Author Topic: Prep for woman solo across Asia and Europe, and maybe US  (Read 158 times)

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Offline corey1989

Prep for woman solo across Asia and Europe, and maybe US
« on: February 28, 2015, 11:44:44 pm »
Hi all:)

I'm planning for a bike trip from Hong Kong to Portugal, followed by a cross-coutry trip in the US. The latter part is optional. The ideal accommodation is camping or Couchsurfing/ Warmshower, but hostel will be considered too if safety is a concern. I just started the idea not long ago so everything is from scratch.

I 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.

Because of the contract of my work, I still have at least 1.5 years before I can go. I know I should read a lot first, but I would also like to seek your advice.

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!

Love,
Corey
« Last Edit: February 28, 2015, 11:49:26 pm by corey1989 »

Offline Stephen Peel

Re: Prep for woman solo across Asia and Europe, and maybe US
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2015, 03:44:24 am »
Hi, I have just joined to day and I am also looking for advice on cycling across the US and around the world. If you find any interesting tips or advice, let me know and I will do the same. Even if we have had to experience these things without advice. Take care and all the best on your adventure. Steve

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Prep for woman solo across Asia and Europe, and maybe US
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2015, 09:41:11 pm »
It is a big wide world. There are many variables. You should be alright. No guarantees. There is an element of risk. It is
an adventure, after all. Hong Kong to Portugal. Southeast Asia is in your path, and what about Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, India? I do not believe Pakistan or Afghanistan would be a good place to cycle. Which route would you plan to follow? Perhaps Thailand into China and Tibel or from China into the former Soviet Union.

Offline Stephen Peel

Re: Prep for woman solo across Asia and Europe, and maybe US
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2015, 02:27:10 am »
My planned route thus far, but there are places I would like to include and will see how it goes. I have never given Bangladesh a thought, and after your message, I have been researching it a little and feel it would be great way to go. I did fancy Myanmar too but couldn't figure out a way to work it in and the same with India, I have been to India a few times and love it, but again couldn't work a route out of India.

Home – UK, USA, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Sumatra, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Home - UK.

This underlined part of my trip, could very much look something like this, Laos - Myanmar, India. But from there I would be unsure, as I don't like the idea of cycling through Pakistan. So how to get around Pakistan and Iran, is a problem from India maybe?

I don't know how the forum feels about adding links to personal pages, but here is my own with regard to my planned cycle for you to view. I will remove it no problem if it is not OK. stephenpeel.co.uk
« Last Edit: March 02, 2015, 02:46:03 am by Stephen Peel »

Offline DaveB

Re: Prep for woman solo across Asia and Europe, and maybe US
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2015, 09:41:45 am »
Quote from: corey1989 link=topic=13053.msg67441#msg67441 date=1425185084I
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!

Love,
Corey
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.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2015, 09:16:45 am by DaveB »

Offline Mark Manley

Re: Prep for woman solo across Asia and Europe, and maybe US
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2015, 04:24:37 pm »
Hi Corey,
A good travellers site for information is here, although it appears primarily aimed at motorcycle travellers there is a small cycling section but the information on roads, safety, visas and equipment is very good and up to date.

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/

I would suggest you ask in a local bike shop if they can show you some basic repairs, you can repay them by buying some of your equipment or a bike there.

If you want to read something from inspirational women riders I recommend Josie Dew http://www.josiedew.com/my-books or the late Anne Mustoe http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1423286.A_Bike_Ride both show that it can be done.