So how does one go on a bike tour, anyway? It’s easier than you think.

Consider this list, of things you need when you’re at home but that you don’t need when you’re living on a bike:

  • Oven cleaner
  • A plunger
  • Refrigerator magnets
  • Pruning shears
  • A mop
  • Ice cube trays
  • A vacuum cleaner
  • Furniture polish
  • Garbage cans
  • A stepladder
  • Coasters
  • Light bulbs
  • A fire extinguisher
  • Hangers

And here’s the list of things you need when you’re on a bike tour, that you don’t need at home:

  • A bike
  • A helmet

That’s it! The rest is optional. Clearly, bike touring is far simpler and more straightforward than living at home, yes? It’s also a great remedy for the stress of modern life. (Though I will admit there are some tough days.)

Will you like bike touring?

Here’s ten questions you can ask to figure it out:

  1. Do you like being outdoors, in a variety of conditions?
  2. Do you really like riding your bike?
  3. Do you enjoy experiencing in-between places, where people don’t usually linger?
  4. Do you place a high value on traveling without engine noise and confinement?
  5. Do roadside picnics appeal to you?
  6. Does traveling in a way that forces you to take your time appeal to you?
  7. Do you often want to stop and look around while you’re traveling?
  8. Do you like having little conversations with strangers you meet as you go?
  9. Does a vacation with an improvised daily schedule seem more appealing than a fixed one?
  10. Does a vacation with built-in exercise seem more appealing than one spent sitting around?

If that all sounds good, the next question to ask is:

Can you handle bike touring?

  1. Can you make at least minor bike repairs, like replacing a flat?
  2. Are you comfortable pedaling on a seat for hours a day, days in a row?
  3. Are you adaptable when things don’t go according to plan?
  4. Are you okay with going slow up hills?
  5. Could you be content for weeks at a time with only about two suitcases worth of material possessions?
  6. Are you okay sleeping in unfamiliar locations?
  7. Are you okay sharing the road with cars some of the time?
  8. Do you have a friend to ride with or someone to call when things go wrong?
  9. Do you have at least one hobby that is portable, such as knitting, reading, birdwatching, sketching, etc?
  10. Are you okay with strangers asking you curious questions, even if it’s the same two or three questions a hundred times?

If that sounds do-able – or you want it to be – then you’re good to go! You might want to start with How To Go On A Bike Trip: The Very Short Version.

If you can bicycle but you’re new to long-range touring, check out Bicycle Touring Far From Home.

Miscellaneous stuff for seasoned travelers:

All about bicycle boxes:

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