Bicycle Touring is cycling to distant locations. People who love to cycle and travel to distant places around the world, tour on bicycles as opposed to the conventional modes of transport. They are focused on extracting more pleasure by cycling on long stretches of road and terrains rather than speeding or competing. As the lifestyle of people has changed and more innovations in the adventure sports happening, people are exploring new ways to enjoy their vacations. Bicycle touring is a good sport as it relaxes you while you work those muscles.
The history of Bicycle Touring can be traced back to the 19th century. It has been archived that on 17 February 1869, John Mayall, Charles Spencer and Rowley Turner bicycled 53 miles from Trafalgar Square in London to Brighton in 15 hours. This event was reported in the Times as an “extraordinary velocipede feat”. Three other riders followed in March 1869, covering the stretch from Liverpool to London in 3 days and many more followed. Thus was born the concept of Bicycle Touring, which gradually became popular in the United States of America. Thomas Stevens was the first man to travel the world riding on a Columbia high-wheeler, in 1884. He started off from San Francisco. His travels through Europe, Middle East and Asia have been chronicled in his book, "Around the World on a Bicycle". As the concept gained popularity, more and more people took to bicycling around the world. In 1896, John Foster Fraser along with two others set out to journey around the world. They covered 17 countries in 26 months, cycling over 19000 miles. After this event, several cycling-tour clubs were formed across Europe and the US. Avid cyclists started touring and exploring new places. The Cyclists Touring Club, formerly known as Bicycle Touring Club, formed in 1878 is the world’s oldest national tourism organization of bicycle tourists.
Bicycle Touring can be broadly categorized under four heads:
Bicycle Touring is a true exercise in terms of grit and endurance. It is certainly not appropriate for those who lack stamina, determination, and fearlessness. Even seasoned bikers suffer from severe fatigue. One has to know his or her physical limitations to plan an appropriate route. For overnight camping tours, riders must have prior camping experience, route-finding and map-reading skills and tolerance for adverse situations. They must carry gears and equipments based on the type of bicycle tour. It is always best to avoid narrow tunnels, construction zones, congested bridges, busy streets or highways and similar danger zones. Riders must have a pre-designated stopover point for each day. Novice bicyclists must avoid difficult terrains. In order to avoid traffic, it is advisable to choose trails heavily used by hikers, pack animals or off-road vehicles. For a multi-day bicycle tour, select a route that offers variety of overnight accommodations. Hot, sunny weather conditions are not perfect for long rides. Sunny, cool weather is regarded best for bike touring. Bicyclists must refer weather forecast before starting the tour. Moreover, riders need to be updated on the exact location of bike repair shops, telephone booths, general stores and so on.
A Touring Bicycle must be chosen based on the following criteria:
Some of the popular touring bicycles are listed below:
Trek 520: It is ideal for long distance rides. It can tolerate medium to heavy load on good roads. This is one of the most popular, reasonably priced, high-quality touring bicycles.
Fuji Tour: It is ideal for light to medium touring specially in smaller hills with fewer undulations.
Novara Safari: This bicycle is most suitable for long distance touring. However, it is not a mountain bike. It can safely tour over gravel trails, dirty roads and concrete pavements. It is one of the best deals in terms of money. It has the look of an expedition bike.
Co Motion Americano Copilot: This is a heavy-duty bicycle ideal for long distance touring. It can withstand any terrain and cargo load.
Thorn Raven: This touring bicycle falls into the category of expedition range.They are highly durable and can withstand shock encountered during normal or expedition use. It can be used in any parts of the world.