After being on the road for almost 2 years and slowly thinning down our kit to what makes us comfortable and happy we have enevitably found ways and means to simplyfy things. Finding solitions along the way doesn’t always cost money and many are very simple. we have also picked up great ideas from other cyclists and backpackers on the way and so to help anyone that is either on tour or going to plan one here are a few tips we have picked up.
1. bike stand We have found due to the weight of the bike with kit most bike stands just arn’t stong enough so we use a Y shaped stick that is as straight as possible.
add 2cm wide piece of inner tube to the front brake which stops the bike from rolling away. We got this idea from sylyvian morvan France.
2. Elastic bands.
Use an old inner tube and cut to the thickness you require. this is useful for holding on the front brake cable routing on forks.
3. Zips, tent or other.
We have had a few issues on our tent due to the amount of use it gets after a few enquiries we were told if you squeeze the back of the zip puller a little this will help it engage the teeth but also try and keep the zip clean by using a damp cloth. Another thing that is worth doing is not zipping up the doors when packing because you’ll only unzip when setting up and if you do this overtime its a lot of wear.
4. contacting friends and family.
There are many differant option but a couple cheeper ways are using Skype. skype to skype contact are free but also calling mobile phones anywhere in the world is very cheap. Another way is to buy an unlocked mobile phone and buy simcards which are very cheep in the country you are in.
5. Stoves which one to get.
We use a Primus omnifuel stove which works with pretty much any fuel and is very reliable. there are many multifuel stoves out there but if you only have a trangia (alcohol stove) don’t worry we have been amazed at how well they work and how long the fuel lasts.plus primus now have a petrol converter so you can use your Tangia with any fuel. For other options MSR also make an amazing stove
Regards to being seen orange is the best colour, either a lightweight bright jacket or water proof pannier covers i.e. #Urbanshell are very good.
Avoid arriving in any town after dark. Look for campspot at least an hour before sunset or ask a local if they can help i.e. camp in their garden. they will also know if an area is safe. Large wing mirrors are very useful and much nicer to ride with saving time and effort constantly looking over your shoulder.
This is very important and works very well. we have had hundreds of dogs run out at us, chase us or try and bite us but the thing that has worked every time is stopping. If you stop suddenly they stop chasing its as simple as that. They may still bark or growl but if you move away slowly even shout they will give up. They see you and the bike as one object and aren’t sure what to bite. Do not swerve into the road its to dangerous, if you predict or see a dog may run out move into the centre once you know there is nothing behind if you don’t have time slow down and Stop. If you are travelling at speed then you may be able to out run it but again if it is catching and will bite just stop its that simple.
Not only useful for putting on wet ground while you have lunch but making your campspot a more pleasurable place when its tipping down. this can give a dry area to cook while keeping water out of your tent and also catching valuable drinking water in remote places.
A Head torch is a very useful and a can’t do with out piece of kit but the batteries get put though there paces every night. One piece of kit that I brought on a spur of the moment has proved invaluable. Its a small solar light. The light lasts for around 4 hours and easily charges up during the day and hang it inside the tent at night or cook with using the head torch for the fiddly jobs at the same time when needed. We used a d-light
Ever since hitting a pot hole and losing a front pannier we have used a mini carabiner to clip the pannier handle to the rack. I have since had a couple panniers come off and they drop next to the wheel without obstructing it and allow enough time to stop and not being run over by a passing vehicle. This is also useful in stopping anyone from grabbing your panniers off your bike while your backs turned
11. Whats that behind you
Ever since we started our tour I have always been amazed at how many people miss the view behind them. I not saying constantly keep looking but look around.We would have missed some incredible sights if we hadn’t from hanging glaciers to huge mountains or even a tall giraffe.
12. Entering the USA (visa)
I had been given loads of conflicting info but this is what I have found. If you arrive at a US airport you will need a visa waver also known as an ESTA that can be applied for online and cost $15, If you arrive at a land border you will need to fill in a green slip and will be interviewed before entry and cost $6. Both run continuously for 3 months and you cannot re enter the US before it Expires. Once it has Expired you will then fill in another green form as before.
For the ladys
1. Keeping underwear warm.
When you go to bed put your underwear you will be wearing the following day in your sleeping bag. This will make sure they are warm for the morning.
If your cycling all day you will at somepoint need to use the bathroom or pop behind a bush. Instead of littering the countryside with bits of paper, rinse with water as this is much cleaner for you and the enviroment plus keeps your shorts cleaner.