Category Archives: Great trips

Juan Dual

Juan Dual is the kind of person who stops at nothing to enjoy life. He lost his stomach, colon, rectum and gall bladder due to a genetic disease which made him more prone to suffer from cancer. Whereas some people can become depressed under so devastating health changes, he took advantage of biking and humor to overcome problems. Indeed, he has a tattoo in his right forearm with the following message: Do not give much thought to things, rather do them.

After successfully being physically cured, he needed to cure his head. Everybody goes through tough issues and sometimes we forget the most important: We only have one life and must enjoy it. A simple and powerful idea. His bicycle helped him to avoid pessimism. The most difficult moment was when he started pedaling after all the surgery. Relatives and friends told him not to do sport sometimes because of fear or ignorance, or simply because love, but he disregarded them. Today he reckons that did the right thing and has rode mainly on Latin American countries and Spain.

As it comes to great trips, he follows the three days rule. He gives away everything he has not used in the first three days of route as a way to avoid overweight. Moreover, he recommends consulting everything about your desired great trip before starting it and do not be afraid asking locals for information.

Preparing a great trip

When one decides to start a great bike trip, it is always a good idea to think in advanced about what objects to take. Here you have a proposed list:

  • A bicycle: Obviously a bike is needed, but consider incorporate a rear rack and a front rack to carry all the necessary. Do not discard additional racks. As it comes to the bicycle frame, it is a good idea to choose a steel bicycle frame.
  • Mobile phone: Even if one of the targets of practicing cycle tourism, a mobile phone is helpful in a critical situation. Turn it off in order to save battery and focus on your path.
  • Cash: It is possible that you can not find cash machines or use cards in your great trip. Having cash at hand, without having too much, can open some doors.
  • Water: Hydration is basic when pedaling long distances. Approximately determine your daily stages to calculate whether or not you will be able to replenish your bicycle jerrycans.
  • Gloves: They protect from cold and humidity. Even good gloves can protect you from a fall.
  • Rain jacket: Select the lightweight one which do not take up too much space so as to avoid downpours.
  • Saddlebags: If you are thinking in a great trip, it is recommended to carry a triple saddlebag on the back carrier: one on each side and the third on the back carrier. Additionally, some rider use a smaller, double saddlebag on the front carrier.
  • Helmet: It uses to be compulsory outside cities. Select a helmet with good ventilation and better if it incorporates lights.
  • Powerbank: If you carry gadgets, you need a powerbank. Remember charging it when you have the possibility.
  • Lights: Front and rear lights are compulsory in most traffic regulations. If they are charged through USB, you can use the powerbank.
  • GPS (if your mobile phone does not include it): To check what is your next path. Or you can also bring paper maps.
  • Sleeping bag: There are several types of sleeping bags in the market and choose the most appropriate one depending on the climate and temperatures of the planned dates.
  • Multitool: A multitool can save your day when you have a mechanical problem in your bike. A multitool with a chain cutter is always a good idea.
  • Tire levers: When you are riding and suffer from a wheel puncture, tire levers help you to strip the inner tube of the wheel. It is better carry plastic tire levers rather than metallic ones since you will save weight.
  • Patches: Essential objects to solve a wheel puncture.
  • Two new inner tubes: This way you solving a puncture will take you less time. Moreover, if you change your inner tubes because of punctures, do not forget to solve the problems.
  • Rainproof trousers: Pedaling when raining is an experience, but too much rain can cause you problems. With rainproof trousers you can avoid them. Another option is to look for a cover place and wait until rain stops.
  • Glasses: Even if you do not use it normally, pedaling with glasses is a good idea to protect your eyes from sun and avoid mosquitoes entering your eyes.
  • Bike pump: A small one. When you solve punctures or put a new inner tube, you need to blow up it with a bike pump.
  • A basic first-aid kit: Bandage, hydrogen peroxide, plaster, gauze and anti-inflammatories.
  • Underwear: Three as much. You can wash them when you stop.

And remember, the most weight in your saddle bags, the most effort you make in your great trip.

Annie Londonderry

Annie Londonderry was the first woman to bicycle around the world. In reality, her name was Annie Cohen Kopchovsky, but the Londonderry surname came from her first sponsor The Londonderry Lithia Spring Water Company of Nashua, New Hampshire. The New York World declared her trip from 1894 to 1985 as “the most extraordinary journey ever undertaken by a woman”. And she did it as a mother of three children under the age of six. This fact turned every Victorian motion of female property of its ear and was controversial.

She came to the United States of America at the age of five with her parents and two older siblings from what is now Latvia and settled in Boston old West End.

She started her journey on June 25, 1894, when she stood before a crowd of about 500 friends, family, suffragists and curious onlookers at the Massachusetts State House. Going a step further, the trip was set not only to circle the Earth, but also earn $5,000 in route. If she reached these two targets, she would win a $10,000 prize. Imagine the incredible money sum in the 1890s. Thanks to her physical endurance and mental attitude, she rode the planned trip on a man’s bicycle attired in a man’s riding suit. She earned the $5,000 by selling photographs of herself, appearing as an attraction in stores and showing her body and bicycle to advertisers. You can see some of her photographs here. Her trip was so outstanding that the SPIN musical opened in Toronto, Canada, in March 2011 to critical acclaim. In August 2022 another musical inspired by Annie took place at London’s Charing Cross Theater also to critical acclaim.

As Susan B. Anthony claimed, “Bicycling has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world”.

Yolanda Muñoz

Yolanda Muñoz is one of the women who does not fear traveling alone. This bike-lover did an impressive trip mostly under the modality of bike + train. She started pedaling from Vitoria, Spain, and arrived to exotic countries thanks to its strength, courage and perseverance.

Her initial idea was to cross Europe and Asia and this primary teacher planned everything until the X day came: July the 16th 2015. Unfortunately, she had an accident with a bee in Poland and she modified her plan. She took the Tran-Siberian railway from Moscow to Mongolia, and an additional train to reach Peking. From this point, she rode her bike to Tibet. Her great journey, about 19,000 km, made her to verify how neoliberalism creates inequalities around the world.

Yolanda is feminism and this fact made her to choose pedaling alone even though her family. She crossed France, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, India, Nepal, India again, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Iran (it was a cold January), Turkey and Greece. Here, she helped refugees who were running away from the Syrian war.

She encountered good and bad days. In a hostel in Bangkok, she was talking with a man a he suddenly made a joke by calling her Indurain (by Miguel Indurain, a famous Spanish cyclist) and she immediately refused it by answering that she preferred Anna (by Annie Londonderry, the first woman to travel around the world). Sadly, only Yolanda knew about Annie.

Her passion for bikes started when she was 25 and used one to go to university and work in Vitoria. According to her words, she recommends planning and feeling like doing your great trip. Intuition is an important ally to avoid dangers, trust on your instinct and do not become frightened by potential aggressors.

Such experiences make you improve your autonomy, independence and wisdom.

Next trip: Africa.

Cris Lares

When talking about great trips some pass from one continent to another, whereas bike travelers also remain in the same continent. This is the case of Cris Lares. The Mexican woman started riding on her Specialized Pitch 27.5 from Oaxaca de Juárez the 23th of September 2018. She arrived in Pitumarca, Canchis district (Peru), but her plan was to reach the south of Argentina after pedaling more than 16,000 km. She had visited Guatemala, Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador, and interesting places like impressive ocean coasts, the Amazon or the mountain range of the Andes. The problem was that she suffered an accident with a motorbike and broke both her fibula and tibia. This fact forced her to wait for months until restarting her great trip. After that, another accident happened with a car driven by a drunken and the Covid pandemic. Thus, some more months waiting for the recovering and then finally she could continue riding.

The tragic experiences show how strong this woman is and some tips she shares for life and specially for a great trip are to be positive-minded, not to think about negative issues, always thank people hospitality, be fit as a fiddle and ride with wisely-decided, low weight. This last point is really important. Take for example when Cris rode to the snowed Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador. She wore an impermeable trouser, but no jacket, neither gloves. Fortunately, she arrived at a mountain refuge where she could light a fire and warm up.

On March 2020, she arrived to Brazil after pedaling for 16,729 km.

Blanca Fernández

Blanca Fernández, Irún, Spain, has been living in London for more than four decades. She started long rides on bicycles back in 2015. First, she pedaled on a Surly Long Haul Trucker and crossed Romania, Serbia, Greece, Turkey, the country Georgia, Armenia and finally the planned Iran. Here, she discover the Pamir mountainous area which is one of the high mountain most impressive of Asia. At the beginning of this journey, she did not have any idea on how or when to reach her target, though she new the travel would lasting. Why? Because she affirms she always wanted more in each and every ride she had done. Moreover, she had the clear idea that the most important is not the start and the end of a ride, but rather what is between them.

Thus, she did not stop in the Pamir mountainous area. She continued to China, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. She experienced heavy rains, snow, windy days, but no climate conditions stopped her. Two years, 22,000 km, 23 countries, 687 days in total until she went back to London as a result of the Brexit. Her daughters asked her to come due to red tape and so did her. However, in march 2018 she kept on cycling in order to cover Africa from The Cairo, Egypt.  Then, she rode on Sudan, Uganda, Malawi, Botswana, South Africa, Angola, Benin and Morocco. Differences in languages were easily overcame by proper gestures. What amazes her is meeting people from distant lands and share views and ideas. At the moment of writing this post, she has pedaled for more than 44,000 km.


Bicycles can be used in a myriad of ways often as a surprising idea. One of them is what the Koffeecleta represents: a new local business. The entrepreneur Yoli Díaz made it up when pedaling on her loved Female Dragon bike through South Asia (Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam). Traveling to exotic places makes it easy to see the world through different eyes, not to mention that Yoli is an extrovert, imaginative and passionate woman. She lives in Aínsa, Aragon, the Spanish Pyrenees.

On the way back, she contacted a friend in order to develop the idea of a food truck. However, something did not fit in with. Finally, her friend abandoned the concept and Yoli came across what she was looking for: a bicycle. Thus, she created the Koffeecleta by combining both concepts: bicycle plus selling food (coffee in this case). Before deciding the final model, she studied hard several options like the Foodicleta, on which she would sell octopus balls, or the Conocleta, to sell ice creams.

The Koffeecleta not only offers coffee, but also handmade chocolates and, in Summer, flavored water. As it comes to its characteristics, the Koffeecleta attracts people attention thanks to its shape and colors. A highlighted front wooden crate, the canopy stands out by its design and colors combination, the rear trunk and so on make the Koffeecleta special. It weights 170 kg net load and counts on a small fridge, a kitchen, a power strip and a battery, all the accessories to prepare good coffee.

An important issue is that she changes the route on a day-to-day basis. This way monotony is avoided, although she has made regular customers. Moreover, she escapes sameness while chatting with customers in the seven minutes it takes to prepare the coffee. And no matter if it is raining, snowing or a windy day, she starts the route with a big smile on her face.

Thomas Stevens

Thomas Stevens (1854 – 1935) is known for being the first documented person in riding a round-the-world-tour. He started this amazing trip with some socks, a spare shirt, a raincoat, a sleeping bag and a revolver as baggage on the 22nd April 1884.

His family migrated from Berkhamsted, UK, to the USA when he was a child. So early, he came into contact with a bicycle in San Francisco. The very first year of his fabulous trip, he bought a black, nickel wheels, 50 inches Columbia Standard bike on which he left Sacramento to the East of the USA. However, he encountered serious difficulties such as lack of roads which made him to walk for more than one third of the 6,000 kilometers until he arrived in Boston on the 4th of August. For these four months after the first riding, he enjoyed large parts of the country which he did not know at all as well as interesting persons, particularly the native Americans.

But he did not stop here. He spent Winter in New York and then embarked to Liverpool in the Spring of 1885. On 4th of May, hundreds of people said goodbye to him in the Edge Hill church. Then, he crossed the English Channel in order to pedal on France, Austria, Hungary, the Balkans and Turkey. He rested in Istanbul and continued to Anatolia, Armenia, Kurdistan, Iran and Iraq. Even if the Thomas Stevens adventure was covered in newspapers, he still faced problems. He was denied a permission to travel on Siberia, was expelled from Afghanistan which obliged him to detour to cross the Red Sea and had troubles of having to explain himself in China. As a result of this last point, he was almost lynched since Chinese people confounded him with a French man (at that time France was in war).

Finally, he crossed the Japan Sea and took a ship to California where he was received as a hero. Yet, his impressive life continued as he formed part of the Henry Morton Stanley team to explore the East Africa and became the manager of the Garrick theater in London.

Dervla Murphy

Dervla Murphy is one of the best cycle tourists examples. This Irish octogenarian woman used his bicycle to travel the world in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. As a result, she wrote two dozens books explaining her stories with suggestive titles such as Full Tilt: Ireland to India in bicycle, or Wheels within wheels. She learnt riding a bike at the age of seven when a neighbour offered teaching her. From the very first moment she knew that she wanted to go to great lengths, as long as possible, though she could not buy her first bicycle until she was eighteen due to the fact that she spent her childhood in the Second World War.

Firstly, she rode on Ireland. Secondly, she crossed the English Channel and enjoyed cycling on Germany, France and Spain. The next trip was more ambitious. She pedaled for 7,216 kilometers (4,483 miles) from her native Lasmore to New Delhi. Few knew her plans, although one of her friends recommended her to pick a gun. She did it, but sold the gun in Afghanistan for ten dollars. Dervla still enjoys his memories about this country thanks to the beautiful outdoors she traveled along, the local cuisine and the Afghans’ hospitality. Most people offered her their own food and home because of the lack of hotels at that time. This adventurer used signs to communicate the more practical things with local people. Indeed, you can use sings to report non-complex issues. Avoid using it with subjects like politics.

As it comes to the current world, she thinks consumer society has converted us in idiots, including riders. On the other hand, Dervla affirms you just need a bicycle, strong legs and a saddlebag to start your bike touring journey.

Even if she did not feel problems for being a woman as she claimed, she celebrates the feminism movement and affirms today’s world is a better world for women.