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The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions, and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world. My Plan

My 3 Books
I write, self publish and sell books about touring

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Places I have been
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How can I afford this?)

India and Neighbors
May 2010 to present

Alaska / Canada / USA
May 2008 to April 2010

New Zealand
Sept 2007 to May 2008

Australia
Sept 2006 to Sept 2007

SE Asia / China
Nov 2004 to Sept 2006

South America
June 2003 to June 2004

AZ, Mexico, and Central America
March 2002 to April 2003

How I started
The 5 years before I left


*Help Support this Web Site and Continue My Travels.


Equipment Pages Index

Introduction
How Much to Bring and Weight
Some Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
(See more about Sponsorship)

START HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames 
The Steel Repair Myth.
Steel and Aluminum Derailleur Hanger Repair.
Bicycle Touring Wheels
Phil Wood: The Best Bicycle Hubs

Panniers / Bike Bags
Cargo Trailers Vs Panniers
Tires for Bike Tours..
Bicycle Touring Saddles.
Women's Specific Bike Touring Saddles
Brooks Leather Touring Bicycle Saddle Care and Conditioning
Bike Computer
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Kickstands
Sealed Cartridge Headsets

How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps

Camping
Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground Cloth
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad
Camp Stove
Pots and Pans
Water Filter
First Aide Kits
Solar Power for Camp

Clothing
Bike Touring Shorts

Electrical
Short-wave Radio
Computer
Internet
mp3
Bicycle touring lights

Books
Packing list
Pictures of Equipment Failures
Shopping


See My Videos Here



(see all 3 book)

Bike Shoes For Bicycle Touring, Travel, Camping, SPD, Commuting and  Walking Comfort

Bicycle touring is a unique form of cycling because you do more than just ride a bike. You live in the shoes you bring, not just push the pedals. Walking around town, a stop at the grocery store, a quick day hike – all part of your daily routine. Just what sort of shoes  should you buy for this trip? The unexpected is to be expected on a bike tour and it is wise to be prepared for whatever comes your way.  The trick is to decide what shoe, or combination of shoes, will work for your style of bike tour, without taking up too much room in your panniers.  See also Touring Bicycle Pedals

Bike shoes vs. Walking shoes

Cycling shoes and walking shoes are constructed very differently. A good bike shoe has a stiff sole that does not compress or flex. This way all of the foot’s downwards motion is transferred into the pedal and converted to efficient forward motion.  Typical tennis shoes have softer soles that compress with each pedal stroke and have energy robbing flex. Stiff soles have other benefits. They support the full length of your foot to reduce fatigue and cramps. But stiff soled shoes are terrible for walking around in. They're slippery on hard surfaces and make a racket like a tap-dancing horse.

Bicycle touring shoe options

Commuter/Touring/ Casual Bicycle Shoes – The newest emerging style of bike shoes. These shoes attempt to offer a good balance between foot support for pedaling and flexibility for comfort off the bike. The soles are compatible with SPD systems. They have recessed mounts for mountain-bike cleats, although you don't have to use them. The touring/commuter bike sandals have become very popular. I've met several bike tourists who completely swear by their bike sandals. The open weave keeps your feet cool, the covered toes offer crash protection, and you can pair them with waterproof socks for a rainy ride.

Casual Bike Skoes
no SPD clip
great for walking

 

Hybrid SPD Shoe
(clip optional)
half bike half walking shoe

 

 

SPD MT Bike Shoe
All bike with a little walking.

 

My pick: to get the highest riding efficiency and still walk around the supermarket, go with a stiff soled mountain bike shoe.

 

Bike Sandals
Sandals that clip into your SPD pedals have long been a touring cyclist favorite.

Road cycling shoes – The racing flats that you see worn in the tour de France. Highly impractical for cycle touring.

Mountain Bike Shoes – The popularity of mountain biking brought a whole new category of shoes for cyclists to choose from. Mountain bikers often find themselves pushing their bikes through sand and over obstacles like logs. They want the efficiency of a road shoe with a rugged outsole to provide traction for off-bike maneuvers.

Most mountain bike shoes feature a recessed cleat allowing you to walk around more comfortably. The SPD (short for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics) cleat and pedal system is the industry standard, and therefore the easiest to find replacement parts for internationally.

In the past I have used just mountain bike shoes. I found the stiffness of the sole comfortable for short walks only. Still, if you're planning on a fast tour and spending most of your day in the saddle, mountain bike shoes are the way to go.

Everyday Tennis shoes – This is probably the cheapest and simplest option for beginning bicycle tourists. A light hiking shoe or trail running shoe, in combination with a wide platform pedal is perfectly adequate for touring. Experienced cycle tourists have ridden around the world  with this same set up. Non-cycling shoes don't offer the stiff sole, nor will they work with an SPD pedal system. You can experiment with toe clips or straps. Personally, I find them cumbersome and fiddly, but you may come to a different conclusion.

Camp sandals – Whatever cycling shoe you choose, you'll still need a pair of camp shoes for the end of the day. I like a slip-on sandal that can be worn with socks. Slip-ons are easier to manage when leaving the tent in the middle of the night, and they protect your feet from fungus-filled showers. Cheap rubber flip-flops will do the job.

Wool Bike Travel Socks
SmartWool PHD Cycling Light Mini Socks - Men's

I always have 3 pairs

Camp Sandals
OluKai 'Ohana Flip-Flops - Women'sCushe Manuka Slide Sandals - Men's

My favorite camp sandal is a slip-on that you can wear with socks.  Flip flops are sold everywhere but better quality ones are hard to find.

Waterproof socks
Rocky Gore-Tex Oversocks Socks

 
Keep your feet warm and dry.


What I have

I carry three pairs of shoes. Mountain-bike shoes, a pair of Trail Runners, and a pair of sandals. The mountain-bike shoes are great for riding in, not so much for walking. At the end of the day, it's nice to switch to a different shoe. The running shoes are good for days off the bike, when I want to hike or wander around town. The sandals are for showers and beaches and late-night trips to the bathroom. I admit, three pairs is a lot. I could do with less, but I since I live on tour permanently, I find myself carrying more shoes for the extra comfort.

What to avoid

 Non-SPD pedal systems  - This isn't to say these aren't fine pedal systems, but hard-to-find gear does not mix with bicycle touring. SPD is the industry standard and readily available in high-end bicycle shops around the world. If your non-SPD pedal or cleat breaks, you might find yourself waiting a long time for replacements to be mailed out.

 Complicated shoe parts - Some styles of mountain bike shoes have ratchet closure systems. Great for a tight fit for racing, terrible if the ratchet breaks on the road. Especially if your tour is extended or includes developing countries, look for Velcro or lace closures.

 Conclusion

If you're new to cycle touring and not sure what shoes to bring, go with a tennis shoe and a wide pedal. If you're interested in moving up to SPD, give yourself considerable  time to set up your pedals and get accustomed to riding in cleats. If you're already using cycling shoes at home, you'll probably want to go with a mountain bike shoe or touring shoe, since let's face it, once you've ridden with cleats, it's hard to go back to tennis shoes.


I have another page about touring bicycle pedals

My Current Bike Touring Pedal -
The Shimano A530 has it all.  A great high quality set of bearings, a big wide platform for sandals and everyday shoes and solid SPD clip in system that will boost your pedaling efficiency.
Shimano A530
 
Shimano A530 SPD Sport Road Pedals

The next pedals I plan to buy

These pedal came out since I last bought  Shimano XT is always a good quality
Shimano PD-T780 Pedals

If I were heading to an undeveloped part of the world for a couple years I would buy these.
Shimano Deore XT PD-M8000 XC Pedals

 

 

Camp Stove
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping pad
Water Filter
Tents
Camp Cooking
Shower/Toiletry
First Aide
Touring/Utility Bikes
Panniers
Solar Charging
Tools and Repair
Topeak Deluxe Kit

 

eXTReMe Tracker

Bicycle Touring
Tips & Advice

- Bike Stuff
- Camping

Touring Bicycles
Panniers
Racks
Saddles
Tires
Lights

Fenders
Tools and Spares

Tents
Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress
Camp Stove
Water Filter
Pots and Pans
First Aide Kits
Solar Power
Bike Maps
Preventing Flat Tires

Bike Computer
Cargo Trailers
Kick Stands
Pedals
Handelbars/Grips
Headsets
Commuting Bikes

Camp Shower/Toiletry Bag

Lights

Helmet
Bike Shoes
Bike Touring Shorts

Stealth/Free Camp

What I Have Learned On The Road

Dreaming of Endless Travel

Injustice of Poverty

Much MORE Gear Here!

Sponsors (how?)


Cycle Touring Racks

Tents and ground cloths
Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress Pads


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