One of the MANY reasons I've not been doing much woodworking of late is I've been helping to send a buddy on his way home to Australia.
I had a good send off for my buddy Tim on Sunday, we rode only 42 Km together but he earned every single kilometer, let me tell you the story.
Tim is a great guy, has been a good friend now for a few years, easy to talk to and always willing to lend a hand, he is 37 and from Australia, he had lived in Japan for 12 years, he taught math and science at the Korean school up the road. This last Christmas he went home to Oz and for the first time felt like he should be there not Japan, so he decided when the school year ended at the end of March he would not re-up his contract but instead head home to Oz. The he decided that he would ride his bicycle home to Oz
His bicycle is a Cannondale Bad Boy that he bought a few years ago, basically a flat bar 700C wheeled urban bike, not really the bike you want to go on tour with.
This bike is a good city bike, but turning it into a touring bike....? I suggested that he sell it and buy a real touring bike, but that was not in the cards. We then spent the better part of a month transforming it into a touring bike.
That is what we came up with. His plan is to tour Japan from Tokyo down to Okinawa (using a ferry or two of course!) then over to China, and down through SE Asia, next a hope over to Cairns in Australia and home to Melbourne, quite the trip, and he hopes to be there by Christmas this year. He is kind of between lives now, having finished up in Japan and not yet committed to anything in Oz yet, so why not an adventure?
The bike... We changed from the tall skinny so so 700C wheels to hand-built super tough 32 spoke 26" wheels, and we went from rim V-brakes to cable pull Disk brakes. The 26" wheels should be better for finding spares, and they are much tougher, a friend built them, and they are heavy duty. We built the front wheel around a Shimano Dynamo hub. We also got a Tout Terrain "The Plug II" electrical doodad that boosts the power coming from the hub. Now he can run the very good lights he has, Philips SafeRide 60 up front and the great rear SafeRide light out back, he can flip a waterproof switch and power the charging system. He has a 5000 mAh cache battery that is charged while he rides, and this can charge his iPhone, iPad, Garmin GPS unit, or a charger will charge the rechargeable double and triple A batteries he has for things like the head light you wear on your head around the campsite or other flashlight batteries. This is a big deal, as on the road using these electronic tools is great, but you are always looking for some where to charge them up, now you don't have to stop to do this. The racks are Tubus racks, they are all chromoly and very good, but as this bike is NOT a touring bike it does not have the threaded hole in the middle of the fork leg to accept the bolt from the rack, Tubus has a kit which is basically a pipe clamp. I did not have any confidence in this so I made a strut for each side to make sure the rack could NOT collapse under weight.
The silver part in the pic. You can also see the pipe clamp, which now does not hold any weight but keeps the top part of the rack close to the fork leg, much better!
We went over every thing on the bike, replaced poor quality bolts with good quality stainless steel bolts, put either blue Loctite or never seize on them, depending on the application. Everything was adjusted, and a new chain was fitted. I gave Tim a good mini seminar on fixing things, from flat tyres to installing a new chain. I set up a decent tool kit with some spares, but not too much stuff. We did fill his tubes with tyre sealant as well.
Tim left Tokyo on last Saturday....
Boy his bike was heavy!
The plan was for him to go from Tokyo to a place called Odawara, unfortunately he left rather late and had to push really hard to get there on day one, he should have stopped sooner, as he ended up stressing one knee, well that and his bike was at least 80Kg loaded (176lbs!!).
I met up with him on Sunday, I
From the start I could see that his knee was bothering him, I kept up a constant banter telling him to use a lower gear, up his cadence etc. Soon we were stopping at least twice an hour and icing his knee, then we were walking up hills as his knee could not take it.
A nice peaceful road through a small village
a pic of my Lrrb (Long Ride Road Bike) with some cherry blossoms.
We finally made it into Gotemba, well short of our original goal, but it was hard fought just the same. The last 5 Km or so Tim was pedaling with only his right leg! That night he booked himself into a hotel and just rested the next day he moved to a campsite just down the road and then rested, today he said he move another 20 Km or so, slowly, to another campsite and rested. His knee is feeling much better and he is going to now take it easy, maybe only 50Km a day max for the next week, and he is going back to the coast, with a lot fewer hills to climb. He put his bike on a massive diet too, got rid of nearly 20 Kg of stuff!!
On his first day he did an amazing trek out of Tokyo with a very heavy bike and still managed 92Km!
All in all it was a great day, long, we left at 9:30 AM and stopped at 6:30 PM but we must have walked at least 5 or 6 Km as I had a blister on my foot from walking that much
I know he wanted to get more miles in but really in two days he did 134Km with a stupid heavy bike and he is not close to being bike fit yet.
I got in a total of 75 Km by the time I got home, I did a blast down to Mishima station to catch the Shinkansen home, then a few more kilometers from Shinnagawa to Shinjuku.
One reason we saw a few hills is because of where we were......
Mt. Fuji is so very impressive as you get closer to it!