This book was originally meant for those who arranged to take a bicycling tour with a company that offered a soup-to-nuts experience.
In the years since it was first published, bicycle touring has flourished and “morphed” on so many other levels that this, the “second edition” of the HubBub Guide to Cycling has been expanded to include a broader perspective on traveling for pleasure by bicycle.
A HISTORY OF THE GUIDE
Back in 1996, I wrote the first edition of this book after a group of bicycle travel company directors sat down with me to discuss issues that often cropped up in their day-to-day work of developing and conducting bicycle adventure vacations for their clients.
After some discussion, the three issues that seemed to most trouble these tour directors almost unanimously were
I’m not certain that being somewhat unprepared is such a bad thing; and, many of the things you don’t know will shake themselves out in the first day or two of riding. There are however some preparations that, made ahead of time, will enhance your experience and make life a whole lot easier on the road.
Fast forward almost two decades and much if not most of the information from our first edition is still very pertinent. However. there are some new perspectives on traveling by bike that seem to have grown out of the veritable explosion of information the Internet offers. Sometimes though what has also happened is that slogging through all that information is tedious and unproductive. My hope is that this unravels some of that for you.
One of the other major shifts in bicycle travel has been toward shorter trips, sometimes as short as 24-hours, sometimes a weekend.
The fact is, it doesn’t matter what type of bicycling adventure you choose; most of the preparations are the same.
So, essentially, The Guide is meant to address those preparations as well as answer such basic doubts as being able to ride 25, 30, or 50 miles per day or how many pairs of socks or shorts you should take on a 7 day tour..
One thing that has not changed – bicycle travel is a most remarkable way to see the world. In this crazy time of instant communication, fast-paced lifestyles, and bite-sized snippets of information, bicycle travel slows you down, quiets the mind, and allows for the opportunity to immerse yourself in experiences in a way no other travel option does.
So with that all said… let’s go!
I promise that this book contains information that will help you to ride for longer periods of time and keep you comfortable while on that skinny little thing they call a bike saddle.
It contains simple positioning suggestions to relieve issues with numb hands, fingers, and private parts, or pain in your shoulders, neck, knees, and back.
It will help you choose what to take, what to wear, and how to train for your trip.
We believe there are no stupid questions, so if at any time, you cannot find an answer to something that puzzles you, we urge you to contact us – we are available pretty much all the time via email <email@example.com>.
We hope that this compilation of important, obscure, sometimes enlightening, and occasionally irrelevant facts will teach you something you might not have already known, and might even make you laugh once or twice.
What we cannot do for you is get you out on your bike and begin the pedaling that will get you in shape for your adventure. That you will have to motivate yourself to do.
Oh, one last comment (you thought we’d let you off that easily?) – You most certainly do NOT have to be a world-class athlete to take a bicycle tour. Indeed most people who decide to try an adventure cycling vacation have never been on an extended ride of this sort, and they do just fine!
A Brief Discussion On Size and Fit
More than twenty years ago, we bought this Italian “fitting” cycle that allowed us to kind of mock-up a bicycle and check top tube and stem lengths. It was a blue-green thing, very rickety, without pedals. At the time, we used it to determine correct stem length, thus preventing customers from needing to return over and over with incorrectly sized stems. And, it began to show us how to resolve issues such as stiff necks, numb hands, and sore backs.
We quickly learned that very few customers really “fit” on a stock bike with factory supplied saddle, handlebar, or stem. Often the top tube or seat angle just didn’t allow for optimum comfort and performance. We knew even then that the 4′ 10″ dancer or 6′ 11″ ball player would never find a “stock” bike small or large enough; or, that the customer who had repeated back surgeries or severe arthritis needed special attention paid to top tubes and handlebar/stem combinations. We found that chronic genital numbness, for example, was a condition which we were able to resolve – and still do with considerable success.
We also recognized that many of the problems took time to work out – results were, and still are, sometimes trial and error. That’s when the idea of a custom-only-shop began to take shape. And, in February, 1997, it became a realiity. We don’t stock hundreds of bikes; we don’t sell anything from a production manufacturer. Every bike is custom from start to finish. And, because we offer just that kind of service, our time is your time. And, that investment in time and patience pays off in your satisfaction with and commitment to your riding.
Most importantly, our customers are not necessarily Paris-Brest-Paris riders or Ironman triathletes – although, we’ve worked with both – but they are riders just like you. They ride for fun, exercise, self-expression, competition, and transportation. What they want is the best possible combination of frame, components, fit, and performance.
Today, we use a Serotta SizeCycle mounted with the Salsa Size-O-Matic stem for more accurate height and extension data. Our goal is to continually add useful tools and increase our expertise.
In addition to start-to-finish fitting for new singles and tandems, we also offer the service of working with you and your existing bike to enhance your riding comfort and performance. From pedals and cleats to handlebars and stems, everything will be checked and considered. A typical re-fitting on your bike takes between 30 and 90 minutes. A complete new-bike fitting ordinarily takes somewhat longer. But, plan to spend at least an extra half-hour to an hour with us. We will take ample time asking you questions pertinent to your riding techniques and goals. Once again however, our time is your time – we want to work with you until we are BOTH satisfied with the results.
©2000, Diane Lees & Brian Jenks
I’ve just known Diane forever. She save my life and fostered two generations of cyclists, so far.
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