Traveling by bicycle is one of the best ways to see and appreciate the glorious countryside.  With a quality touring bicycle, some basic travel necessities and a lot of energy, you can see the world in a whole new way.

Touring bicycles, as the name suggests, are used by cyclists wanting to travel while carrying supplies.  These bicycles have racks mounted on the front and rear of the frame for carrying the extra gear like a change of clothes, food etc. They have mudguard mounting points, triple water bottle mounts, a large wheelbase and a suitable frameset for wider tires.

The three most popular touring bicycles in use today are road, recumbent and tandem bikes. Each of these bikes has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages, and should be purchased according to an individual’s requirements.

A classic road-touring bicycle has 700C wheels.  The wheel diameters are the same as racing bike wheels, but they have wider rims and better frame clearance. In recent years, manufacturers have modified the 26″ mountain bike tires to provide better resistance and greater strength.

Recumbent touring bicycles have a unique appearance due to the seat position.  On these bicycles, the rider sits on a reclined seat with the legs stretched out in front of the seat.  The steering may be positioned above or below seat level.

Tandems are essentially meant to carry two riders, and are popular choices for couples wishing to travel long distances economically. However, these bikes can’t carry any extra weight, so the riders often have to hitch a trailer.

Modern touring bikes are usually equipped with front and rear luggage racks, road handlebars and saddles for long distance comfort. These bikes also feature rugged hubs, heavy-duty rims and 36-spoke wheels, increasing their stability and reliability.   A long wheelbase and stable steering arrangement adds to the practicality.  Many models have a longer chain stay to ensure that the cyclist can ride longer distances without discomfort.  Touring bikes have various attachment points for keeping luggage, fixing fenders and storing their all-important water bottles.  Some models allow for space to store spare parts.  Another option is to attach a trailer, which can be towed behind the bike to carry extra gear and provide a low center of gravity.

Touring bicycles are built to handle the elements and carry the rider over long distances.  The frame and parts are made of sturdy, long lasting materials, allowing the bikes to handle fast ascents and descents even when loaded down with gear.  Normal caliper brakes used in racing bikes are replaced by cantilever or lever-pulled brakes.  Some manufacturer even use disc brakes to provide excellent stopping power.

What is gained in utility and ruggedness is often lost in speed, but it’s a compromise that touring cyclists are willing to make.  The combination of features and benefits make these bikes the ride of choice for adventurous tourists wanting an up close and personal view of the countryside.

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