And so the research starts….
So. What am I suppose to be researching? A good start so far. Maybe I will just Google Search “how to start planning a world tour”. Ah! There are lots of lovely resources on the Intermenets that will help you decide what should be your initial point of entry into figuring out what you need for a three-year tour, across a multitude of varying landscapes and diverse weather forecasts. Websites with a lot of varying opinions, conjectures, anecdotes, and pretty pictures of people researching the same stuff I am researching. That’s the great thing about not being the first person to ever attempt something of this magnitude: others have succeeded and failed before you. I can learn from their triumphs and mistakes.
I am realizing how the online community will not just impact my itinerary for this trip, but it will also be a large factor in how I approach this trip and what angle and theme it entails. A theme, you say? This isn’t an English literature assignment; this is a big trip, my good man. Well, I love English literature, so why not have a theme, maybe even a genre for this exploratory expedition. There will definitely be a narrative. I hope it’s something out of the fiction section, leaning towards the fantastical, suspenseful and sci-fi subgenres. The online community isn’t just delving into the blogs and websites that start becoming historical artifacts once they are published. It also doesn’t help build any sort of presence if I simply read and respond to five year old articles. I have to stay hip, in the know, up-to-date, radical reformer. This is something I realized all too late, when I tried to reach an audience through my own forum for itinerary suggestions. Forums are a thing of the past, old Ira. Social media is where it is at.
And so I emerse myself in Facebook, Instagram and Reddit. The results are immediate. People are telling me WHERE to start and as long as I am constantly posting, responding, liking, up-karmaing and retweeting, people are giving me megabyte sized portions of food for thought, especially via Sub-reddits around the subject of cycle touring. Asking people, “where should I start?” and “what knowledge should I have?” are great catalysts from dialogue with some veterans of world touring. A lovely supportive community I have discovered and am becoming familiar with.
In regards to my bicycle choice, I think I am going to build one from scratch. I believe that it is the only way I will REALLY know my bicycle and be able to attend to it’s needs as efficiently and as knowledgably as I can. It also forces me out of my comfort zone of purchasing something new, something unfinished, something that will depend on me putting it together and spending time with it. So far, the Facebook cycling touring group has offered several suggestions about which frame I should purchase and I am looking into each option. I am usually a steel frame guy, which someone suggested, but I am open to alternatives, as long as I can find good reason in why I would choose them for a frame that will inevitably take www (world wide whipping).
What do you think about these options thus far?
Salsa Vaya Frameset: http://salsacycles.com/bikes/vaya
ECR Frameset: http://surlybikes.com/bikes/ecr
PS, Here is the bicycle touring forum that is AWESOME on Facebook. Where else should I look to post my questions about places to go and bike inquiries?