks up where that one left off and follows Alastair around the rest of the world. Like Tom Allen, Alastair Humphreys does a great job of communicating that adventure is for everyone, and his writings on microadventures focus on experiences that can be had just in one day not too far from home, for those who don’t necessarily want to (or can’t necessarily) leave it all behind to bike around the world.
TEGAN PHILLIPS of UNCLIPPED ADVENTURE
The very first recipient of Tom Allen’s adventure scholarship (see above), Tegan’s blog is simply the best bike touring site on the internet (sorry, everyone else). Breaking from the status quo of long blocks of rambling text accompanied by a few pretty pictures, Tegan’s chronicling of her solo bike ride to Spain to rescue her sister, and later her year-long family bike ride with sister and parents all around Africa, are told as a series of comics sketched out on her iPad en route (even better, the journey through Africa is told from the perspective of her bicycle). Her site does, indeed, feature some pretty pictures of the photographic variety as well, but they’re secondary to the comics, which are clever and hilarious and seem to get increasingly sophisticated each and every post. More recently, Tegan is somewhere in New Zealand doing a one-woman triathlon around the entire South Island, to raise money to donate bikes to those who can really use ‘em.
SARAH & SCOTT of LONG RODE HOME
So, a few years back I was drifting around Europe with a rail pass and a backpack, and I found myself in a charming little hostel by a charming little river in a charming little town on the west coast of Ireland. Most of the guests in the hostel were backpackers like me, but two of my hostelmates—actually, they were camping out by the river in a tent—were on bikes. They’d just touched down in Scotland (from Australia) a few weeks earlier, had biked all the way to Ireland, and from our charming little town on the coast, were headed to the end of the world—by bike. I got to know them over the next few days and hear lots more about their ambitious and totally awesome plan to bike around the world—through Europe, dipping into Morocco, heading east and east and more east through Asia before flying over to Alaska and biking down to the tip of South America.
I got home a few weeks later and Sarah and Scott kept biking, sharing their adventures in words and photographs along blissful bike trails and rough mountains and cold tundra, and making my life look pretty bland by comparison. Two years later (and after a year-long stop in China to work), Sarah and Scott are just getting back on their bikes to begin the second leg of their journey, and Lauren and I—in no small part thanks to these two—are just starting to put the pieces together to get going on ours.
So if you’re here because you’re looking for some advice on bike touring, and you don’t really care about us in particular, and you want information that’s well-proven and not purely speculative and secondhand, and if it’s not yet the summer of 2017, visiting any of the sites above is probably a much more valuable use of your time than the one you’re reading right now (though even if it’s after the summer of 2017, that’s probably still true).
Any other helpful bike touring websites you’d recommend? Let us know down below.