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Bicycle Touring Pro
21 minutes | Mar 29, 2022
Crazy Peruvian Bus Stories
Traveling in Peru can be crazy… especially if you take some of the country’s super low-cost buses, which commonly break down, are boarded by roadside salesman, are rarely equipped with bathrooms and smell like pee, and can sometimes even be robbed by roadside bandits. In this new video/podcast, you will hear three crazy, scary […] The post Crazy Peruvian Bus Stories appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
14 minutes | Mar 25, 2022
Scary Nighttime Animal Encounters
Have you ever been camping in the woods and heard a noise outside and thought to yourself, “Is there a big, scary animal outside my tent?” Well, in this storytime video from Darren Alff, the Bicycle Touring Pro, you will hear about three scary nighttime encounters with animals from Darren’s bicycle touring adventures all […] The post Scary Nighttime Animal Encounters appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
21 minutes | Dec 22, 2021
Train & Bike Horror Stories!
Traveling on a train with your bicycle isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes, traveling with a bike on a train is a downright disaster! In this new video/audio podcast, Darren Alff – the Bicycle Touring Pro, shares three train and bike horror stories from his bicycle touring adventures all around the world. These are three stories about times when traveling on a train with a bicycle didn’t go exactly to plan and things nearly went to $*#^. Click play and listen as Darren recounts these three frightening tales of bike and train calamities from his travels in Germany, Austria and Sweden. After you’re done listening to these three train and bike horror stories, be sure to pick up a copy of “The Bicycle Touring Blueprint” and learn how to travel on trains with your bicycle while avoiding the most common mistakes that people make when traveling by train with their bicycles. This 400+ page guide will teach you everything you need to know about traveling the world by bicycle, plus a whole lot more! The post Train & Bike Horror Stories! appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
15 minutes | Nov 28, 2021
Border Crossing On A Bicycle
Crossing an international border is not always as straightforward as you might think! While many people are familiar with the idea of crossing an international border in a car, train or airplane, many people are unfamiliar with the act of riding a bicycle across the border of two neighboring countries. So, in today’s new Bicycle Touring Pro video/podcast, you’ll hear three funny, dangerous and scary stories from Darren Alff’s international border crossings on his bicycle touring adventures all around the world. The first story comes from the border of Ecuador and Colombia; The second story comes from the border of South Africa and Swaziland; And the third story comes from the border of Poland and Ukraine. While bicycle touring can be an incredibly fun, joyous and rewarding experience, sometimes things don’t always go to plan – as you will see in this audio/video podcast about border crossing on a bicycle. The post Border Crossing On A Bicycle appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
21 minutes | Nov 14, 2021
Scary Encounters With The Police in Southern Africa
Travel the world for long enough and you’re sure to have some scary encounters with the police. That was certainly the case for Darren Alff, the Bicycle Touring Pro, during his three-month-long bicycle touring adventure across the Southern African countries of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. During his three-month journey by bike, Darren had several frightening run-ins with the police, as you will discover by watching the video above or listening to the podcast episode on this page. Click here to learn how to conduct your own incredible bicycle touring adventures anywhere in the world! The post Scary Encounters With The Police in Southern Africa appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
16 minutes | Sep 21, 2021
The 5 Best Meals in the World – A Travel Story
The Bicycle Touring Pro, Darren Alff, has spent more than 20 years traveling around the world on his bicycle. In that time, he’s eaten at Michelin Star restaurants and some of the fanciest diners in the entire world. In this video/audio podcast, however, Darren details his top 5 favorite meals from his travels in more than 70 different countries. Watch the video on the Bicycle Touring Pro YouTube channel or click play on the podcast player above to listen to the audio version of this story. If you’re not yet a subscriber of the Bicycle Touring Pro podcast, you can subscribe here for FREE. The post The 5 Best Meals in the World – A Travel Story appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
15 minutes | Sep 17, 2021
3 Common Travel Scams
Don’t fall for these common travel scams! If you travel the world long enough, you’re sure to encounter at least one of these three common travel scams. In this special Bicycle Touring Pro video/audio podcast, the Bicycle Touring Pro himself, Darren Alff, shares the story of three common travel scams that were attempted on him during his 21 years of bicycle touring around the world. Plus, there is a special, “not-really-a-scam,” story at the end of the video/podcast… about a time when Darren was traveling through the Amazon rainforest in the South American country of Colombia and was confronted by a dozen villagers demanding payment if he wished to continue traveling down “their road.” Scary stuff! Watch the video above or listen to the audio podcast by clicking play on the podcast player above or downloading the audio MP3. If you’re not yet a Bicycle Touring Pro podcast subscriber, you can sign up here. The podcast is FREE… and filled with tons of useful information that you can use on your bicycle touring adventures all around the world. The post 3 Common Travel Scams appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
20 minutes | Sep 14, 2021
Funny “Love Stories” From My Travels Around The World
You’d think that as a famous world traveler, I’d have tons of juicy love stories from my travels all around the world. In fact, I’m often asked if, because I travel so much, I happen to have a different girlfriend in each and every city. But the truth is far less glamorous. As a world-famous bicycle traveler, love on the road is a whole lot more challenging that you might think. Watch this video and listen to the very end to hear three funny love stories from my travels in Peru, Albania and Ukraine. If you enjoy this video and you’d like me to make more videos like this in the future, let me know by leaving a comment in the comment section below. You can also listen to these funny love stories in audio/podcast form by subscribing to the Bicycle Touring Pro podcast, or clicking the play/download buttons at the top of this page (underneath the video). The post Funny “Love Stories” From My Travels Around The World appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
32 minutes | Sep 13, 2021
Colin Herron’s Incredible Cross-Country Bike Tour (USA)
Colin Herron is riding his bicycle across the United States! In this half-hour interview with Colin, we hear why this young man decided to make the cross-country trip of a lifetime, what he has learned about himself and his country along the way, and the lesson’s he’s learned as a long distance bicycle traveler. If you have ever dreamed of cycling across the United States or any other country in the world, this interview with Colin Herron is a definite must-listen! Watch the video interview with Colin Herron above… or download the audio podcast below. The post Colin Herron’s Incredible Cross-Country Bike Tour (USA) appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
44 minutes | Feb 13, 2021
TEEN TREKS: Bike Touring Education Series
In case you missed it, here is the recording of the special bicycle touring web event that took place on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2020 — a special ZOOM webinar that was hosted by TEEN TREKS as part of their “Bike Touring Education Series.” This particular webinar featured an interview between Katie Hennessey of Teen Treks and Darren Alff – the Bicycle Touring Pro. Learn more about TEEN TREKS and their bike tours for teenagers (grades 6-12) at: www.teentreks.com The post TEEN TREKS: Bike Touring Education Series appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
6 minutes | Nov 26, 2020
Bicycle Touring Teaches You To Be Thankful
It’s easy to get caught up in life and obsess over the things you don’t have, the experiences you’ve been unable to make or the relationships you’ve been unable to forge. While thinking about what you DON’T have may be easy… it’s important that you sit back every once and a while and appreciate the things you DO HAVE to be thankful for. Riding a bicycle around the world has taught me a lot about thankfulness… and it’s made me realize that even when I’m all alone, on the other side of the world, with nothing but my bicycle, my camping equipment, a few articles of clothing and a pocket full of food, I still have a whole world of things to be thankful for. I’m thankful for my bicycle, which acts as my vehicle, my gym membership and my entertainment on a daily basis. I’m thankful for my clothing, which keeps me dry and keep me warm. I’m thankful for my tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat, which together acts as my home out on the road and, at night, shields me from darkness and bad weather. I’m thankful to have access to clean drinking water, because I’ve experienced parts of the world where clean water is so hard to find, and I know how difficult that makes it to simply life a normal life. I’m thankful for what little food I have, for my next meal gives me something to look forward to… and I know that the food I carry now will give me the energy I need to get me to my watering hole/food stop/supermarket. I’m thankful for the people I meet on my travels, because they make me feel less alone and give me things to think about as I ride. I’m thankful for the fact that I get to have such a unique experience and see the world in a way that very few people will ever get to. I’m thankful for my health and the fact that I’m in good enough shape to ride my bicycle long distances and push my body in difficult ways. I’m thankful for the weather – good, bad or ugly – because the weather is a constant reminder to enjoy the good moments and see beauty in difficult times. I’m thankful for the hills and mountains, because they challenge me on the climbs and bring me joy on the ride down. I’m thankful for technology, because even though I’m far from home, I can easily text, email, message or even call/video chat with my friends and family back home. I’m thankful to be out in the fresh air, knowing that I could be, like so many others, stuck in an office somewhere, staring at a computer screen for days on end. And I’m thankful for all of these experiences, because I know that my life is short and I won’t be able to do this forever. Long-distance cycling reminds you to be thankful for the little things, because those seemingly small things are usually THE MOST IMPORTANT things. Don’t forget the little things you have to be thankful for. Those little things aren’t so little when you don’t have them any more. So, please: next time you go out on a long bike ride, take some time to sit back and think about all the things you have in your life to be thankful for! Need a daily reminder to be thankful? Consider downloading the “Presently” app. It’s a totally free app that reminds you every day to take a few moments and write down the things you’re thankful for. I’ve been using the Presently app for nearly a year now and it has helped me a lot to not only boost my mood and remind me to be thankful for all that I have, but it also serves as a sort of journal, because it allows me to look back on the entire year and quickly skim through all the things I said I was thankful/grateful for. While we’re talking about THANKFULNESS, let me take a moment to THANK YOU for your support of my work here at Bicycle Touring Pro. Because without you, I wouldn’t be able to write the hundreds of articles I have written, produce the dozens of podcast episodes I’ve produced, or shoot and edit the hundreds of videos I have published on the Bicycle Touring Pro YouTube channel. Your support means the world to me and it is a big part of what keeps me going! I also want to thank the individuals who have made monetary donations to Bicycle Touring Pro this year. There’s really only a few handfuls of you, but I want to thank you all for your support. Whether you donated $10 or $100 or more, I can’t tell you how much your support means to me… and the contributions you have made have gone a long way toward keeping the Bicycle Touring Pro website up and running. This has been a tough year, but like with bicycle touring, the tough times teach you to be thankful for what you have. So, thank you… thank you… thank you. There’s so much to be thankful for… and I am thankful for YOU! The post Bicycle Touring Teaches You To Be Thankful appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
31 minutes | Nov 10, 2020
I’m Still Alive…
It has been almost four months since I last sent out an email, published a new blog post or released a new video on the Bicycle Touring Pro YouTube channel… and in that time, I’ve received dozens of messages from people all around the world, asking if I’m okay. ►► CLICK HERE TO WATCH MY NEW VIDEO To make a long story short – Yes, I’m okay. I’m still alive! But in addition to this worldwide COVID epidemic, I have been dealing with some personal health issues, which have prevented me from traveling by bike in the way that I normally do. I’ll explain more about what happened to me and what I’ve been up to over the past few months in a series of upcoming YouTube videos, so if you aren’t already subscribed to the Bicycle Touring Pro YouTube channel, I encourage you to do so now! Before I explain what’s been going on, I thought I would take some time in today’s new video to answer five recent questions that were sent to me from my Bicycle Touring Pro readers all around the world. My hope is that by taking the time to answer these five questions, you will not only learn some useful information… but will be motivated to get out on your bicycle sometime soon and conduct your own incredible bicycle touring adventures. So please, click here to watch my latest YouTube video. Be sure you’re subscribed to the Bicycle Touring Pro YouTube channel. And when you’re finished watching that latest video, be sure to leave a comment for me on YouTube and let me know what questions you want me to answer in a future Bicycle Touring Pro video or podcast. SPECIAL OFFER: SAVE $5.00 INSTANTLY! In today’s video you will also discover that I am conducting a two-month long sale on all items inside the BIKE TOUR SHOP. Simply enter the coupon code: 2020 at checkout anytime between now and December 31, 2020 and you will receive an instant $5.00 USD off your order. That’s right! Simply go to www.biketourshop.com… choose one or more items from the shop… enter the coupon code: 2020 at checkout… and you will receive an instant $5.00 off your entire order This offer is only valid between now and December 31st, 2020, however, so you need to act fast! The post I’m Still Alive… appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
38 minutes | May 28, 2020
Tell Me About Your Bike
Bicycle Touring Pro, Darren Alff, goes on the “Tell Me About Your Bike” podcast to discuss his first experiences with bicycle touring and the 1980’s Sierra Schwinn mountain bike he used to complete his first two long-distance bike tours across the United States of America. Be sure to subscribe to the “Tell Me About Your Bike” podcast for more entertaining interviews like this one! You’ll be surprised to discover that someone who now rides some of the best touring bicycles in the world used to ride a rusty old bicycle… and he used that old Schwinn bike to cycle across the United States, not just once… but twice! Listen to the “Tell Me About Your Bike” crossover podcast with the Bicycle Touring Pro and you’ll hear why Darren was forced to ride this terrible old bicycle on his second bike tour across the country… and how he managed to perform this incredible feat with only a few hundred dollars to his name. * * * * * If you are interested in learning how to conduct your own multi-day bicycle touring adventures, be sure to visit the “Bicycle Touring Pro” website at www.bicycletouringpro.com and pick up a copy of the book, “The Bicycle Touring Blueprint” – a 400 page guide that will teach you the secrets to long distance cycling success. Get your copy of “The Bicycle Touring Blueprint” today at www.biketourbook.com or in the “Bicycle Touring Pro” shop at www.bicycletouringpro.com/shop The post Tell Me About Your Bike appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
10 minutes | Apr 1, 2020
My Terrifying Encounter With The “Wild Man”
My eyes were open, but all I could see was darkness. Pure black. A vague cloud of charcoal swirled in front of my eyes and I struggled to gain focus. I knew where I was, but I was unable to do anything about it. I was laying on my back, incapable of movement, and my heart was racing. Pounding, more like it! I was frozen solid, sweating, and scared out of my mind. My eyes were the only thing I seemed to have control of, and even they were failing me now. I had been in this frozen, pitch black state for what seemed like an eternity, but in reality it was only a matter of seconds. I had woken in an instant and, before I was even fully awake, knew what was going on. I could sense the danger and smell the rancid breeze before my brain could even realize what was happening. The situation was this: I was alone, hundreds of miles from civilization, camping in a small one-man tent during a month-long bicycle tour across British Columbia, Canada. I was in a tent, all alone, in the middle of a vast forest… and I was frozen solid. From inside my sleeping bag cocoon, I could sense the movement of a large, sulfurous animal making its way through the brush on the left side of my tent, no more than thirty feet away. I could hear the animal’s footsteps as the weight of the creature pressed down on a thick layer of dead leaves and soft earth. I’ve spent more than a decade camping in remote locations all around the world, so I’ve heard large animals moving through the forest at night. I’ve seen deer, moose, elk, bear, racoons, wolves, bobcats and even mountain lions. But this was nothing like those other animals. This thing was huge, was clearly walking through the trees on two massive feet, and it was getting closer to my tent! Seconds passed, but they seemed like hours. I tried not to breathe, fearing the animal might hear me and come closer to investigate. But in the back of my mind, I knew that whatever was out there was already well aware of my presence. I hoped that the creature would get bored and eventually go away, so I tried to slow my breathing and I waited. The stillness is what scared me most. The forest was so quiet. Unnaturally quiet. There were no singing birds, no critters crawling. The wind wasn’t blowing and the nearby brooks were silent. All I could hear was my rapid heartbeat and every slow breath. Then, just as I thought I might have been imagining the entire thing, a branch cracked and there was a quick shuffle in the brush on the left-hand side of my tent. That’s when I realized that this was actually happening! When I was in 6th grade I had written a two-page paper about Bigfoot. I had watched a bunch of documentaries on the history channel and subsequently became fascinated with the creature. Fascinated… and frightened. When my father took me hiking through the Sierra Nevada mountain range a year later, I excelled in the wild, but was scared of going off on my own – not out of fear of wild animals (like bear or moose), but because I thought I might run into Bigfoot. Years later I realized just how silly it had been of me to believe that Bigfoot was a real-life creature. After all, no good evidence for the beast seems to exist. Casts of massive footprints have been taken, and shaky video evidence shows little of any true, living creature. So, when I grew to the age where I could think for myself, I let Bigfoot go. I traveled the world, spent years roaming around by myself in forests, deserts, and jungles, and never once did I see any evidence for a massive hairy monkey man living in the woods. That is, of course, until this very moment, when I knew in an instant that something huge was stalking me as I lay in my tent in the woods of British Columbia. I couldn’t yet see the beast, but I knew that it was there. Still on my back and covered in darkness, I lay listening. Even the slightest movement of the animal could be heard and felt. The forest is funny like that. When you’re laying on the ground, you can feel even the slightest footstep of a creature on the other side of the forest. The earth moves and you can feel it. And I was on high-alert, so my body was picking up everything. That’s when the creature moved again. There was a loud crack in the brush and my heart instantly began fluttering. It was like going from 60 to 110 in a millisecond. And all it took was a single step by an animal no more than 20 feet away away from my tent. One step is all it took. That’s all I needed to shock me back into my reality. I was completely alone, trapped inside my sleeping bag, laying on the ground inside a thin layer of tent, and I had no way of defending myself. I had a knife in one of my panniers, but in order to get the knife I’d need to first unzip my sleeping bag. And even if I could do that without attracting the attention of the animal, I still had to find the knife inside my panniers, crawl out of my tent, and prepare to put up a fight. The odds were against me. So instead, I just stayed where I was and listened. The silence is what made this experience so frightening. The animal would take a step, sometimes two, and then it would just sit there and not move. And we’d both be listening. Me listening to it… and it listening to me. And when one of us moved, the other would too. I’d take a deep breathe or shift my body just an inch or two, and the creature would move forward, one slow step at a time. A few minutes passed, but it felt like an eternity. I could tell that the animal was getting closer. It’s stench was horrific, but its presence was even more frightening. Even though I couldn’t actually see the animal, I could feel just how big it was. The earth rumbled in a slow, almost monstrous tone, each time the animal moved one of its feet and laid them to rest in the leaves outside my tent. I could smell the wet air surrounding the beast and practically taste the dirt and disease that hung off the creature’s body. It’s filth would be apparent from several hundred feet away… but by now it was no more than ten feet from where I was lying. It was so close to me now that I could hear it breathing. My heart was racing, my face was dripping with sweat, and I was sure this was going to be the moment my life came to an end. My whole life flashed before my eyes. I thought about what it might be like for my friends and family to never know what happened to me. They’d have a hard time finding me, after all. I was camped out in the middle of the forest, far from home. I hadn’t really told anyone where I’d be… and I’d hiked back from the main road several hundred feet. It would be weeks or months before anyone found my tent and bicycle in these dense trees – let alone my body. The creature moved forward again and now it was just inches from the outside of my tent. It’s massive form cast a faint shadow on the exterior of my tent and I could see just how big the animal truly was. It was HUGE!!!!! Even though I had already accepted my fate – I decided to give myself one last chance at life. I wasn’t just going to lie down and die. I was going to fight! So, just as I saw the animal’s massive hand start reaching toward my tent, I sat up inside my sleeping bag and screamed! “April fools!” I shrieked. “April fools!” None of this ever happened to me. Well, that’s not true. I did write a report about Bigfoot when I was in 6th grade… and I did go hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountain range with my father when I was in seventh grade. And I have spent the last fourteen years camping in forests, deserts and jungles all around the world. I’ve also probably watched every Bigfoot documentary that has ever been made. I love the idea that there might be a big, hairy, monkey man living in the forests or mountains, but I’m a skeptic (about this and a lot of things)… and until I see some good, solid evidence, I simply won’t believe. Did I fool you though? Did you think I had actually had an encounter with Bigfoot? I’m writing this text now just so that someone reading the story doesn’t scroll down to the very bottom and look for the obvious end to the story. But let me know in the comment section below… Did you like my story? Did I fool you? Did you forget that today is the first day of April? Have you had a Bigfoot encounter yourself? Let me know… and thanks for reading! And remember, if you ever find yourself all alone, in your tent, wrapped inside your sleeping bag, in the middle of the forest with a large, hairy monkey man standing outside your tent… don’t just lie there. Sit up and scream! Save The post My Terrifying Encounter With The “Wild Man” appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
8 minutes | Mar 17, 2020
Can Bicycle Touring Cure Your Depression?
Hundreds of people try bicycle touring or bikepacking each year as a cure or treatment for their depression. But is a bike tour (or cycling in general) a good cure for depression? Watch the video above or listen to the latest episode of the “Bicycle Touring Pro” podcast to hear my thoughts on the subject of cycling and depression… as well as receive three important tips that you can use if you are suffering from depression and think that a trip by bike might be an adequate means of dealing with the depressive state you happen to be in at the moment. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are someone who is dealing with depression, please speak to a professional who knows what they are actually talking about. I am just a random guy on the internet. I don’t really know anything about this subject, so please take everything I say here with a grain of salt and speak to someone who can actually help you! The post Can Bicycle Touring Cure Your Depression? appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
36 minutes | Mar 3, 2020
How To Live A Life of Adventure
This summer I traveled to New Ringgold, Pennsylvania to meet and interview author Cindy Ross, who has been walking and cycling the long-distance trails of North America for more than 35 years. CINDY’S WEBSITE: www.cindyrosstraveler.com CINDY’S BOOKS: https://amzn.to/2HWb5yz Cindy and her husband, Todd Gladfelter, live in a log home that they built themselves for less […] The post How To Live A Life of Adventure appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
11 minutes | Feb 26, 2020
My Frightening Encounter With A Mountain Lion
In the summer of 2003, Darren Alff (then age 19) spent two months cycling up the Eastern Coast of the United States on his bicycle – starting in Raleigh, North Carolina and ending in Portland, Maine. Along the way, Darren pedaled his bicycle close to two thousand miles, had some incredible adventures along the […] The post My Frightening Encounter With A Mountain Lion appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
24 minutes | Feb 18, 2020
7 Ways To Save Huge Amounts of Money With AirBNB.com
AirBNB.com is an amazing online platform that allows you to easily find and rent apartments, houses and a wide variety of properties all around the world. I love staying in AirBNBs… and over the last eight years I have rented dozens of AirBNB properties all around the world. In fact, I have rented so many AirBNB apartments and houses that I have learned some simple, yet effective, money saving techniques that I am going to share with you today. These are my 7 biggest tips for saving huge amounts of money when renting a property on AirBNB.com… 1. Travel During Off-Peak Seasons It may seem obvious, but if you travel to a popular part of the world during the main tourist season, you are going to pay more for your lodging than if you were to go to that same part of the world during a time of the year when fewer people want to be there. This is why I recommend traveling (if you can) during off-peak seasons. If you can go to a popular summer destination during the spring, autumn or (better yet) the winter, you can save yourself significant amounts of money when renting a property on AirBNB. Prices may drop by as much as 50% of more during off-peak months. Plus, you get to experience that place when far fewer people are around! 2. The Longer You Stay, The More Money You’ll Save The great thing about AirBNB vs staying in a traditional hotel is that you can negotiate significant discounts on your lodging by staying for longer periods of time. That’s why I recommend you stay in your AirBNB property for as long as possible. Weekly discount are great, but monthly discounts are even better! If you can, don’t just rent an AirBNB property for one or two nights. Instead, stay for a week or longer! The longer you stay, the more money you’ll save! Discounts of 5-20% are common if you rent an AirBNB apartment for one week or longer, while discounts of 30-70% can be found on some AirBNB properties if you rent them for a month or more! Important note: Not all AirBNB properties have the discount pricing built into their listing, so if you find a property you like and the AirBNB website doesn’t mention anything about weekly or monthly pricing, be sure to write the property owner before renting and ask them if a weekly or monthly discount is available. 3. Always Ask For A Discount While this may be my third tip for saving huge amounts of money on AirBNB, this may be the most important tip of all: “Always ask for a discount!” Every time you rent a property on AirBNB.com, you should ask for a discount. Even if the property is already listed with a built-in weekly or monthly discount, you should always ask for a deeper discount… and expect to receive a 5-10% discount just for asking! I have asked for a discount on pretty much every AirBNB property I have rented… and I have almost always received a discount of some kind. I recommend you do the same! 4. Build Up A Good Reputation On The Platform This is a long-term strategy for saving money on AirBNB.com, but after you have rented several properties on the platform, you will begin to build up a reputation for yourself. Be a good renter and you’ll receive positive reviews from your AirBNB hosts. Those reviews, will in turn, allow you to negotiate bigger discounts with your AirBNB property owners in the future. When an AirBNB host looks at your profile and sees that you have been a good guest for dozens of previous hosts on the AirBNB platform, they’ll be more likely to trust you and feel comfortable giving you a discount when staying with them in the future. 5. Make Sure The Property Is Going To Work For You While this strategy is not something that will necessarily save you money up front, this is something than can save you money after you show up at your AirBNB rental property. The secret here is to do your research and ask the right questions before you rent an AirBNB property, so that once you show up at the house or apartment, you have EVERYTHING you need for your ideal stay. For me, as a digital nomad, this often means having good, fast, reliable and unlimited Internet access. But for you it might mean having access to a dining table, a fully-equipped kitchen or something as simple as a washing machine. Before you rent any property on AirBNB.com, make sure the place is equipped with everything you need for your stay. If you are like me and need a good, fast, reliable internet connection, be sure to ask your AirBNB host about the speed of the Internet (ask them to run a speed test at www.speedtest.net if they don’t know the speed of the Internet in their property) and always ask whether or not the Internet is “unlimited” (as some properties limit the amount of Internet you can use over the course of your stay). 6. Build Positive Relationships With Your AirBNB Hosts A pro-level tip that will save you huge amounts of money when renting AirBNB properties is to build long-lasting relationships with your AirBNB hosts. If you return to the same part of the world often, it might be advantageous of you to build a relationship with your AirBNB property owners so that when you return to that part of the world again in the future, you can ask your host for a discount on your stay (now that they know you and trust that you will be a good guest). I have managed to negotiate massive discounts on some of my AirBNB apartment rentals simply by building a relationship with the host and then returning to that part of the world again several months or years later and asking for a deep discount. It’s a strategy that has worked well for me… and I know it can work well for you too! 7. Earn FREE AirBNB Travel Credits Finally, my final tip for saving money with AirBNB is to do what you can to earn as many AirBNB travel credits as you possibly can. AirBNB.com has a referral program built into their website so that you can share AirBNB with you friends, family members, co-workers, etc. via a special AirBNB referral link that is unique to you and your account. Share this link with the people you know… and if they sign up for AirBNB and rent a property or take part in one of the website’s many unique travel experiences/tours, you will earn yourself an AirBNB travel credit (it’s kind of like free money to be used on the AirBNB website), which you can then use to stay in an AirBNB property at a discounted rate. Over the years, I have earned thousands of dollars via my AirBNB referral links… and the credits I have received from AirBNB have allowed me to stay in dozens of apartments all around the world for either FREE or a severally discounted rate. If you know someone who might be interested in using AirBNB.com in the future, simply share your unique AirBNB referral link with them. They’ll receive a discount off the price of their first AirBNB property booking or tour… and you will receive a FREE AirBNB travel credit, which you can then use to receive a discount off the price of your next AirBNB booking. Important: If you are new to AirBNB and would like to receive a $55 USD discount off the price of your first trip, just click here and sign up with AirBNB.com today! You can thank me later. 😁 The post 7 Ways To Save Huge Amounts of Money With AirBNB.com appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
11 minutes | Feb 7, 2020
Using WarmShowers.org To Score Free Lodging When You Travel By Bike
WarmShowers.org is a FREE community-run website that enables individuals traveling by bike to find hosts around the world who are willing to put them up for a night or two during the middle of their travels. If you are familiar with websites such as CouchSurfing.com or GlobalFreeloaders.com, then you are already familiar with the concept. The only difference with WarmShowers.org is that this website has been designed specifically with bicycle travelers in mind… and many of the hosts are bicycle tourists themselves, so they understand the needs of traveling cyclists more than someone on the CouchSurfing or GlobalFreeloaders website(s). I’ve been using WarmShowers.org as both a host and a traveler for more than a decade now and I have stayed with dozens of WarmShowers hosts all around the world over the past 20 years as I have slowly made my way around the planet on my bicycle. The experience of being invited into a strange person’s home and spending the night in their presence can be a bit frightening at first, but in most instances, this experience is incredibly rewarding. As I mentioned previously, many of the people who host bicycle travelers on the WarmShowers.org website are bicycle tourists themselves, so when you stay with someone on the WarmShowers list, you will almost instantly have something in common to talk with your hosts about. Many of my hosts have been quick to share the photos, videos and stories from their own bicycle touring adventures with me when I have stayed with them in the past… and swapping stories is a great way to instantly connect (host and traveler) during this somewhat uncomfortable initial exchange. While there are many benefits of using the WarmShowers website to find free accommodations when you travel by bike, there are some disadvantages to using the WarmShowers list (or any of these other free lodging travel websites). As I discuss in the video/podcast at the top of this page, the main reason I so rarely use the WarmShowers website myself is because I find the back and forth exchange of emails with the hosts to be extremely difficult and time consuming when I am traveling by bike. Often times, when I’m traveling on my bicycle, I am not in an area where I have phone or internet access, so I have to go to a public library or find another way to access the WarmShowers website in the first place. Then I need to send out an email to at least one or more WarmShowers hosts in the area where I wish to stay. This email usually needs to be sent several days in advance, so your hosts know when they can expect you to arrive at their home… and the act of estimating the time of your arrival in a far off, unknown city can be extremely difficult when you are traveling on a bike. Finally, there is the issue that many of the WarmShowers hosts simply never respond to your requests for free lodging… or if they do respond, they may respond too late. By the time you arrive in town, you have yet to receive a response from any of the hosts, and are forced to find accommodations elsewhere. Sometimes the email exchange between hosts and traveler is quick and convenient, but many times it is not. And this is the main reason I have personally chosen to only use the WarmShowers website in rare instances. The other reason I rarely use the WarmShowers website (and this is something I did not mention in the video above) is because after a long day of cycling, I find it exhausting to have to be social and entertaining with my WarmShowers hosts. I don’t want to just come into their home all tired and smelly and then completely ignore them. I want to be a good guest… and that usually involves staying up and talking with them (sometimes late into the evening). After a long day of cycling, I usually just want to take a shower, eat some good food and relax or go to bed. I don’t want to have to be extremely social (which I find to be quite tiring) and/or stay up late talking with my hosts. While I do rarely use the WarmShowers website nowadays, there are three main instances when I look to WarmShower.org as a source for free accommodations… The first and most common reason I use the WarmShowers website is because I am traveling into a big city and I don’t want to pay the overinflated prices for accommodation in that city. For example, the last time I was in London, England, I stayed with some people on the WarmShowers list instead of paying outrageous fees for a hotel. The second instance when I usually opt to stay with someone on the WarmShowers list is when I am either starting or finishing a bicycle tour. This is especially true when I am flying into a big city at the start or end of one of my bike trips. This is a good time to use the WarmShowers list because with my airplane tickets booked well in advance, I know exactly when I will be arriving and departing in that city… and I can easily communicate with my WarmShowers hosts well in advance to let them know what my plans are. In some instances, a WarmShowers host may even come to the airport to pick you up…. or will drive you to the airport at the end of your bike tour, which not only gets you a free place to stay on your travels, but also a free ride to or from the airport as well. Finally, I will stay with individuals on the WarmShowers website when I am conducting a short, circular-style bike tour with my vehicle. I will drive my car, for instance, to a city where a WarmShowers host is located. I will spend one night with the WarmShowers host and then leave my car at their home for a number of days while I go off on a multi-day bicycle tour. Then, at the end of my trip by bicycle, I’ll return to my vehicle at the home of the WarmShowers host, where I will take a shower, visit with my hosts once again, and then take off either that same day or the following day in my vehicle. This is not necessarily the way that the WarmShowers website was designed to be used, but it is a way that I have repeatedly used the WarmShowers service for myself, and it is something you might also like to try for yourself in the future. So, there you have it! That’s a quick introduction to WarmShowers.org – a free, community-run website that enables individuals traveling by bike to find free accommodations from a network of hosts all around the world. If you have not yet signed up for WarmShowers (as either a host or a traveler), be sure to head on over to the WarmShowers.org website right now to sign up. And if you are already a member, leave a comment below and let me know what your experience has been with the website. Have you hosted others traveling by bike? Have you stayed with WarmShowers hosts on your own bicycle touring adventures? What have been the best and worst moments when using the WarmShowers website for yourself? And what advice or recommendations would you give to others who hope to use the WarmShowers website for themselves in the future? The post Using WarmShowers.org To Score Free Lodging When You Travel By Bike appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
35 minutes | Jan 5, 2020
My Bikepacking Gear List
Here is my complete bikepacking gear list – a detailed listing of each and every item I carry with me on my off-road bikepacking adventures. My Complete Bikepacking Gear List: Feel free to use this bikepacking gear list as a template for your own bikepacking adventures. Pay attention to the bike I’m riding, the bikepacking bags I’m carrying my belongings in, the clothes I’m wearing, the bike tools I’m traveling with, and my notes on the various items I’m carrying with me. Please note that food and water is not included in this particular bikepacking gear list. The amount of food and water you chose to carry depends on where you are in the world and how far it is to your next re-supply point. Always leave room inside your bikepacking bags for extra food and drinks. Chumba Ursa 29+ The Chumba Ursa 29+ is a mountain bike designed specifically with bikepacking in mind. It’s extra wide 29+ tires make your ride on the bike super comfortable and it has all they eyelets you need to mount racks and water bottle cages. Shimano SPD Pedals When I’m cycling off-road, I chose to ride with SPD shoes and pedals. This way my feet don’t accidentally slip off the pedals as I’m cycling over rough terrain. Instead, my feet are locked in and I feel confident on the bike. 3 Water Bottle Cages The way I set up my bikepacking rig, I have two regular water bottles mounted to the sides of the front fork and an additional water bottle mounted on the underside of my bicycle’s down-tube. 5 Water Bottles While there may only be three water bottle cages on my bikepacking bicycle, I actually have the ability to carry a total of 5 water bottles, thanks to the two Rattlesnake Stem/Bar bags I have mounted on the backside of my handlebars. Divide Frame Bag Inside the main triangle of my bicycle, I’m using the Wanderlust Gear Divide Frame Bag, which I use to carry soft clothing items, food, a few bike tools and a mix of other random accessories. Sawtooth Bar Bag I love the Wanderlust Sawtooth Bar Bag because not only is it big enough to carry my tent, but it still has room inside for a warm fleece jacket and my rain jacket as well, if need be. Piñon Pocket Handlebar Bag If there’s anything I need to reach often or access easily as I’m cycling (such as my camera, smartphone or snacks) , I store it in the Piñon Pocket handlebar bag, which is mounted over the front of the Sawtooth Bar Bag. Shenandoah Seat Bag Being one of the larger bags on my bikepacking gear list, the Shenandoah Seat Bag is where I carry my sleeping bag as well as some additional clothing items (such as my fleece pants, socks, etc.). Beargrass Top Tube Bag The Beargrass Top Tube Bag, as its name implies, sits between my legs on the top of the top tube of my bicycle – near my handlebars. Because the bag is right in front of me as I ride, it’s the perfect place to store and easily access my camera. 2 Rattlesnake Stem/Bar Bags These two small bags make bikepacking an absolute joy! Now there’s no longer a need to bend over and wrestle with your water bottle cages each time you need to take a drink. With your water now situated right in front of you, staying hydrated has never been easier. Monida Accessory Bag This cylindrical bikepacking accessory bag can be used for a number of different ways and mounted on a number of different points on your bicycle. I, however, have it mounted to my bicycle’s down-tube (near the bottom bracket) and it carries my sleeping pad inside. Salsa Anything Cage The Salsa Anything Cage is basically a big, oversized water bottle cage, which can carry an oversized water bottle, but is also perfect for mounting the Wanderlust Gear Monida Accessory Bag, which is how I use it. Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 1-Man Tent This has got to be one of my favorite, lightweight, 1-man tents that I have ever owner. The Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 1-Man Tent is compact, lightweight, rugged, and perfectly designed for bikepacking. Marmot Always Summer Sleeping Bag This small, lightweight sleeping bag won’t do you much good in colder weather conditions, but if you’re planning a summertime bikepacking trip, this is the perfect sleeping bag to keep you warm during the cool nights. REI Flash Sleeping Pad The REI Flash is one of the smallest and lightest inflatable sleeping pads on the market today. It’s comfortable, easy to inflate and deflate each day, and lifts you up off the ground as you sleep – ensuring you stay warm even in cold weather. Lezyne Sport Drive HV Hand Pump The Lezyne Sport Drive HV hand pump is an inexpensive bicycle pump, but it has worked flawlessly on my travels all around the world. It’s compact, lightweight, easy to use and relatively inexpensive as far as bike pumps go. Multi-Tool The wooden multi-tool I carry is a little on the heavy side, but it has all the Allen wrenches, screwdrivers, and such that most bikepackers need. The only thing missing in a chain tool, which can come in handy at times. Tire Levers In the event I need to remove my tires from the rim of my wheel, I’m carrying two small plastic tire levers along with all the other tools in my bikepacking gear list. Tubeless Tire Plug Kit Most bikepacking bicycles are now equipped with tubeless tires that self-patch small holes caused by needles, glass and thorns. But if you get a big hole in your tire, you’ll need some of these tubeless tire plugs. Chain Lube Be sure to add chain lube to your bikepacking gear list! Then be sure to clean your chain and apply new lube on a regular basis. The terrain you’re cycling through will dictate how often your chain needs to be cleaned and lubed. Folding Knife For preparing food, I carry a small folding knife with me on my bikepacking adventures. I use this knife to cut food up, peel fruit, and perform other simple tasks around camp. It could, however, be used as a weapon of self-defense if need be. Bike Helmet The Giro Revel isn’t a high-end bike helmet, but it fits my head well and is remarkably comfortable. I wish the visor were a little bigger (to help shield my eyes from the sun), but otherwise it is a nice, inexpensive bicycle helmet. Long-Sleeve Cycling Jersey I bought this long-sleeved cycling jersey from Fox, thinking that I would rarely, if ever, wear it, but it has turned out to be my favorite cycling jersey ever. The jersey is light enough that I can wear it even in hot weather and the sleeves help to protect my arms when cycling through trees and bushes. Shorts I don’t ride in a pair of special bicycle shorts. I just cycle in a pair of black Hurley shorts – like the kind you might find at your local surf/skate shop. I find these to be more than comfortable for my bikepacking adventures. REI Rhyolite Rain Jacket The REI Rhyolite rain jacket is lightweight, super compact, waterproof and great for blocking out the wind. It can be squeezed into any empty spaces you might have inside your bikepacking bags, but it isn’t very warm, so it needs to be used in conjunction with a warmer, insulating jacket. Fleece Jacket My main insulating layer is a fleece jacket from Columbia. You can wear a jacket like this during the day while you are cycling and then wear it to sleep, if need be, when you’re confronted with cooler weather conditions. Fleece Pants For sleeping at night, I pack a small, light and compact pair of fleece pants. These pants are great to wear around camp or inside my tent while I’m sleeping. T-Shirt In addition to the single bike jersey I ride in each each day, I also have at least one T-shirt that I wear to around camp, walk around town in, and use to sleep in at night. 2 Pairs of Underwear No bikepacking gear list is complete without at least a pair or two of underwear. I rotate between the two pairs of underwear I carry – with one pair almost constantly being in the process of being cleaned or dried. Full-Finger Cycling Gloves I use a pair of Fox mountain bike gloves to protect my hands as they bounce and move around in rocky off-road terrain. These full-finger gloves also work to keep my hands warm in cooler weather conditions. 3 Pairs of Black Socks I pack three pairs of black socks on my bikepacking trips. Black helps to hide the dirt! I rotate between two pairs of socks when I’m cycling and then keep a third pair for sleeping in at night. Pearl Izumi SPD Cycling Shoes These Pearl Izumi shoes are the ones I’m currently using for my bikepacking adventures. They are special SPD cycling shoes that allow you to clip into the pedals and walk around in relative comfort when you step off the bike at any point in time. Sunglasses A quality pair of sunglasses are essential for any type of bikepacking gear list. I have a pair of Nike sunglasses that I’ve been using for years, but almost any pair of sunglasses will do. Digital Camera To document my bikepacking adventures, I use the Canon G7X Mark II as my high-end photo and video camera. The campera is heavy for its size, but compact enough to br carried inside my top tube bag as I ride. Smartphone For mapping out my route, listening to music/podcasts, learning foreign languages and simply entertaining myself, my Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone is one of my favorite bikepacking essentials. Don’t forget the charging cable and backup batteries! Earphones When I crawl into my tent at night, the first thing I usually do is plug my earphones in and start listening to a podcast. I will cycle with the earphones in my ears in some instances, but that rarely happens. Toiletries When I’m bikepacking, I go extremely light on the toiletries. I’m usually only carrying a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a tiny roll of dental floss. Soap, shampoo and other toiletries are only essential on longer bikepacking expeditions. Wallet Finally, I carry my drivers license, cash and credit cards inside a lightweight zippered travel wallet. I prefer a zippered wallet because it helps to prevent my important from falling out as I cycle over rough terrain. So, there you have it! That’s everything on my current bikepacking gear list. As you can see, I’m packing only the bare essentials and leaving many of the extras I might carry on a longer road-based bike tour at home. Because most of my bikepacking adventures are pretty short in comparison to my long-distance road tours, I can pack in a manner that is both minimal and extremely lightweight. Even though I’m carrying a substantial amount of gear on my bicycle, the weight of that gear is spread out over the frame of my bicycle and carried in a variety of different bikepacking bags. This helps to eliminate the weight of the gear from my body and allows me to ride my bike in relative comfort. Click here to learn more about the basics of bikepacking and discover how easy it is to start conducting your own incredible bikepacking adventures. The post My Bikepacking Gear List appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.
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