A Complete Guide to Cycle Touring

How To Begin

1) Buy (or acquire) a bike.
2) Pick a direction.
3) Go.

It’s as simple as that. You will figure out what foods work best for you once you hit the road, just as you will figure out how amazing people are once you experience your first homestay with a stranger. Cycle touring is one of those things which you just can’t plan, because any plan you make is sure to change a hundred times over. Go out with a sense of openness and adventure, ready to wake up in a new place everyday, and I promise you that everything will work out. Don’t listen to the voices in your head (or the voices of those around you) telling you that you can’t do it, because it’s only impossible to those who have never tried.

A Day On The Road

Wake up in the morning and eat heaps of oatmeal with powdered milk, bananas if you can find them, and crushed up chocolate chip cookies if you can’t acquire bananas in order to make your meal more eatable (for those who, like me, don’t like porridge that is).

Roll up your sleeping bag, pack up your tent, and start pedaling; any direction will do. Though this process may very well take you a few hours in the beginning, packing up your home will get faster as time goes on.

Pedal through beautiful lush green valleys, up high deserted passes, and across beautiful mountain ranges. Make your way across wide open plains, through rivers, over bridges, and across vast deserts. Cycle on nicely paved roads, or on rough uneven rocks; cycle on busy highways, or on silent unused backroads. Choose your route carefully or go without maps. The most important thing is that you do what you love, and that you love what you do.

Befriend the lady who is selling tea at the side of the road, or the little girl who waves to you as you pass quickly by. Befriend the farmer, the shop owner, the shepherd, and the giggling group of school children. Stay with the families who invite you in, talk with the locals who are curious as to where you come from, and slowly begin to except just how wonderful strangers all around the world turn out to be.

Ask a farmer to sleep in his field, or find a nice spot by a rushing river in the middle of nowhere without a soul in sight. Ask to sleep in front of a church, a school yard, or with a family. Set up your home, the small yet cozy place you slowly fall in love with a little bit more every night. Cook your dinner on your small petrol powdered stove (noodles or rice, or rice or noodle?), and watch the sunset across the ocean, into the mountains, or across the valley. Camping is easy; you simply go outdoors, and stay there until morning. Where or how you do it, is completely up to you.

Fall asleep, in yet another new place, with the knowledge that tomorrow you are lucky enough to wake up to a whole new day full of unimaginable possibilities.

In Conclusion

Cycle touring isn’t just for cyclists, it’s for anyone looking for a slower way to travel. It’s for people who want to live outdoors and expedience nature in a profound intimate way. It’s for those of you who prefers villages to big cities, and vast open lands to crowded streets. In fact, quick simply, it’s for anyone who finds the idea ever so slightly appealing. Though there are those who will call you crazy, once you join the fast-growing community of two-wheelers spread out around the world, you will realize that you are never truly alone.

South America



India and Nepal

For more information about cycle touring, check out a few of our previous posts which may answer your questions!

Dispelling Common Myths About Cycle Touring
Cycle Touring 101: How To Get Started
The Gear
The Money
It’s Not About the Bike

For a photo of the day and other updates follow me on facebook here, and for some awkwardly cropped photos from our journey, follow us on Instagram @awanderingphoto!

4 thoughts on “A Complete Guide to Cycle Touring

  1. Beautifully written, Shirine. Yes, we’ve noticed that our packing gets a little faster each morning, especially with these hot days, it’s important to leave as early as possible. Cycle touring has brought me more adventure than any vacation ever would. Slow travel allows us to see the parts of a place we would never otherwise visit and to speak with people with whom we would never otherwise converse. Ride on, Wandering Nomads.

  2. Reblogged this on Topofests and commented:
    When I try to explain what makes me want to pedal harder and explore further, it’s mostly just “uhh, you know, like umm…” These guys do a much better job, with some cracking photos to boot. Thanks Nomads!

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