am a 25-yo woman of very small size. I am 147 cm tall and I weigh 80 lbs. I am now riding a 24" wheel road bike (Giant R2400). I ride it not very often, only on weekends. Btw I suck at directions and map reading.
Things I'm going to do for preparation:
- Ride more and longer (so far my longest was only 63 km but that's not my limit yet)
- Join classes on bike repair
- Try some guided bike tours in Southern China
- Try solo bike round-tour in Taiwan
- Learn to drive, to get myself more familiar with road rules (yes I come from a very small place where driving is not necessary)
My questions include but are not limited to:
- Is there a travelling bike for my size?
- Any way to cut down the baggage so that even a 80lb-body can carry it?
- Any good book or good website for a newbie like me?
- Do you recommend a woman doing solo biking and camping?
- Can I rely on GPS as I suck at map reading?
- Any specific advice?
Thank you a lot!
First, yes, by all means ride a lot more and learn at least the basics of bike repair and maintenance. A few guided tours will give you insight into how you like touring but won't give you any experience riding solo, carrying a touring load or having to find your own way.
You are indeed small (~4' 10" in real measurements
) but there are suitable bikes available. I would consider a true touring bike and one that uses a more standard wheel size. Finding 24" tires (of whatever ISO size they are) in remote areas is going to be difficult to impossible. The Surly Long Haul Trucker (or Disc Trucker if you want disc brakes) is available as small as a 42 cm frame and comes with 26" (ISO 559) wheels which is the same wheel size as most mountain bikes. Tires and tubes in this size are widely available.
Your touring load can be as light as you wish. Riders have traveled long distances with loads lighter than 15 pounds but that's pretty Spartan and requires some fairly expensive and specialized gear. A realistic load is 25 to 30 pounds if you don't insist on taking every comfort known to man (or woman) with you. Also, are you going to cook all of your meals or eat in restaurants, etc. as that will have a significant effect on the weight and bulk of your load?
Web sites include this one, crazyguyonabike and many others. A Google search should turn up a lot.
As to relying strictly on a GPS, I'd be leery of having nothing else. Keeping it charged and away from harm will be problems (a generator front hub would be a good idea) but there a places like cities and mountainous areas where the signal is not good enough.
You've got time to do a lot of homework and I hope you enjoy doing it.