What sort of bike do you ride?
When I set off on my first long-distance cycling trip, I rode a Trek Dual Sport 1, a hybrid trail/commuter bike which I bought at Evo Cycles in Christchurch, New Zealand. I had no idea at the time if I would enjoy touring, so I wanted something with resale potential that wasn't too much of a financial commitment. I now have a Kona Sutra 2017, which I highly recommend for touring.
Aren't you afraid, cycling by yourself?
Sometimes, yes. But I try as much as possible not to let that fear be the thing that stops me doing something. Of course there is a fine line between fear and prudence and there have been times when I walked away from a situation because I was a woman by herself, situations I would have pursued had I been with others. Know what you are capable of, think about the potential consequences if something goes wrong and make a considered choice based on those factors, rather than bailing because you are frightened or doing something stupid just for the sake of spitting in the face of your fear.
Why don't you cycle with cleats?
To cleat or not to cleat? To begin with I didn’t use cleats because they would have been one more thing to buy and learn how to use. After thousands of miles without cleats, I’ll stick to cycling in runners. One cyclist I met said people had been cycling without cleats for over a century, so why shouldn't he. Another said that from what she had heard and read, cleats could be the cause of a lot of the knee problems associated with cycling because they locked the leg into a fixed position. As soon as she told me that, I started noticing how many minute adjustments I made to my foot position every day, adjustments that would have been impossible had I worn cleats. Plus, sneakers have the advantage of being versatile enough to go from bike to trail and back again without changing shoes.
www.adventurecycling.org – a Montana based organisation, the Adventure Cycling Association is source of maps, route information, gear lists, cycling tips, and very friendly staff. If you are considering a cycle tour of any length in America, I highly recommend checking out their maps.
www.warmshowers.org – where would the cycling community be without Warmshowers? An incredible couchsurfing platform designed specifically for cyclists. An absolutely invaluable resource.
www.campendium.com – free and paid camping sites in the United States
www.thepursuitzone.com/the-pursuit-zone-podcast – a great podcast interviewing adventurers from around the world (including me!)