“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
We’ve put together this guide based on the way we plan our trips away, and tried to keep it as simple as possible. If you have any questions, please feel free to use the comment function at the bottom of each page. This is a beginner’s guide to planning, but there may be some useful tips for more experienced campaigners.
Getting your kit together
Research, research, research! There are new bits of kit being released onto the market every day, not to mention periodic updates of existing kit. Jane is providing a review for each of the components she’ll be using on the trip from Beijing to Melbourne, but even now some of them may have been superseded by newer models.
There are plenty of reliable gear review sites out there, but be wary of the ‘paid to review’ type of sites – namely the ones with links to purchasing the review product. Personally, we prefer the customer reviews on websites like wiggle.co.uk or chainreactioncycles.co.uk as it is clear that they are not biased towards only the positive, and dedicated customers often provide fitting or installation advice in their reviews.
We’ve put together detailed information on how to select componentry for a custom touring bike, but you don’t have to go to that extent if you don’t want to. Your local bike shop will be able to sell you a stock touring bike or help you put one together to your specifications.
Jane lives in an area of China that doesn’t have the traditional local bike shop, so she has had to do it all herself- it’s been a great experience, but very time consuming and slightly frustrating at times.
Next Page: Your Route