A number of Bicycle Traveler article and photo contributors have written their own books, so why not check them out…
Bike Touring Survival Guide
Written by Friedel & Andrew Grant
Dreaming of a big bike tour? You can do it, and the Bike Touring Survival Guide will help. It includes information on:
* Getting Ready (packing, planning, finding a route)
* Daily Logistics (navigating, sleeping, eating)
* The People You Meet (weird questions people ask, accepting hospitality)
* Staying Connected (staying in touch, gadgets, electricity, internet)
* Challenges (dogs, traffic, bad weather, staying healthy)
* Far Away Places (visas, vaccinations, safety, bribes and bargaining)
* Coming Home (readjustment, getting a job again)
* Bike & Gear Tips (caring for your bike, tent, stove, sleeping mat, etc)
* Resources (packing list, recommended equipment)
The book is written by Andrew & Friedel Grant, who have 60,000km of bike touring experience, including a round-the-world bicycle tour. The book also includes the tips, stories and photos of 50 other bike tourists.
The Big Women On Wheels Book
Written by Loretta Henderson
About the book: My 5 year, 5 continent journey took me from the smell of fresh elephant dung in Botswana to the sounds of shaman’s bells in Mongolia. As a solo female cyclist, I was often asked ‘are you crazy?’ I always laughed and said ‘crazy only on a good day’ and every day is a good day on a bike trip. After my first 18 months of solo travel, I finally met another lone woman on wheels, Jill from England. Jill thanked me for saying hello and said she hadn’t met any other women travelling solo by bicycle and she was starting to wonder if women actually did these sorts of things. I bounced up, my eyes began to sparkle at the possibility of a purposeful project. The collective power of many generations of inspirational pioneering women stood by my side in support as I said, ‘of course we women do these sorts of things… we just need to meet each other’ that was the day I founded the WOW (women on wheels) Wall on our solofemalecyclist.com website. We are 245+ women from around the world who have cycled in most of the world’s countries. The Big WOW Book is a selection of our 100 craziest most inspiring stories.
What will you learn? Safety Advice … Essential Gear … Where to Sleep Experiences from the WOW Wall … Inspiration from the nets premier resource of 245+ solo female cyclists … Bonus material … 16 of the Best Touring Bikes … Got Questions? The BIG WOW Book Has The Answers
Written by Scott Stoll
In one week, Scott Stoll lost his job, his best friend, his girlfriend and his confidence. Disillusioned with society, full of angst, a lost and wandering soul with nothing left to lose, Stoll asked himself a question: “If I only have one life, one chance, if I could do anything, what would I do?”
His answer resulted in a 4 year and 25,742 mile odyssey around the world by bicycle, seeking answers to the great mysteries of life, vowing to find happiness or die trying. The quest wasn’t easy. He was imprisoned, held hostage, mugged, run over, suspected of terrorism, accused of espionage, trampled, diseased, heartbroken-he nearly died a dozen times. But more importantly, in the most unlikely places, Scott also discovered the wonders of the world, kindness among strangers, the meaning of life, peace, love and-Yes!-happiness.
More books from Scott Stoll
The Wind in My Wheels
Written by Josie Dew
As a young girl, Josie Dew developed an overpowering urge to travel. She also, rather inconveniently, developed a lifelong aversion to cars. Along came her first bicycle, and she has never looked back. Four continents, 36 countries, and 80,000 miles worth of astounding adventures, eccentric characters, varied cultures and ever-enduring optimism are the result of her travels. From Saharan locust invasions to tree-climbing goats, and a customs official who wouldn’t let her leave India because “You are making me a very fine wife,” her encounters are described with honesty, wit, and perception.
Josie has cycled 280,000 miles across 43 countries, some by accident. The survivor of 5 continents, several wonky knees and a handful of worn-out bottom brackets, she is still firmly fixed in the saddle. WIND IN MY WHEELS was shortlisted for the 1992 Travel Writer of the Year Award
More books from Josie Dew
This Road I Ride
Written by Juliana Buhring
In December 2012, Juliana Buhring became the first woman to circumnavigate the world by bicycle. With only a few months of training and little sponsorship, support or money she left from Naples on 23 July 2012 to cycle the world.
Raised in a religious cult as a child, Juliana finally broke away as a young adult and found her soul mate – an explorer seeking the source of unmapped rivers in Africa. When he was killed by a crocodile, her world went dark. To escape her grief, she decided to set herself a challenge. Having never seriously ridden a bike, she set out to ride around the world.
18,000 miles, 152 days, 4 continents, 19 countries, 29 punctures, 6 big mountains, 1 desert and a cyclone later, she made it back just days before Christmas with a Guinness World Record. Empowering, inspiring, often humorous, This Road I Ride is testimony to the power of sheer will to overcome any obstacle.
Discover a true story of adventure, blood, sweat and gears.
A Hitch-Biker’s Guide Through Africa
Written by Jo Charnock
‘Travelling the length of Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town, on folding bikes? Were we completely mad or had we come up with an idea that would prove to be the simplest and most fun way to travel?’
A Hitch-Biker’s Guide Through Africa is the story of this extraordinary adventure, of two people with two folding bicycles who travelled the length of Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town. This African odyssey was a spur of the moment decision which didn’t give the author and her partner much time to plan. They guessed that folding bicycles would allow for versatile travelling. The freedom of cycling could be backed up with public transport or hitching a ride, especially when distances were far and carrying enough water could be a problem. What they hadn’t anticipated was just how easy the trip would prove to be.
In her first book, author Jo Charnock gives a firsthand account of this incredible journey and the couple’s often surprising adventures. After nearly six months on the road the trip ended with nothing but fantastic, positive experiences brought about by the people they met, and the unmatched natural beauty of Africa.
Changing Gears: A pedal-powered detour from the rat race
Written by Greg Foyster
Greg Foyster quits his job in advertising and decides to live more simply. Looking for inspiration, he and his partner Sophie cycle from Melbourne to Far North Queensland (via Tasmania, naturally) scouting out ideas.
Preposterously underprepared, they are propelled by the inspiring and eccentric characters they meet along the way – from a forest activist living up a tree to an 18th-century woodsman and a monk walking barefoot through Queensland.
Featuring eye-opening encounters with DIY downshifters and leading figures in sustainability, Changing Gears is a jaunty adventure that explores an important question for the future: can we be happier with less?
Desert Snow – One Girl’s Take on Africa by Bike
Written by Helen Lloyd
Desert Snow is the story of one girl, one bike and 1,000 beers in Africa. By daring to follow a dream and not letting fear prevail, Helen cycled across the Sahara, Sahel and tropics of West Africa, paddled down the Niger River in a pirogue, hitch-hiked to Timbuktu and spent three months traversing the Congo, which she thought she may never leave… A lot can change in 2 years, cycling 25,000km from England to Cape Town. So can nothing. Helen takes you with her on the journey through every high and low of her memories and misadventures. She describes a continent brimming with diversity that is both a world away from what she knows and yet not so different at all.
Another book from Helen Lloyd
Written by Tom Allen
Sometimes the hardest part of a journey is knowing when it’s over. When twenty-three-year-old Tom Allen and his friends set off from their English village to cycle around the world, they were expecting physical hardship, extreme conditions and a serious case of culture shock. But the hours spent poring over maps could never have prepared them for the experience of life on the road: the petty squabbles, the extreme hospitality, the unexpected joys and dangers. And then Tom meets Tenny, a feisty Iranian-Armenian girl with dreams of her own, and hits a crossroad. Should he give up his grand plan for the girl he loves, or cycle off and risk missing out on the greatest adventure of them all?
More books from Tom Allen
What Goes Around: A London Cycle Courier’s Story
Written by Emily Chappell
Emily Chappell never meant to be a cycle courier. She planned to earn her living using her mind rather than her legs. She thought it’d be a useful stopgap while searching for a ‘real’ job. Today, six years on, she’s still pedalling. ‘It’s my most enduring love affair; the career that’s shaped my life, made me what I am, and entirely derailed any hope of a normal existence.’
As she flies through the streets of the capital, dancing with the traffic, Chappell records the pain and pleasure-both mental and physical-of life on wheels: the hurtling, dangerous missions; the ebb and flow of seasonal work; the moments of fear and freedom, anger and exhaustion; the camaraderie of the courier tribe and its idiosyncratic characters; the conflict and harmony between bicycle and road, body and mind.
At the same time it is a hymn to London; its changing skyline, its chaos and interconnectedness: ‘the unlikeliest street corners will have some tattered threads of memory fluttering from them like a flag…It’s almost as if the memories have overflowed from my head and scattered themselves about the city. Some parts of my life I can recall simply by thinking of them; others I think I’d remember better if I went back to a certain part of London and plucked them up from the tree I’d hung them from, or retraced them from the park bench I’d scratched them on, or snatched them up as they blew around in circles in an alleyway like a discarded carrier bag’. This is a book about discovery and belonging, connection and memory, choosing life’s uncharted course and the delicious sensation of just riding.
An outback odyssey
Written by Fin & Zoa
Detective Jack and Deputy Poco Loco are dog detectives who cycle around the world solving mysteries and meeting new friends along the way. In An Outback Odyssey they must help recover a stolen didgeridoo from a gang of dirty dingoes.
The Dog Detectives is written in a unique style, with rhyme, alliteration and upbeat prose. The series will introduce children to the marvels of different countries and cultures around the world.
The authors Fin & Zoa have cycled over 17,000 kilometres around the world with their two rescued dogs, Jack and Poco Loco. Their inspiration comes from their adventures and experiences in the different countries they cycled through.
More books from Fin & Zoa
Peru’s Cordilleras Blanca & Huayhuash: The Hiking & Biking Guide
Written by Neil and Harriet Pike
Andean adventure paradise
As mountain adventure destinations, the Cordilleras Blanca and Huayhuash in central Peru are unrivalled in South America. These ranges boast some of the most spectacular scenery in the Andes, and some of the most accessible high altitude trekking and cycling in the world. Perfect pyramidal peaks, gargantuan ice falls and turquoise alpine lakes are all easily reached from Huaraz, the region’s capital and centre of tourist comforts.
Trekking – 20 hiking trails
Includes the classic treks: Huayhuash Circuit, Santa Cruz and Alpamayo Basecamp, as well as lesser known, wild walks in valleys which see few visitors. Ranging from easy day hikes to challenging routes of 10 days or more, all can be trekked independently or in guided groups.
Cycling – 30 days of paved and dirt road routes
Includes a loop of Peru’s highest mountain – the Huascarán Circuit – as well as four other multi-day rides and five day-cycles from Huaraz. Covers all the information cyclists need to pedal past glaciers on 6000m peaks or fly down 2500m descents from high passes.
Mountain biking – off road routes
Includes two detailed downhill routes and information on organising guides to lead you through the labyrinth of exciting singletrack to be found in the area.
Practical information – planning your trip and getting to Peru
City and town guides and maps – Lima, Huaraz, Caraz, Carhuaz, Chavín, Chiquián, Pomabamba
Minimum impact hiking and biking– how to hike and cycle lightly in a fragile region
Language – Spanish words and phrases
50 detailed route maps – at 1:50,000 or 1:100,000 scale for main trekking maps
Another book from Neil and Harriet Pike
Bicycle Touring in One Hour
Written by Alee Denham
Another book from Alee Denham
Written by Jason Lewis
He survived a terrifying crocodile attack off Australia’s Queensland coast, blood poisoning in the middle of the Pacific, malaria in Indonesia and China, and acute mountain sickness in the Himalayas. He was hit by a car and left for dead with two broken legs in Colorado, and incarcerated for espionage on the Sudan-Egypt border.
The first in a thrilling adventure trilogy, Dark Waters charts one of the longest, most gruelling, yet uplifting and at times irreverently funny journeys in history, circling the world using just the power of the human body, hailed by the London Sunday Times as “The last great first for circumnavigation”.
But it was more than just a physical challenge. Prompted by what scientists have dubbed the perfect storm as the global population soars to 8.3 billion by 2030, adventurer Jason Lewis used the expedition to reach out to thousands of schoolchildren, calling attention to our interconnectedness and shared responsibility of an inhabitable Earth for future generations.
More books from Jason Lewis
Te Araroa: Walking New Zealand’s 3,000-kilometre trail
Photography by Mark Watson
While more than 150 trampers attempt to walk New Zealand’s long trail – Te Araroa – in its entirety every summer, there are few that would be brave enough to set off as late as January, carrying heavy photographic equipment in addition to the usual food and tramping kit. That is precisely what photographer and adventurer Mark Watson did at the start of this year, determined not only to experience the 3,000km trail for himself as a ‘through-tramp’, but also to capture the amazing diversity of scenery that the route encounters, along beaches, through forested wilderness, rural and urban landscapes. And to inspire others to get out and appreciate the fulfilment that comes from crossing the land on foot. It’s a journey that would take him nearly six months to complete, and see him experience the full gamut of weather conditions: intense summer heat, heavy rain, flooded rivers and snowy alpine passes. Mark’s remarkable resulting images (over 350 of them) and accompanying text provide a unique view of the country through the eyes of a long distance tramper, and identify the essence of place that defines the New Zealand landscape.
More books by Mark Watson
Last Flight of the Pigeon: A Journey Across China By Bicycle
Written by Simon Clode
This is the story of a 5000km bicycle ride across China. A journey from the manic streets of the most populous nation’s capital, all the way to Kashgar, near its most westerly edge in the province of Xinjiang. Over mountains, through deserts, and along the Silk Road; the author encounters wild dogs, furious sandstorms and tonnes of pot noodles.
After moving to Beijing, Simon Clode went in search of the world’s most popular bicycle – The Flying Pigeon PA-02. The PA-02 is the bicycle that features in millions of images of China in the 1970s and 80s. Yet, despite being the most produced model of bicycle ever and being made within 100 miles of Beijing, he couldn’t find a new one anywhere.
Eventually, thanks to a man in Barcelona, he managed to find one of the last remaining models, which was still in the Flying Pigeon factory in Tianjin. Ignoring all advice about the unreliability and general awfulness of the bicycle from the management team, he then cycled it 140km home to Beijing in a moment of sporting endurance heroism to rival all others that involve regular stops for Snickers.
Following this triumph and in advance of Flying Pigeon’s 65th birthday, he planned to ride the Pigeon 5000km across China from Beijing to Kashgar. He trained for three months and meticulously planned a route along the one road west from Beijing.
He then promptly failed in this endeavour before lunch on the very first day by destroying the bike’s back wheel with the combined weight of the luggage and himself.
Despite killing the Pigeon, fearing this would be his last chance to do something as exciting, he took on the remaining 4950km on the Pigeon’s modern day successor – a nondescript £175 Giant mountain bike.
This is the story of that journey: through sandstorms; police evictions; and thousands of questions about why he was wearing shorts in April.
After Beijing, his route saw him ride through six provinces. First, he passed through industrial Hebei, the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, agricultural Ningxia and Gansu before the road disappeared. He was forced to take the road south into the barren no man’s land of northern Qinghai province in order to rejoin the southern branch of the Silk Road in Xinjiang, which finally leads him to his destination
Vague Direction: A 12,000 mile bicycle ride, and the meaning of life
Written by Dave Gill
The road. A place to escape, learn, and grow. A place where experiences are had, and memories formed, all of which will stay with you forever.
This is the story of a year long North American bicycle journey. After all, there’s a lot that happens when you get burned out, quit your job, sell everything, and leave to ride a bike for thousands of miles on another continent.
You learn a lot – about yourself, about the fascinating people you encounter along the way, and maybe, just maybe, about life itself.
From guns to God, death to happiness, bears to isolation, murders to crashes, frustration to joy. This book will make you reconsider life’s priorities – it tackles some of the big questions in an entertaining and relatable way, and it may just inject a wanderlust and sense of adventure into your everyday thoughts.
Come along with Dave as he rides his bicycle for a year, for more than 12,000 miles around North America. Along the way, he consistently meets remarkable people (such as Singing Cowgirls, Hunters, Drug Dealers & Movie Directors), and has an unforgettable experience which we can all learn from.
Life in tandem: tales of cycling travels
Written by Jackie Winter
Despite never having learned to ride a bike, Jackie Winter has pedalled over 100,000 miles – on the back of a tandem. For almost 40 years, Jackie and her husband Allan have enjoyed cycling in Dorset and Jackie describes many favourite bike rides.
Life In Tandem recounts travellers’ tales gleaned from a lifetime of cycle touring holidays in the UK. The couple love cycling in the Yorkshire Dales, which is where they headed in 1976, the year of the drought. A few years later, a cycling holiday in the Lake District presented a whole new set of challenges and somewhat different weather.
In Top Tandem Tips and Trivia, Jackie shares essential insider advice to help couples remain on speaking terms, plus practical help about buying and riding a tandem. Throughout all the good years and a few inevitably difficult ones, the tandem remains a constant thread. “There are definitely three of us in this marriage,” Jackie says. “I love the tandem and I love my husband a little bit more. Or should that be the other way around?”
We drifted into the Amazon
Written by Henrik Frederiksen
A true story, written first-hand, of a modern, intrepid adventure: 2 explorers ventured into the jungle of Ecuador, befriended a tribal family and spent a month constructing a big, beautiful bamboo raft. For 4 months they floated 2000 miles through the Amazon Rainforest, sucking up everything the adventure threw at them: virgin jungle, indigenous tribes, an unpredictable river, tropical rainstorms and a fearful presence of river pirates.
This is Not a Holiday
Written by Dan Slater
Confirmed travel addict Dan Slater is moving from London to South Africa, and somehow he persuades his long-suffering girlfriend to join him on an overland trek across the dark continent from Cairo to Cape Town. What he doesn’t tell her is that their budget for the five-month trip is only $10 per day! Using only the most dilapidated transport, sleeping in the most unsavoury accommodation, and consuming the cheapest food available, they trawl south constantly confronted by discomfort, despair and derangement. In the face of never-ending trauma they must constantly remind themselves that this is, in fact, a holiday.
Vijfentwintig jaar later (Dutch language)
Written by Frank van Rijn
Vijfentwintig jaar nadat hij voor het eerst met een fiets een berg opreed, staat de schrijver – nu toegerust met een betere fiets – voor diezelfde berg. Met moeite klimt hij over het steile weggetje naar de top en kijkt vanaf de Tour de Madeloc, een oude communicatietoren, uit over de Middellandse Zee.
Gezeten aan de voet van de toren komen de herinneringen aan de eerste fietstocht naar boven en verhaalt Frank van Rijn hoe hij langzaam in de ban raakte van het reizen. Na dit inleidende verhaal volgen episodes uit zijn vele wereldreizen. De verhalen beginnen met Afrika, een tocht van Caïro naar Kaapstad, zijn eerste en meest tot de verbeelding sprekende reis vol verrassende gebeurtenissen. Dan volgt een kennismaking met Mexico en de Verenigde Staten en ten slotte wordt de lezer in contact gebracht met Centraal-Amerika.
Boeiend, adembenemend, scherp getekend, vol milde (zelf)spot en humoristische dialogen. Een reisverhalenschrijver avant la lettre.
More books from Frank van Rijn
Fietsen langs de frontlijn (Dutch language)
Written by Kees Swart
Deze fietsroute loopt door het gebied waar tijdens de Eerste Wereldoorlog het westfront lag. Vier jaar lang deelde dit vastgelopen front België en Frankrijk in tweeën. Bijna 100 jaar later zijn in het landschap nog resten van de frontlinie zichtbaar. Ook heeft elke plek zijn eigen monumenten, herinneringen en verhalen. De verscheidenheid aan cultuur en natuur is hier groot: polders en belforten in Vlaanderen, kathedralen in Picardië, wijngaarden en koolzaadvelden in de Champagne, bossen en bergpassen in de Vogezen, vakwerkhuizen en nog meer wijngaarden in de Elzas. Dit alles maakt het fietsen beslist de moeite waard.
De hoofdroute is 1050 km lang en voert over rustige wegen en paden. Zo’n 150 km is helemaal autovrij. Lange steile hellingen worden vermeden. In de Vogezen is er de keuze tussen een pittige route met veel cols en een lichter alternatief.
Il canto delle ruote (Italian language)
Written by Claude Marthaler
Arriva anche in Italia l’incredibile viaggio in bicicletta di Claude Marthaler.
7 anni in sella alla sua bici, 122.000 km percorsi, 60 paesi visitati..
Lo svizzero Claude Marthaler vive per lunghi periodi sulla sua bicicletta, con la quale attraversa i continenti facendo del viaggio il suo stile di vita quotidiano. Non sceglie strade facili, si mescola alla gente che incontra, trasforma gli anni che passano in avventura, filosofia, ricerca continua di se stesso e del mondo.
Dall’Europa al Tibet attraverso l’Asia, dall’India alla Cina, dall’Alaska al Sud America, dal Sud Africa al Marocco per poi fare ritorno in Svizzera, passando per deserti, valli e passi, fino ai 5000 metri del campo base dell’Everest; il suo infinito andare in bicicletta, il suo talento per la scrittura e la fotografia rendono Claude Marthaler un caso unico nel panorama dei grandi viaggiatori.
“Il mio viaggio è forse semplicemente un parto folle, felice e simbolico, il più grande tour che un bambino possa sognare.”
Claude Marthaler’s books have been published in German, French and Italian.