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Bicycle Touring Pro

The “Bicycle Touring Pro” podcast is here to help you plan, prepare for, and execute your first bicycle tour and remove all the guesswork, wasted time and frustration that plagues so many first-time bicycle travelers. Welcome to “Bicycle Touring Pro” and the wonderful world of bike travel!

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How To Live A Life of Adventure

This summer I traveled to New Ringgold, Pennsylvania to meet and interview author Cindy Ross, who has been walking and cycling the long-distance trails of North America for more than 35 years. CINDY’S WEBSITE: www.cindyrosstraveler.com CINDY’S BOOKS: https://amzn.to/2HWb5yz Cindy and her husband, Todd Gladfelter, live in a log home that they built themselves for less than $20,000 USD. This is their story and how they have managed to live a life of adventure. Watch the video above to hear how Cindy and Todd have managed to live a life of adventure for so many years… and then watch the video below for a tour of their $20,000 log home and its various outbuildings.  The post How To Live A Life of Adventure appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.


3 Mar 2020

Rank #1

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My Frightening Encounter With A Mountain Lion

 In the summer of 2003, Darren Alff (then age 19) spent two months cycling up the Eastern Coast of the United States on his bicycle – starting in Raleigh, North Carolina and ending in Portland, Maine. Along the way, Darren pedaled his bicycle close to two thousand miles, had some incredible adventures along the way, and met some truly spectacular people. But it wasn’t until Darren cycled out of North Carolina and crossed into the neighboring state or Virginia that this young cyclist would encounter his first wild animal – a massive, golden puma with a thick, long tail sitting on the side of a remote forest farm road. To hear the story of Darren Alff’s frightening encounter with a mountain lion on the back-roads of Virginia, watch the video above or listen to the attached podcast episode. The post My Frightening Encounter With A Mountain Lion appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.


26 Feb 2020

Rank #2

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Can Bicycle Touring Cure Your Depression?

 Hundreds of people try bicycle touring or bikepacking each year as a cure or treatment for their depression. But is a bike tour (or cycling in general) a good cure for depression? Watch the video above or listen to the latest episode of the “Bicycle Touring Pro” podcast to hear my thoughts on the subject of cycling and depression… as well as receive three important tips that you can use if you are suffering from depression and think that a trip by bike might be an adequate means of dealing with the depressive state you happen to be in at the moment.  IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are someone who is dealing with depression, please speak to a professional who knows what they are actually talking about. I am just a random guy on the internet. I don’t really know anything about this subject, so please take everything I say here with a grain of salt and speak to someone who can actually help you! The post Can Bicycle Touring Cure Your Depression? appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.


17 Mar 2020

Rank #3

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7 Ways To Save Huge Amounts of Money With AirBNB.com

AirBNB.com is an amazing online platform that allows you to easily find and rent apartments, houses and a wide variety of properties all around the world. I love staying in AirBNBs… and over the last eight years I have rented dozens of AirBNB properties all around the world. In fact, I have rented so many AirBNB apartments and houses that I have learned some simple, yet effective, money saving techniques that I am going to share with you today. These are my 7 biggest tips for saving huge amounts of money when renting a property on AirBNB.com… 1. Travel During Off-Peak Seasons It may seem obvious, but if you travel to a popular part of the world during the main tourist season, you are going to pay more for your lodging than if you were to go to that same part of the world during a time of the year when fewer people want to be there. This is why I recommend traveling (if you can) during off-peak seasons. If you can go to a popular summer destination during the spring, autumn or (better yet) the winter, you can save yourself significant amounts of money when renting a property on AirBNB. Prices may drop by as much as 50% of more during off-peak months. Plus, you get to experience that place when far fewer people are around! 2. The Longer You Stay, The More Money You’ll Save The great thing about AirBNB vs staying in a traditional hotel is that you can negotiate significant discounts on your lodging by staying for longer periods of time. That’s why I recommend you stay in your AirBNB property for as long as possible. Weekly discount are great, but monthly discounts are even better! If you can, don’t just rent an AirBNB property for one or two nights. Instead, stay for a week or longer! The longer you stay, the more money you’ll save! Discounts of 5-20% are common if you rent an AirBNB apartment for one week or longer, while discounts of 30-70% can be found on some AirBNB properties if you rent them for a month or more! Important note: Not all AirBNB properties have the discount pricing built into their listing, so if you find a property you like and the AirBNB website doesn’t mention anything about weekly or monthly pricing, be sure to write the property owner before renting and ask them if a weekly or monthly discount is available. 3. Always Ask For A Discount While this may be my third tip for saving huge amounts of money on AirBNB, this may be the most important tip of all: “Always ask for a discount!” Every time you rent a property on AirBNB.com, you should ask for a discount. Even if the property is already listed with a built-in weekly or monthly discount, you should always ask for a deeper discount… and expect to receive a 5-10% discount just for asking! I have asked for a discount on pretty much every AirBNB property I have rented… and I have almost always received a discount of some kind. I recommend you do the same! 4. Build Up A Good Reputation On The Platform This is a long-term strategy for saving money on AirBNB.com, but after you have rented several properties on the platform, you will begin to build up a reputation for yourself. Be a good renter and you’ll receive positive reviews from your AirBNB hosts. Those reviews, will in turn, allow you to negotiate bigger discounts with your AirBNB property owners in the future. When an AirBNB host looks at your profile and sees that you have been a good guest for dozens of previous hosts on the AirBNB platform, they’ll be more likely to trust you and feel comfortable giving you a discount when staying with them in the future. 5. Make Sure The Property Is Going To Work For You While this strategy is not something that will necessarily save you money up front, this is something than can save you money after you show up at your AirBNB rental property. The secret here is to do your research and ask the right questions before you rent an AirBNB property, so that once you show up at the house or apartment, you have EVERYTHING you need for your ideal stay. For me, as a digital nomad, this often means having good, fast, reliable and unlimited Internet access. But for you it might mean having access to a dining table, a fully-equipped kitchen or something as simple as a washing machine. Before you rent any property on AirBNB.com, make sure the place is equipped with everything you need for your stay. If you are like me and need a good, fast, reliable internet connection, be sure to ask your AirBNB host about the speed of the Internet (ask them to run a speed test at www.speedtest.net if they don’t know the speed of the Internet in their property) and always ask whether or not the Internet is “unlimited” (as some properties limit the amount of Internet you can use over the course of your stay). 6. Build Positive Relationships With Your AirBNB Hosts A pro-level tip that will save you huge amounts of money when renting AirBNB properties is to build long-lasting relationships with your AirBNB hosts. If you return to the same part of the world often, it might be advantageous of you to build a relationship with your AirBNB property owners so that when you return to that part of the world again in the future, you can ask your host for a discount on your stay (now that they know you and trust that you will be a good guest). I have managed to negotiate massive discounts on some of my AirBNB apartment rentals simply by building a relationship with the host and then returning to that part of the world again several months or years later and asking for a deep discount. It’s a strategy that has worked well for me… and I know it can work well for you too! 7. Earn FREE AirBNB Travel Credits Finally, my final tip for saving money with AirBNB is to do what you can to earn as many AirBNB travel credits as you possibly can. AirBNB.com has a referral program built into their website so that you can share AirBNB with you friends, family members, co-workers, etc. via a special AirBNB referral link that is unique to you and your account. Share this link with the people you know… and if they sign up for AirBNB and rent a property or take part in one of the website’s many unique travel experiences/tours, you will earn yourself an AirBNB travel credit (it’s kind of like free money to be used on the AirBNB website), which you can then use to stay in an AirBNB property at a discounted rate. Over the years, I have earned thousands of dollars via my AirBNB referral links… and the credits I have received from AirBNB have allowed me to stay in dozens of apartments all around the world for either FREE or a severally discounted rate. If you know someone who might be interested in using AirBNB.com in the future, simply share your unique AirBNB referral link with them. They’ll receive a discount off the price of their first AirBNB property booking or tour… and you will receive a FREE AirBNB travel credit, which you can then use to receive a discount off the price of your next AirBNB booking. Important: If you are new to AirBNB and would like to receive a $55 USD discount off the price of your first trip, just click here and sign up with AirBNB.com today! You can thank me later. 😁 The post 7 Ways To Save Huge Amounts of Money With AirBNB.com appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.


18 Feb 2020

Rank #4

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Using WarmShowers.org To Score Free Lodging When You Travel By Bike

 WarmShowers.org is a FREE community-run website that enables individuals traveling by bike to find hosts around the world who are willing to put them up for a night or two during the middle of their travels. If you are familiar with websites such as CouchSurfing.com or GlobalFreeloaders.com, then you are already familiar with the concept. The only difference with WarmShowers.org is that this website has been designed specifically with bicycle travelers in mind… and many of the hosts are bicycle tourists themselves, so they understand the needs of traveling cyclists more than someone on the CouchSurfing or GlobalFreeloaders website(s). I’ve been using WarmShowers.org as both a host and a traveler for more than a decade now and I have stayed with dozens of WarmShowers hosts all around the world over the past 20 years as I have slowly made my way around the planet on my bicycle. The experience of being invited into a strange person’s home and spending the night in their presence can be a bit frightening at first, but in most instances, this experience is incredibly rewarding. As I mentioned previously, many of the people who host bicycle travelers on the WarmShowers.org website are bicycle tourists themselves, so when you stay with someone on the WarmShowers list, you will almost instantly have something in common to talk with your hosts about. Many of my hosts have been quick to share the photos, videos and stories from their own bicycle touring adventures with me when I have stayed with them in the past… and swapping stories is a great way to instantly connect (host and traveler) during this somewhat uncomfortable initial exchange. While there are many benefits of using the WarmShowers website to find free accommodations when you travel by bike, there are some disadvantages to using the WarmShowers list (or any of these other free lodging travel websites). As I discuss in the video/podcast at the top of this page, the main reason I so rarely use the WarmShowers website myself is because I find the back and forth exchange of emails with the hosts to be extremely difficult and time consuming when I am traveling by bike. Often times, when I’m traveling on my bicycle, I am not in an area where I have phone or internet access, so I have to go to a public library or find another way to access the WarmShowers website in the first place. Then I need to send out an email to at least one or more WarmShowers hosts in the area where I wish to stay. This email usually needs to be sent several days in advance, so your hosts know when they can expect you to arrive at their home… and the act of estimating the time of your arrival in a far off, unknown city can be extremely difficult when you are traveling on a bike. Finally, there is the issue that many of the WarmShowers hosts simply never respond to your requests for free lodging… or if they do respond, they may respond too late. By the time you arrive in town, you have yet to receive a response from any of the hosts, and are forced to find accommodations elsewhere. Sometimes the email exchange between hosts and traveler is quick and convenient, but many times it is not. And this is the main reason I have personally chosen to only use the WarmShowers website in rare instances. The other reason I rarely use the WarmShowers website (and this is something I did not mention in the video above) is because after a long day of cycling, I find it exhausting to have to be social and entertaining with my WarmShowers hosts. I don’t want to just come into their home all tired and smelly and then completely ignore them. I want to be a good guest… and that usually involves staying up and talking with them (sometimes late into the evening). After a long day of cycling, I usually just want to take a shower, eat some good food and relax or go to bed. I don’t want to have to be extremely social (which I find to be quite tiring) and/or stay up late talking with my hosts. While I do rarely use the WarmShowers website nowadays, there are three main instances when I look to WarmShower.org as a source for free accommodations… The first and most common reason I use the WarmShowers website is because I am traveling into a big city and I don’t want to pay the overinflated prices for accommodation in that city. For example, the last time I was in London, England, I stayed with some people on the WarmShowers list instead of paying outrageous fees for a hotel. The second instance when I usually opt to stay with someone on the WarmShowers list is when I am either starting or finishing a bicycle tour. This is especially true when I am flying into a big city at the start or end of one of my bike trips. This is a good time to use the WarmShowers list because with my airplane tickets booked well in advance, I know exactly when I will be arriving and departing in that city… and I can easily communicate with my WarmShowers hosts well in advance to let them know what my plans are. In some instances, a WarmShowers host may even come to the airport to pick you up…. or will drive you to the airport at the end of your bike tour, which not only gets you a free place to stay on your travels, but also a free ride to or from the airport as well. Finally, I will stay with individuals on the WarmShowers website when I am conducting a short, circular-style bike tour with my vehicle. I will drive my car, for instance, to a city where a WarmShowers host is located. I will spend one night with the WarmShowers host and then leave my car at their home for a number of days while I go off on a multi-day bicycle tour. Then, at the end of my trip by bicycle, I’ll return to my vehicle at the home of the WarmShowers host, where I will take a shower, visit with my hosts once again, and then take off either that same day or the following day in my vehicle. This is not necessarily the way that the WarmShowers website was designed to be used, but it is a way that I have repeatedly used the WarmShowers service for myself, and it is something you might also like to try for yourself in the future. So, there you have it! That’s a quick introduction to WarmShowers.org – a free, community-run website that enables individuals traveling by bike to find free accommodations from a network of hosts all around the world. If you have not yet signed up for WarmShowers (as either a host or a traveler), be sure to head on over to the WarmShowers.org website right now to sign up. And if you are already a member, leave a comment below and let me know what your experience has been with the website. Have you hosted others traveling by bike? Have you stayed with WarmShowers hosts on your own bicycle touring adventures? What have been the best and worst moments when using the WarmShowers website for yourself? And what advice or recommendations would you give to others who hope to use the WarmShowers website for themselves in the future? The post Using WarmShowers.org To Score Free Lodging When You Travel By Bike appeared first on Bicycle Touring Pro.


7 Feb 2020

Rank #5