Online resources

A series of links pointing to a wealth of inspiration and practical information. These resources have helped us immensely in the preparation for our big trip.

Hospitality

Warmshowers – a site for cyclists who are hosting other cyclists. Great to share stories.
Couchsurfing – reciprocal hospitality

Budget

Wanderwheels – A detailed breakdown of the cost of their trip from the North to the Southernmost tip of the Americas
Cycling Home – the cost of cycling from Sweden to Thailand, nicely visualized with pie charts.

Bike maintenance

The bike repair app offers a basic offline bike repair manual. With tutorials, tips and tricks for newbies and experienced bike techies.

Visums

Caravanistan is the go-to place for constantly updated Silk Route visum info. Invaluable information if you plan to travel the ‘Stans! Please donate if you use their information, to help Steven and Saule keep Caravanistan online an updated.

Visum stamps - collect them all!
Visum stamps – collect them all!

Maps

We use a couple of different offline map apps, which are more or less handy depending on which country you visit and if you have an Android or iPhone. We have both. Offline maps are a necessity as online maps would cost a ton of data, and you are not always in an area with reception. We also carry paper maps for planning ahead and as a back-up should digital fail us. These are usually not detailed enough for everyday cycling as you can not find the smaller places and roads you would want to use as a cyclist.

Open Street Map The paid version of OSMand+ gives a lot of bang for your buck if you have an Android phone. Great maps which can be downloaded per country or province, very user friendly in planning cycling routes, you can add altitude lines and hillshades, quite good up to date info on shops, bank machines, tourist attractions and other useful locations. It’s an open source initiative so it’s a couple of euros well spent for the developers community behind the app.

Maps.me is our best choice for iPhone. It is based on the OSM maps but doesn’t have as many features as OSMand+.

Pocket Earth is comparable to maps.me but we haven’t used it much since you can not plan routes if you are not online. A plus are the altitude lines.

Google maps is not very useful, since you can only download small areas to your phone. Strangely enough it has a lot of useful info on Chinese locations, even though Google is prohibited there. We use google maps on our macbook to plan ahead when we are somewhere with wifi.

This is a map of bike shops worldwide. It is being updated by many cyclists, so a beautiful open source project, by and for the cycling community.

Inspiration

These are the blogs of the friends we made while on the road. They have done or are doing similar trips to ours.

The Bicycle Diaries – Tim and Jess were planning to cycle from the UK to Istanbul. The last time we checked they were in Japan! We cycled, camped and shot the breeze with them in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and West China.

A Wheely Long Journey – We met the UK twins Lou and Charlie on their journey from the UK to Hongkong. They kept the rubber side down and did everything on the bicycle, even the long stretch along the Taklamakan desert.

The World Ahead – Toni and Daniel (aka Russiaaaa) we met for the first time in Istanbul. They followed much the same route as us but we didn’t see them again until Chengdu. A very insightful and well written blog (if you read German).

Verena is a solo cyclist we keep meeting again and again: in Batumi, in Tbilisi, in Tehran, in Chengdu.. where will we meet next? Although usually she is speeding ahead of us.

Steffi and Adriano aka the BimBoms are a Swiss couple who are addicted to the Tajik BimBom sweets. Adri and Steffi are great companions on the road, we enjoyed cycling (and being violently ill) together with them in Tajikistan.

We met Gerrit first online when we did research for out trip. It was great to meet him in real life in Khorog, Tajikistan. His detailed blog is in Dutch.

Mark and Petra are a Dutch motorcycle couple. I got to enjoy a day trip on the back of the motorbike in Sary Tash while waiting for Cyril. They are on their way from Switzerland to Nepal, and beyond.

Chloe and Will of Whalebone are cycling the world on a tandem. They even did the fearsome Tajik Wakhan valley. Currently they are cycling home to the UK from an assignment in South Africa. We surely hope to see them again, in the UK or on the road.

Two in a billion is a German couple we first ‘met’ through instagram. In Chengdu we spent a nice evening over some fiery hotpot.

Our Chengdu posse Sarah and Scott of Long Rode Home, Rae of Boat Girls Bike Trip and Bikes and Nick of Cycling Elsewhere. They are all cyclists who started in Europe and settled in China for a while to earn some extra travel budget by teaching English. When we met them they were all ready to hit the road again, so their blogs will bring new inspiration.

There are so many great blogs out there.. here are a couple that inspired us. A lot of bicycle travel diaries can be found at crazyguyonabike. Again, consider donating if you use this resource extensively; this site also is run by one guy who needs help to keep it going.

Here is a extensive list of Cycling Websites- compiled by Doug Jantz. I haven’t checked all of them but since it is really long it might be of use to newbies.