cycle touring, Travel Tips

All you NEED to cycle the globe on a shoe string budget, straight from the mouth of a novice.

1. A bike.

Yes, the obvious. You will have to invest in one of these. However, you do not need to break the bank. My trip was very unexpected and I certainly couldn’t afford an expensive touring bike.

So we looked at the cheapest bike available. I have crossed Europe on a B-Twin mountain bike, costing £150 from www.decathlon.co.uk and it’s been great. Not even a puncture! But any bike will do really.

Now we do see people speed by on their touring bikes with their ever so thin wheels and I do get a little envious that my chunky wheels won’t allow me to go that quick but it does the job and is always great for actually doing a bit of mountain biking on your travels should you fancy it! I would however suggest padded shorts for the rear.

Of course if you can afford to get a high end bike then their will be perks and you will likely have a more comfortable ride but please please don’t let expense put you off because it is more than doable on a cheaper bike and you know what, you feel damn proud of your achievements on the little old thing!

So go buy a bike 🚲 adventure awaits you!

2. Panniers.

Now when my fiancé first suggested I join him on the bike one day for a tour the first thing I did was pack my backpack, put it on and cycle down the path for a practice run. Of course, I wobbled all over the place and then fell off. I just assumed that’s how people travelled by bike.

I hadn’t heard of these magical little things called panniers. For those of you who like me, don’t know what they are, they attach to the side of your bike rack (another thing you will need if your bike isn’t fitted with one) and contain all your belongings and make for a nice balanced ride.

However with the panniers, the saying:

If you buy cheap, you buy twice!

Rings true and as I have found my £10 none waterproof panniers haven’t been quite as resistant as Mel’s ORTLIEB ones have. So I would most definitely recommend buying reliable ones or like me you will have wet clothes when it rains and pasta falling out the holes in the bottom! You can find them at www.ortlieb.com

3. Dry Bag.

This I have found has been my most useful piece of equipment giving my panniers are not waterproof. The dry bag is to put over my panniers on the rack. It contains my sleeping bag, sleeping mat, pillow and my hold-all bag to fly with.

Again it wasn’t anything too expensive and is an ORTLIEB and can be found at any www.gooutdoors.co.uk or again on the Ortlieb website.

Now how you choose to see the world and how you choose to sleep at night is dependant on you entirely but we love to camp and it’s the cheapest way to do it! If camping is your thing then you will need:

1. A tent.

Again, this all depends on how you travel as to what will work best for you. We travel as a pair and use an MSR two man tent that can be found at www.msrgear.com and they come in a variety of sizes. They pack down to a nice compact size and are easy to store on the back of the bike.

Although on our trip we have found ourselves to not even bother putting the tent up and simply sleeping underneath the stars but you know, each to their own.

2. Sleeping bag/Mat.

Now this will all depend on what your destinations will be and the temperature of where you will be staying, so I won’t go into detail. They are just something you will need. The SEATTOSUMMIT ultra light and insulated mat however is perfect and packs down into a tiny little bag, you would hardly even notice it is there. You can find this from most outdoor outlets.

3. Gas stove/Cooking equipment.

The key to keeping your trip cheap is sleeping and eating cheap. As tempting as it is to enjoy all the delicious cuisine from around the globe, the cheaper you eat, the further you go!

We eat a lot of noodles, pasta, eggs and cereal but of course we treat ourselves from time to time. The key is to just pick a few places you know you want to sample some of their foods and stick to just those places.

Camping is awesome and a great way to travel and see the world but the absolute best thing about choosing to see the world by bike is the cycling community itself and how they take care of each other!

So with this is mind one of the main things on my list you must have is a Warmshowers account!

The warm showers website is a reciprocal hospitality site designed especially for cycle tourists or people traveling by bike (As I certainly wouldn’t refer to myself as a cycle tourist just yet!) in which they offer a bed and a shower for the evening and at no cost. It is a fantastic means of finding a place to stay on the road and it is always just wonderful having the opportunity to meet fellow cyclists and share stories experiences and routes. My experience with this so far has been excellent and I think it is just a brilliant idea and website!

So if you plan on doing a cycle tour and I am hoping you will! You can register for an account at www.warmshowers.org

Do it now 👋

Another thing you may need:

1. A Route… if you want one!

This one is not a NEED. The thing about cycling is that you are completely free to choose whatever path you desire. It may change from one day to the next but that’s the beauty of it. You don’t have to catch that train. You are free to make the route as you go!

Some paths we have followed in Europe that have been fantastic are:

The AlpeAdria

The D2 Slovenia

Eurovelo 6

The Danube Cycle Path

The Salzkammergut

Lastly and most importantly you will need…

Passion, Drive, the desire to travel and a positive attitude!!!

It won’t always be easy and there will be days when you struggle and wonder if it is worth it! The answer is yes! Yes it is! You are out there exploring the world and taking in every aspect of it along the way! If you have a desire to travel, if you want to see the world and do it the cheapest way possible then go out and get on a bike and do it! There is nothing stopping you! If I can do it …. honestly, anybody can!

I promise 🤗

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