Bike travelers take to the Southern Hemisphere

One look at the Weather Channel temperature map at left confirms that much of the US is locked in frigid winter weather.

If you layer up, you're probably OK for bike commuting or riding your bike on an errand, but long-distance bike tourists are in for chilly riding during the day and colder camping at night.

There are lots of bike travelers on the road, however. You'll generally find them in the Southern Hemisphere where it's late spring.

In the left column I've listed a baker's dozen bike tour blogs under “On-the-road bike travelers.” Some are either approaching or south of the equater right now. What adventures are they having while the rest of us are slipping on our booties and tearing through our gear looking for balaclavas?

Family on Bikes

The Vogel family at Family on Bikes just celebrated their arrival at the Equator last week. This was a big deal for the 11-year-old twins, Daryl and Davy, and their parents John and Nancy. Davy noted, however, that even though they were at the equator, it was cold as they were high in the mountains of Ecuador.

They've ridden their bikes 10,000 miles from Alaska and are halfway toward realizing their goal of making it to the tip of South America. You can follow their adventures at their Family on Bikes website, or catch Nancy's frequent updates on Twitter.

Cycling the Americas

You might remember Scotsman Mark Beaumont as the world-record holder for a solo around-the-world bike trip — 195 days. That record has fallen, but Beaumont is still bicycling.

Now he's blogging Cycling the Americas in conjunction with the BBC. He riding from Anchorage, Alaska, to Ushuaia, Argentina, at the tip of South America. Mark is a great storyteller, and he gets a lot of meaning out of what he experiences. For instance, he writes about a visit to an earthquake ravaged town in Peru:

“I was in the area for less than 24 hours, but have been left very saddened by what I experienced. In truth I found it hard to re-motivate myself on the bike to the task ahead, which didn't seem quite so important as it had before, in the context of the struggle for basic human existence and rights that I had seen.”

Riding the Spine

Also headed to Ushuaia are the guys at Riding the Spine. After suffering some low morale, perhaps triggered by the non-stop winds of Patagonia, their confidence has improved as they've crossed the border from Argentina into Chile.

You can also read about some of their adventures in the latest issue of Wend magazine.

Big Africa

At The Big Africa Cycle, Peter Gostelow left his home in the UK in August and now he's pedaling through Morocco. In addition to undertaking the bike tour for the pure challenge of it, he's raising money for the Against Malaria Foundation.

Take on Africa

The UK's Helen Lloyd is bicycling across Africa on her quest to ride from Cambridge to Cape Town, South Africa. She writes at Take on Africa about her recent arrival at St. Louis, Senegal.

She using her bike travels to raise money for the Welbodi Partnership and to learn “why the world's poorest people live in Africa and what can be done to change this.”

The New Bohemians

Bob and Claire Rogers are exploring Southeast Asia on their tandem bicycle, which recently surpassed 40,000 miles of touring in Canada, Australia and now Cambodia. Their New Bohemians blog features amazing photos.

Northern Hemisphere

Not everyone is traveling south of the Equator, however. Eric and Amaya at World Biking Tour last wrote about pedaling across western Texas. The folks at Solar Cycle Diaries are heading south out of San Francisco on Route 1.

They may not be in the southern hemisphere, but they are avoiding the coldest weather.

Not so the Harrison family. Calling themselves the Pedouins, the five-member family that's riding a quintuplet bike from Kentucky to Alaska are on windy plains of the Texas Panhandle. They are spending some time in Slaton, Texas, while they make modifications to their bike and trailer.

Check out these travelers' adventures on these cold winter days. It may spark an idea for you to set off on your own bike travels when the days get longer and the temperatures warm up.

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