Two of the easiest countries for cycle touring would have to be Malaysia and Thailand. The people are incredibly friendly, the terrain along the coastlines is mostly flat with excellent roads, and the variety food options make it easy to take a break from cycling – especially when meals occupy a large portion of your thoughts. Accommodation is very affordable, making these two countries some of the cheapest to cycle through.
We’re spending the next three months traveling from Singapore to Bangkok, riding up the west coast of Malaysia and then cutting across to ride up the east coast of Thailand.
As we are spending a year bike touring, we will have flown with our bikes as baggage six times, which means we would have set them up and broken them down twelve times as follows:
Six months on the road! Six months of travelling on two bikes, eleven countries (thirteen but we’re not counting our two hours in Bosnia or Vatican City), over 5,000 kilometers and 417 hours, 48 minutes and 47 seconds, give or take, with our butts in the saddle. For two people who didn’t ride bikes, who didn’t even own bikes, we are absolutely loving this way of travelling.
We thought we would share some updates on how some of our gear is holding up (bikes, tent, humans) along with some encounters with nature and statistics on the trip to date.
Croatia was our stopover to extend our Schengen visa. Now with unlimited time (well, up to three months) and long sunny days we slowed our cycling right down. Basically we would ride 30-50km as early as we could before the heat set in and stopped with long muti-day rests in-between. The Croatian coastline is filled with beautiful inlets and marinas, tiny beaches, old stone towns and hundreds of campsites and apartments. The difficulty now was deciding which gorgeous spot we should stay at!
Leaving Vienna we resumed our adventure heading east towards Budapest. To reach the Hungarian border we would be crossing through parts of Slovakia, a former member of the Eastern Block.
Riding is not the best when you’re hung over. I blame the schnapps. Or it could have been the homemade walnut liqueur. Not to mention the countless beers and wine spritzers we had.
One of the best things about bike touring is that you can change plans on a whim. We had planned to stop for lunch provisions only, and then ride onto a campsite. But we rode into the middle of this town square and just said ‘Wow’.
As we have now officially survived one month on the road here is a snapshot of what we have learnt as first time bike tourers to date.
After spending the night shivering and realising we had grossly underestimated the cold, we decided to go hunting for warmer clothes. Looking out from our tent the sky was completely overcast with drizzly rain. But rain at least was one thing we had prepared for! Pulling on sealskin socks, rainpants and jackets we headed out to the center of the city. For the next two days we took a meandering route through gritty gorgeous Amsterdam, full of canals, architecture, and of course bikes.
After spending over 20 hours on two planes plus a 3 hour stop over in Dubai we were running on adrenanlin only. And so began a comedy of errors. After arriving at Amsterdam airport Schipol, and retrieving our bikes from Oversize Luggage pick up we dragged everything underneath an escalator to set up shop.
There was definitely a list of requirements when choosing which bike to buy. It had to be within the cheaper touring end but still suited to long distance travel. It also needed to be able to blend into the urban landscape so we could use them for quick commuting at home.