Essential Gear for Adventure Cycle Touring
257 pages of hard-earned advice on getting kitted out for your adventure.
More and more people are discovering the joys of pedal-powered travel.
But there’s still confusion about what’s necessary to pull off a successful trip, as opposed to what’s nice — and there’s plenty of concern about how much it’s all going to cost.
The truth is that there are three main problems at work here:
1. Adventure cycle touring is still a small niche.
It incorporates cycling and outdoor gear, but is a long way from the mainstream of either of them.
There’s affordable, well-made equipment out there to suit every type of tour. But few of us can expect to walk into a single shop and find it all in one place.
2. Unfortunately, there’s no standard recipe for the ‘perfect’ bike-touring setup.
We naturally want to know, quickly and unambiguously, what the obvious go-to items of gear are. It’s normal in the age of comparison sites, ‘likes’ and user reviews.
But the truth is that what’s ‘best’ is something only you can discover — simply because cycling gives you so much freedom to do things your own way.
3. Too many high-profile bicycle ‘adventurers’ want you to do things their way.
Heavily-sponsored cycle tours are all well and good. But the way in which they’re financed, equipped and presented is irrelevant to the remaining 99.9% of us.
There are as many ways of going cycle touring as there are people on cycle tours. The trick is to see past all those swanky logo-clad expedition websites, for they’re actually a very poor representation of reality.
Essential Gear has been written to cut through the confusion and help you make gear-buying decisions that are actually relevant to you.
About The Author
Essential Gear For Adventure Cycle Touring has been written and compiled by veteran long-distance bicycle traveller and writer Tom Allen.
A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and an advisor to the Ted Simon Foundation, Tom is also an award-winning adventure filmmaker, releasing the feature-length documentary film Janapar in 2012 to universal acclaim.
After years of evangelising bicycle travel through his long-running blog, TomsBikeTrip.com, Tom decided to create a comprehensive and timeless resource on gear for cycle touring — something that took a step back from kit lists and equipment reviews and looked instead at tackling the underlying concerns of newcomers to this limitless and exciting form of travel.
Essential Gear, Tom’s second book, is the result. It contains every scrap of knowledge he has learnt about gear for adventurous bicycle journeys through 15,000+ miles of touring in 40 countries.
Who Is This Guide For?
Everything is covered in enough depth that you’ll find out everything you need to know — but stops before things get boringly detailed and technical. Hard-earned experience and wisdom beats specification charts and lists of theoretical pros and cons.
UK-based? You’ll get bonus assistance.
When it comes to specific items, we’ll be mainly talking about what’s most readily found in the UK (with a few exceptions). If you’re here from USA, Canada or elsewhere in the world, of course, you’ll find the remaining 90% of this resource just as useful in teaching you how to think about choosing gear.
Newcomer to adventure cycling? You’re in safe hands.
If you’re looking for a shortcut to decades’ worth of time-honoured, road-tested knowledge, the information in this ebook will put you miles ahead with your planning and preparation — and save you a bucketload of cash in the process.
No money? No problem.
If you’re worried that this guide is going to land you with a shopping list you can’t afford, rest assured that we cater for everyone’s wallet — from a no-budget tour right up to those who’ve been saving for years and want to make every penny count.
What's Inside The Guide?
It’s surprisingly common to find people up to their eyeballs in gear research before they’ve clarified what their journey is actually going to be about — and thus what’s going to be required of that gear.
Part One of the book is concerned with helping you avoid this and identify your preferences, allowing clarity on equipment choice to flow naturally. It covers:
- Understanding equipment use in reality versus what you’ll read about it in theory,
- Figuring out your priorities for your journey, including a look at the four main ways they differ between riders,
- Debunking commonly-believed myths about equipment for cycle touring, and
- Five key questions to ask of any equipment purchase before you hand over your cash.
Part Two is where things start getting more detailed. It includes:
- Chapters on the six main categories of essential equipment for cycle touring, with a broad overview of what you’ll find in each,
- Detailed information on what you do and don’t need to worry about for the gear within each category,
- Specific gear recommendations drawn from a distilled collection of gear used by experienced tourers over hundreds of thousands of touring miles, linked to an online gear database created specifically to complement the book.
The touring bikes chapter will cover in detail the single most important piece of gear for a cycle tour, teaching you:
- The four main qualities of a bike considered to be ‘good for touring’,
- Four things about touring bikes that people will tell you to worry about (which you don’t need to),
- Three things you should definitely be worried about instead (which are often forgotten),
- The most trusted touring bikes on the market today in each of the three main categories, and
- How to avoid ending up with the wrong bike (and the one simple action it depends on).
The section on luggage will explain in detail:
- The various ways in which you might carry your gear on a bike tour,
- The critical considerations when buying luggage racks and panniers for an existing bike,
- The pros and cons of waterproof panniers (and to keep gear waterproofed without them),
- A distilled collection of the most reliable luggage racks and panniers on the market, and
- Alternative luggage systems (including the easiest way to adapt a non-touring bike to carry gear).
When it comes to camping on tour, you’ll be learning about (amongst other things):
- The properties of the ideal tent for cycle touring,
- The three main variables you’ll want to consider when selecting a tent that’s right for you,
- Tried and tested tents for cycle touring across the full spectrum of budgets and capabilities, and
- The differences between a cheap sleeping bag and an expensive one, and what they really mean for the cycle tourist.
Next in line is cooking equipment, and you’ll find detailed information on:
- The three main categories of camping stove,
- Four key questions that’ll whittle down your options no end,
- How you might do away without a stove altogether, or easily build your own camping stove for free,
- What you should know about expensive ‘multi-fuel’ stoves, including when they’re not a sensible choice, and
- Pots, pans and utensils for camp cookery (and how you can save big money in this area).
The final major category of essential gear is clothing. You’ll read about:
- Three myths you’d be forgiven for believing about clothing for a cycle tour,
- The three touring wardrobes you’ll want to pack (and keep separate),
- The main categories of clothing you’ll be wearing while cycling and their most important qualities,
- What it’s worth paying close attention to, and what you may be able to do without altogether,
- The relevance to the touring cyclist of cycle-specific footwear and clipless pedals.
To round things off, there’s a comprehensive chapter on the topic of keeping your bike and gear (and body) healthy on the road — yes, the dreaded ‘tools, spares, repairs and maintenance’ topic. Luckily, if you’re averse to all things mechanical, you’ll find that there’s more than one way of dealing with mechanical failure (i.e. you only need to get your hands dirty if you want to).
You’ll finish with a chapter on buying advice: where to look for, test and buy the gear you’ve identified is right for you, including some suggestions on where you can save serious cash with a few simple bits of know-how under your belt.
Praise for Essential Gear For Adventure Cycle Touring
“This well-researched guide will save you time and money, as well as putting your mind at ease about gear purchases. It debunks many myths and is packed with solid, current, tried and true recommendations. Best of all, Tom writes in an easy-to-digest conversational style, making this book a fun read for those of us who aren’t gear-heads!”
Amaya Williams (WorldBiking.info), 96 countries by bike (& counting) since 2006
“This guide is just over 250 pages long and is chock full of gear advice for any budget and/or journey. My favourite part is that although it doesn’t ignore the latest and greatest gear, Tom isn’t shy to point out how and when to save money… It’s informative, its layout is beautiful, and it’ll prove a small fortune isn’t a requisite for an adventure cycle tour.”
Jeff Bartlett (AdventureFreelancer.com)
“The Veteran’s Guide To Gearing Up For Your Ride concerns itself solely, impressively and humorously with what kind of bike, clothing and pretty much every form of associated paraphernalia you could think of. The major thrust of his narrative is this: rather than fret about the suitability and cost of everything you think you’ll need, just get on your bike and go ride somewhere far, far away.”
Brian Palmer (TheWashingMachinePost.net)
Recap: The Benefits
- Get up-to-date, independent buying advice for the best of 2014’s market offerings.
- Learn how to avoid wasting money on ill-suited, unnecessary or overrated gear.
- Identify the type of bike setup & equipment that best matches your touring ambitions.
- Have one-click access to an online database of recommended gear for every budget.
- Draw from the wisdom of 50+ contributing veteran cyclists when making your choices.
- Learn how to make big savings on gear that you can later put towards the journey itself!
This fully-comprehensive ebook guide costs just £17.
The package includes a 257-page PDF for iPads and laptops, plus EPUB & MOBI editions for Kindle and other e-readers.
(All payments are securely processed by Paypal, the world’s most trusted payment provider. We’ll never ask you for your card details directly. We collect only your email address, which is used solely to deliver your purchase and bonus resources.)
Feedback from Satisfied Readers
“It confirmed a lot of the research I’ve already been doing, justified some of the gear decisions I’ve already made, and has given me a lot to think about for future choices.“
“I cannot recall a chapter where I thought I reached the end too early or had been left with questions.“
“One of the things I found most useful was the introduction. It helped me define clearly where my priorities lie. It helped determine which bit of equipment I was prepared to spend money on. At the end of the book, I felt much more confident about where to start and where to look for cycle touring gear.“
“The introduction of the book suggests ways to work out your priorities for your trip, and it’s definitely helped me focus on what I need. The complementing way in which choice of kit is laid out makes it simple for me to identify the equipment that I would use and which products to choose from the multitude of options. Highly recommended.“