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Hello and welcome to Bicycle Touring Pro, the world’s most popular how-to bicycle touring website and information source! You’ve come to the right place if you are looking to learn how to conduct your own guided, self-guided or self-supported bicycle touring adventures.

What Exactly is Bicycle Touring?

“Bicycle touring” is the act of riding a bicycle for days, weeks, months or even years on end as you travel long distances across cities, states and countries. Thousands of people of all ages, incomes and demographics are traveling by bike… and you can be one of them!

In fact, my goal here at Bicycle Touring Pro is to not only inspire you with my own bicycle touring adventures, but to teach YOU how to travel by bike, remain comfortable while out on the road and have fun along the way! In other words, Bicycle Touring Pro is here to give you the inspiration, confidence and resources you need, so that you too can conduct the bicycle tour of your dreams!

Who is the Bicycle Touring Pro?

BicycleTouringPro.com is run by the world’s leading expert on bicycle touring – Darren Alff. Darren went from being a 17-year old high-school kid, riding across America on a dusty old decrepit mountain bike, to the Bicycle Touring Pro, after having bicycled across 28 of the 50 United States, and after traveling by bike through more than 50 different countries all around the world!

Over 500,000 readers a year come to Bicycle Touring Pro in order to follow Darren’s tips, reviews and advice about bicycle touring. On this website you will find more than 1,000 free articles, 250 videos and thousands of additonal photos about bicycle touring and world travel.

Darren Alff is also the founder of www.gobicycletouring.com, where people from all over the world can quickly and easily find the best guided and self-guided bicycle tours on the planet.

In addition, Darren is the celebrated creator of “Bicycle Touring Pro’s Ultimate Bike Tour Training Course” and now coaches people of all ages, incomes and backgrounds so they may have a safe, successful and enjoyable bicycle touring adventure of their own, following his teaching, tips and shortcuts. “The Ultimate Bike Tour Training Course” has sold over 5,000 copies since it’s release and this unique at-home study course details everything you need to know to conduct a bicycle tour of your very own. It is a step-by-step guide to bicycle touring, handed to you on a silver platter.

The Bicycle Traveler's Blueprint - How To Bicycle Touring Book
Touring Bicycle Buyer's Guide
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Darren Alff is also the author of 3 other bicycle books:

  • Winter Cycling – the definitive guide on how to keep cycling the whole year round – regardless of the weather.
  • The Essential Guide To Touring Bicycles – a book designed to help first-time bicycle tourists find the type of bicycle they need to conduct their very own bicycle touring adventure. This book also contains a list of each of the touring bicycles currently available on the market, so you don’t waste money by purchasing the wrong bicycle before you head off on your grand adventure.

What Can You Expect to Learn Here at Bicycle Touring Pro?

Here at Bicycle Touring Pro you will discover:

Bicycle Touring Pro is the world’s most popular bicycle touring website. With a community of readers in just about every country across the globe, Bicycle Touring Pro is the leading international resource for cycle touring information across the globe. The information you will find here has helped thousands of people just like you plan, prepare for, and execute their very own bicycle touring adventures.

Brandon Roesler Iceland bike tour

“I don’t think I could ever have prepared myself for my trip without your help. Every time I talk to you or go on your website I learn something new. Thanks for everything.” Brandon Roesler – Irvine, California
Bob Hopkins recumbent bicycle
“Your blog is the motivating factor in my decision to tour. I’ve ridden for several years, but never toured self-contained. With your help I toured solo for 712 miles in 7.5 days, averaging 94 miles per day. I also have 3 other tours planned for next year. Thanks so much for your help.” Bob Hopkins – Hillsboro, Tennessee
Daughter and Father on bike tour
Bicycle Touring Pro helped my daughter and I prepare for a 42-day bike tour across the United States and a 6-week bike tour in New Zealand. We learned that it really wasn’t difficult if you just take one day at a time.” Michael Rice - Cape Canaveral, Florida
Bernard recumbent bike tour
“I wish you had been around years ago when I started cycling in earnest. I learned much over the years, but the trial and error method is a slow process. Within a month I have ridden 1,400 miles for the year. Thanks again.” Bernard Parker
Man and woman on fully-loaded touring bicycles
“Most helpful are your gear reviews and stories from other touring cyclists. We left Empfingen, Germany on September 5, 2012 and we are still on the road – planning to be back home in spring 2014.” Baerbel Bussenius & Johan de Vries - Germany & Netherlands
leon
“I started in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on July 23, 2013 and I’m on my way to Ushuaia, Argentina – planing to finish my adventure in February 2015.” Leon Fache - Columbia
Spencer Holmes bike tour
Bicycle Touring Pro showed me the most common mistakes people make on tour, without me having to make those mistakes myself while on the road. I’m really grateful there’s something like this site for people like me. Without it, I know my trip wouldn’t have gone as well as it did.” Spencer Holmes - Chico, California
DANIEL NANGHAKA
“I love Bicycle Touring Pro’s how-to articles. I was on the road for two months. I cycled across Kampala, Uganda through Tanzania, cross through Malawi and Zambia, and stopped the journey in Lusaka.” Daniel Nanghaka - Uganda
Bike Tour for Couples
“We relied heavily on The Bicycle Traveler’s Blueprint. Not only for its technical points about how to prepare for a bike trip as long as ours, but also things like what to wear and eat. It contributed to us having no question and no fear about tackling the task before us.” Jon & Earline Blumhagen - Florida
Created by Darren Alff, one of the world’s most experienced bicycle travelers, Bicycle Touring Pro is an incredible source of how-to bicycle touring information. New articles, videos, and photos are added to the website every single week… and additional information is frequently posted on the site’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram pages. gray-line
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Sample Bike Tour Packing List

Below you will find a detailed list of everything you might choose to carry on a self-supported bicycle tour.

But keep in mind that what you pack and carry on any bicycle tour will vary depending on what your goals are, where you are traveling in the world, how long you plan to be on the road, what types of roads you will be cycling on, and a whole host of additional factors.

For more detailed packing lists and information, please see  Bicycle Touring Pro’s Ultimate Bike Tour Training Course.

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bicycle

Co-Motion Pangea Touring Bicycle

The Co-Motion Pangea is my main bicycle touring vehicle and the most important piece of equipment that I own. This on-road, off-road touring bike can be split in half with the use of S&S couplers, allowing me to fly the bike for free and easily transport the bike on buses, boats and trains with minimal effort.

READ MY REVIEW

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spedpedals

Shimano SPD Pedals

SPD pedals allow you to clip your shoes to your bicycle and pedal with greater power and control. This type of pedal should be used with an accompanying set of SPD shoes.

BUY HERE

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Axiom rear bicycle touring rack

Axiom Journey Rear Rack

This lightweight aluminum rack is not really designed for super heavy loads or extremely long distances, but I’ve been using it for the last several years and have had few problems with it.

READ MY REVIEW

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Arkel AC LowRider Front Bicycle Rack

Arkel AC LowRider Front Rack

I’ve been using the Arkel AC LowRider Rack on the front of my touring bicycle for more than ten years now and it has never let me down. Built strong, but very lightweight. Highly recommended!

BUY HERE

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fenders

Planet Bike Front & Rear Fenders

These inexpensive plastic and metal fenders will help to protect you, your bicycle and your gear from rain, mud and other road debris. The fenders found on my bicycle at the moment are designed for the 26 inch tires found on my touring bike.

BUY HERE

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Water Bottle Cages

3 Water Bottle Cages

My Co-Motion Pangea touring bicycle is equipped with mounts for three water bottle cages, maximizing the amount of water (or fuel) you can carry.

BUY HERE

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clear bicycle water bottle

3 Water Bottles

You can spend a lot of money on fancy water bottles, but you don’t really need anything special. Use white or clear water bottles (rather than black or dark colored bottles) in order to keep the temperature of your water down when cycling in hot weather.

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pprear

Ortlieb Bike-Packer Plus Rear Panniers

These large, waterproof panniers sit on the rear rack of my bicycle and carry all my camping and electronic equipment. I’ve used these panniers for years and they are still in excellent shape, despite suffering from a few sunburns.

BUY HERE

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front

Ortlieb Sport-Packer Plus Front Panniers

These two smaller waterproof panniers sit on the front rack of my touring bicycle and carry all the food, toiletries and clothing that I need for my travels.

BUY HERE

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handlebarbag

Ortlieb Ultimate6 Plus Handlebar Bag

This wonderful, waterproof handlebar bag sits on the front of my bicycle and carries my camera, wallet, navigational instruments (map and GPS, etc), and a number of other small accessories.

BUY HERE

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best bicycle touring light

Blackburn Mars 4.0 Rear Bicycle Light

This is the only official bicycle light I carry with me on my travels. It is small, bright, lightweight, and has a long-lasting battery that is easily replaced on the road. I don’t carry the mount with me – just the light itself, which is easily clipped onto one of my rear panniers.

BUY HERE

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bicycle touring cable lock

Avenir Keyed Cable Lock

I’ve been using this relatively lightweight cable lock for more than 10 years and it has worked wonderfully on my travels. Unfortunately, it this lock is no longer in production and can not be purchased anywhere online.

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bicycle bungee cord

20 Inch Bungee Cord

I use this single 20 inch bungee cord to carry my tripod, tent poles and solar panel on the rear rack of my bicycle.

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Axiom bicycle pump

Axiom EnforceAir Pro Road Bike Pump

The EnforceAir Pro Road bike pump from Axiom is a long, powerful and lightweight bicycle pump that functions as a floor pump when in use.

READ MY REVIEW

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multitool

Multi-Tool

I carry a very generic bicycle multi-tool. There is nothing special about it. It has all the Allen wrench sizes that are found on my touring bicycle.

BUY HERE

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S&S coupler wrench

Pedal / S&S Coupler Wrench

This is a special pedal / S&S coupler wrench that comes with Co-Motion Co-Pilot bicycles. The wrench allows you to install/remove your pedals and to open and close the S&S couplers on the bicycle’s frame.

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bicycle rack screws

Spare Rack Screws

I always carry a few extra rack screws in case the screws holding my racks, fenders, or water bottle cages rattle their way out of the bicycle frame.

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patchkit

Patch Kit & Tire Levers

I carry two tire levers and a small, lightweight patch kit on all of my bicycle tours. This kit allows me to repair flat tubes and patch tube punctures.

BUY HERE

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bicycle tube

Spare Tube(s)

I carry at least one or two spare tube on all of my bicycle tours. Make sure you get the right size and type of tube for your bicycle. I use 26 inch Presta tubes in my touring bicycle wheels.

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msr-hubba-tent

MSR Hubba 1-Man Tent

You’ll be hard pressed to find a lighter or more compact tent than the MSR Hubba. This 1-person tent is the perfect size for bicycle touring and will keep you safe and dry during your cycle touring adventures.

READ MY REVIEW -BUY HERE

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sleeping-pad

McKinley Sleeping Pad

After destroying several expensive Exped sleeping pads, I’m now using and experimenting with an inexpensive McKinley inflatable sleeping pad to sleep on each night.

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Cat's Meow sleeping bag

The North Face Cat’s Meow Sleeping Bag

I’ve been using the Cat’s Meow sleeping bag on my colder bicycle tours for years on end now. It’s not the smallest sleeping bag in the world, but is has a good balance between size and warmth. It’s just small enough to fit inside one of my bicycle’s rear panniers.

BUY HERE

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Petzl cycling headlamp

Petzl Headlamp

I use this headlamp to not only navigate around my campsites in the dark and read books in my tent at night, but also as a front bicycle light when riding on my bicycle after dark.

BUY HERE

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folding knife

Folding Knife

I carry a small folding knife with me. I don’t use this for personal protection (although I could use if that way if I had to). Instead, I use the knife mainly for spreading jam on break, cutting up apples and preparing my meals on the road.

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titanium camping spork

Titanium Spork

Instead of carrying a heavy fork and spoon, I carry this lightweight titanium spork instead.

BUY HERE

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mini fire lighter

Mini Lighter

In order to start fires in my camp each night I carry a small, mini BIC lighter. I prefer a brightly colored lighter so it is easy to find inside my panniers and around camp.

BUY HERE

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GiroXen-Helmet

Giro Xen Helmet

This is an excellent, lightweight bike helmet with a sun visor in the front and easily adjustable head straps in the back.

BUY HERE

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foxjersey

Fox Racing MTB Jersey

The clothing you wear on a bicycle tour is largely a personal choice. You can choose to dress up in Tour de France style Lycra, or you can wear something more casual, like this Fox Racing mountain bike jersey.

BUY HERE

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shorts

Fox Shorts

Rather than cycle and walk around in spandex or Lycra, I choose to wear a pair of Fox Racing shorts that are designed for mountain biking and come with a removable padded interior (which I do not use).

BUY HERE

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jacket

Marmot Cervino Rain Jacket

To protect me from the elements and keep me dry in rain and snow, I wear a Marmot rain jacket that packs up relatively small and is bright enough to attract attention from passing vehicles.

BUY HERE

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black

Patagonia Fleece Jacket

This fleece jacket from Patagonia keeps me warm and allows me to walk around in style without making me look like a cyclist.

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shoes1

Shimano SH-MT43L Shoes

These SPD shoes by Shimano were designed for mountain biking, but work great for bicycle touring as well.

BUY HERE

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jeans

Jeans

The one and only pair of pants I carry on tour. I always have a pair of jeans with me in my panniers.

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tshirts

T-Shirts

I usually carry about 3 different T-shirts at anyone time (1 to sleep in and 2 to walk around in). I purposely select T-shirts with no logos or artwork on them.

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hat

Hat

I always carry a hat with me on my bicycle tours. I use it mainly for my time off the bike – to cover the bad hairdo created by wearing a bike helmet.

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socks

Black Socks

I carry about 3-4 pairs of black, ankle-length socks with me. These are the socks I cycle and walk around in during the day. I choose black socks because they hide dirt well.

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underwear

Underwear

A personal choice more than anything else, I carry about 3 pairs of both boxers and briefs on my long-distance bicycle tours. All of them are dark in color to hide dirt, etc.

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sunglasses

Sunglasses

I tend to go through about 3 pairs of sunglasses each year – usually breaking them at some point during my travels. Therefore, I don’t have a specific pair that I recommend at this point.

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poweradapter

Travel Smart All-in-One Power Adapter

When traveling internationally, I have to carry this in order to plug my electronics into the wall and recharge them. This adapter has a built in USB charger on its side as well.

BUY HERE

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camptowel

Camp Towel

This small, lightweight towel is perfect for bicycle touring. It takes up very little space and dries quickly.

BUY HERE

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toothbrush

Toothbrush & Toothpaste

You gotta keep your mouth clean – even when cycling around the world.

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razor

Razor & Shaving Cream

This is for my face – not my legs. Ha!

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nailclippers

Nail Clippers

On longer bike tours, it is essential to carry a small pair of nail clippers.

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tweezers

Tweezers

I carry a small, lightweight set of tweezers, not only for personal hygiene, but also to pick thorns and glass out of my tires, shoes, feet, etc.

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travelshampoo

Travel Size Shampoo & Lotion

Shampoo to wash my hair and lotion to care for my skin (and occasional sunburns).

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sunscreen

Sunscreen

I’ll occasionally apply sunscreen two or three times per day if it is especially hot and sunny. 

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toilet-paper

Toilet Paper

Blow your nose and wipe your butt. It’s good to carry at least one-half roll of toilet paper with you at all times – especially if you plan to camp.

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soapcase

Soap & Travel Case

To keep my body clean, I carry a single bar of soap and a plastic case in which the soap is stored. 

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passport

Passport

An essential when traveling internationally, my passport is one of my most protected personal items. 

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wallet

Zippered Travel Wallet

I carry all my cash, credit and debit cards in a zippered wallet. The zipper makes me feel better because I don’t have to worry about anything falling out during my travels.

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journal

Journal & Pens

I always have a small journal and two pens with me so I can keep a journal about my travels and write down the names, email addresses and phone numbers of any people I might meet along the way.

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