Category: Resources

Taking self portraits – tips from a pro

Photos © Peter Jordan

An interview with London newspaper photographer Peter Jordan

In 2013 Peter spent 5 months cycling through France and afterwards he published a photo book titled “Me, my bike and a compact camera. France”. The book preview can be viewed here and Peter’s facebook profile here.

Q: during that trip you carried a canon G12 compact camera with an optical zoom of 28 – 140. why did you choose that instead of carrying multiple lenses?

A: I would have to carry 4 prime lenses – a 28mm-50mm-85mm and a 135mm – plus a camera body to put them on, to have the same range as I get from the compact I carry. That’s a lot of weight. Yes, you do get better quality pictures from a prime lens but I have no complaints from the quality of my photos taken on the Canon G12. I have A4 size prints on my walls at home that look great and could have been bigger if I wanted. I even had a 13×11 inch photo book made and it looks superb. Why would I want to lug around such heavy equipment when I can do the same job with a small lightweight and easily accessible camera? A lot of people seem to think (understandably) that you have to have top of the range expensive gear to take great pictures. I think that’s rubbish.

Q: you also carried a Gorilla Pod tripod – how did that work out for you?

A: The Gorilla Pod is a great bit of kit. They have different sizes to fit a variety of cameras and lenses. The one I have fits in the front bar bag alongside my camera. You can put it in places where a normal tripod won’t go. Because of its bendy design you can wrap it around almost anything. I’ve used it on tree branches, fences, sign posts, rocks and even my bike handle bars. The only advantage I can see from carrying a tripod is that you can use the camera at different heights but even this isn’t an issue if you think creatively about how to place the tripod.

Q: Peter you travelled solo yet your photo book preview is full of self-portraits. how did you manage to get all of those shots?

A: I almost never ask a passer-by to take a picture of me. That’s because I’m always disappointed with the results. Taking good selfies takes time and effort, most of the time. I love taking them and will spend a lot of time getting it right. Once I’ve seen what I think might make a nice picture I will look for somewhere to put the camera and then do some test shots. I will change the angle and move it around. I look at the back screen and think how I can make it better, maybe under exposing the pic depending on the circumstances or shooting from ground level looking up or from above looking down. Some people can see a picture straight away in their mind before they even take it. I can’t. I cover all the possibilities until I see what I like. I sometimes take dozens of shots until I’m happy with just one. When I am happy with the result, I will dump the rejects to free up memory space. There’s no point in keeping pix you won’t use.

Q: In the book forward you write, “there is no rhyme, reason or theme to the pictures. If I saw something I liked, then I would stop and take a picture of it.” yet when I view the book preview – it’s full of a variety of images ranging from a fence gate to a pan of pasta. did you make a list before the trip of subjects that you wanted to shoot or is it just all of your years of newspaper experience that helped you photographically document your trip so well?

A: I never make a list. I sometimes have an idea but most of the time I just bump into pictures along my route. I’m always looking as I ride along. If I see something I will stop and take it. People say to me “I saw a great picture today” but they never took it. You have to stop. It does take effort and time but for me it’s part of the whole cycling experience along with the camping, cooking and being free. It also gives you great memories too. I like taking pictures of the food I cook. If I’ve spent time preparing something nice then I want to show it off to others. It’s a pride thing too, I don’t want all my Facebook friends thinking I live on Pot Noodles all the time, although I do like them too. Working as a press photographer is an advantage but our eyes are the same. Just think pictures and it will fall into place eventually.

Q: In the future – would you carry the same photography equipment or is there something you wish to change?

A: I love the combination of the Canon G12 and the Gorilla Pod. No, I would not change anything at the moment. The camera did start playing up towards the end of my trip. I have had it repaired now but I know it has a shelf life. If I had to replace it then as a lover of the Canon G series it would be one of the newer models. The Gorilla Pod is a great bit of lightweight kit and would also stay, no question.

Q: Any last words of advice?

A: You don’t need a big expensive camera with the biggest sensor to take good pictures. Try looking for a decent compact with a zoom lens (you don’t need the longest zoom either). The camera should have a few different settings on it. I would look for one with a Program and Manual setting, exposure compensation, the ability to focus at close range (macro setting), to take HD videos and the option to turn the flash off. My G12 has a few fancy settings which I hardly ever use but they’re fun when I do.

Learn about the camera. Read the manual inside out until you know what all the settings and buttons are for. The more you know how to use the camera, the more comfortable you will be about taking pictures with it. Experiment with it to see what it is capable of. A spare battery is a must. Keep it charged up. Two memory cards was fine for me. I never used the second one as I edited on a Mini iPad along the way and dumped the rubbish pictures to free up space. If you intend to edit after your trip then take several cards with you and go through your days pix on the back of the camera deleting any that don’t make the grade.

Take time out for your photography. Look and think all the time of what might make a nice frame. When you see one, do it properly. Take lots of different pictures, not just landscapes. There are loads of nice images out there waiting to be taken; you just have to find them by keeping your eyes open. Don’t worry about the weather or if it’s day or night. Think silhouettes or expose for just the highlights of something. Maybe use a slow shutter speed and pan a moving subject for a creative blur effect. The macro can produce some stunning close ups. Make sure your pictures are sharp and well-focused, if not do it again and get it right.

Thanks Peter for taking the time to answer the questions. Check out his picture book of cycling through France for some photographic inspiration.

Tips and info for female touring cyclists

As Amaya Williams of points out, “More and more women are exploring the world by bicycle. They’re riding up remote mountain passes, crossing continents on two wheels, and camping wild in the middle of nowhere.”

Why not join our ever-growing tribe? It’s a great way to see the world. So, we’ve put together a handy list of links, bicycle touring tips, safety info and resources for females to help you get started.

Advice on what to wear while cycling through conservative countries. And a small hint, it’s not short shorts or form fitting lycra…

For periods – goodbye bulky pads and tampons and hello Mooncups! The cup is a small, foldable, reusable device made from silicone. It collects the menstrual blood when inserted into the vagina. Quite a few long-distance female cyclists are big fans of them.

Some women even carry a peeing device in their panniers such as the WhizAway. It’s a small rubber funnel that fits against your crotch and allows you to pee while standing up or into a bottle.

Have questions about bicycle touring, gear or you just want some encouragement for your upcoming trip? Then check out the Bicycle Traveling Women facebook group. It’s also a great place to share your travel experiences.

Heike Pirngruber aka the Pushbike Girl has been cycling around the world since 2013. Her website contains numerous interviews with other experienced female solo cyclists. Plus an informative article on wild camping safety tips from other solo women.

Emily Chappell and a panel of women explorers answer the most common questions she receives on cycling as a lone female.

Olivia Round interviews a cross section of women cyclists, even one traveling with her baby.

In the BIG WOW E-Book from Loretta Henderson you will learn the tips and tricks of successful bicycle touring from over 100 accomplished women from around the world who travel solo by bicycle.

For all cyclists, including males, the biggest danger comes from motorized traffic.

But what about being hassled or attacked by men as a solitary female?

As Emily Chappell’s article On rape and racism points out:

…Shall I tell you of all the times I have been groped or flashed in my home country, in the course of my day-to-day life, in motorway service stations, in parks, in crowded bars, on public transport? (I think most women will have similar stories.)

For god’s sake, let’s stop painting our own society as a haven of peace and safety, which it most definitely isn’t, and by the same token, let’s stop turning the rest of the world into a no-go zone, full of dangerous criminals…

Emily’s right – there’s nowhere on earth where females are 100% safe.

Solo females often make a risk assessment on the countries they wish to ride through. Many countries are just as safe or safer than your home town. But there are a handful of countries that aren’t so.

How can you find out which countries have a dodgy reputation?

It’s easy, just e-mail a number of solo females who have previously pedalled through the country. You might skip contacting elderly women or females who travelled with a male partner since they probably won’t have experienced  any harassment. For example; Iran is often a favourite country of ‘couple’ cyclists – but not single females. And for a very good reason.

Visit a couple of bicycle touring facebook groups such as Bicycle Travelling Women and Bicycle touring and Bikepacking. In the group’s search field type the country’s name and the words  ‘sexual harassment’. Then read any results that might appear. Women will generally write about an incident directly after it happened since they seek sympathy and reassurance from like-minded people. If you do read of an incident – you can then contact the individual who wrote about it. 

Asking for general safety advice in a Facebook Group or on forums may not give you an accurate picture of the safety situation for solo female bicycle travelers. That’s because many women don’t feel comfortable writing publicly about harassment or assault years after it happened. Others have kept silent in order not to be seen as sullying a country’s reputation.

Plus, asking a general question such as; “Is it safe to cycle in country X as a solo female?” attracts comments from women who have never pedalled through that country but are more than willing to write “Follow your dreams!” and advise you to go there.

Most countries are quite safe. By checking the facebook groups and e-mailing women who have been there before – it will help reassure yourself (and your mother!) that you aren’t doing anything foolhardy or dangerous.

An excerpt from Olivia Round’s interview with Alissa.

Q: When people expressed concern / fear for what you were doing, how did that affect you?

A: Sometimes I get defensive and feel determined to prove them wrong. I’m not actually a risk seeker; I’ve done my research and wouldn’t be doing these things if I thought the risk was unacceptably high, so it’s frustrating when people question my carefully-made decisions. I also get frustrated when people feel more concern and fear on behalf of women, which unfairly holds us back from so many great experiences, despite being well-meaning.

As Juliana Buhring writes in bikepacking advice for solo female cyclingGranted, the world is not as dangerous as many believe it to be, but there are some things the solitary female cyclist can do to increase the likelihood of coming home in one piece”.

For even more information:

Alissa from Exploring Wild – her safety tips for adventurous travellers.

World by bicycle – a subjective guide for women from Ewa Swiderska.

Lonely Planet forum – On your bike’s thread on safety for solo female bicycle tourists.

Julie Keller’s Final Thoughts & A Note on Being a “Single Woman” on the Road.

Safety tips for solo running which are also applicable for cyclists.

Loretta Henderson’s WOW wall is a community of more than 200 pioneering women (mainly soloists) who have cycled in almost every country around the globe.

Women Cycle the World is a collection of blogs and resources showcasing women who ride bikes in the remotest corners of our planet. Whether they cycle solo or with a partner, you’ll find scores of female bicycle travelers featured here.

The best bicycle touring destinations and blogs page features a number of solo females and couple cyclists.

Best bicycle touring destinations & blogs

Back in 2017 Mads Phikamphon asked 53 experienced touring cyclists about their favourite / best bicycle touring destinations. He wanted to help people dream about amazing and sometimes surprising new places to ride – or even help cyclists change their route for the better if they’re already on the road.

It’s now 2019. Mads gave us permission to continue his best bicycle touring destinations list with even more accomplished bicycle travelers who continue to come up with exciting new places to ride.

Via the links on this new list, we also make it easy to discover unknown bicycle touring websites / blogs and read more background information on the cyclist’s favourite places to pedal.

Every couple of months new long-distance bicycle touring blogs including favourite destinations, will be added and dead links removed.



The mix of post Soviet and European atmosphere makes Georgia a unique place in the world. Raw and relatively undiscovered, developed and welcoming in others. Amazing nature from the Black Sea to the Caucasian mountains. The Georgian wine and cuisine are incredibly tasteful.


True bike touring and bike packing paradise. Stunning views around every corner with mountain passes high above 4,000 meters / 13,000 feet, the most beautiful camp spots and friendly, hospitable locals handing you fruits, veggies and chai.


Probably one of the most challenging places to ride a bicycle. Avoid the busy main roads and enjoy the delicious Nepali/Indian food, Buddist and Hindu temples, smiles and ’Namaste’s’ from locals and off course the breathtaking scenery on the Himalayan mountains.


Alaska (USA)

Denali Highway

Every bit as spectacular as riding through the national park, but without the bureaucracy. Stunning mountain views, raw wilderness, and amazing wildlife.


Espinazo del diablo, Sinaloa

An old mountain road that doesn’t see much use after a highway was built. Authentic towns, cheap food, unbelievable camping and views just off the side of the road at 10,000 feet.


Sonoran River Valley

Highway 89 is everything desert riding should be. Mountain foothills, winding and rolling roads. Perfect little pueblos with great food and hotels.



North East 

A corner of India that feels closer to South East Asia than Delhi. Tribal villages, jungles, hills and tea plantations all inhabited by super friendly and excitable locals who will make you feel like the most famous person in the world!.


Honshu island

In the west of Honshu island you can climb into lush alpine forests on beautifully smooth roads with a few tunnels to keep things interesting. Relax in an onsen at the end of the day before tucking into sushi and sake.


The first and still one of the best countries that we’ve toured by tandem. Every pedal stroke takes you through jaw dropping scenery, past fjords and over mountains on quiet roads and with an abundance of wild camping spots



Outer Hebrides (The Hebridean Way, Sustrans)

A superbly scenic adventure, a sign-posted route, beautiful beaches and lots of wildlife. Quiet, remote and wild at times, comfortable campsites and the Co-Op at others.

The French / Swiss Alps


Cycling towards Chamonix and marvelling at the mighty Mont Blanc as it gets bigger and bigger. Wonderful off-road cycle paths across France led us here.



From jungles in the tropics to mountains on the Tibetan Plateau, this region is stunning for bicycle touring. Traditional Old Towns adorned with red lanterns break up the journey perfectly.



Karakoram Highway

A serpentine of a road weaving between 7000m mountains, jaw dropping valleys and colossal glaciers. Combine with the friendly locals and the opportunity for exploring other valleys, it’s unforgettable.


Adjara & Samtshke-javakheti

Plenty of rough stuff to ride with a real wild feel to the road. After exploring the mountains, head into Tbilisi to let off some steam in the quirky capital.


Mid-Coastal & Highland region

Gorgeous smooth coastal roads, cheap food and the opportunity to head into the mountains – what more could you want on a cycle tour?



The country has the best combination of all: a huge variety in landscapes, perfect tarmac roads but also more than enough off road options, incredibly hospitable people, great food, plenty of history. It still is our biggest surprise of the whole trip. Turkey just has it all.


Karakoram Highway

Cycling this windy road from little village to little village, on all sides embedded in >7500m peaks is one of those experiences that will stay vividly clear in your mind for a long time after. Combine this with great food and even greater people and you may get the idea of the KKH. Plenty of options for side trips off the bike too.


If you want wild and remoteness, this is the place to go. Almost only off-road cycling here, through endless green to golden valleys with peaks towering over you. The nomadic culture here is most welcoming to strangers and you can literally pitch your tent anywhere. Herds of horses and yaks roam the fields, and there is the occasional yurt with herdsmen who always come to greet the foreigner. It’s heaven on earth.




Iran is one of the most hospitable countries in the world. I don’t recall ever being offered quite so much by total strangers, everywhere I went.

East timor

Entire island

This small country makes for quite a manageable loop and offers a huge range of scenery, from the mountainous centre to the tropical south coast and arid north



Sichuan provides an easy way to get a taste of Tibetan life. Up in the mountains it is possible to ride some incredibly high roads.



Pedal lightly used gravel and paved roads through gorgeous mountain scenery and wind-swept tundra. A relaxed mood and abundant wild camping make for a pleasant yet rugged trip along the Carretera Austral and onward to Ushaia, the southernmost city in the world.


For the intrepid cyclist, Sudan is a fascinating place to explore. Experience the heat and vastness of the Sahara desert, visit impressive ancient Nubian temples, connect with open and hospitable locals, and learn about the country’s dynamic cultural and political situations.

Vietnam (north)

Northern Vietnam can feel like a fairytale world, full of jagged green mountains and terraced rice fields, abundant waterfalls, and colorfully dressed villagers. The climbs are steep, but you’ll be rewarded with tasty food and affordable guesthouses.



Turkey is home to some of the friendliest and warmest people that we’ve encountered anywhere. Add to this wonderful food and nearly 1,000 miles of Mediterranean shoreline and it makes a fantastic touring destination. And the lahmacun – a national treasure if there ever was one.


Perfect weather and so much to see with all the normal tourist sites. Ride your bike between the tourist destinations to discover backroads Thailand where ordering lunch you’ll be reduced to pointing and trusting. Your taste buds will thank you.


Peru is about the Andes. Day after day of stunning of mountain views and remote villages. Multi-day climbs and 60km brake melting downhills. It was hard, cold and sometimes very challenging, but it was always amazing.




Especially the beautiful, warm, hillside villages.



Pedalling high into the dramatic Indian Himalayas, passing through changing scenery with increasing altitude.



The lush, green mountains. So many wonderful, kind people (like most of the world!)



Coffee region

Colombia in this part has got incredible network of quiet dirt roads for some great bicycle touring. The most beautiful is the road between Ibagué and Salento – next to the tallest palms in the world.


TEMBR dirt version

Especially the part between Tulcán and Riobamba. Your hard work will be rewarded with incredible views and the best wild camping. Totally remote in places!


Espinazo del Diablo

Beautiful paved ride from the Pacific coast almost to 3000 metres. Riding on the Devil’s Backbone. Remote, minimal traffic, beautiful views.



Nordkapp to Lofoten

The accessible scenic arctic. Considerate drivers. Easy to camp. Midnight sun in summer. Berry picking and mackerel fishing.


Massif Central

Windswept limestone plateaus. Deep gorges cut by rivers. Extinct volcanoes. Cathar fortresses. Resistance era history. Delicious food.


Sierra de Córdoba

Between pampas and Andean foothills. Geologically older than the Andes. Extinct volcanoes. Pampas grass. Soaring condors. Ranching country with sweeping views.



High Atlas range

The constantly changing rock formations, the dazzling mountain passes and the breathtaking view of dancing clouds at Tizi-n-Test satisfied every part in body.


Lubango region

The rough diamond Angola left me flabbergasted, with the Lubango region on top of the bill. Visit Tundavala and Serra the Leba, with its stunning 800 m dropping cliffs.



Loose yourself on the long and dull stretches of the biggest desert in earth. In several ways it’s extreme, which makes it is the perfect recipe for an unforgettable experience.



Inland route via Cappadocia and Erzurum Province

Incredible hospitality, daily invites for chai and shelter, rich culture and unique landscapes.


Zerafshan Valley, Pamir Highway, Wakhan Valley

Challenging high-altitude cycling with rewards of awesome mountain scenery, friendly locals, abundant wild camping and a good choice of routes.


East Coast

Luxuriously easy cycle touring: delicious, cheap food, plenty of camping opportunities and Warmshowers hosts, beautiful beaches and smooth, quiet roads.


Kyrgyrzstan / Tajikistan

Pamir region

The Pamir highway is probably the ultimate touring destination; challenging, remote but with the home-stay network it’s accessible at the same time!


Adjura region or Svaneti

Friendly locals, a rich history, epic roads and great hearty local food always on offer.


A wild land that has both the landscape and weather to ‘experience’! Riding between the islands or from south to north finding off road gravel options.



Carretera Austral

Cycling on beautiful dirt roads with views of lakes, glaciers and snow capped mountains.


Salar de Uyuni

A magical experience to cycle on the salt for a couple of days.


We love cycling on farm roads, through the picturesque villages and eating baguettes with French cheese for lunch next to an old church.



Stunningly beautiful, Kyrgyzstan is wild and exotic enough to be interesting, but accessible enough to be convenient – the perfect adventure cycling destination.


Spectacular landscapes and an almost medieval, rustic vibe. Great food and delicious red wine; Georgia packs a lot into one tiny country.


The Rift Valley is breathtaking and you can see zebras, giraffes and all manner of wildlife right from the road. Africa is like nowhere else, and Kenya is truly magical.



Charming people & an underrated gem that instantly makes you forget you’re still in Europe. Offering challenging, off-the-beaten-track cycling through stunning, remote mountain ranges, it won’t disappoint the adventurous cyclist.


Physically & mentally challenging, sadly not always for the right reasons, but culturally diverse & provides stunningly beautiful terraced canyons, mountain ranges & an ever changing landscape. Patient & positive disposition required.


Kenya offers almost all the components of what most adventure cyclists look for. Diverse & spectacular landscapes, remote roads, friendly people, wildlife & culture. Experience East Africa at it’s finest.



Desert Southwest

The landscapes that comprise the Desert Southwest — Arizona, Southern Utah, Southwest Colorado, and New Mexico — sing in their silence and vastness. The canyons, plateaus, mountains and infinite sky draw me again and again.


Pakistan is a place of hospitality and history, complexity and culture, with some of the highest mountains in the world towering above.


Peru is to me the perfect blend of wild remoteness with beautiful music and language and tradition. There is just enough infrastructure to make adventure easy, but there are genuine possibilities for breathtaking memories.



Pamir Highway in September

Incredibly warm and generous people, fresh produce during the harvest, fascinating culture and challenging climbs with out-of-this-world scenery.


Belogradchik, Vidin Province

Beautiful climbs, good roads and breathtaking views of Belogradchik rocks (Europe’s very own Grand Canyon).


Northern Laos to Tay Trang border

Gentle climbs, good road conditions and friendly relaxed village life with amazing wild camp spots.


East Africa


Deep green hills, street food, Lake Bunyonyi.

New Zealand

South Island

Majestic ruggedness, friendliness, landscape diversity.

South Africa


Rocky mountains, dead quiet, hospitality, culture.


Argentina / Chile

Puna de Atacama

Otherworldly scenery, involving riding and a heady dose of solitude.


Copper Canyon

Indigenous culture, slightly edgy, fascinating flora and fauna and gloriously hilly.


High Andes

Endless box-office views and the most inspiring of riding and every opportunity to escape the traditional tourist track.


Bosnia & Herzegovina

We loved the people, the beautiful scenery, quiet roads, and the fascinating cultural mix of this often overlooked little country.


Friendly locals, great food, cheap guesthouses, and lots of lovely cycling.


Great, adventurous cycling on peaceful roads through beautiful green mountains leading from one charming puebla to the next. And it’s cheap!



Marmara / Central Anatolia

The heat, landscapes, hilly and well-paved roads, incredible food and super hospitable and warm-hearted people mixed together with an interesting history are reasons enough to discover turkey on your own!



“If you can cycle through India you can cycle everywhere on this planet” (our first thoughts on day one). Cycling India is an experience and a true adventure you’ll remember for a lifetime!


Bernese Oberland / Central Switzerland

Many and super-signposted bike paths, hills, deep blue lakes, mountain passes, fresh air and scenic Landscapes where you will be glad if you have taken enough batteries for the camera.



Northwestern Pyrenees on EuroVelo 1

Stupendous scenery on quiet, well-maintained roads. Pastoral farms mix with endless beech forests and tundra. Spanish drivers wave and cheer you on.


National Parks and Moorlands

Heart-pounding climbs and descents through gorgeous, open, windswept pastures and grasslands with abundant birdlife. Mountaintop views of multi-colored landscapes, far into the distance.


Western Appalachians of Virginia

The TransAm from the Catawba Valley to Breaks Interstate Park has constantly changing, beautiful scenery. From quaint Amish farms to deep mountain forests, with abundant wildlife and bursting with birdsong.



Climb craggy mountains, camp next to photogenic fiords and experience the freedom of being able to cycle during 24-hour daylight high above the Arctic Circle.

U.S.A. – West

Wide-open spaces and every type of landscape imaginable from the deserts of Utah and Arizona to the high Rocky Mountain passes of Colorado and Montana and the stunning coastline of Washington and Oregon. And forget about what you’ve seen on TV, most people are actually extraordinarily friendly.


Get ready for magical star-filled nights camping in a remote Wadi (dry river bed) and prepare for some of the steepest climbs you’ve ever experienced.




Breathtaking nature and extreme solitude.


North West

Stunning greenery, wonderful & welcoming people.


Fort Portal

Very scenic, great food (Rolex) and many Monkeys to watch.



Amazing cheap food, landscapes at your convenience (sea, mountains, desert) and incredible people, Morocco has it all! It’s a ferry ride away from Europe and a great transition into Sub-sahara Africa.


Watch out for wildlife on the Elephant Highway – it’s like an everyday safari by bicycle outside of a National Park! No words.


Beautiful coast with mountains and sea – go in winter for peace & quiet and friendly, relaxed inhabitants



Shkodër to Kukës (SH5)

The beautiful backroads of the Balkans at their best. Amazing scenery, quiet winding roads, nice people and local food that is both tasty and cheap.



Its food, scenery & culture should be enough to land Iran on any list of top destinations, but what really, REALLY stands out is Iranian hospitality. Just mind-blowing!


Tibetan Plateau

Very cold in October/November, but an amazing experience nonetheless. Tibetan culture and those vast landscapes at high altitude left a deep impression on us.



The sheer natural beauty just blew me off and with the allemannsrett law it just gave me a good start to begin my big trip as a novice tourer.


The moment I pedalled into Albania, everyone, even the custom officers at the border received me with big welcomes! It’s also where I learned and experienced their concept of Besa.


The unspoiled/ rugged/ remote nature, very very BAD road conditions, hospitalities, diarrheaS, homemade naans altogether just made Tajik one of my toughest and most enjoyable ride, worthy for a revisit.


Atacamean Altiplano

The high desert where Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina meet is a realm of possibilities for endless adventures on bikes. Altitude, scarcity of water, and tracks ruggedness translate into great challenges for the self-propelled traveler. Remote Aymara herders villages and the most surreal of earthscapes, composed of symmetrical snow-capped 6000m volcanoes, all shades of reds mineral sculptures, and myriads of extraterrestrial salt flats and lakes under pure azure, as the odd encounters with pink flamingoes, vicuñas, vizcachas, and the ubiquitous llamas and alpagas, never cease to amaze the intreprid rider…



The roads and byroads of Romania’s Carpathians crisscross verdant valleys dotted with the warmest of villages, transit through atmospheric forests and climb up and down stellar mountain passes. The mountain range in its Romanian reaches is a microcosm of unique rural cultures and rugged peaks; altogether smoothly tame and wildly raw! Add to the mix rich layers of history and you got quite the culture-nature-adventure cocktail!


One of the richest, most exotic, and…easiest touring destinations! Rugged mountains and coastlines, centuries old endemic traditions and customs, exquisite cuisine, ubiquitous hot springs and public baths, safest country in the world, nature as an object of worship and respect the utlimate ethical duty! Be aware, travelling by bike in Japan is highly addictive and…corrosive!


New Zealand

Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail

You pass by crazy blue lakes, snow-capped mountains and follow a nice path most of the time away from the roads.


Tasmania, East and West Coast

You have winding roads through the mountains, forests, crossing rivers and lakes along the West Coast. Along the East Coast you find beautiful beaches with orange rocks and white sand. There is not much traffic and the temperature is perfect for cycling.


Bartang Valley

A challenging but stunning route. You start on a moon like plateau to later dive down into the valley. The path follows a river and the mountains rise up next to you. Some small villages are on the way and appear like little oases in green with the nicest people.




Everything is stunningly bright yellow, blue or red, could take photos all day round. No rain. Endless surreal gravel roads. Feeling tiny in staggering landscapes sparsely populated.


Between Huambo and Lubango

Finding stunning unadvertised mountains roads, abandoned colonial architecture, war tank graveyards, and lots of locals eager to share stories, while surprising some Angolans by not being a journalist, a spy nor Jesus.

West Africa

Sierra Leone and Liberia

The adventure of never knowing how challenging the road will be, but cycling forward with the confidence that it will lead to a junction, joyful and hospitable people, and pineapples.



Pamir Highway

Silence, space, land, adventure, views that make change your heart forever. When I imagined cycle touring, this is exactly what I hoped for – remoteness, silence, and landscapes that would inspire the most surreal of daydreams. Tajikistan went beyond even that. It is land for the adventurous and the curious.


Ulaan Bataar to Khovsgol Lake

Land, culture, nomads, space, camping, toughness (resilience building). Mongolia is home to vast landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see. No farms, very few villages, no roads full of tourist buses, no power lines! It is not an easy place to cycle, but it made me feel strong and capable and brought me into the homes of nomads, to incredible camp spots and closer to myself.


Southern Coast (Mersin to Finike)

History, food, landscapes, people, sea, good roads. This, after the roughness of Central Asia was paradise. You have this incredible concentration of history, incredible food, and great roads for cycling. Being able to take a break and jump into the turquoise blue sea and munch on some baklava in the middle of the day was pretty luxurious. Campsites were really nice too!



Turkey is great for exploring culture and history. The food is fantastic and people are extraordinarily gracious and hospitable. Just stay off the main roads.

Chile / Argentina

The bottom of South America with its beautiful light, expansive horizons, big skies and fantastic cloud formations is a place for an extended meditation on wheels.


Mexico is endlessly fascinating. There are plenty of interesting routes to cycle in a range of landscapes: deserts, mountains, canyons, jungles, and gorgeous beaches. With ancient ruins to explore, loads of wildlife and great food it’s hard to beat as a destination.



Amazing hospitality, stunningly beautiful ancient sites the old cities of Isphahan and Yazd.


The grasslands without real roads, the silence, best free camping country in the world.


Endless roads, the snowcapped Andes, wide open spaces.



Sichuan road S217

Stunning scenery, Tibetan culture, hardly any traffic, high altitude.


Wadi Kabbah

The scenery and remoteness of this area was absolutely amazing.


Tosor Pass

Great high altitude scenery, remote and no traffic.




The Boreal forest in summertime…Perpetual daylight, wild berries, pristine lakes and grazing reindeer. Beware the mosquitos.


World’s friendliest people, fascinating ancient sites, cheap good food and an endless variety of stunning landscapes.


Lusaka – copperbelt

Great little back tracks through quaint and friendly villages, relaxed people and one of the better places to cycle tour in Africa.



Lumbini – Pokhara road

For a glimpse of the Himalaya with its rich Buddhist and Hindu history and its beautiful nature but without crazy traffic or impossible ascents.



For the challenge of crossing an entire continent, of exposing oneself to vast expanses of nothingness and of meditating over the uncountable number of shades of red sand.


Inland Calabria

For making one realize how wild, untouched and tranquil a region in the heart of Europe can be – while delicious food is never more than one cycling-day away.



The vast emptiness of the Kazakh steppe combined with cheap and good food and very friendly and funny locals make Kazakhstan one of our favorite countries to cycle.


Tibetan Plateau

The Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai and Sichuan is a cyclists dream. High altitude, more yaks than people and the most stunning landscapes make this place so special.


Despite the hot and humid climate and the extremely steep hills we enjoyed cycling in Laos very much. Probably because of the laid back South East Asian vibes.



Endless tracks criss-cross a wild, unfenced land. Riding here often feels like a journey through uncharted territory. Gers (yurts) dot the rolling steppes, inhabited by some of the kindest souls on the planet.


Great Central Road and Mereenie Loop

Vibrant, crimson-coloured tracks lead to Australia’s Red Centre – home to Uluru and the billion-year-old MacDonnell Ranges. Experience the vastness, beauty and solitude of the Australian outback

Indian Himalaya

High Road above Lamayuru, Ladakh

Dramatic folds of rock painted in hues of purple, pink and green. Sand-coloured hoodoos crawling their way up the mountainsides. It is a landscape not of this world.



Vancouver to Halifax

Crystal blue lakes, snowy top mountains, beautiful scenery, friendly people, great on-road and off-road cycling. What isn’t there to love?


Cairngorms National Park

It takes less than a day bikepacking in the Cairngorms before you feel like it’s just you and the wilderness. We felt like we had the entire park to ourselves – wildcamping by lochs, with the entire beach to ourselves. Amazing trails and breathtaking scenery.


The Silk Road

The Iranian culture and hospitality is amazing! We were often stopped by friendly locals, invited in for dinner or to stay the night, made lots of friends and some beautiful memories.



Viñales to Havana

An extremely safe country to cycle, low traffic, good roads, beautiful landscapes from sea to mountains, casa particulares to overnight everywhere but first of all, the kindness of the locals.


Rhumpi to Chitipa via Nyika Plateau

Called the Warm heart of Africa, locals welcome you at their home, the children help you push your bicycle up the hill. Mountains and lake views are breathtaking.


Luang Prabang to Vientiane

The Sabaidee from the cute children and their smiles, the authenticity and beauty of laotian mountains. How cool it is to share the road with students on bicycle?


China / Pakistan

Karakoram Highway

Absolutely stunning scenery, welcoming people, and a very remote/wild feeling makes for a ride that’s hard to beat. Even the trucks are amazing!


Osh Region

Beautiful climbs, good roads, and a very rich culture. The road leading up to Irkeshtam from Osh is breathtaking, and you might even get to experience Ulak Tartysh on the way!


All of it

Iran is all about the people. Generosity and helpfulness beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. Scenery, food, and history is all amazing too.



One of the most beautiful countries we visited on our world cycle trip, a place I’d never heard of yet is an absolute undiscovered (in European eyes) gem.


Terrible roads, appalling driving and awful poverty… yet the people of this country made it one of the most enjoyable and moving weeks of our life.


Incredibly warm and hospitable people, lovely food, beautiful scenery and great roads! The perfect cycle touring country (although beware of the dogs)




The whole country is lots of fun & the hospitality we received from locals was amazing. For cycle tourists heading east, Turkey is a perfect cultural bridge between Europe & Asia. Cappadocia itself, has networks of caves and rock formations which you can camp inside if you’re discreet. And more often than not, you wake up to hundreds of hot air balloons. It’s pretty magical.


Shakdara Valley

We made firm friends with other cyclists in Tajikistan. It’s a magical wilderness high in the mountains. Shakdara is a remote, wild and beautiful, valley running just to the north of the Wakhan Corridor. There’s no need to hurry here . It’s incredible. Whichever route you choose to take through this region it’s bound to be breathtaking & other worldly.


North East; Assam and Meghlaya

This corner of India, is less populated  and more relaxed than other parts of India. The landscapes are stunning, and the roadside food was exceptional. We recommend taking the scenic routes through villages when you can. It’s a bit like rolling back time. And if you’re not in a rush; the hills around Cherrapunji and Dawki are particularly special.



Cycling through paintings all day long – lovely scenery. Quite a lot of wildlife too. I recommend visiting the remote Marienfluss Valley.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Thousands of kilometers of single tracks through dense tropical jungle. Remote. Tough. Interesting and extremely rich indigenous cultures.


Another painting. Love the altiplano with all its geothermal features, salt flats and crazy colors.



Buntin highway

Burning red never ending dirt tracks for you and the kangaroos to enjoy. Solitude at it’s best.


Shokhdara valley

Rigid and rough but ridiculously rewarding mountain trails just waiting for you to explore them.


Tibetan Plateau

This hidden world gives you epic mountain passes & otherworldly scenery. All day every day.



Sikkim state

Hidden paradise. This mountains Himalayan state nestled between Bhutan and Nepal offers dead quiet roads to mountain-top Buddhist monasteries and explosive down hills deep into stunning valleys.


Kyzylkum Desert

A rare opportunity to cycle through actual nothingness. No people, no buildings, not even any vegetation, but beautiful sunsets and the most peaceful wild camping one can experience.


Greater Caucasus Mountains

Perfect roads with stunning snow-capped mountains coupled with the most open and friendly people you will ever meet.



Northern Sweden

Lonely roads, remote villages, beautiful lakes and rivers, scenic roads leading through huge forrests.



Stunning mountains, amazing colors and remote regions with beautiful forests.


High Atlas & Rif Mountains

Beautiful and diverse landscapes, we especially loved the mountainous region, great hospitality and delicious food.



The coffee region

Cycling through picturesque Colombian mountain villages, challenging terrain and cloud forests with abundant flora and fauna. This region has everything a bicycle traveler could wish for.



It is like cycling in a movie décor! Deep purple lavender fields paint the mountainsides. In the morning fresh croissants, baguette in the afternoon, French cuisine and wine in the evening. Romance!


Avenue of the volcanoes

Rugged unpaved roads lead you to three volcano’s. The quechua mountain people in colorful traditional dress gives this region it’s authentic flair. It feels like time is standing still.



Most hospitable locals in the world, delicious food, beautiful scenery. Favourite road was crossing the desert from Isfahan to Yazd.


Remote, rugged desert with secret wadis to swim and wild camp in. Chilled water stations every 30kms or so. Helpful locals.


South coast and Mekong Delta

Easy cycling along the coast through small fisherman’s villages with friendly local people. Delicious food, easy to find restaurants and guest houses. .



Iran has it all: a mind-blowing combination of history, food, hospitality and landscapes. Play some local goose-bumpy music through the deserts and you’ll find yourself enchanted by Iran’s unique charm..


Ethiopia, like no other, sends you through wonders and bummers. I cycle tour to feel alive and Ethiopia fills that purpose very much so!


Chinese make you feel like a creature from outer space. Safe and stunning “country” you can enjoy if you have a visa long enough. If not, an epic race against time!



Diversity of landscapes from different mountains to deserts, coastal scenery and forests. Cultural diversity and history in the many villages and ancient towns. Ease of finding fresh food.


Pamir Highway

Rightly popular with amazing mountainous landscapes – beautiful places to camp. Friendly people. Challenging terrain and choice of several routes through the mountains.


Any part of the country. Unique culture – safe and easy to travel through, but plenty of challenging mountainous climbs. A country that sees few tourists outside main sites.



Tanami Track

Expenses of red emptiness guarantee solitude and a rewarding mental challenge. Bring sunscreen and audiobooks, take away a huge sense of achievement.



Plenty of forestry tracks to explore guarantee adventure in a country many consider tame. An abundance of hot springs to end each day in.



Feel like the last person on earth or the first on another planet. A vast network of dirt roads connects semi-abandoned villages and otherworldly salt lakes.



Central Anatolian Plateau

Camping was easy, invites to tea numerous and the sky so big and wide. The ‘Dark Canyon’ near Kemaliye, a network of deserted tunnels above the ancient Euphrates river, was spectacular.


The Karakorum Highway

Pakistan’s tourism industry has been decimated since 9/11. We were endlessly thanked by locals for visiting their country. We’d read so much about the Hunza valley expectations were high and it totally delivered!


Loikaw to Taungo

We’re still not sure if we were supposed to be allowed on this section of road. It was by far the hardest yet most rewarding cycling we did. It also gave us the ‘wildest’ wildcamps of the trip…



Hard work rewarded by epic views!


Challenging environment combined with super-friendly people.



Who wouldn’t want to cycle where even the landscapes are legendary?



Southern Coastal Road – Vlorë to Sarandë

This stretch is truly stunning, offering some steep climbs, very quiet roads, magnificent sea panoramas and great wild camping on beaches and in olive groves.


Black Sea Mountains, Zara – Giresun

Stunning, steep mountain scapes of vertical tea plantations surrounding a very quiet, winding road – it was wild and uninhabited here.


North East – Meghalaya & Nagaland s

Meghalaya holds numerous delights like water falls and living root bridges. Cycle some tough dirt roads into Nagaland to meet the ancient head-hunting tribes at one of their cultural festivals.



Everywhere except the main N1 highway

Open spaces, unique landscape, very little traffic on side roads, a place that makes you believe in trolls and fairies.


Havana to Maria la Gorda

A great learning experience to be amidst a society that gets by on so little, low traffic, the tropics, and the feeling of being off the beaten track. It was so inspiring that it pushed us to do a world tour by bicycle.


Off the main roads

The Turkish people! Anywhere away from the tourist sites, the heat, the delicious fruits direct from the farmer’s hands, and the beauty of the landscape.



Food, mountains, climate, people vibe.


Food, people, beaches.


Hospitality, wilderness.



A great place for stress-free island-hopping cycling in a beautiful environment with some wonderful coastal campsites, interesting history and welcoming people.


Challenging terrain and often challenging weather conditions but the rewards for all the effort are in the magnificent scenery and feeling of ‘escape’. The whisky also helps…


First-class infrastructure to guide you across the country, along the Rhine or, should you choose to do so, over the Alps. As with Scotland, the reward is visual but on an altogether different scale. Worth every drop of perspiration!



Central region

Himalayan mountains, beautiful nomadic culture, grassy hills, picturesque camping, easy to have adventures.


Alborz mountains

Although this part of the world is absolutely stunning, with multiple 4,000+m peaks – it’s the loving people of Iran that make this place special.


Honshu island

The countryside is beautiful, the rivers clear, the people are kind, the culture is interesting!



Sedona, Arizona

The rock formations are incredible, and there are natural slides that have been carved by the river in Oak Creek Canyon.


Mojave desert

There is nothing like the open desert, and the Mojave is so vast and beautiful.


The Pacific Coast

This is a favorite for many cyclists. The coast rock formations are incredible, and the road is winding and just hilly enough to keep things exciting.


South Korea

Four rivers cycle path

The best cycling infrastructure outside of the Netherlands.


Outer Hebrides

Beautifully calm and tranquil.


Al Hajar mountains

Rugged desert scenery and snooker table smooth tarmac.



Don Det

Chill, relaxe, fun.


Ko Tao

Diving, beaches.



Food, temples, parks, charm.




Great with opportunity to see desert and some nice places in mountains. People in Chile are nice.


West Sumatra

Friendly and always smiling people from different culture with great places to cycle around in the jungle.


British Columbia

Great people and scenic landscapes with wonderful cycling opportunities.



Sahel region

Quite sandy at times but I enjoyed my time in this part of West Africa.

Argentina / Chili


Wonderful mountain passes between Argentina and Chile (e.g. Pasos de Agua Negra, Pasos de San Francisco)


Pamir highway

Amazing high altitude landscape. Next door Kyrgyzstan was another highlight too.



Cordillera Blanca

Beautiful mountain scenery, amazing switchbacks.


Puna de Atacama

Wide open spaces, nobody around.



Buddhist culture, spectacular mountains.



Tour de france

The race route is a celebration of the bike with all the small towns decorated with bike sculptures and other tributes to The Tour. The road sides are packed with people for hours in a celebratory mood. Riding the route ahead of the peleton one is showered with non-stop barrage of “allez”, “bravo” and “bon courage”.



The scenery up beyond the Arctic Circle to the northernmost point in Europe is spectacular and if one undertakes the ride in the summer there is no concern of dark. The hardest part of the ride is having to stop each day when the going is so good and the light isn’t diminishing.

Uganda/ Tanzania/ Kenya

Lake Victoria

The thousand plus mile circuit of the second largest lake in the world gives one a healthy taste of Africa – through cities large and small on roads paved and dirt through three countries each with their own personality.



Northern mountains

The amazing mountain scenery and remote roads combined with smiling friendly locals are great for cycle touring.


Less Sunda islands

This is real adventure. Steep hills, muddy jungle roads, lonely beaches and unbelievable hospitality of the local people made it one of the favourite legs of the trip.

New Zealand

South island

Awesome landscapes everywhere, no matter where you go, really. Especially recommended are the cycle trails Alps to Ocean, Otago Rail trail, Around the Mountains, Wilderness trail, etc.



Stewart-Cassiar highway

Long summer days and endless wilderness.


Lake district, Central region

Gorgeous landscape, friendly people.


Pacific coast highway

Easy camping, lots of bicycle tourists to meet, gorgeous.




Great roads, spectacular landscape, very challenging.



China is a must-go country for every traveler. Great cultural challenge, curious and nice people, breathtaking landscapes, and amazing roads along the Tibetan border.

Laos/ Cambodia

Mekong river

Peaceful and relaxed places, easy ride and nice roads.

Wild camping tips for bicycle travelers

camping with a view of the pamir mountains

For many long distance touring cyclists, wild camping is one of the favorite aspects of their trip. Who wouldn’t want the privacy of camping alone, with fantastic views over majestic mountains or impressive desert landscapes?

Not only is it cheap (Free!) it also allows them the freedom to stop when they want to. Plus sometimes it’s just not possible to reach a hotel or paid campground within a day’s ride. So it’s always good to know that you can wild camp if need be.

But for beginning bicycle travelers, it can seem a bit daunting.

So I’ve put together a short list of wild camping tips, plus a curated list of web pages with more in depth information on stealth camping while bicycle touring.


1. Find a hidden spot where you can’t be seen from the road or via car headlights.
2. Green and beige tents blend better into the landscape than brightly colored ones.
3. If you can’t find a place, ask the locals for a place you could put your tent.
4. Be on the lookout for a suitable spot at least an hour before you wish to stop.
5. Don’t camp in dry riverbeds.
6. And finally, don’t leave litter behind.


You can’t go wrong by reading Tom Allen’s take on the subject. It’s titled;  How to camp anywhere and not get busted.

Stephen Fabes of Cycling the 6 writes; “I have probably spent around 800-1000 nights rough camping over the six years I was on the road, so there have been a remarkable number of nights without fire ants and the threat of rabies.”  He also explains in the article why he didn’t do it in some countries.

One of Ed and Marion Shoote’s tips is about not leaving your shoes outside of your tent while stealth camping since these places tend to be alive with creepie crawlies. The rest of their informative article can be read on their website We love mountains.

Will and Annie of Wheely Wild Adventures have put together a humorous flow chart on what makes a good wild camping spot.


Every country treats wild camping differently. Some places such as Oman and the Pamir plateau – nobody will batt an eye if you free camp there. But you might think twice about trying to wild camping on private property in America. So it helps to do a bit of research beforehand.

For those looking to pedal through Europe, check out Diane Vukovic’s page on wild camping laws in Europe.

Safety tips

For those who think wild camping for solo females isn’t a good idea, Heike Pirngruber aka Pushbikegirl believes otherwise. She has put together the excellent article “Safety tips shared by 6 experienced solo female cyclists”.

The interviews are full of in-depth information based on the personal experiences of 6 very experienced touring cyclists. Their straightforward advice is also applicable to male bikers and couples.

Downsizing tips

© Becky Stern


“Yes, let’s do it!”

After so many years, we were finally going to realize our dream of pedaling around the world!

We relished the moment. That is until we entered our spare rooms…

They were cram-packed with books and CDs. But even worse was our attic. There we had managed to stack crates to the ceiling, filled with tools, slides, photo albums, and assorted junk.

What were we going to do with it all?

After checking out how much storage costs, (Aigh!) We set about getting rid of it.

The early optimism soon turned to despair. There is nothing more disheartening than spending entire weekends sorting stuff. Then afterward looking around to see that you’ve hardly made a dent.

Russ Roca and Laura Crawford of The Path Less Pedaled also downsized before their trip. Read about it here, here, and here.

George Carlin’s video on ‘stuff’ is also not to be missed.

The downsizer’s mantra:

“You own more than you think you do. And it will take longer than you think it will to get rid of it all.”

For those people who don’t want to get rid of too much, here are some long-term storage tips.

The downsizing begins:

Start early because you need more time for sorting.
We were never able to get rid of everything in one go. 75% would either go on the recycled paper stack, the sale pile, or in the bin bag. But 20% ended up on the ‘save’ pile. “I just have to keep this!”

It was an emotional thing. We ended up re-visiting our ‘keep’ pile several times since it became easier to purge things after we re-visited it.

Plus we regularly came across items that brought back memories, such as old school yearbooks. So we’d stop sorting to page through the books, remembering those days and our fellow students. Digging through our belongings turned out to be a bit emotional at times.

Photograph sentimental stuff
Take pictures of souvenirs and sentimental items. Even though you haven’t looked at them for years (because they were buried underneath the rest of your belongings) it’s still emotionally difficult to get rid of them. By taking pictures that you can view later, it’s easier to bin them.

Set analogue media over to a digital format
We’re from an earlier generation. So our house was full of records, CD’s, cassettes, photos, and analogue slides. My husband couldn’t bear to lose any music and he spent innumerable hours digitalizing it.

For the analogue slides, we were able to get hold of a slide scanner with an automatic feed. Even though it took a couple of months to scan them all; it didn’t cost that much effort.

We also ended up digitalizing all of our photographs via a flatbed scanner and only saving a shoebox full of our most sentimental snaps.

Selling stuff

We both worked full-time until just before our departure date. So that only left weekends for sorting, trip planning, and selling off our possessions.

As everybody knows who has ever sold something via the internet, it’s a time-consuming process. You have to research prices, take good photos, write descriptions, etc. etc. etc. We just didn’t have the extra time to do it and ended up only selling our larger, pricier items that we didn’t regularly use.

Smaller items were donated to friends and a second-hand store bought our used furniture in one go. (We didn’t own designer furniture.)

Selling tips from others
Some downsizers have had success selling their possessions via a ‘stuff blog’ (posting photos of all of their for-sale items on a website) or making a ‘stuff page’ on facebook and sending the link to all of their friends.

Others have turned their apartment into a garage sale by putting price tags on everything. Then when someone came around to pick up an item– they would ask if there was anything else they were interested in.

Storage Tips:

Calculating storage costs
The Shurgard website indicates how much it will cost to store your belongings via a space calculator.

For example, storing a two-person couch plus salon table near to where we live would cost upwards of 40 Euros a month.

Note; it is possible to find cheaper storage units in rural areas.

Curver plastic storage boxes
Garages are known to flood and attics are often full of mice and insects. So plastic crates with lids are a better way to go, at least for the boxes that will be sitting on the floor. Plastic boxes also hold up better when they are stacked one on top of another.

Print out large labels with your name and e-mail address on them and stick them on all sides of your boxes.
We stored our boxes in a girlfriend’s attic alongside her belongings and other people’s stuff. (Her attic was the storage depot for a whole slew of friends). Every time our friend needed something, she would rummage through all of the boxes searching for it. But she left our boxes alone since they were labeled. Plus if something happens with the person whom you are storing your boxes with (such as they have to move house) other people will know who your boxes belong to and can contact you.

Label the box that contains extra winter/summer clothes.
A couple of times during our trip we ended up back home for a week. We wished that we had labeled which box contained our extra clothes. That would have saved us the effort of opening every box looking for them.

Label the box that contains replacement camping and cycling gear.
If you need some replacement gear sent to you, it’s much easier for your mom to find it if she only has to rummage through one box.

Thoughts after the trip

On our stuff
Now that we’ve been back some time, we still can’t think of anything we got rid of and now miss. Even today, we can’t remember most of the stuff we purged!

In fact, many of the things we stored during our trip, we ended up getting rid of shortly after coming back.

Is it because we’ve become extreme “non-hoarders”? Not really. It turns out that that’s quite common with people who have downsized before their trip. Other cyclists also spoke of opening their 10 storage boxes and looking at half of their stuff thinking, “Why did I save this?”

Our new home

We went from living in a 100m2 house to a 30m2 apartment afterward. We love our new apartment, even after living some time in it.

But we do know other people who were forced to downsize from 200m2 to 100m2 homes. They still feel depressed about having to move to smaller living quarters.

Why do we feel different from them? During our RTW trip, we lived out of bike panniers and a 3-person tent. So, our new 30m2 apartment is a real step up for us qua space and luxury.

And we also enjoy the lower living costs of rent and utilities. As another ‘downsizer’ said, “It seems insane now, to pay for larger and larger living spaces just to store our stuff- but that’s what we did.”

Saving money for a long bike trip

Internet is full of round-the-world travelogues. But how do the riders manage to get the funds together for multi-year tours you ask? After meeting a number of long distance cyclists. Plus having had contact with many more via being editor of Bicycle Traveler magazine, I’ve laid out some of the more popular methods on how they managed to get together the necessary bucks.

As you can imagine – once you remove the cost of rent, saving serious money for a trip happens faster.

This option is especially popular amongst younger cyclists and university students. When combined with not having to pay for meals, saving money is easy even when you have a minimum wage job. A number of older solo long-term travelers also manage to save cash by sleeping in their parent’s spare bedroom.

For couples, this method often comes into practice at the end of their trip. They stay with family while looking for a new job, apartment, and in order to replenish their coffers. By doing that, these couples don’t need to save an extra sum of money in order to have a ‘soft landing’ once their journey has ended.

A number of people between 18 and 30 years old take part in the working holiday scheme. From what I’ve come across, the favorite countries to take a break and earn some extra dollars in are Australia and New Zealand. Most of the travelers enjoyed their experience of bartending, working on a farm, etc. and were able to set forth their journey with the extra cash they earned. A number of other countries such as Canada also offer working holiday visas but are more stringent in their requirements and the number of people they allow to take part.

Additional info:

Thomas Anderson worked on a cattle station.

And as the goats on the road website states;

But if you want to get a job, not just to make ends meet, but so you can save money for further travels then you probably want to get out of the city or a huge chunk of your wages will go on rent and food, leaving little money to save towards adventures in Australia and beyond.

There are many opportunities for backpackers in more rural areas where there are staff shortages.

The best way to save money is to work in a remote area in a ‘live in’ job, one that includes your accommodation and food plus wages, commonly these are in hospitality or childcare.
This is what I did, I worked and lived in a Queensland country pub and I managed to save AUD$15,000 working for 6 months.

Many cyclists’ practice this method and end up being able to save enough money for the first part of their trip. Then when they’re on the road and money starts drying up, some of them switch over to teaching English or getting a job via a working holiday visa.

Internet is full of advice on how to save money via scaling back, such as this, this and this.

These money-saving tips were often used in combination with downsizing living costs; such as sharing a home with a number of friends or renting a room in someone else’s apartment.

For more information on how to budget for a round-the-world bike trip, check out this article on Tom Allen’s site.

This has to be one of the more popular ways to earn money. And for good reason.

There are downsides but have you ever come across the ‘perfect’ job?

In 2016 Sarah Webb and her partner Scott Daniel-Guiterrez  stopped their trip halfway to teach English in China.

Sarah writes; “Within a week of arriving in Chengdu we had an apartment, a kettle and a 12-month contract at a local English school.”

“For us, it was a win-win situation. As a full-time globe-trotter, you often tire of moving from place to place every day and so a respite in China, well if you count teaching screaming four-year-olds a respite, provided us with the opportunity to plant some shallow roots, earn some money, and really get to know another country. It’s a bit heart wrenching having to stop a world cycle trip halfway round, but the truth is unless you’re financially blessed or you’re quite content with living on $2 a day, then for many this is the best option. And it’s a pretty good one too.”

Sarah was kind enough to answer these two questions:

Q: How much money did you manage to save by working as teachers that year?

A: By teaching English in Chengdu, China, we managed to save a total of $22,000 (that’s between two of us). Wages are ok but the cost of living can be very low and a lot of teaching positions include a housing allowance. We also did quite a lot of site seeing while we were in China so we certainly could have saved more.

Q: Would you do it again / recommend it to other touring cyclists who are running low on cash?

A: We would absolutely do it again in a heartbeat. Living and working in another country gives you an insight into the country that travelling alone could never offer. Teaching is also one of those jobs I believe everyone should do at one point in their life and my partner and I loved it so much we decided teaching is what we ultimately want to do. China is a wonderful country to do it in because while it’s challenging at times there are so many great opportunities and the country itself has some of the most diverse scenery on the planet. That said, a lot of South East and Central Asia, such as Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea, offer awesome opportunities.

Thanks, Sarah for answering my crass financial question. And as an aside note, in April 2018 Sarah and Scott were off to America to continue their journey down to Argentina. 

Yes, trust fund cyclists do exist as well as travelers who received a windfall inheritance. But they don’t publicize the fact. Who wants to tell others that their funds were acquired via grandma kicking the bucket?

What’s more common is parents who help subsidize their kid’s tour.

Many younger, novice cyclists underestimate the funds necessary for their trip. They discover that trying to pedal on pot noodles and no beer lowers the fun factor. So out go the “Hello mom, could you…” letters.

Note: Unfortunately, quite a few bicycle travelers post inaccurate (lowered) daily spending amounts on the internet. Maybe they think it makes them look more hardcore? Or they forget to add in the cost of airplane tickets, material repairs, visas, etc. into their daily costs.

So beginners who budget for their tour according to these inaccurate figures often have to hit up their parents for extra funds in order to complete their journey.

Many parents do send money. They often see it as a reward for completing university and realize that this is the best chance for their kid to go out and see the world before they start working, buy a house and start a family.

Some people earn a higher than average salary, sometimes up to 3 or 4 times the national average. They’re able to sock away more than half of their income each month by living frugally. This helps when trying to get enough money together for a multi-year tour. Instead of having to spend 10 years saving, they were able to do it in 3 or 4.

There are people who work as tour guides for part of the year and spend the remaining months on their bikes. Travelling Claus is one of them. According to Claus, the job is hard and the hours are long when you’re leading a group. He also writes; “The pay almost always sucks in this business. You get rich in so many other ways though and that’s why there are so many people who only want to do this.”

After many years of experience, he now earns roughly $200 US dollars per day and all of his expenses are paid while he’s on tour. At this time, Claus works approximately 5 months per year and the rest he spends travelling.

On his website, you can find out what it’s like to be a tour leader and advice on how to become one.

Who wouldn’t want a passive income?

Rental income, Airbnb, etc. do help subsidize or even pay for some people’s trips. But it’s not one of the more popular ways methods due to:

  1. If you don’t own your house free and clear, some banks don’t allow you to sub-let your house.
  2. Worries of renter’s damaging your personal home and furniture/possessions.
  3. High storage costs for furniture if you want to rent your home unfurnished.
  4. Popular tourist cities are starting to crack down on the number of days people can rent their apartments via Airbnb in a single year.

But it is noted as a positive way to go if:

  1. You have a large sum of money over that you can invest in rental properties.
  2. You have family/friends living in the neighbourhood who can check on the property every now and then.

There are some cyclists who have traveled using the proceeds from their house sale, but they are in the minority.

Most long-term travelers who have a house either rent it out or sell it. Otherwise half of the tour costs could easily go out to paying the mortgage/rent.

From what I’ve come across, the majority of R.T.W. cyclists have given up their apartment/house. Their argument for doing so is; “it’s too big of a hassle and costs too much to keep it.”

But what about middle-aged people? The ones who are concerned about having to find a new job after a tour and who only earn average to lower than average salaries? There aren’t that many taking R.T.W. tours. Especially singles find it difficult to save ‘serious money’. As one guy put it, “I didn’t own a car or even a credit card. My full-time job just barely paid the rent on my studio apartment, plus utilities and groceries.” He was recently laid off and struck a deal with his new boss that he would start in a couple of months. During that time, he traveled using his redundancy money plus some savings.

For those of you dreaming of a long trip – these are the methods others have used. Maybe one of them will work for you.

Of course, there are even more options, but I can’t (and won’t!) list them all here. Just think creatively and maybe you’ll discover some hidden talent like David Brankley did. For more than 20 years now he has been touring the world and he pays for it by spending part of the year painting pictures.