Traveler Anton, who circumnavigated the world on a bike, shared his experience.
Imagine: you wake up in the morning somewhere in a field, say, in Switzerland. Get on your bike and ride along the ideal road to neighboring Italy. You pass amazingly beautiful open spaces, you meet herds of alpine cows.
It’s quite real. Now cycling tourism is quite developed, and meeting a cyclist on the road who has already traveled a couple of cities is not at all a wonder.
At first I rode around the city, then around the region, then I began to travel to other regions with a bicycle. Well, then I wanted to see other countries. Usually in the spring I really want to go somewhere.
In May 2009, I came up with the idea of going around the world by bike. Quickly figured out the route, timing. I realized that I no longer had time to prepare, that I would find winter in the northern hemisphere. Decided to postpone this idea until next year.
A year has passed, the idea remained, I had time to prepare – and I went.
What kind of bike do you need to travel?
No special bike needed. But it’s also not worth going to the “junk”. The main criteria in choosing a bike are simplicity and reliability. I had a simple road bike with 28″ wheels with v-brake brakes, an aluminum frame and the usual attachments.
Most often, you have to repair a bike on the road yourself, so the simpler the bike, the easier it is to put it in order. Easier is not cheaper, but more reliable.
You should not take a bike with hydraulic brakes on a carbon frame. If there are problems with these parts, it will be difficult to repair them yourself. In addition to the bike, you will need special attachments. A trunk or two, bicycle bags that will fit everything you need. Flask, water holders, lanterns.
How to prepare for the trip and what will you need on the way?
Money, all camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag, rug, burner), food, two sets of clothes, navigator, repair kit, for abroad – at least a minimum knowledge of English.
Physically, I didn’t do any special training, I just rode a bike and knew that I could ride 100-150 km in a day. In the first week, the body will adapt to the monotonous load, it will take several days, and then it will get used to it.
I had a simple installation, I will go as long as there is a desire. I will pass Europe, I want to go further – I will go. And so, stage by stage. Well, you should give yourself a rest and recuperate.
If you look at the whole path from start to finish, then the scale can be intimidating, but if you break it down into stages, it becomes easier.
What should be taken into account during the collection?
Do not take bulky things “just in case.”
It is better to take less and buy something along the way, if some thing is really needed.
Do not hang a heavy backpack on your back. I would even recommend freeing your back and shoulders altogether. Distribute all things only on the bike. Even a small weight on the back is immediately noticeable on the buttocks, back and shoulders – they will start to hurt very soon. And maintaining a good physical condition is very important.
Do not invite someone on a trip just for the company. Only if you are sure you want to share the trip with someone specific. If you are not sure about a companion, it is better to go alone.
How to repair a bike on a trip?
If you have the skills to repair a bike, it’s easy. Anything that cannot be repaired on site can be repaired in the workshop. You can also always turn to motorists for help: for example, ask for a lift to the city where there is a workshop. Wilderness is an exception.
It is better to study the main breakdowns of bicycles in advance before leaving, how to repair them and take some minimum set of keys with you.
What do you do if the weather gets bad and you have to move on?
If there is no time limit, then you can wait. If there is a limit, you have to go. Over time, you get used to the fact that the weather has its own plans, and you have your own. It can change every half an hour.
Volunteering: recreation for those who want to be needed
It is worth having one set of dry clothes and another for riding in the rain. Take seasonal items with you.
Keep in mind that temperature differences between day and night can be large. Check the weather forecast for your route