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Thread: Bad Boy On Tour

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan

    Bad Boy On Tour

    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 Rinko bagged it down to Odawara (Rinko is a bag you put you bike into, you take the wheels off and the bike becomes a package you can then take on the train) and we set off.

    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!
    Last edited by Stuart Ablett; 04-10-2012 at 03:33 AM.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Stu, I'll bet part of you wanted to keep going with him. It sounds a like a wonderful adventure. Have you estimated what his total riding mileage will be when the trip is over?
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
    “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” - Oscar Wilde

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Satko View Post
    Stu, I'll bet part of you wanted to keep going with him. It sounds a like a wonderful adventure. Have you estimated what his total riding mileage will be when the trip is over?
    Hard to say Bill because his route is not planned out much, but I will say the Japan leg should be about 1500 Km and the Oz leg will be at least 4000 Km.

    I would like to go with him, but I don't know if I'd want to camp every day, getting a bit too old to be sleeping on the ground for 9 months
    I might hook up with him next Sunday, I'd take the Shinkansen down to where ever he is, ride the day and Shinkansen back.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Stu thanks for sharing this info and all the details. I learned a great deal i did not know about progress in the biking world. I just love the innovation.

    I think your buddy is riding for more than just himself. I hope he has plans to do some kind of blog or website etc of his trip, it could be a great source of inspiration for him to get info and comments and support from the greater community out there.

    What an adventure especially the places he is going through. Wont be no easy feat to tackle crossing Australia. But just getting to that starting point will be a very interesting trip.

    Whats his language skills like with regards to non english languages. I presume he can get by in Japanese and probably from what you say Korean but any mandarin or other language.

    I bet you gonna miss him a great deal when you turn around and find he aint there to have chats to anymore. There is no subsitute for face to face chats.

    Hope Tim has not done any damage to his knee with overdoing it in the beginning that is going to set him back on his trip. He probably should have started out a little slower but thats easier said and done when you face that kind of distance especially when there is a time deadline.

    I admire a guy that can cut free from the normal shackles and go ride/walk about. Send him our best wishes for a safe and succesful trip when you next connect with him.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Rob and anyone else, here is Tim's blog.....

    I've been iMessaging him all day, here is a little update.

    He has cut his stuff down a lot, I got a box of stuff in the mail today, and he sent a box home too.

    As Tim had time to kill I got him to weigh stuff so he knew what was what.

    Tim 95Kg
    Bike 20Kg

    Large dry bag 8Kg
    Backpack 6Kg
    Handlebar bag 3.5Kg
    Front Left Pannier 4Kg
    Front Right Pannier 3.5 Kg
    Rain Gear Bag 2 Kg
    Clothes Bag 2Kg
    Rear Left Pannier 7 Kg
    Rear Right Pannier 7Kg
    Cables and locks 1 Kg
    Total gear 44Kg of gear

    He says that 8Kg of that is consumables, the energy bars he bought and the extra can of white gas he bought. So when that extra stuff is gone he will be down to 36Kg of gear 20Kg of bike, that is getting into a reasonable area for touring, I bet he will get rid of more stuff as it becomes obvious what is of use and what is not. He will also bet much more bike fit and lose some weight himself.

    Today he went down hill towards Numazu, starting out early and taking it easy, he says his knee feels fine, so he did a full day mostly flat or slightly down hill,then along the coast for 72Km. His bike is a lot lighter and he says he has given up mashing gears and is spinning as much as possible. He is stealth camping tonight somewhere near Shimizu in a park near a raised overpass.

    He'll get on a WiFi sometime tomorrow and update his blog.

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    North West Indiana
    Stu, you are a good friend. Thanks for this information, hope he is successful in his endeavor as that is something he will have with him forever.

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Plainwell, Michigan
    Bookmarked his blog, this is going to be an interesting voyage, best of luck to Tim and thanks for sharing this one Stu

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
    What I would have liked to have done when I was young! Glad you mentioned the bit about the ferry, tough. He doesn't even have the right initials...

    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Plainwell, Michigan
    OK being one not familiar with the metric system, I had to do the conversion, 5500 Km between Japan and Oz land equals 3417.541 miles

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Wow! I don't think I'd even attempt this in a car.

    Stu, nice of you to help your friend out.
    Chinese Proverb: Man who eats many prunes gets good run for the money.

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