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Friday, July 2, 2010

How To Bike Across Europe

EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23:  Ben Cat...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Biking across a continent is no easy task, but that's not to say it's impossible. Some days you may bike more, some you may bike less, you will be blessed with sunshine and cursed with downpours, but throughout you will see towns and people that you otherwise couldn't experience. Follow these tips for travel success and the trip of a lifetime.

1. Bike: You will want a mountain bike with gears. There are tons of accessories that you may deem important, such as water bottle holders, bike computer (to check your pace), a rack, fenders to keep your back dry when it rains, panniers, and an extra comfortable seat. Many European states require a bell by law, which is good for alerting the locals that you've arrived.

2. Packing: Don't overpack.

- You will want a few pairs of biking shorts, rain gear –probably Gore-Tex, not jeans because they're bulky, some leggings and wool socks in case it gets cold. Casual clothing for the evening is important but try to reduce it to a minimum.

- Bring a tool kit which includes standard bike maintenance stuff like Allen wrenches, a pump, screwdrivers, and a lock. Knowing how to change a flat is a must and basic bike shop skills like fixing a broken spoke are also helpful.

- A lock is important, but keep in mind that if you stop at a museum for the day your panniers will be susceptible to theft – it's best to bring your bike inside or leave your panniers with a guard or someone who can watch over them. Line your panniers with garbage bags so that when it rains your items don't soak.

- You should also have a handlebar bag which will store your most important items – wallet, return Europe airline ticket, camera, etc.

3. Planes: Usually you will have to box your bike, which can be done by removing your pedals with a pedal wrench (from your tool kit). The left pedal is threaded backwards so you will have to loosen it clockwise. You may be able to get a box at the airport. Transporting your bike by train is usually easier, and a short train trip can be a welcome relief from those days spent biking.

4. With: You can go solo, with a friend or with a group. You choose!

5. Route: Plan a general route ahead of time, but don't be afraid to depart from it to see what's off the beaten path – that's part of the journey. It's necessary to have good maps; you can find some that even have the steepness of hills. The countries you visit will depend on the time of year you travel, and what you want to see, but take into account headwinds and the season.

Biking is a different way of exploration – it lets you be part of the countryside whereas a car lets you drive through the countryside. Each day will be filled with ups and downs – literally, but that's part of what will make it the best trip of your life.

Whether you are thinking about a local weekend gateway or a month long international adventure, the experienced agents at , the Brooklyn Travel Agency , will provide you with all your travel solutions including Europe airline tickets and cheap flights to Israel .
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