Ryan Van Duzer’s expert tips on planning a cycling vacation, part 1
By Aimee Heckel
Since Ryan Van Duzer rode his bike from Honduras back home to Colorado in 2005, he has shown no signs of slowing down.
Van Duzer, of Boulder, Colo., was recently in Guatemala to film a short documentary for a nonprofit there. Last week, he was in Aruba for a film competition affiliated with the Marriott tourism board. He’s headed soon to an adventure ranch in Tucson, Ariz. And this summer, he starts filming a series for the Travel Channel, where he’ll bike around Sonoma and Napa valleys in California.
He also is one of 25 finalists — out of 600,000 applicants worldwide — for the role of Outback Adventurer for Tourism Australia’s “Best Jobs in the World” promotion. If he wins, he’ll live in the outback for six months and share his Aussie adventure with the world.
Needless to say, “Duzer” knows bikes.
A few years ago, he rode a New Belgium Brewery cruise 3,000 miles cross-country to promote bike-riding. He rode down the West Coast in 2010, and the East Coast in 2007. We wanted to know the expert tricks and tips on how to plan a successful, fun and inexpensive cycling vacation, so we tapped his brain. Here’s how it went down:
ShopAtHome.com: Do you bring your own bike on the plane or do you rent a bike when you get there?
Ryan Van Duzer: I’ve always brought my own bike. The most important thing is you want to be comfortable. If you’re miserable on the bike you rented, you’re gonna hate the trip. If you really love your bike, bring it.
SAH: How do you bring a bike on a plane?
RVD: You pack it into a box. Go to a bike shop and ask for an old bike box. They give them away for free. Take apart a few pieces so it fits in the box and check it just like it’s luggage. It costs $150 bucks on most flights, but it’s free on Frontier.
SAH: What bike do you ride?
RVD: Nothing special. A Trek 8000 that I bought when I was in the Peace Corps in Honduras, to bike to villages and schools. When I finished, I jumped on that bike and rode it home to Boulder, and that was my first bike adventure. It’s just a simple mountain bike with slick tires so it’s faster. I strap a little trailer to the back to carry all my stuff and rock and roll.
SAH: What bike trailer do you use?
RVD: The Bob trailer, a standard trailer people use for bike touring. If you’re doing a long tour, it’s good to have a trailer or saddle bags. You want to be able to carry your tent, sleeping bag, jackets, cans of beans and tortillas.
SAH: Cans of beans?
RVD: Yeah, powered by frijoles, man.
SAH: Is that what you recommend to eat?
RVD: You don’t really want to carry a ton of food. Keep emergency rations, some energy bars. I always have tortillas and peanut butter. Peanut butter is the super-food. I make peanut butter and honey tortilla wraps. Cans of beans are cheap and have a lot of protein.
You don’t want to skimp on the food, because your body needs the energy to be healthy. But it can be cheap. Go to grocery store, have picnics, stay away from the restaurants.
SAH: Do you use a camping stove?
RVD: I have never bought a stove. I eat every thing cold. I eat simple foods: a can of beans in tortillas, shredded cheese and hot sauce — a little cowboy camp out.
With stoves, you have to carry it and it takes a long time. You’re starving all the time because you’re burning so many calories, so you want to shovel in the food as fast as possible.
Read more tips of Ryan Van Duzer’s cycling vacation in part 2 of the story.
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Photo of Ryan Van Duzer and Nick Albini riding through Eastern Texas on their cross country trip from San Diego to Tarpon Springs Florida.