Monthly Archives: October 2019

15 most annoying habits shown by cyclists

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Cycling with others can be great fun, the shared experience of riding along some crisp tarmac, enjoying the fresh air and stimulating conversation. It can also be quite irritating. Some riders have annoying habits that can build in their irritation during a long stint in the saddle. Here are some of the worst.

1. The Snot Rocket

Placing one finger carefully over one nostril and firing out a slug of snot from the other one is one sure-fire way of clearing your nasal passages – which is all well and good, as long as it’s not directed at the rider behind you or done when you’re stopped at the traffic lights in front of a group of horrified on-lookers.

2. The moaner

We’re cyclists, and therefore always like a bit of moaning, but there’s a limit. The weather’s too hot, the weather’s too cold, the roads are rubbish, your bike is creaking, someone else’s bike is creaking, did you see that stupid article about annoying cycling habits on that website… etc. There’s a saying that pain is weakness leaving the body and moaning is it going back in.

3. Rampant pothole pointer

Let’s be clear – as politicians like to say – that pointing out genuine hazards on the road for other members of your riding group to avoid is a very good thing. Potentially life-saving, in fact. But there are those that point at every little blemish on the road’s surface, causing undue alarm and swerving, and making it hard to determine when a real danger arrives.

4. Not pointing out potholes

… And following on, there’s nothing worse than riding in a group to have your back and/or front wheel nearly broken by an unseen chasm in the tarmac. Or tyre-shredding pile of glass. Or angry-looking venomous snake.

5. Know-it-all

“You need to get in the right gear, mate”. “Oh no, I wouldn’t eat that if I were you”. “You’re going to boil in that jacket on the first hill”. “Your saddle isn’t high enough you know”. We all know someone who likes to dispense advice, whether it is welcome or not.

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6. No turn at the front, AKA the lazy sprinter

You know the sort. Hanging at the back of the pack on group rides, chatting away and not putting their nose into the wind at the front. Until the last 500 metres, when they can claim the ‘victory’ with their fresh legs after everyone else has been dragging them around the lanes for three hours.

7. Cheery fit person

“Afternoon!” says the super-fit, super-fast cyclist as they zip past you on a hill so steep you are struggling to fight off the effects of gravity. They weren’t even out of breath.

8. The secret guffer

What’s that odour? Could it be a farmyard? Then the realisation dawns on you that you have breathed in gases that were resident in the rider-in-front’s digestive tract just a mere few seconds before. Not nice, really.

Read More- 6 road trips in India every motorbiker must go for!

9. Confession addict

Some riders treat cycling as a mobile confessional, telling you their cycling shortfalls and woes, such as how they haven’t been out much in the past few weeks, or that they haven’t oiled their chain for a month. Before vanishing up the road.

10. Drink nicker

There’s often someone who hasn’t brought enough drink, or perhaps not brought a drink at all. So they ask whether they can have a swig of yours, thereby depriving you of your fluid intake. This is perfectly excusable until the same person does the same thing on the next ride.

11. KOM hero

There are those who launch themselves at top speed along some seemingly insignificant stretch of road. You usually find them sat in a crumpled heap a little way further on breathlessly muttering ‘Strava segment’.

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12. Put the phone away

Selfies while cycling. No thanks.

13. Route bore

Someone who produces an Ordnance Survey map out of their back pocket before you have even turned one pedal stroke, and then proceeds to describe the many route permutations that you could or could not take. It doesn’t matter how many times you look at your watch, there’s always another lane that could be included in there or avoided. “I don’t care, let’s just get going”.

14. Wheelsucker

Related to the ‘lazy sprinter’ (see above), the true wheelsucker doesn’t even bother to try and keep up on the climbs, instead getting dropped – meaning that you have to wait for them at the top. And your thanks for waiting for them? Getting attacked on the next downhill or flat section after they have sat on your back wheel to get their breath back.

15. Litter lout

While the preceding points may have you shaking your head in disagreement and ready to post an angry reply in the comment section, there is no conceivable excuse for riders who chuck their gel wrappers, old tubes and anything else at the roadside.

6 road trips in India every motorbiker must go for!

Motorbiker only a biker can tell how amazing an experience it is to be riding through roads that are beautiful. That feeling of the soothing breeze blowing you over, and the ever changing drama of nature’s changing forms are things that can’t be explained within the limits of a few words. The good part is that our country is home to routes that are highly suited for motorbiking enthusiasts. Routes that are challenging, yet, showcase the best of what Mother Nature can enthrall a traveller with.

Here are some of the best motorbiking trips and routes in India. Ride solo, or pick the one you love and let the wheels take you on a journey to remember…

Delhi to Leh

Although it is one of the most popular motorbiking trips in the country, a ride from Delhi to Leh can throw up huge challenges to even the best bikers. A trip which lasts for about 15 days, the ride from Delhi to Leh is filled with myriad adventures and sights that are stunning to say the least. This route takes a rider through Chandigarh and then to Manali, from where the real climb begins.

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The landscape gradually changes from urban cities to Himalayan villages and snowy mountains and finally ends in the rocky and stark desert-like terrain of Leh. Dangers on the way are many as the route takes a biker through some of the toughest roads in the country, including Khardung La, the highest motorable pass in the world.

Shimla to Spiti Valley

A motorcycle ride from Shimla to Spiti Valley will let you get enchanted with some of the most stunning sceneries one can experience in Himachal Pradesh. Right from the mix of green and snowy hills of the Shimla region, the landscape gradually changes towards a more rocky yet more beautiful valley on the upper reaches of the state.

While on one hand are the charming snow-capped peaks, on the other are waterfalls, gorges and the occasional green meadows with herds of sheep grazing in Kinnaur and then the sudden starkness of Spiti Valley. The ride is strenuous and full of challenges due to the snake-like narrow mountain roads, sharp inclines, and rocky terrain making it even more difficult.

Bangalore to Kannur

If you are a motorcycling enthusiast living in the city of Bangalore, feel lucky for you have one of the most beautiful routes to ride on. We are talking about the journey from the urban town of Bangalore to the lush green environs of Kannur in Kerala. The ride is picturesque and makes a rider feel great with amazing views of roving cliffs and mesmerising greens of the valleys.

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Besides, there are several lakes on the way, where bikers can make pit stops and have delicious meals at the local restaurants. For reaching Kannur from Bangalore, a biker has to ride across beautiful destinations like Nagarhole, Tholpatty, and then Kuthuparamba from Manandvady, and finally Kuthuparamba before reaching Kannur.

Siliguri to Yuksom

Keen nature lovers and travellers would agree that the eastern part of the country is home to some of the most beautiful mountains in the country. You can have one of the best motorbiking experiences on roads connecting Darjeeling and Sikkim. On one hand are the stunning panoramic views of Mt. Kanchenjunga and other great Himalayan ranges, lush green environs on the other are a great charm as well.

Some of the highlights of the motorbiking trip from the town of Siliguri in West Bengal to Yuksom in Sikkim are the colourful towns of Kalimpong, Pelling and Gangtok, which also make for great pit stops for the journey.

Bhalukpong to Tawang

If you are keen to enjoy natural beauty of the northeastern part of India, a motorbike ride from Bhalukpong to Tawang is one of the best ways to experience that. While this route is known to showcase the best of this region’s vegetation, birds, flora and fauna, it also proves to be challenging for riders at more places than one.

There are tricky turns on the twisting mountain roads, high inclinations, landslide areas to cross, waterfalls passing through the way and a lot more that can make the journey a tricky one. The snow-covered roads, usually around year end, make it an even more exciting experience.

Read More- Cycling the Southern Loop of Yellowstone National Park

Mumbai to Trivandrum

Although it is not one of the most common routes to go on a motorbiking trip, a ride from Mumbai to Trivandrum will offer the finest combination of sea and hills. This coastal ride takes a rider through numerous beaches and unparalleled beauty of these lush green hills of the Western Ghats.

With this one, you get to ride across some amazing coastal destinations, including the hugely popular beach town of Goa, and the tourist-friendly towns of Kochi and Alleppey in Kerala. On this route, a rider can enjoy the beauty of nature’s varied forms including beaches, hills, forests and the backwaters as well.

Cycling the Southern Loop of Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most famous outdoor areas in the world – known for its stunning scenery, impressive animal life, and (most of all) its widespread thermal activity. Yellowstone, after all, is located in the caldera of one of the world’s largest super-volcanoes. It’s no surprise then that the planet’s most well known geyser (Old Faithful) calls Yellowstone National Park its home.

While Old Faithful may be the attraction most visitors to Yellowstone National Park come to see, there is a whole lot more to this protected parkland than just a single regularly erupting pocket of hot water. Yellowstone National Park, while not necessarily known as a cycling destination of any kind, is actually a fantastic place to conduct a short 3-7 day cycling adventure… as you will see if you simply watch the video below.

Yellowstone National Park

In this article we’ll be discussing what it’s like to cycle around the southern loop of Yellowstone National Park – parking your car near the Grant Village Visitor Center on the western edge of Yellowstone Lake and then cycling in a circle for approximately 3 days (95 mi / 152 km) while stopping along the way to explore some of Yellowstone’s most iconic geysers, thermal pools, waterfalls, rivers and other points of interest.

Driving to Yellowstone & Parking Your Vehicle

While it is possible to cycle into Yellowstone National Park on your bicycle, most people who visit the Park come in a motor vehicle. If you’re coming to Yellowstone in a motor vehicle with the goal of cycling around the Park for several days, then you’ll need to find a place to safely park your car for the days you are away on your bike… and the best place to do that is at the Grant Village Visitor Center on the western edge of Yellowstone Lake.

Just outside the Grant Village Visitor Center is the backcountry office. Go into that office and tell them you are planning to cycle around the Park for a few days and that you need a safe place to park your car for the days you’ll be away on your bike.

The people in the backcountry office will ask about your intended route and then, they should, give you a permit to place in the window of your vehicle. This permit is basically a piece of paper that says which day you plan to return to your vehicle… and states that you are away on a multi-day bike trip.

Once you’ve received that permit for your vehicle, ask the people in the backcountry office where you should park your car, truck or van. The location of these parking spots may change depending on the time of year you visit the Park and which person you ask. When I visited Yellowstone National Park in late September, I was asked to park my van in the parking lot across from the US Post Office right outside the Grant Village Visitor Center.

Place the permit for your vehicle in the front window of your car, truck or van and then load up your bicycle. Your bike tour through Yellowstone National Park begins right now!

Read More- Five Bike Rides in Five National Parks

Camping & Permits

Wild camping or free camping (whatever you want to call it) is not allowed in Yellowstone National Park. You can’t just camp wherever you want (unfortunately). If you are planning to cycle across the Park, you need to camp in either one of the large, designated group campgrounds or in one of the few backcountry campgrounds scattered throughout the Park.

During my 3-day bike tour in Yellowstone National Park, I spent two nights camping in the larger established campgrounds and a single night camped out in one of the backcountry campsites along my route.

If you are traveling on a bicycle, there’s no need to make reservations in advance if you plan to spend the night at the large established campsites. Each campground has a designated area for hikers and bikers… and if you show up at one of these campgrounds on your bicycle, they will make room for you – no matter what! (Don’t quote me on that though.)

If, however, you plan to spend the night at one of the backcountry campsites, some advanced planning is required. First of all, not all backcountry campsites are accessible by bicycle. In fact, most of the backcountry campsites are only accessible on foot and most trails in Yellowstone do not allow bicycles of any kind. So, do your research in advance and know before you go, which campgrounds you’ll be able to access with your bicycle.

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Once you do decide on the backcountry campsites you want to stay at, you’ll need to get a permit before you can camp. To get this permit, simply pay a visit to the backcountry office in the Grant Village Visitor Center before you take off on your tour. Tell them where you want to camp and which night(s) you plan to stay there. If no other campers have already claimed that campsite, you’ll be issued a permit for a single night of camping in that location.

As you can see, backcountry camping is risky and does require both some planning and good luck, as these campsites can fill up fast in the prime tourist season (summer)… and you might discover, only upon reaching the Park, that the backcountry campground you wanted to stay at is already booked and you can no longer camp there.

What to See & Do

There are a million things to stop and see, do and explore in Yellowstone National Park. If you’re cycling the southern loop of the Park, however, I recommend you stop and see:

  • West Thumb Geyser Basin
  • Natural Bridge of Yellowstone
  • LeHardy’s Rapids
  • The Mud Volcano
  • Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
  • Norris Geyser Basin
  • Artist’s Paintpots
  • Firehole Falls
  • Grand Prismatic Spring
  • Biscuit Basin
  • Black Sand Basin
  • Old Faithful
  • Lone Star Geyser

Each and every one of these attractions has been marked on my cycling map of the southern loop of Yellowstone National Park. Click here to download the map.

Roads in Yellowstone

Before going to Yellowstone, I had been told that the roads in the Park were really bad, narrow and dangerous. Other tourists in the Park echoed these sentiments… and the Park Rangers themselves warned me to be careful when cycling around the Park on my own, as the roads were narrow and the drivers would be distracted.

Despite all the negative things I had been told about cycling in Yellowstone National Park, I decided to give the Park a try… and to be completely honest, I don’t know what everyone was talking about!

I found the roads in Yellowstone to be on par with any of the roads one might cycle in the United States. Yes, there were a lot of cars (usually passing in big groups with 20-30 vehicles driving past all at once, and then a short time afterward with no vehicles passing at all). And yes, the shoulders were kind of narrow in some sections, but if you are accustomed to cycling in the road anywhere else in the world (or anywhere else in North America), you’ll find the roads in Yellowstone National Park to be about the same as what you would expect just about anywhere else.

Traffic is drastically higher in the summer months, so keep that in mind. Non-peak seasons are the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park if you are planning to go there with a cycling trip in mind.

Be sure to pay attention to the vehicles around you. Drivers are limited to going no more than 45 miles per hour when they are within the Park (which is a good thing), but those same drivers are often times distracted by the animals and natural features around them, and they may not be looking for a cyclist on the side of the roadway. Make yourself visible, use a mirror if you think it will make you feel more comfortable, and stay alert for distracted or reckless drivers whenever you are cycling on the roads within Yellowstone National Park.

Important Things to Keep in Mind

First of all, theft is not a big concern when you are cycling in Yellowstone National Park, but it’s a good idea to bring a good bike lock with you when touring Yellowstone by bicycle. Not only will you need to use your bike lock when staying in the large established campgrounds, but you will also want to use your bike lock any time you step away from your bicycle to explore the numerous geyser basins, waterfalls and other tourist attractions within the park. When you do leave your bicycle, be sure to remove any valuable items from your bicycle and carry those items with you as you walk around the Park.

Secondly, there are large, dangerous animals in Yellowstone National Park and these animals are a serious threat to individuals traveling on a bicycle. Do not approach bison or bear within the Park and be sure to practice safe food handling techniques when camping in the established campgrounds and in backcountry campsites. While the larger campgrounds will have metal bear boxes provided for you in which you can store your food and toiletries, hanging your food is a recommend practice when spending the night in any of the backcountry campsites.

Finally, be sure to practice safe cycling while in the Park… and be a good representative of the cycling community for bikers who may come after you. Cycle only on the roads and trails where bicycles are allowed; wear a helmet; ride safely in the shoulders and take the lane only when necessary; smile; be friendly; act smart; pick up your trash; properly dispose of your waste when backcountry camping; share your campsite with other cyclists when need be; and be a good representative of the cycling community.

Got Questions? If you have any questions about cycling the southern loop of Yellowstone National Park… or you need help planning your own Yellowstone cycling adventure, leave a comment at the bottom of this page and I (or someone else in the Bicycle Touring Pro community) will respond to you within a matter of hours/days.