One of the most valuable resources I had when preparing to make the leap and begin cycle touring was the Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook*.
In fact, I’d say that it’s responsible for my ideas becoming anything more than just ideas. It was summer 2006 and I was living in Edinburgh during the festival season, working as a technician for a variety of venues and productions.
I had two days off during those 5 weeks of voluntary sleep-deprivation. On the first, I got up at 5am and went for an epic mountain-bike ride in the foggy Pentland hills. On the second, I wandered into Blackwells’ bookshop, bought the Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook and spent the afternoon reading it under a tree.
It was the first time I’d heard of people travelling across entire countries — continents even! — by bicycle. Until that day, I’d thought that my idea to cycle to Croatia to visit a mate was seriously far-out. Clearly not, judging by the wealth of experience and stories contained within the pages of this book.
The book is the first of its kind, dealing with the practicalities of ‘adventure’ cycling — away from the cycle paths and long distance route networks of the developed world. It is a primer for a journey of any length in any imaginable region of the planet, from a few days to several years.
The best thing is that it doesn’t dictate to you what you should do. It’s a handbook, not a guidebook. It leaves the route and the way you approach it entirely up to you, and gives you just enough information to make it happen.
The second edition, again compiled by Stephen Lord, is now on general release, and features a handful of photos and contributions from yours truly.
You can order the new 3rd edition of the Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook from Amazon UK*.