From the Archives: Getting into Bike Touring

From the Archives: Getting into Bike Touring

I've been super busy working on something huge in the world of rewilding which may or may not happen, so the new Unf**king the Climate post is behind schedule. I did notice that some of my older bike touring posts were missing. They are the sort of posts that I regularly share with people who need help and advice on touring, so I've brought back from the dead.

Four Different Touring Setups

First off, three different touring setups. After years of messing with different combinations of panniers, front racks, and loads of bikepacking bags, I've learned some pros and cons. I ended up changing a few more times since this article, but I believe some of these options will hep you on your journey if you're new to bike touring.

Three Different Touring Setups
Figuring out exactly what bags to get for my tour was tough. There’s loads of options and obsessing about it is hard to avoid. Should I try a “bike packing” setup - sticking to frame/seat/handlebar bags and avoiding racks. Or should I go full blown “touring” with a

That says three, where is the fourth?!

Ultralight Bikepacking with a Laptop
If you try searching for advice on bikepacking with a laptop, you’re generally going to get a few responses: 1. Backpack - Gives you a sweaty back and aches like hell after a while. 2. Panier - A panier needs a rack, and racks can weigh 500g just to mount

The main idea here is that instead of loads of racks and paniers making a heavy wide bike, the front rack takes a laptop and sleeping ger to cushion it, and small lightweight chainstay bags and saddle bags take the rest. This was a bit of an experiment, and I didn't quite get it right as the chainstay bags were not designed for this use, but the idea is there and I'll write up the latest shortly.

Touring Tubeless

Some people think tubeless is magic, and some think its a completely uneccessary faff, and I've had all of those opinions and more over the last five years of touring and bikepacking. I have settled back on absolutely loving it, but have to recommend folks do not enter into it lightly. You can get a long way with some Schwalbe Marathon tyres, but if you are ready and willing to learn the ways of the sealant, then here are a few tales of caution to give you a smoother ride.

Trials and Tribulations of Touring Tubeless
Tubeless in cyclocross and mountain biking these days is pretty much the default, but going tubeless for road is a long frustrating drive on the struggle bus for a couple of reasons. Finding the right parts in the first place is tough, and keeping them set up can be tricky

Touring Logistics

When you're out and about and all your stuff is breaking, what do you do? "Make sure it works before you go." is a great idea if you've planned your tour out perfectly, practiced, thought about resupplies, etc. but when you've jumped into this cack handed and completely unprepared then... gotta buy some shit online. How to get that delivered? Some ideas!

Touring Logistics
When I started out in Spain there was just one shop in town which had a rack: a big heavy steel bastard, and just the one panier which was junk, it would come flying off at the slightest bump. Worse than that, the mechanic at that bike shop was truing

When things go wrong

What happens when things go to shit, bits start falling off your bike, you slash your tyre to ribbons, or any other amount of untold nonsense? If you've got a well put together bike serviced by a trained mechanic this probably won't happen, but that aint me! Here's a few creative solutions to some ridiculous problems.

Bike Hacks
Are you a couple of miles (or days) from the nearest bike shop? If you’re like me, and enjoy creative problem solving, then this is a fun opportunity to think outside the box! Here’s some stunts I had to pull over the last year of bike touring/packing around Europe.

Do you want to know more?

Ask me any questions about bike touring, and I'll expand the article with more articles. No such thing as a stupid question. 🙌