It's been a long, long time since I've found a book about bicycle touring that is a worthy successor to "The Essential Touring Cyclist" by Richard A. Lovett and it gives me great pleasure to mention that it was actually written by a Bicycle Touring 101 contributor. The book is called "Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook, Worldwide Cycling Route and Planning Guide" and the author is Stephen Lord.
The book starts off with an introduction that includes a bit of bicycle touring history before launching right into the "Part 1: Practicalities" section. This section covers a lot of the basics of the bicycle touring planning process such as these questions:
Part Two of the book is full of lots of interesting routing information complete with side bars full of information and stories. The routing information includes sections for all of the continents expect Antarctica so if you've had a secret dream to explore Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia or any where else in the world there is likely something in this section for you. Much of the information comes from various contributors to the book who have ridden these routes themselves. After reading this section my future desire to ride through Russia, Asia, South America and Northern Africa has only increased.
Part Three is great if you enjoy reading about other people's touring adventures as I do. There are stories about the touring experience from all over the world that not only share people's experiences with the open road but also very elegantly showcase the joys and pleasures of the bicycle touring lifestyle. All of the stories are great. My absolute favourite is "The Colonel's Trousers" by Edward Genochio.
I tremendously enjoyed reading this book. The equipment information is generally very similar to the information that you will hear about from many other touring cyclists. I do have two areas of disagreement with what's been written however.
The gearing discussion nicely describes many of the gear systems in use on bicycles today. The description of proper gearing mentions that "you almost certainly don't need the massive range of gears found on most new mountain bike gears, which includes a 22-tooth small chain ring up front and a 9-speed , 11-34 tooth cassette on the back". Since this almost perfectly matches my current gearing on my Trek 520 I have to politely disagree. Gearing is a very personal choice and your gearing needs are sometimes determined for you by your weight, the weight of your gear and the type of terrain that you decide to explore.
On the bottom of page fourteen there is a discussion about getting information. Despite the fact that the book itself is peppered throughout with web site references this section unfortunately provides the only real disservice to it's readers. "The internet costs nothing and the information that you get from it may be worth exactly that". It's unfortunate that this section of the book did not take a moment to continue and point out many of the many very worthwhile sources of useful information that do exist like Crazyguyonabike.com, BikeForums.net, International Bicycle Touring Mailing List, and of course Bicycle Touring 101.
This book provides an incredible amount of great information for cyclists who would like to know more about bicycle touring especially if you hope to go a little further off the beaten path. It also provides some very interesting touring stories that are a very enjoyable read especially on a cold winter's day. Stephen Lord and his band of merry contributors have produced a very useful book for the bicycle touring community.
|Title:||Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook Worldwide Cycling Route & Planning Guide|
|Technical Editor:||Paul Woloshansky|
I heartily recommend this book for people interested in learning more bicycle touring information from a variety of people around the world.
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