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With amazingly little money you can transform your bicycle from a means of exercise into a very effect means of distance transport. You may have whizzed past a tour cyclist slogging up a steep hill in the middle of nowhere and wondered what on earth would posses a person to torture themselves like that when they could quite easily just drive. You may never understand until you try it yourself, but be warned the exhilaration and pure satisfaction of the experience may well have you hooked for life. The joy of tour cycling is a combination of accomplishing a physical feat, being very close to nature and the realization that with very little, not only can you survive quite comfortably outdoors but you can go almost anywhere your heart desires.

The first thing that you will need to purchase is a set of panniers, which are the bags that are attached to a bracket that sits directly above your back tire. Then set about filling these bags with all the essentials that will keep you mobile, safe, comfortable and fed.

These items should include:

*extra inner tubes

*a bicycle tool

*a pump

*a lightweight one man tent

*a sleeping bag

*a change of clothes  

*a raincoat

*a detailed map


Remember that each extra kilogram will feel like a ton of bricks going up steep hills, so keep everything to the bare minimum. Work out where you can eat along the way, or where you can next stock up on food. Try not to carry too much at one time. That said, make sure that you always have plenty of water bottles attached to your bike and fill them whenever the opportunity presents itself. A bit of a luxury, but something you will really appreciate at the end of a long day is a book. I take my Amazon Kindle as it is lightweight but holds a wide selection of books.

Make sure that you wear reflective clothing and that the rear and front light of your bicycle work.

If you don’t know the roads that you will be traveling on, try to find out about them. You will often find that a local bicycle shop will have plenty of information as well as suggested routes.

Another tip is to look into local weather conditions. Riding with the wind as opposed to into the wind will make all the difference to your trip.

I always try to remember that I am primarily trying to enjoy myself. Don’t overdo daily distances. Take time to appreciate the scenery you are cycling through. Take time to meet the locals. Accept invitations for tea or a well deserved beer. Stop on about the third night of your trip as you lie in your little tent at night, looking out over the mountains or perhaps listening to the breaking waves of the ocean and remember that you got from your front door to there with nothing more than your bicycle. Happy cycling.


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