With a touring bike, a strong set of wheels, a rack and some panniers you can go anywhere. There’s no better way to travel long distances than by bike – they’re slow enough for you to take in every sight, sound and smell, but fast enough to do 100 miles a day.
There’s no reason that a well-looked-after steel or titanium touring bike won’t outlast you. Steel has the advantage of being weldable pretty much anywhere in the world, which could get you out of a bind, but titanium is lighter. Both can carry all the kit you need.
When it’s not being used for globe-trotting, your tourer will make a great cycling all-rounder. The comfortable riding position is perfect for long distance commuting and day-to-day riding, and its load carrying abilities mean you can use it for your week’s food shopping too.
While not designed for hardcore off-roading, most touring bikes will cope very well with poor road surfaces, potholes, towpaths, gravel tracks and the like. Wide tyres with deep treads grip well and shrug off punctures. A light tourer will be fast enough for sportives too.
For 365-day use
Your tourer can double up as a winter trainer – your best bike stays in top nick and mudguards keep you and your friends free of muck in the rain. A steel tourer with an old or turbo-specific tyre is also a sensible choice for turbo training sessions.
Find your perfect touring bike
Cycling Plus has been getting touring bikes since 1992 – subscribe here! And our companion website Bikeradar is also a brilliant place to find all of the latest touring bike reviews
Rob has been pedalling Cycling Plus since 2007. His first proper road bikes were a Raleigh Sprint in the early 1980s and then a Trek 1000 in 1999. A former competitive runner, Rob has repeatedly threatened to become a competitive cyclist in every discipline from time-trailling to hill climbing to bike polo. We're still waiting.