On the 16th October, over 40 Glasgow women attended the ‘Let’s talk about bike touring’ information session at Bike for Good Glasgow South.
For those of you who couldn’t join us (and those who’d like a refresh), here is a recap of the evening.
We heard from 5 different ladies who had been on bike touring adventures. This event was part of Glasgow Women on Wheels, so it was female-focused.
Our Speakers’ Practical Advice
Janie, a South African in her late 40s, often bike tours with her wife Retha. She has been on bike touring adventures all over Scotland, the beautiful country they now call home. Janie was inspired by a colleague to use her bike for touring.
- Use Komoot to plan your route.
- Don’t overpack, practice riding your bike with it’s full weight on it before setting off on your trip.
- Get a charger that attaches to your bike and charges through pedal power, that way when you stop you can charge your phone with it.
Joanna came along to share a story of bikepacking in her mid-twenties from Canada all the way down to Chile, and back up to Brazil. Her trip was 20 months long, and inspired by her late mum and a desire to change up her life and do something challenging.
- Keep a diary! It’s amazing the little details you might forget about, and you can keep it for the rest of your life.
- Find friends on the road and travel with them, it makes for a great experience. That way you can also wild camp together and feel safer.
- Also feel free to go off alone if you want to. Alone time is great to develop your skills and confidence.
- It’s ok to pack some home comforts if you’re planning to be away for a while. Jo travelled with an electric guitar, 10 books, and a bottle of balsamic vinegar…
Emily has lived all over the world, and felt inspired to travel by bike after watching Adventure Syndicate film, Divided. She then decided to undertake a solo adventure from Mount Florida up the Hebridean Way.
- Food is really important. Think about the places you are travelling to, and whether food will be readily available where you are headed.
- Consider your budget before you leave, and where you can afford to spend money. Emily enjoyed going out for a pub dinner once in a while during her trip because she could afford herself this treat, but she wild-camped. You might prefer to spend this money on a hostel.
- Send yourself postcards whilst away, so that when you get back you have nice keepsakes on your doormat from your trip.
Nikki is a mother of 2 young kids and keen on embracing an adventurous outdoor lifestyle with her husband and family. Often her and her husband travel by bike with her wee ones in a bike trailer, camping across the central belt of Scotland, usually with other families with children.
- Chase the good weather and stay flexible. If it’s forecast to pour down, change up your route. It’s about the journey!
- Cycle whilst the kids are napping or they can get grumpy.
- Enjoy the simple things like the wildlife, and nature.
- Don’t wait until the kids are asleep to pop a bottle of wine open, it’s your holiday too after all.
Sophie was already a cycle commuter, and when she was invited to a friend’s wedding in Holland, she decided to take an unusual form of transport.
- Use warmshowers.org to find a free bed for the night. It’s like Couchsurfing, for cyclists.
- If you are going on a long trip, invest in some padded shorts – your bum will thank you for it.
- EuroVelo is a great website for finding routes through Europe.
General advice from Question Time
- Maps are free to borrow from your local library, and if they don’t have the one you need then you can request it (for free).
- Some handy Facebook groups to join for advice are Bicycle Travelling Women and Family Cycling UK.
- Menstrual cups such as a Mooncup are good to travel with for zero-waste periods, and remember to pack painkillers so your period doesn’t hinder your journey.
- There is a YouTube channel called World Bike Girl, a Scottish women called Ishbel who cycles the world rescuing stray dogs which is great for inspiration.
We hope you all enjoyed the event, and we would love to hear from you if we have inspired any budding bike tourers!
Blog post by Kimberley White of Bike for Good