Welcome to Bicycle Touring Pro!
“Bicycle Touring” is the act of riding a bicycle for days, weeks, months, or even years on end as you travel across cities, states, and countries under your own human power.
Thousands of people of all ages, incomes, and demographics are traveling by bike… and you can be one of them!
Here at Bicycle Touring Pro you will discover:
- The types of bicycles built for short and long distance bicycle touring.
- The gear you need to travel for days, weeks, or months on end.
- How to plan out a safe and scenic cycle touring route.
- How to plan and prepare for your first bicycle tour.
- What to mentally and physically expect once you hit the road.
- Details on the world’s best bicycle touring routes and destinations.
- Where to find guided and self-guided bicycle tours to participate in.
- Plus a whole lot more!
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.
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, and YouTube pages.
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What Is Bicycle Touring Pro?
BicycleTouringPro.com is a website for people around the world who are interested in bicycle touring and world travel. Whether you are searching for your perfect touring bike, planning to take a guided bicycle tour, an ultra-lite cycling adventure, or a long-distance bicycle tour of any kind, there is something here at Bicycle Touring Pro just for you!
What Exactly Is “Bicycle Touring?”
“Bicycle touring” is the act of riding your bicycle for days, weeks, months, or even years on end as you travel across cities, states, and countries.
There are five main types of bicycle tours:
1) THE LONG DAY TRIP:
The first type of bike tour is not really a tour at all, but actually just a very long single-day bike ride. This type of tour is usually conducted by an organization which brings bicycle riders together in a single location and these people ride their bikes for a relatively long distance in a single day. Typical rides of this type can range from 60-100+ miles. While “bicycle touring” is typically an overnight activity, these large one-day events will often times call themselves “bicycle tours.”
2) THE GUIDED/SUPPORTED TOUR:
The guided/supported bicycle tour is a tour where your gear (food, clothes, camping equipment, etc.) is carried in a vehicle that meets you at various checkpoints along your route.
Some of these tours require that you pay to be a part of them and, in these cases, the tour leaders typically drive a van or truck of some sort, while you get to ride your bike. Other times, groups of individuals will simply get together and take turns driving a chase vehicle while the others in the group get to ride their bicycles.
The benefit of this type of bicycle touring is that you don’t have to carry a whole bunch of equipment on your bicycle as you ride… and you can simply sit back, pedal, and enjoy the scenery. The other benefit is that, if you want to, you can always jump in the chase vehicle and take a break from the cycling.
3) THE CREDIT CARD TOUR:
Credit card touring is when you travel by bike and pack almost nothing but the clothes on your back and a credit card (or cash) to buy things along the way. Instead of carrying a tent, you pay to sleep in a hotel each night. Instead of cooking your own food, you buy food along the way. Credit card tours are typically less than a week in length and are usually not supported by a touring company.
4) THE GUIDED SELF-SUPPORTED TOUR:
Then there are tours where you carry everything you need to survive on your bicycle (food, clothes, tent, stove, etc.), but a guide from a touring company leads you along a specific route. With these types of tours, you ride with a small group of people and are then escorted on a daily basis by an experienced bicycle touring guide.
5) THE FULLY SELF-SUPPORTED TOUR:
Then there is the self-supported bicycle tour, which requires you to travel alone (without a guide) and carry all the clothes, tools, and gear you will need to survive for days, weeks, or months on end. This is the type of bicycle touring many people are familiar with… and even today it is one of the most popular ways to travel by bike.
As you can see, “bicycle touring” can mean a number of different things. A bicycle tour can be a one-day event, a three-month journey across the country, or a decade-long adventure around the world.
Who Is Darren Alff And How Did He Become The “Bicycle Touring Pro?”
My name is Darren Alff… and I am the man behind the website here at Bicycle Touring Pro.
In the year 2001, shortly after graduating from high school, I mounted my father’s dusty old mountain bike and slowly pedaled my way down the Coast of California – from Oregon to Mexico. I was seventeen years old at the time and didn’t know a thing about “bicycle touring,” but I made it to my destination… and that first trip by bike changed my life forever.
That first trip taught me a lot – both about myself and the world in which we live. Since that time, I have gained extensive experience as a long-distance bicycle traveler and I’ve spent the last twelve+ years learning about the world from the seat of my bike.
I started BicycleTouringPro.com in late 2007 after one of my old college roommates called me up and told me that he was planning his first long-distance bicycle tour. For years I had been trying to get him to join me on my cycling adventures, but I could never make it happen. But then, several years later, the thought of going on a bike tour suddenly struck him as an appealing venture, and he called the only person he knew who had actually ever done it!
I started Bicycle Touring Pro with the intention of helping my college roommate plan his first bike tour around the United States. I didn’t really think anyone else would care to read what I had to say. But just a month or two after the site was started, the readership took off and I’ve been hustling like crazy ever since to make Bicycle Touring Pro into THE BEST resource available for modern bicycle travelers.
When Did You Start Bicycle Touring?
I started traveling by bike when I was just seventeen years old. I had just graduated from high school and wanted to do something big, challenging, and memorable before going off to college and getting a job, etc. When one of my friends from school suggested that I run across America like Forrest Gump (I was the first person from my high school to run four years of Varsity track, so everyone in school knew that I liked to run), I took the idea seriously.
After conducting a painful three-day test run near my home in Southern California, during which I ran a marathon every day for three days in a row, I came the realization that running across America would be an unattainable goal for a short two-month summer holiday.
Instead of giving up on my goal, however, my Uncle Tom suggested that instead of running, I should ride my bike.
My uncle explained that with a bicycle I could travel longer distances each day and I would be able to carry all the food, clothing, and camping equipment I would need for the trip on my bike. So, it was really my Uncle Tom that turned me on to bicycle touring.
A few months later I successfully cycled more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) down the California coastline, from Oregon to Mexico, with three of my best friends joining me on bikes of their own for various legs of the trip.
At the time, I thought that once I reached Mexico my bicycle touring days would come to an end. But reaching Mexico was really just the beginning. The next summer, and every year after that, I set out on my bicycle again to explore some new and distant part of the world.
I conducted six long-distance bicycle tours in North America before traveling overseas with my bicycle. I have been bicycle touring on and off for the past twelve years and while I no longer keep track of the distances I have covered, I can safely say that since the year 2001, I have cycled more than 75,000 miles (120,000 km) and crossed through more than 30 different countries on my bike.
Why The Website Is Called “Bicycle Touring Pro”
A lot of people think the name, Bicycle Touring Pro, is a name I gave myself as some sort of bicycle touring expert, but that’s not really the case. The name came about because I told myself all through college that my ideal job would be being able to ride my bike and travel the world while working only on projects that I was immensely passionate about. So, when I went about naming the website, it was an aspirational sort of name – a kind of constant reminder to myself of who I one-day wanted to become – a professional bicycle traveler.
Since that time, I have, in many ways, become the “Bicycle Touring Pro.” I now work from home or on the road and I spend most of my days skiing, biking, hiking, or doing just about anything I please. My life at home in the United States is almost exactly the same as it is when I am out traveling with my bike. I run the website here at BicycleTouringPro.com and explore the world around me by bike, foot, and occasionally by car, bus, train, airplane and motorcycle.
What Do You Like Most About Bicycle Touring?
My favorite part about bicycle touring is the mix of challenges that it presents.
There are the obvious challenges, such as:
- Climbing a steep mountain pass.
- Traveling for days on end.
- Camping in the wilderness.
But there are other, less obvious, challenges you face when bicycle touring as well. For example:
- Being alone for extended periods of time.
- Getting along with your travel companions.
- Finding a place to sleep each night.
- Meeting people with different viewpoints/lifestyles/opinions than you.
I’ve always been a pretty shy individual, so going out into the world and forcing myself to interact with strangers on a daily basis has been extremely good for me. Bicycle touring has been a fun way for me to get over my fear of speaking with other people while at the same time allowing me to see the world in a unique and interesting way.
Bicycle touring isn’t always easy, but that’s a big part of what I like about it.
How Many Countries Have You Cycled Through?
At this moment I’ve cycled through more than 30 different countries. Some of my favorites are: Peru, Romania and Switzerland.
I hope to cycle through dozens of other countries in the future. Even though I have been bicycle touring for more than 12 years, I’ve still got a lot of places I want to see and experience.
Some of the countries I want to visit most at the moment are: Norway, China, New Zealand, and Madagascar.
Is Bicycle Touring Expensive?
Every trip by bike is different, but in 2009 I started keeping detailed financial records of my travels. Like you, I wanted to know exactly how much bicycle touring cost.
As it turns out, international bike travel is not nearly as expensive as you might think. In fact, I’ve discovered that traveling the world by bike (even in expensive places like Europe) costs me less than what I would normally spend just sitting at home in the United States and doing nothing.
At the moment I am spending on average about $1,250 USD per month for my travels. This includes airfare, lodging, transportation (buses, trains, ferries, etc), food, entertainment, toiletries, and more.
Visit the following links to see some detailed records of my recent spending habits:
How Can I Get Started On My Own Bicycle Touring Adventures?
There are hundreds of free articles about bicycle touring and world travel on the website here at BicycleTouringPro.com.
If you want to get started with bicycle touring right away and learn everything you need to know about how to pack, plan, and prepare for a short or long-distance bicycle touring adventure, then I recommend you check out the resources I’ve made available on this page.
If you are interested in conducting your own self-supported bicycle tours, be sure you pick up a copy of “The Bicycle Traveler’s Blueprint” – my popular how-to eBook about modern bicycle travel.
If you are interested in participating in a guided or self-guided bicycle tour, be sure to visit the website at www.gobicycletouring.com.
How Can I Connect With You And Other World Travelers?
While there is a ton of awesome bicycle touring information here on the website at www.BicycleTouringPro.com, there is a ton of additional content posted on Bicycle Touring Pro’s various social media accounts. Be sure to follow Bicycle Touring Pro on each of the websites listed below.
You can also subscribe to this website using your favorite RSS feed reader. Or you can subscribe via email and receive my free bicycle touring newsletter that walks you through the basics of planning, preparing for, and executing your first trip by bike.
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