Bike touring is a travel method that requires long hours of traveling on the road. It may take several years if you have decided to stay away from home and embark on a bike tour. This slow pace, coupled with a large number of bicycles and heavy traffic feels exactly like a snail which slowly drags all its belongings to its destination.
Slow-paced touring cyclists always stay together with their bikes. The average cycling speed for slower cyclists can never have French Sticks in the next morning like other riders, however, you could have the German’s pork knuckles in the evening.
We have been slowly going down the road, taking pleasure in all the famous sights and attractions. Like the immediate basic needs for life, a bicycle touring also contains the 4 basic necessities – clothing, food, shelter, transportation.
Bicycle touring is a way of living.
I really like this feeling. Each day handles the same life process in different places. Brushing your teeth, washing your clothes, eating and sleeping, of course, there are many accidents and exceptions. These are what I find interesting. The general life is full of surprises and unexpected experiences.
Here I will share some of the things that need to be taken care of while riding a bicycle, going on a bike tour, including some of my own experiences.
The first part is the clothing.
In fact, the clothing is one of the simplest elements. The general choice of clothing category is of course because of the weather. Because different factors determine the climate of different places.
What factors determine if our clothing choices are comfortable? Again, can the clothes be quick-dry after the change?
Simply put, don’t wear clothes that you don’t normally wear on the journey.
Again, the food.
We have been obtaining knowledge from all kinds of travel books or sharing sessions that we have to be careful with the food selections. For instance, eating at street stalls. But this does not work on bicycle tours as we have to adapt to the local environment anytime. Most of the time, there is no introduction to the high-quality restaurants offered by Trip Advisor. So it’s inevitable that you’ll find street stalls that don’t seem to be appealing. But if you are very interested in dealing with your own food, it is also a way to bring a stove and a pot for travel.
In Burma, I was really sick because I could only eat raw food every day. Later, I decided to buy some foodstuffs and a gas stove in Thailand. Buying a gas stove has directly solved the problem of food cleanliness and rawness.
Then on the aspects of living, cyclists on a long-distance tour usually carry tents and sleeping bags on their bicycles. Having to cycle for a long journey, one of the challenges is to save the money spent on accommodation as much as possible.
So we set up tents in the wilds or in the temples of monks. As long as you can tolerate the feeling of staying in a tent in very cold or hot weather. Therefore, I always alert to the surrounding area outside the tent.
When I was going on a bicycle tour in Burma, I also stayed in the monks’ dormitory. Unfortunately, I have acknowledged that the Myanmar government has prohibited foreigners from living in non-legal hotels. And I was also taken away by the police and immigration officials twice in the same month. The worst thing was to sleep in one night outside the cell. It was also a very intimidating experience.
The last aspect is transportation. Cycling travelers must be cyclists. But I also suggest here that you may change some other means of transportation traveling from some places to other places. This can also make up for the shortcomings that some of the destinations cannot be reached by riding a bicycle.
I was forced to take a one-and-a-half-day bus in Vietnam with my bicycle. When I thought of the fact that I was free to ride my bicycle and go forward bravely, I was trapped in the bus. I would be very eager to continue riding my bike and embrace freedom.
Nonetheless, I think this is the nature of being a cycling traveler. Everything is achieved by its own power. However, that sense of achievement must be greater.
Bicycle touring is definitely not just a way to travel. Eventually, you will learn to change your habit of returning to a different lifestyle. After experiencing a bike tour, you may start going to bed early and getting up early. Or you may start eating vegetarian food or treating your healthier foods better.
Cycling is a lifestyle, we, the cyclists are all people who live on a bicycle and find simplicity in a simple life.
With a bike and a backpack, JiaXiang travels the world by bicycle. He had ridden around Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Taiwan. He shares his tips and tricks he used to complete his long-distance bike tours. He also owns a humble studio and organizes local bike tours. When he is not on his bicycle, he can be found in his suit instructing and performing 24 Festive Drums.