Why I Want to go Bike Touring

When you tell the average person you want to travel across the state on a bicycle you often get told that you’re crazy, well I might be just a little bit. The truth is, it is much more within one’s reach to be able to do something like that than you might think. I just went on a 22 mile bike ride, lots of hills and wind and wasn’t particularly enjoyable and my legs hurt. Why would I want to subject myself to the agony of climbing hills at 5 mph, get sunburn on my face and arms and risk getting hit by cars?
For me, I got a small taste of the answer about a week ago when I biked about 37 miles to Fire’s Creek. You get a sense of accomplishment for one, you got yourself there under your own power. The second thing is the added element of adventure and connection with nature. You get to see so much more by being on a bike, being able to go slow and absorb it all. It is also both a mental and physical challenge. Since “30” is on the horizon I feel that if I am to do this sort of thing time is going to close in potentially sooner than I might think. There is also the element of fitness, I think touring, or just biking in general is a good way to lose weight all while I am enjoying what I’m doing. Take something you enjoy doing and turn it into something healthy. I used to ride all over the neighborhood when I was a kid and now I can potentially ride all over the country.
There is a lot of gear and things one needs to consider and educate themselves on. One is you probably shouldn’t attempt to tour on a Wal-Mart bicycle. Not saying it can’t be done but there is a good chance you will have some sort of failure, such a failure can result in serious injuries which is something you do want to have happen while in the middle of nowhere.
The bike I currently have is maybe a notch up from the cheap-o Wal-Mart bike but I also realize for the $350 I paid, there’s bound to be quality issues. The wheels in particular are something I looked into and found that while the wheels at $30 each aren’t a bad bargin but they are likely not up to the task of touring. So wheels and tires. You need to have a way of hauling camping gear and water, got to have lots of water. The other thing I have been concerned about is gearing. Hauling camping gear adds a lot of weight to the bike and thus makes climbing hills much more of a challenge, so I have been thinking about replacing the cassette (cogs) with ones that have a lower gear for climbing long steep grades on a loaded down bike. ┬áThere’s also the choice of using racks and panniers that mount to the font and back or using a trailer. It seems that most people use panniers but I have heard on several accounts that trailers are a good choice because they don’t effect how the bike handles — which is something I like. So I have a lot of research to do and of course none of this is happening overnight.
All this started with doing a triathlon, now I’m thinking about going places. Go figure.

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