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Messages - petervanglabbeek

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I did the same race, without GPS, and never made it to Paris :)
So for the race: YES
Traveling: NO
I prefer not to take gadgets.

Need a Bicycle Touring Partner? / Re: Patagonia
« on: February 19, 2010, 03:43:49 PM »
There are so many cyclist out there that I am sure you will not have to cycle alone.
Have a fantastic ride in this wonderful part of the world!

EVERYTHING ELSE! / Re: Contemplating a trip
« on: February 19, 2010, 03:41:01 PM »
I did the same 5 years ago and never returned.
The best decision I ever took.
Go for it. Try to have no time limit and don't set a goal, just a direction.
If you start with crossing the US, definitely have a look at
It works great in the US and you will meet wonderful people.
Don't plan, don't get fit, go for it!

Middle-East / Re: Visa for Syria and Jordan
« on: February 19, 2010, 03:32:09 PM »
Probably by the end of this year. First hanging around Europe in spring and summer. In autumn we will follow the good weather to the south. I am very interested in the Middle East. Syria and Jordan must be wonderful!

EVERYTHING ELSE! / Re: Jokes ...
« on: February 19, 2010, 03:27:13 PM »
Last night i was cycling home when I saw an old VW Beetle parked on the shoulder.
Two blond women were panicking around it. I asked if I could give a hand. One woman told me that the car broke down. At the same time the other woman was opening the front of the car and said: look here, no wonder it doesn't work, we've lost the engine! I decided to help and opened the back side. Then the other woman cried out: look here, we still have a spare one!

Europe / Re: Traveling in Europe is not expensive!
« on: February 19, 2010, 03:11:11 PM »
walking might be a little cheaper, no spare parts.
it is slower too, which is good.
i just don't like that pack on my back!

In general I prefer to wear clothing made of natural materials. Cotton, wool, silk, etc.
But I have to disagree with what has been written above about fleece and wool.
Fleece is not heavy. Synthetic materials, like fleece, are about twice as light as wool for the same insulation properties.
The only material that beats synthetic is down, but it is useless in wet conditions.
It is true that fleece stinks easily, but it is also very easy to wash and dries really quickly.
Merino wool is indeed a fantastic material, but its properties are sometimes exaggerated.
Many mountaineering and polar expeditions have failed because of woolen clothes freezing.

In answer to the initial post. I do wear bike pants on all my trips. Only in Iran and Pakistan I put some long pants over them in the cities. Almost everywhere in the world cyclists use cycling clothes, like soccer players use shorts and soccer shoes everywhere. The first days in Iran I cycled in long pants. But some local road bikers, of course in bike clothes, told me it is silly in this heat. I agree with Monkey, the bike shorts work.

I usually wear an old long-sleeved shirt, to protect the arms from the enormous amount of sun you receive on a bike tour.

A friend of mine used the Shimano sandals with SPD. She really liked them. And she looked comfortable in them. I think she took the clips out of the shoes when she was about to walk a lot. It is easy with an Alan key. One think I noticed is that her feet got really sun burned, with the funny pattern of the sandals and her feet were always very dirty from the dirt that comes of the road. Minor problems, but something you can keep in mind.

I take the following cloth on a long bike tour:

1 cycling shorts
1 long sleeved shirt to cycle
2 pair of socks, one for cycling, one warm
1 pair of cycling gloves
1 buff
1 cap with flaps over ears and neck
1 thermal shirt
1 zip off pants
2 100g fleece jumper/vest
1 wind and water proof jacket
1 pair of good water and wind proof gloves
1 pair of water proof pants
1 warm hat
1 underpants
1 pair of cycling shoes
1 pair of very light sandals
1 pair of booties for over my cycling shoes

This equipment took me across deserts, tropical rain forests, Tibet and the Andes with temperatures ranging from -20 to +50 degrees.
If you don't expect extremely cold weather you can leave one fleece jumper and the booties at home.


South Pacific / Re: Australian maps
« on: February 19, 2010, 06:03:00 AM »
I used some kind of road atlas of Australia.
I bought it somewhere in a bookstore in Darwin.
It showed some important dirt roads and most paved roads.
So, to me it was a great map, just 25 dollars or so for the whole continent.
Unfortunately I forgot the name. I will try to remember.
But you will find this kind of maps everywhere in australia.

Middle-East / Visa for Syria and Jordan
« on: February 19, 2010, 05:50:30 AM »
Who has recent experience with visas for these countries?
Is the Syrian visa hard to obtain in Turkey? Which city is best?
Can I get the Jordanian visa at the border? Or otherwise in Syria or Turkey?
Are any Letters of Invitation needed?

Clothing for Bicycle Touring / Re: Waterproof Clothing / Over Suit
« on: February 19, 2010, 05:41:54 AM »
Here a link to the rain gear most Dutch people wear. Only in Dutch I am affraid:

Clothing for Bicycle Touring / Re: Waterproof Clothing / Over Suit
« on: February 19, 2010, 05:38:22 AM »
I have been using the same Vaude rain jacket for 5 years. It was not cheap, but it is still water proof.
It is red, with reflecting stuff on it. It hasn't been a problem for wild camping.

But I have to say that on my trip it didn't rain a lot. I used the jacket mostly as wind stopper. On cold days with a fleece jumper underneath.
I biked in total maybe 10 days of rain in Europe, none in Asia, none in Australia, 30 in South America (in 2.5 years) and 3 in North America. Usually the rainy weather only lasts a day or two and you can decide to do something else. In the rain seasons in the tropics the rain falls usually in a few hours in the afternoons and it is anyway too hot to wear rain gear.

Only in very wet areas you really need good rain gear. Like Patagonia, west coast of New Zealand, west coast of Norway, UK, north west Europe. If you have time, even in those regions you can wait for the good weather to come.

In the Netherlands many people cycle to work. Also when it rains. Therefor almost everyone owns a rain suit that you can wear over your working suit. You can buy them in many places, like HEMA for example for about 30 Euro. It is usually pants and jacket together. They are quite baggy, not designed to fit tight and the material is not breathable. You just cycle a bit slower and you won't sweat as much. I don't think breathable material works as well as we are told. I think the difference is really only 20-50% or so. But the price difference can be about 1000% (10x more expensive). I still sweat in my expensive Vaude jacket.


The Bicycle / Re: How to choose a bicycle?
« on: February 19, 2010, 05:11:46 AM »
Personally I don't think too much about geometry. I ride my mountain bike around the world because it felt good to me when I tried it.
Of course I took a frame of roughly my size. But just by moving the seat pole and the handle bars a bit, the bike quickly felt good.
I got my bike from a sponsor in Chile. All the poor components that were on it, because nothing better was available, broke in a few weeks (aluminium rear rack, cheap saddle, stand). All the good stuff, like the XT group, still lasts after 20.000km. To me, good components is really the most important. Especially the rear wheel.

Europe / Re: Traveling in Europe is not expensive!
« on: February 19, 2010, 05:00:14 AM »
Good tricks biciclown. Definitely the rural areas are easier to find a place to pitch a tent.
I think that in cities people are friendly as well. But it is hard to break through the mask they wear in the streets.
Hospitality networks like couchsurfing are a good way to meet locals even in the most touristy metropoles.
In extremely hospitable countries like Iran or Colombia you can even get invited to stay with people in a busy market in the city center.

Middle-East / Re: Open borders between Turkey and Iran?
« on: February 19, 2010, 04:53:21 AM »
I also think there are only these two border crossings. In 2005 I took the northern one, which is very easy. And like Stephane writes, very beautiful. A friend of mine took the southern one in the same year. He encountered quite a heavy army presence and militairy check points. People warned him for the bad and dangerous Kurds, but of course his experiences with these hospitable people were different. The border crossing itself was not a problem. I have seen his pictures of both the Turkish and Iranian sides. The scenery looks fantastic! It seems to be all quite remote, nothing like the excellent paved highway of the northern crossing.

While on the Road / Re: Personal Hygiene ...
« on: February 16, 2010, 11:27:05 AM »
I think it is a very interesting topic.
For me, I care very little about grooming. I don't use soap or shampoo, but try to swim as often as possible, in Europe this means almost every night. No shaving or combing hair. If no swimming opportunities I sometimes go as long as 3 weeks without any shower or good wash. I only wash my ABC's (arse, balls, c*ck) with some water out of a bottle. No deodorant. I rinse my clothes with water, also no detergents.
Usually I sleep in a house at least once every 2 weeks (friends, invited by strangers, couchsurfing, warmshowers) and then I have a good shower and wash my clothes. This happens to be enough to stay healthy, I never got strange infections or anything.

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