One of the many joys of bike touring is the time we have to read, meditate and be inspired. Those rest days or “rain” days allow us to catch up on reading among other things.
Below are some of the best, most inspiring books available to get your wanderlust juices flowing. These books can help you with planning your next great adventure and push you into action to explore this amazing world we live in.
Here is our list of the Best Bicycle Touring Books available.
Make sure you pack a couple of these books in your pannier and hit the road! Enjoy!
As a teenager, Kate Harris realized that the career she most craved--that of a generalist explorer, equal parts swashbuckler and philosopher--had gone extinct. From her small-town home in Ontario, it seemed as if Marco Polo, Magellan and their like had long ago mapped the whole earth. So she vowed to become a scientist and go to Mars.
To pass the time before she could launch into outer space, Kate set off by bicycle down a short section of the fabled Silk Road with her childhood friend Mel Yule, then settled down to study at Oxford and MIT. Eventually the truth dawned on her: an explorer, in any day and age, is by definition the kind of person who refuses to live between the lines.And Harris had soared most fully out of bounds right here on Earth, travelling a bygone trading route on her bicycle. So she quit the laboratory and hit the Silk Road again with Mel, this time determined to bike it from the beginning to end.
Like Rebecca Solnit and Pico Iyer before her, Kate Harris offers a travel narrative at once exuberant and meditative,wry and rapturous. Weaving adventure and deep reflection with the history of science and exploration, Lands of Lost Borders explores the nature of limits and the wildness of a world that, like the self and like the stars, can never be fully mapped.
Moods of Future Joys
Alastair Humphreys’around-the-world journey of 46,000 miles was an old-fashioned adventure: long,lonely, low-budget, and spontaneous. Cycling across five continents and sailing over the oceans, his ride took four years to complete, on a tiny budget of hoarded student loans. Here is the story of the first remarkable stage of the expedition.
Just two weeks into the ride the September 11th attacks changed everything. All Humphreys’ plans went out the window and, instead of riding towards Australia, he suddenly found himself pedaling through the Middle East and Africa and on toward Cape Town.
Alastair Humphreys cycled around the world—a journey of 46,000 miles.
This inspiring story traces the second leg of his travels—the length of South and North America, the breadth of Asia and back across Europe, crossing the mountains and salt-flats of South America, canoeing the Five-Finger Rapids of the Yukon River, and braving a Siberian Winter with only the flimsiest tent to protect him from the elements.
A BikeRide: 12,000 Miles Around the World
When ex-headmistress Anne Mustoe gave up her job, bought a bike and took to the road, she couldn’t even mend a puncture. 12,000 miles and 15 months later, she was home. Her epic solo journey took her around the world, through Europe,India, the Far East and the United States.
From Thessaloniki to Uttar Pradesh,from Chumphon to Singapore, she faced downpours, blizzards and blistering deserts, political turmoil and amorous waiters – alternated with great kindness from strangers along the way.
Lone Traveler- Anne Mustoe
Using historical routes as her inspiration, Anne followed the ancient Roman roads to Lisbon, traveled across South America with the Conquistadors, pursued Captain Cook over the Pacific to Australia and Indonesia and followed the caravans along the fabled Silk Road from Xi’an to Rome.
Across African Sand: Journeys of a Witch-Doctor's Son-In-Law
The incredible story of a 3,000 mile bicycle trek across the world’s largest stretch of sand–the Kalahari and Namibia Deserts of Southern Africa.
The author relates his fantastic experiences–stalked by lions, charged by a herd of elephants, and his encounters with poisonous snakes, to name a few. He also tells of his numerous observations and experiences in living and teaching in Botswana for three years. These include his marriage to the daughter of a local witch-doctor.
Every Inch of the Way - My Bike Ride around the world
In March 2011 I set off on the adventure of a lifetime, from my front door, across Europe, Asia and finally the USA. I spent nights in people’s houses all over the world, slept in Yurts, camped with nomads, ate delicious food ranging from Tibetan stew to alligator meat, drunk home-made Georgian wine, was given clothes, partied with Kazakhs on the Caspian Sea ferry, saw photos of USSR soldiers in front of statues of Lenin, saw Stalin’s house the Grand Canyon and the Great Wall.
I cycled through sweltering deserts and over huge mountains. I overcame mechanical problems with the help of an Azerbaijani mechanic and illness due to the kindness of a Tajik Pamiri doctor.
Off The Rails - 10,000 km by bicycle across russia, siberia and mongolia to china
This is the true story of two twenty-year old Australians who traveled for fourteen months on recumbent bicycles from Russia, across Siberia and Mongolia, to Beijing. It is as much a story of perseverance, passion, and belief as it is about the people and remarkable landscapes of Siberia and Mongolia.
Tim and Chris are not just fearless adventurers but philosophers on wheels, willing and able to open themselves up to everything from the voice of the Steppes to the Russian villagers and the nomads of the Gobi desert.
Catfish and Mandala
Catfish and Mandala is the story of an American odyssey—a solo bicycle voyage around the Pacific Rim to Vietnam. The epic adventure was made by a young Vietnamese-American man in pursuit of both his adopted homeland and his forsaken fatherland.
A beautiful tale and must read.
Cycling Home from Siberia
Having left his job as a high-school geography teacher, Rob Lilwall arrived in Siberia equipped only with a bike and a healthy dose of fear.
Cycling Home from Siberia recounts his epic three-and-a-half-year, 30,000-mile journey back to England via the foreboding jungles of Papua New Guinea, an Australian cyclone, and Afghanistan’s war-torn Hindu Kush. A gripping story of endurance and adventure,this is also a spiritual journey, providing poignant insight into life on the road in some of the world’s toughest corners.
Wheels of Adventure: 20 000 Miles from Europe to Australia by Bicycle
Wheels of Adventure is a fascinating account of a 20 000-mile bicycle ride through seventeen countries and three continents. The reader is taken on an action-packed ride over Pakistan's mountain ranges, up and down Indonesia's volcanoes, through the Malaysian jungle and Sumatran rain forest, and through the deserts of Iran,China and Australia. Along the way, the road is plagued with landslides,earthquakes, whirlwinds and snowstorms.
The authors endure hospitalization,physical assault, and the repercussions of political instability. They have close encounters with monkeys, snakes, yaks, gibbons, Pakistani celebrities and the Turkish military.
Wheels of Adventure, an extraordinary tale of exotic encounters, courage and determination is waiting to be enjoyed by anyone with a sense of adventure.
Life isa Wheel - Memoire of a bike-riding obituarist
The story begins on the Oregon coast, with Weber wondering what he’s gotten himself into, and ends in triumph on New York City’s George Washington Bridge. From Going-to-the-Sun Road in the northern Rockies to the headwaters of the Mississippi and through the city scape of Chicago and Pittsburgh, his encounters with people and places provide us with an intimate, two-wheeled perspective of America. And with thousands of miles to travel, Weber considers—when he’s not dealing with tractor-trailers, lightning storms, dehydration,headwinds, and loneliness—his past, his family, and the echo that a well-lived life leaves behind.
Miles from Nowhere
This is the delightful and often humorous story of an around-the-world bicycle trip taken by two young people, Barbara and Larry Savage.
It took them two years and 25 countries. Along the way, these neophyte cyclists encountered warm-hearted strangers, bicycle-hating drivers, rock-throwing Egyptians,over-protective Thai policemen, and great personal joys. They returned to a new life in Santa Barbara, one Barbara never lived to savor. She was killed in a street accident, Barbara and her bicycle vs. a truck.
We are lucky to have this memoir, throughout which her vitality, warmth and compassion glow.
James Brooman grew up near London, England. He was a guy who rarely cycled or had an adventure, a guy who was scared of the fairground rides as a child. But one day he changed; he became a guy with a quest.
Armed with a bicycle, a toy bear and some optimism he flew to the north of Alaska and for the next two years rode it to the southern tip of South America.
This is his tale and a very inspiring one.
Old Manon a Bicycle: A Ride Across America and How to Realize a More Enjoyable Old Age
In May 2002, putting doubters-and self-doubt-behind him, Petterson headed west. Laboring against strong headwinds, struggling up steep hills, or coping with extreme weather, he sometimes wondered what in the world he was doing. But he kept going-the lure of riding his bike across the Golden Gate a compelling incentive.
Ahead of him lay many challenges-among them, riding his loaded bike over the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada, crossing the Great Plains in brutal summer heat, dealing with the aftermath of a collision with a car, and traversing Nevada’s basin and range country and the Great Salt Lake’s desert.
This is the inspiring story of one young man’s record-breaking solo cycle journey around the world. On 15 February 2008, Mark Beaumont pedaled through the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. 194 days and 17 hours previously, he had begun his attempt to circumnavigate the world in record time.
Mark smashed the Guinness World Record by an astonishing 81 days. He had traveled more than 18,000 miles on his own through some of the harshest conditions one man and his bicycle can endure, camping wild at night and suffering from constant ailments.
The Man Who Cycled the World is the story not just of that amazing achievement,but of the events that turned Mark Beaumont into the man he is today.
A Crossing: A Cyclist's Journey Home
A travelogue in the tradition of Blue Highways and On the Road, this book tells the extraordinary story of one man’s solo bicycle adventure across America–and the spiritual and personal awakening he experienced on his journey.
A deep reflection within and truly inspirational.
Every cyclist dreams of making the Big Trip, the Grand Cycle Tour abroad. Whether that’s a two-week trip or a year-long journey, the Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook is the comprehensive manual that will make that dream a reality. Riding across Asia,cycling in Africa or pedaling from Patagonia to Alaska, whether you're planning your own Big Trip or just enjoy reading about other people's adventures, the Handbook is guaranteed to illuminate, entertain and above all, inspire.
This fully revised 3rd edition includes:
❏ PART 1 – Practical information
• How to prepare for along-distance trip• What to look for in a new bike with reviews of some of the world’s best touring- and trekking-bikes• Adapting a standard bike for the Big Ride• Choosing components, equipment for the road and reviews of camping gear•Health precautions, inoculations, visas, money and safety
❏ PART 2 – Worldwide route outlines
Across Europe, Asia,Australasia, North and South America and Africa; recommended routes within countries and overland. Everything from popular routes eg India’s Leh-Manali Highway to lesser-known cycle-touring areas such as Mongolia.
❏ PART 3 – Tales from the Saddle
Ten first-hand accounts of spoke-bending biking adventures worldwide.
Epic Bike Rides of the World (Lonely Planet)
Discover 200 of the best places to ride a bike in this beautifully illustrated hardback. These journeys will inspire -whether you are an experienced cyclist or just getting started.
The book is organised by continent. In the Americas we join a family bike packing trip in Ecuador; we pedal the Natchez Trace Parkway and stop at legendary music spots; we ride the Pacific Coast Highway in Oregon and California; go mountain biking in Moab and Canada; and explore the cities of Buenos Aires and New York by bicycle.
European rides include easy-going trips around Lake Constance, along the Danube and the Loire, and coast-to-coast routes; routes in Tuscany, Spain and Corsica; and professional journeys up Mt Ventoux and around the Tour of Flanders.
In Asia, we venture through Vietnam's valleys; complete the Mae Hong Son circuit in northern Thailand; cross the Indian Himalayas; and pedal through Bhutan. And in Australia and New Zealand we take in Tasmania and Queensland by mountain bike;cycle into Victoria's high country and around Adelaide on road bikes; and try some of New Zealand's celebrated cycle trails.
Each ride is illustrated with stunning photography and a map. A toolkit of practical details- where to start and finish, how to get there, where to stay and more - helps riders plan their own trips. Each piece shows how cycling is a fantastic way to get to know a place, a people and their culture.
Considered as the "bible" for anyone cycling the Pacific Coast of Canada and the USA.
Covering the almost two thousand miles of the Pacific Coast, an updated guide offers detailed route information from Vancouver, B.C., to the Mexican border, with information on pre-trip planning, road conditions, campgrounds, and more.
A must guide for anyone cycling the Coast!
Grand Adventures - Alastair humphreys
Adventure – something that’s new and exhilarating, outside your comfort zone. Adventures change you and how you seethe world, and all you need is an open mind, bags of enthusiasm and boundless curiosity.
So what’s a GRAND ADVENTURE – it is the most life-changing, career-enhancing,personality-forging, fun adventure of your life.
Following on from his popular Microadventures, in Grand Adventures Alastair Humphreys shines a spotlight on the real-life things that get in the way: stuff like time, money or your other commitments. Grand Adventures is also crammed with hard-won wisdom from people who have actually been there and done that: by boat and boot, car and kayak, bicycle and motorbike. People who had one epic trip then returned to normal life, or who got bitten so badly by the bug that they devoted their life to the pursuit of adventure.
Saving your pennies,overcoming inertia, generating momentum, getting out the front door: if you want it enough, you can do it.
Tiny steps to a grand adventure.
Are you in?
So what’s a microadventure? It’s close to home, cheap, simple, short and 100% guaranteed to refresh your life. A microadventure takes the spirit of a big adventure and squeezes it into a day or even a few hours.
The point of a microadventure is that you don’t need lots of time and money to meet a new challenge. This practical guide is filled with ideas for microadventures – for you to experience on your own or with friends and family – and over 150 stunning photographs, plus tips and advice on safety and kit.
Whether it’s sleeping on a hilltop or going for a wild swim, cycling a lap of the Isle of Wight or walking home for for a family event. It’s time you discovered something new about yourself and the world outside your window.
Adventure is everywhere, every day and it is up to us to find it.
The Doorstep Mile: Live More Adventurously Every Day
Would you like a more adventurous life?
Are you being held back by a lack of time or money? By fear, indecision, or a feeling of being selfish or an imposter?
Living adventurously is not about cycling around the world or rowing across an ocean.
Living adventurously is about the attitude you choose each day. It instils an enthusiasm to resurrect the boldness and curiosity that many of us lose as adults.
Whether at work or home, taking the first step to begin a new venture is daunting. If you dream of a big adventure, begin with a microadventure.
This is the Doorstep Mile, the hardest part of every journey.
The Doorstep Mile will reveal why you want to change direction, what’s stopping you, and how to build an adventurous spirit into your busy daily life.
The smell of lavender at a roadside picnic,waiting for the Tour de France to race past. The Pacific Ocean view from the 10,000-foot summit of Hawaii's Haleakala volcanic crater (after 5 hours of uphill riding). A fresh Fat Tire ale hitting your lips at the new Belgium brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado. These, and a wide-ranging variety of other experiences, all rooted to a specific location or event, comprise The Cyclist's Bucket List. The book definitively catalogs both the iconic and little known-the accessible and aspirational-sensory and emotional experiences that instill cyclists with a deep passion for the sport.
In this book, Ian Dille compiles and showcases the world's quintessential cycling experiences through extensive research and interviews with expert sources, vivid storytelling, stunning photography, and compelling design. The format includes lengthy in-depth descriptions as well as much shorter, easy to consume write-ups, ranging from locations such as Italy and Belgium to Nova Scotia and Texas.
The Cyclist's Bucket List will serve as an indispensible, lifelong guide for every cyclist.
With all these amazing reads, just make sure to get off that couch and hit the road! Experience the real thing because no matter how good these books are, they can never replicate the incredible experiences you have when traveling by bicycle.