An Absolute Beginner, no practice, no experience, not even a regular cyclist! I must be crazy :)
Stephen Peel

Stephen Peel

Cycling Around the World

So your not a Cyclist

 

OK, so your not a cyclist and you want to go cycle touring? Great

 

First, you at least have to be able to stay upright on a bicycle without training wheels and be able to at least cycle to the shops and back, even if they are just around the corner, but that's pretty much it. 

Well, there is a little bit more...

Aside from being able to turn the pedals and not fall over, you are going to need to be able to brake safely, turn safely, check for loose parts and make sure everything is working OK and safely. You are going to have a good knowledge of road safety, so if you have a driving licence and can drive, that's great and will be fine, but for those that have never had a driving or motorcycle licence, you are going to have to get stuck into the highway code and get road smart. 


You are going to be taking up road space, meaning you are going to have to know what the important road signs mean, directional signs, road marking, which side of the road you should be on, how much of the road you should be using and positioned, hand signals and so on. I know this is all obvious stuff to those who travel on the roads daily, but for those that don't, its a matter of life and death stuff. 


Stop signs, give ways signs, go signs and many more have distinctive shapes. For instance a stop sign is octagonal, so if its covered in snow maybe you will know what it is. A lot of countries around the world share similar signage including shapes of signs, but it won't take you long at all to adjust to another countries road rules once you have a good understanding of your own.


Another thing, health and fitness. This is a tricky one, as long as you can turn those pedals safely and can see where you are going and hear things around you, and after some standard health checks and a pass to do this from your doctor, you could be ready to go. I have a damaged spine and nerve damage throughout the whole of my right side, asthma and other ailments, no spring chicken either, and there are people out there touring with limbs missing, hugely overweight too, and some suffering illnesses you wouldn't believe. 


The riding a bike bit is the easy bit and you don't need more than a good days practice, but the other stuff I have outlined here may take a little longer for some, but it is important, so do your homework.