Bicycle touring is close to my heart. My first tour was in the seventies after quitting a lucrative job. I toured the British Isles, and rode till the money ran out, about four months.
Whether you call it “touring”, “bike packing”, “bicycle camping”, or anything else; it’s the best way to see a place! The pace of the bicycle is much more suited to experiencing a new place than being in a car. People are very friendly to a stranger on a bike. I recall a dairy farmer in Ireland who stopped me, made me dump out all my water and replaced it with fresh milk. People seem to be curious about where you have been, where you are going, where you are from, and why are you riding a bike?
It takes me two or three days to really shake the feelings of regular life. When I am really “in the groove”, I only think about where will I get water; where will I get food; and where will I pitch my tent tonight. Nothing else matters! I like the feeling of being self-supported. Tent, clothes, food and tools allow me to change plans on a whim.
Planning is the key to a good tour, but do not over-plan. A bike in good working order is a must, and a way to carry your stuff. You need to be prepared for repairs; inclement weather; and have an open mindset. This allows you to be flexible in your planning. Mechanical problems, weather, or happening across some place you want to stop can all change your plans.
Top Secret Touring Essentials
There are a few items I like to take which might not occur to the first-time touring cyclist. Here they are, in no particular order:
I would be delighted to help you plan, offer equipment suggestions, and encouragement. All I ask is that you bring me back a story! Happy riding to you!