Tip & How-To about Cycling

Tips for long-distance cycling

.1. Keep it cheap. Expensive bicycles with top-of-the-range parts can be a disadvantage if, for instance, they break in rural Turkey where there's no hope of finding suitable spare parts.

2. Set off with a little bit too much. You can always sell or give away things en route if the going gets tough.

3. Save yourself the pain. Buy a second-hand saddle that's already been worn in by someone else.

4. It doesn't have to be steel. Aluminium-frame bicycles are cheaper, lighter and strong enough for the job, providing you ride sensibly.

5. Travel with four panniers. This requires having both front and back frames fitted to your bicycle. Cycling with a rucksack is a sure route to back pain and misery, while towing a trailer means two extra wheels that could suffer punctures.

6. Schrader tyre valves, also known as "car-type" valves, are more practical than presta valves as they can be inflated at any garage.

7. Get a Visa debit card. These are accepted in far more cash machines than any others.

8. See crazyguyonabike.com, where you can find dozens of articles about long-distance journeys, as well as discussion forums and reviews.

9. Most importantly of all, you don't need to be called Lance Armstrong. Most of the cyclists I met during my journey had no previous cycling experience. It didn't stop them. It won't stop you.

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