Starting Out

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IMG_0733_smallWHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?
To get started you don’t really need anything. You could hire a bike. A puncture repair kit is a good idea though and you probably won’t get one with a hired bike. Beyond that, the equipment you need varies depending on what type of touring you want to do. This is covered in the next question.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Costs vary considerably depending on type of touring. Bike touring can be a very cheap form of travelling. It can also be surprisingly expensive. First you need to decide what sort of bike touring you want to do:

Full on self-sufficient touring with tent etc. Will have a big start-up cost but lower costs while touring. Requires a major commitment right at beginning

Light touring carrying absolute minimum. Will have lower initial cost but higher long-run cost. Best for beginners as it gives you the chance to try out bike touring and doesn’t need a special touring bike. No major risk involved.

WHAT TYPE OF BIKE DO I NEED?
There is no ‘correct’ type of bike for touring. People have toured on a wide variety of bikes. One man even toured the world on a penny farthing! The best type of bike depends on the terain, how much load you’re carrying and your own preference.

HOW MUCH EQUIPMENT DO I NEED TO CARRY?
This all depends on you. If you are willing to pay for food and accomodation along the way you only need to carry yourself and basic tools.

DO I NEED INSURANCE?
In most countries it is not a legal requirement to be insured when bike touring but for travelling abroad is probably a good idea. General travel insurance will not cover you for bike touring. You will will need a specialist travel insurance.(links)  If you have an expensive bike it may be worth insuring it against theft and you should also invest in a good lock.

DO I NEED TO BE FIT?
You will certainly be able to travel further and faster if you are fit but there is no set distance or time for bike touring. What’s more if you are out of shape bike touring is a great way to get fit. However, it’s important that you don’t overdo it as you can seriously damage your health. See next point.

IS IT SAFE?
There are dangers. Road safety.

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