July 30, 2012

Bike Touring Gear

Pruning the gear you bring along is a process that may evolve over a few trips. Yet, the first trip goes far in helping you figure out what is necessary and what is superfluous. Once you get back (and have caught your breath), sort out the items you didn't use and ask whether they couldn't be left at home next time.

How to Pack and Haul Your Gear on a Bike Tour

I group everything I'm bringing and pack my panniers by theme. Be sure to pack items that you'll use along the way in a convenient place. The front left pannier is typically the easiest to access on the trail, because most people get on and off the bike from the left side and lean the right side up against something to park it.

July 27, 2012

Cracking a Combination Bike Lock

I think the lesson here isn't how to crack the lock (how hard is it to remember a 4 digit combo?), rather it's that your bike isn't as secure as you think.

I like my small combo lock because it fits easily into a purse and I don't have to add another key to my already full keyring. However, I keep a stronger key lock on my porch for any overnight parking.

July 23, 2012

An Introduction to Touring Bikes

The finest saddle, nicest panniers, and clipless pedals aren't necessary to venture out of the city. If you can be comfortable on your bike for a few hours and have at least a rear rack, you are ready to embark on your first trip. 

Non-touring bike on the trail

July 16, 2012

Methods of Bike Touring in Wisconsin

Bicycle touring may conjure up images of mule-like bikes and weary travelers heading toward California, but aspirations of loading up and heading to the Pacific aren’t a prerequisite to incorporating tours into your bike life. You can enjoy what touring has to offer – exploring communities beyond the Dane County line, fresh air, scenery, and exercise – on a weekend adventure or even just a day trip.
Packing light for a day trip or credit card tour
The touring cyclist can generally choose between credit card touring or self-supported touring. On a credit card tour, cyclists bring clothing, personal items, and some basic gear, but pay for food and accommodations along the way. On a self-supported tour, cyclists carry their food, gear, and camping equipment on their bikes, making supply stops as needed. 
Self-supported touring at Mukwonago County Park
We usually do a combination of the two, paying for one of our daily meals and finding refuge in a motel if foul weather hits. Rail trails go through plenty of towns where you can dine out or resupply.

July 9, 2012

Bike Touring / Camping Tips: Destinations, Maps and Pacing

Choosing your bike camping destination and finding your way
Several state parks or trailside campgrounds within 60 miles of Madison make for good weekend bike camping destinations. Unsure of which to pick for a first trip? Try one of the closer destinations on or near a rail trail, such as Blue Mound State Park on the Military Ridge, New Glarus Woods near the Badger, or Sandhill Station on the Glacial Drumlin.

July 2, 2012

Touring Cyclists' Special

A 1955 promotional film for British Railways encapsulates many of the things we love about touring.