Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook: A Worldwide Cycling Route & Planning Guide

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9781873756898: Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook: A Worldwide Cycling Route & Planning Guide

Every cyclist dreams of making the Big Trip, the Grand Cycle Tour abroad. The Adventure Cycling Handbook is the comprehensive manual that will make that dream a reality whether it's riding the Karakoram Highway, cycling in Tibet or pedaling from Patagonia to Alaska. So whether cyclists are planning their own Big Trip or just enjoy reading about other people's adventures, the handbook is guaranteed to illuminate, entertain and above all, inspire.

>Which bike to take -- top ten internationally-available bikes
>Preparing a bike for long-range touring -- load carrying, tools, spares, and repairs
>Clothing, camping gear, health, and survival
>Air-freighting a bike
>Transcontinental route outlines -- across Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America
>Tales from the saddle -- firsthand accounts of spoke-bending biking adventures worldwide; battling against the elements on epic journeys: Kyrgyzstan, India, The Road to Everest, Travels on a Recumbent, Costa Rica, Siberia, Crossing Europe in 1929, Californian Wine Tour

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About the Author:

Stephen Lord spent the first ten years of his working life as a banker in the City of London and has lived and worked in San Francisco, New York and Tokyo. He has traveled widely over the last fifteen years - on his bicycle, by canoe and on foot. He has walked several of the French pilgrimage routes and the Via de la Plata in Spain and recently updated Trailblazer's Trekking in the Pyrenees. His long-distance cycling expeditions have included London to Athens, Alaska to Mexico and numerous shorter trips in Japan, India and other parts of Asia.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction
Why are so many people going bike touring these days? What was once very much a minority hobby during the heyday of the car has become once again a popular choice for travelling in recent years - especially for long overseas trips. Yet people first started cycle-touring in the late 19th century. Then, as now, the bicycle offered a revolutionary way of touring: you go exactly where you want, when you want, with your own transport. This was before the age of cars and walking was the only alternative until the bicycle. In 1885 the Rover Safety Bicycle came along, and for all the innovation since then, most modern touring bicycles would be recognizable to a Victorian, as would their derailleur gears.
Bike touring is undergoing a boom at the moment, but it is really one of the bicycle's periodic rediscoveries. Bicycle design, components and gear are evolving to suit the changing needs and tastes of people who go touring these days and the places they go to. It's a combination of experimentation and using tried and tested designs, like the 'diamond' frame of the Rover Safety bicycle. The Adventure Cycling Handbook is all about looking at what people are using: what kind of bikes, what gear and what are the great destinations for today's bike tourers?
There are many reasons for taking a bike on your next long trip. My own guess as to why bike touring is back in fashion is that many travelers are burned out on what is often called backpacking, but amounts to travel by bus and train for most of the time. Buses are certainly fast, but they go from one noisy town to another, leaving no possibility of exploring the spaces in between, the places where the bus doesn't stop.
Others use bikes to go even further off the beaten track: they want to go where buses don't go at all and perhaps where other vehicles cannot get to either. As Paul Woloshansky explains on p85, being told "there's a prettier way to go, but there's nothing out there at all" was why he chose self-supported touring. Other adventurers like Sweden's Janne Corax have said the same thing; there were times when there was no other way of getting to where they wanted to go. You couldn't get there on foot and you couldn't get there in a truck. It was only possible on a bicycle.
0 Half the adventure, though, is in the riding itself. Being out in the fresh air, seeing much more than is possible from a bus or train window is always a good feeling whether you are wandering around France or riding across India. A lot of today's cycle tourists are interested in the riding, but not that interested in bikes. It's a means of transport and a way to carry bags comfortably, while sitting down and enjoying the view. Not everyone goes for the high passes of the Andes or the Himalaya but they are all enjoying that same sense of freedom and all that comes with it - unexpected discoveries, off-route detours or an impromptu day off declared when you find a great place to stay. Trips like these are not as arduous as some expeditions but they are every bit as satisfying and they are still adventures, for they allow for spontaneity and if you are carrying a tent and camping gear, you're prepared for any eventuality. You've always got a place to spend the night.
This book looks at the possibilities out there, the different styles of travelling and the basic gear and know-how that you need. Then there's a look at some of the more exciting bicycling destinations around the world with suggestions as to which routes and what you need to plan a trip in the region. The Adventure Cycling Handbook does not set out to tell you exactly where to go: it's your adventure even if you plan an exact route, but it's often best to have a general idea of where you're headed and to be ready for changes in plans. Bikers also tend to have a bit of the explorer in them, and this book assumes that most of you want to find your own routes and want to go off the beaten track.
Lastly there are stories from all around the world, not so much about the biking but about the adventures cyclists had on their journeys. It's the old idea that a bike ride isn't just about the riding, though it's the bike that got you there. That's the other half of the adventure, the places you were able to get to and the people you got to meet, because you decided to travel by bicycle.

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