Welcome back on Apache Pine! Today we’ll keep exploring the exciting world of bikes and bike touring and, more specifically, we’ll examine in depth some tips on how to improve your bike touring skills, whether you are a beginner at traveling by bike, or if you are an experienced one, maybe even sponsored by us. If you are not part of our team, but you are interested in becoming one of our athletes, here you can see how to get sponsored by Apache Pine and become part of our team. Indeed, Apache Pine’s handmade wood watches and handmade bush knives are created and designed to accompany athletes during their outdoor activities, but also through their daily routine and we love to sponsor passionate people who share our same philosophy.
So these biking tips are suggestions that can turn useful for everyone, and that can improve your biking knowledge at any level. So let’s take a look at this guide on how to become a better biker and a better bike tourer.
Pannier or Trailer?
Well, this is probably the atavistic question of the bike touring field, but the answer depends on a lot on what are your capacities, how much stuff you have to carry with you and your tastes in general. A few days ago we found out how to pack a pannier, however, for those who didn’t know, there also is the chance to substitute panniers with a trailer instead, which is a two-wheeled metal cart that you attach to your bike and pull around while cycling. So like panniers, their weight is too placed off the body and onto the bike.
Now, the majority of bikers actually prefers panniers, because they stick closer to the bike and create a more compact asset. Indeed, trailers can turn a bit uncomfortable on bumpy tracks and in general when the path is not so smooth and linear. However, this doesn't mean that they are necessarily the best choice. Let's confront them!
Another very practical feature when it comes to panniers is the possibility to pack your stuff into separate pockets and bags, which will make it easier to organize and manage your belongings and reach them more easily. Also, they are easier to transport off a bike and some of them can be even turned into backpacks.
Of course, the bags you put on your trailer can be taken around too, but the trailer itself is a bit more tricky to carry and more complicated to leave behind if you are using your bike for shorter movements, leaving your panniers at basecamp, for example. This counts for plains and trains too.
On the other hand, panniers can be mounted only on bikes that allow it, meanwhile trailers can be mounted on all bikes regardless, as they attach to the structure. Also, front panniers make it a little more difficult to ride a bike, so many cyclists need to get used to them before feeling comfortable and taking a long distance bicycle tour. Also, if one side they make your bike less compact, they sure make it more stable and they’re easier to pack because everything is stored in one large section.
Of course, trailers mean more wheels, which create more resistance on the ground and imply and extra bike repair kit in case of a flat tire.
So again, is there really an answer to which one is best? We strongly think that it depends on what kind of cyclist you are and how you prefer to have your stuff packed the most. Also, it depends on the kind of bike tour you are planning to do, and if it involves plains, trains and boats.
Regardless your choice between a pannier and a trailer, these skills cannot be packed, they can only be stored in your brain, your knowledge, and your practical capacity.
When you look for cycling tips for long bike travels, everyone will tell you that, together with your cycling gear, you must develop some fundamental capacities that will make you independent during your travel.
We are talking about knowing how to:
- Install a new tire
- Repair a flat tire and replace a flat tube with a new one, or to patch a tube with a patch kit
- Adjust your breaks and understand if they’re working properly
- Install new brake pads
- Adjust the position of your seat post, saddle, and handlebars
- Install your racks (if you are using panniers) or attach your trailer (if you are using that)
- Reinsert and clean your bike chain
- Adjust your derailleurs
- Install and remove your pedals
In the next few days we’ll keep exploring this subject and find out about more biking tips.