Tom Allen, of Tom’s Bike Trip, just released a new eBook titled Essential Gear for Adventure Cycle Touring. I was lucky enough to receive a copy for review and I’ve spent the past few days pouring through its hefty 250+ pages.
It’s a wonderfully thought out guide. It’s informative, it’s layout is beautiful, and it’ll prove a small fortune isn’t a requisite for an adventure cycle tour. Tom managed to outfit an entire touring rig less than $50.00 CAD.
If you’re like me and look to reviews for only a quick recommendation or disparagement, here’s my suggestion:
More About Essential Gear for Adventure Cycle Touring
This guide is just over 250 pages long and is chock full of gear advice for any budget and/or journey.
My favourite part is that although it doesn’t ignore the latest and greatest gear, Tom isn’t shy to point out how and when to save money.
But your water bottles just needs to hold water. A 1.5-litre bottle of mineral water costing less than a pound would do the job just as well as a snazzy £15 sports cycling bottle would. (It’d be twice as good, in fact, because it’d hold twice as much water.)
The guide is divided into two parts; part one focuses on personal motivations, goals, and educating the reader on how to make good gear choices, while part two looks at the gear itself. Much of the gear that I’ve used on previous tours are in this guide, too, and I am slightly hesitant to admit much of it was deemed “high-end” (and therefore likely unnecessary).
My absolutely favourite pieces of gear, for a road-based tour – are a Surly Long Haul Trucker and a Hilleberg Nallo 3GT tent. Here’s what Tom said about each:
Surly Long Haul Trucker – “If you’re looking for the best-value expedition bike that is definitely capable of going round the world (because loads of people have done so on it already), the Long Haul Trucker is it.”
Hilleberg Nallo 3GT – “The Nallo 2 GT probably represents the ultimate in livability for a solo cycle tourist; the Nallo 3 GT represents the same for a couple. It’s the kind of tent you’d take on a nice, long, leisurely tour when your kids have left home and you’re ruthlessly ploughing through their inheritances.”
Things certainly aren’t limited to the bike, either, as this guide includes everything from touring bikes, racks, saddles (buy brooks, you fools!), and repair kits to tents, sleeping bags, and clothing. There is even info in their about cooking equipment, though Tom probably only uses his wildly popular beer-can stove.
Anybody planning a typical bike tour for the first time would benefit from its information. The guide isn’t cheap, but it’s bound to save most cyclists over more than its $35.00CAD sales price based solely on the practical information about what gear will truly last for a lap around the planet.
The only thing missing from the guide is gear considerations for bike-packing, the ultra-light off-road backcountry mountain biking phenomena that is catching on wildly in North America thanks to races like the Arizona 750 and Tour Divide. Cycle touring and bikepacking share plenty of similarities; however, Tom’s guide is more for people looking to undertake a journey than a competition.