The World Tour
A lot of people have asked about my world tour, this is what it’s about and answers to some common questions:
Like many young people in developed countries At a young age, I decided I wanted to see a good portion of the world for myself. For myself and other as well I’m sure this is fueled by TV (mostly nature shows and news) , school, EXPO and the travel of other family members (mom, dad, uncle Gerald) and Monty Python.. Late in my bicycle racing career I started thinking about what to do with my life next. I separated the list of all the things I wanted to do into before you settle an after you settle. On the before I settle list I had so many different things to see and do around the world so I started to think about how I could accomplish all this. I was already 5 years behind most of my peers on a working career and never made much money. So I figured the lowest cost way to accomplish all the things I want to do and see is a one time, one way trip around the world During my second last year of racing a friend suggested that I do a world masters championship now combine that with uncle Gerald’s back packing adventures sounds so cheap and research that says flying is bad for the planet lead me to decide that I’d go to Australia for the world masters and back pack back by surface doing as many interesting things as possible. Basically I’m satisfying my curiosities about the world or at best I’m just out experiencing the diversity of the world while it’s still there.
When did I switch to the bicycle?
I was in Siem Reap Cambodia 3 months after my last race at Christmas carnival in Tasmania, when I saw a couple trek 520 touring bikes so I stopped to talk to the owners- a couple from Montreal and it took them about 30 seconds to convince me to swap the bus ticket and the backpack for another bike. The reason are: In SE Asia get off the well beaten tourist track. Learn more, more independence… and possibly cheaper Re the last point most money saved on lodging and transit is spent on food and lodging as it takes longer.
What do you ride?
I’ve had two bikes on this tour and they have been very similar. I followed the suggestion to tour on bike when I was in Cambodia and it’s not really a cycling nation. Most of what I found were cheap new Chinese city and mountain bikes. Neither of which I figured was suitable for a big long heavy tour. But after checking several shops in Phnom Phen I lucked into an old Japanese city bike. It had been a 5 speed but was rebuilt as a single speed. How old? I know the parts were good because they were made of alloy by SR a once popular Japanese bicycle parts maker. I figured they were from the 60’s because the cranks were held in place with a cotter pin. At first I thought the cottered cranks were a bad idea but they served me well from PP to HCMC where I had to eventually switch them because a mechanic damaged the original pins and I couldn’t find new ones that were hard enough. Several pins later I ended up buying a square taper axle and cranks
Was it good for touring?
Yes great. Simple. Easy to fix or to get fixed. It turned me on to 26 x 1 3/8 tires aka 650a and 37-590. this is the most common wheel size ever. In fact I’ve only been in 3 countries were I haven’t been able to get replacement tires- Laos, Nepal and Andorra.
Bike 2 was a similar bike but new and the victim of a restoration and modernization- 16 speeds, drop handle bars, and 700c wheels.. I de-modernized it to being a singlespeed with 26 x 1 3/8 wheels. It’s been working well for me since the accident that finished the first bike in Japan.
Why are you riding a single speed bicycle?
I chose single speeds and fixed for a few reasons. Much wider availablity of parts, cheaper parts that are usually more durable. ( I wore out a 21 speed (3×7) drivetrain with poor maintance and a little abuse when I was 19 in only 3 months-I was hesitant to move to 8 speed on the back on my bikes since then and haven’t yet made the move to 9 10 or 11 on any of my bikes) 12 years of track racing as a sprinter affords me the power, torque, strength to do as I please. I’m not racing so if I end up walking a few meters of up hill there’s no loss. And my years training and racing fixed has made me pretty much more comfortable on a single speed bike than I am on a multispeed bike.
I recommend looking into the area in which your are going and picking a simple bike. Everything from wheel size to Transmission even brake pads can be the difference between rolling on and taking a bus to a big city and wasting time there looking for parts… or worse waiting to have parts sent from home. For Instance if you go to India you will find mostly 28 x 1 ½ tires and some 26 x 1 3/8. and maybe some mountain bike tires in smaller centers. 700C although popular in much of the world can only be found in big cities in India. Another example is I met a couple of Germans with Magura hydraulic rim brakes. I wish them luck because they will have to order every brake bit they require from Germany. I did once work in a shop in Quebec that had parts for those brakes but have never seen parts anywhere else. Of touring bicycles I’ve seen on the market… a Trek 520 or a Surly long haulturcker seem to be the nice classic touring bikes.
Have I ever had anything sent from home?
Yes. I but not while I was traveling. I was working in Hanoi and needed a new bottom bracket to go with a crank I had bought there. I was lucky my friend Martin in Montreal sent it to me. I’ve had contact lenses and some papers that need to be signed sent from Canada to Vietnam. And I’ve met with and uncle who winters in Thailand and has once brought me more contact lenses and Christmas gifts when I was able to meet with him in Asia. In Europe I had a few thing brought to me and a few things sent- contact lenses (strangely not a good thing to send, twice has caused a delay in customs) and some cameras.
What do you carry?
too much… start with the 4 cameras… but that a whole other story. Then add stuff to fix my bike, camping gear- cooking set, tent, sleeping bag, clothes for hot weather, clothes for cold weather, hiking, snorkelling and toiletries. All my gear weighs about 65 kilos
is it hard?
Touring the world is the hardest,, most complex undertaking I’ve ever attempted: coordinating finances, timing, day to day survival- food, shelter, working though bureaucratic red tape (visas border crossings)… luckily I’m a Canadian and I’m on a bicycle so it is often easier than it is for people of other nationalities and easier than those using more complex transportation- camper, motorcycle… The problems encountered are innumerable variable and frequent But at the same time it has taught me the most, wowed me the most and has been the most rewarding. But It doesn’t have to be; I hope I haven’t made cycle touring sound too difficult because it isn’t like many things in life cycle touring is as hard as you make it. My tour is fairly tough because I chose to do an extremely long tour, through many conditions. I don’t have 10s of thousands of dollars backing me and I want to finish before I’m too old so I can do a few more things with my life.
Have you been to any Dangerous countries?
Nope not really most people are good…. but the traffic in any country can be dangerous if you are not careful.
Where have you been?
1. Burma- 1 entry~2 hours ***
2. San Marino- 1 entry~3 hours
3. Monaco- 2 entries~4 hours**
4. Vatican city-?? entries
5. Lichtenstein- 1 entry~6 hours
6. Kosovo- 1 entry~7 hours
7. UAE- 1 entry~10 hours
8. Andorra- 1 entry~24 hours
9. Luxembourg- 2 entries~26 hours**
10. Hungary- 1 entry~28 hours
11. Macau- 1 entry~ 2 days
12. Montenegro- 1entry~3 days
13. Hong Kong- entry~4 days
14. Slovakia- 2 entries~4 days
15. Wales- 1 entry~4 days
16. Finland-2 entries~4 days**
17. Estonia-1 entry~4 days
18. Slovenia- 3 entries~5 days
19. Latvia- 1 entry~5 days
20. Norway- 1 entry~5 days
21. North Ireland-1 entry~5 days
22. Singapore-2 entries~ 1 week
23. Serbia- 2 entries~1 week
24. USSR= Russia and Ukraine- 1 entry~1 week* ***
25. Denmark- 1 entry~ 1 week
26. Lithuania- 1 entry~ 1 week
27. Belgium- 3 entries~ 1 week
28. Malaysia-2 entries~ 1 week
29. Poland-1 entry~ 10 days
30. The Gambia-2 entries~10 days
31. Bosnia-2 entries~10 days
32. Mauritania- 2 entries~ 10 days
33. Czech Republic-2 entries~ 10 days
34. Croatia- 4 entries~10 days
35. Macedonia-2 entry~11 days
36. Trinidad-2 entries~2 weeks*
37. Iceland-1 entry~2 weeks* ***
38. Sweden-2 entries~2 weeks
39. Cambodia-2 entries~2 weeks
40. Austria-3 entries~2 weeks
41. Albania-3 entries~3 weeks
42. Portugal-2 entries~3weeks
43. Switzerland-3 entries~3 weeks**
44. South Korea-2 entries~3 weeks
45. Holland-3 entries~3½ weeks
46. Bulgaria- 3 entries~4 weeks
47. Laos-3 entries~4 weeks
48. Scotland-1 entry~1 month
49. Germany-6 entries~1 month
50. Senegal-3 entries~1 month
51. Indonesia-1 entry- 31 days
52. Spain-4 entries~6 weeks
53. France-5 entries~6 weeks**
54. NewZealand-1 entry~ 65 days
55. Greece-4 entries~10 weeks
56. Nepal-1entry~10 weeks
57. India-1 entry~2½ months
58. Romania-2 entries~11 weeks
59. Japan- 1 entry~80 days
60. Turkey-1 entry~90 days + current
61. Thailand-6 entries~92 days
62. Australia-2 entries~112 days
63. Morocco-2 entries~125 days
64. England-3 entries~4½ months
65. China- 3 entries~6½ months
66. Italy-?? entries~12 months**
67. USA-?? entries~13 months**
68. VietNam-3 entries~17½ months
*exclusively not part of the ongoing world tour (October 2007 to May 2020[?est])
** visited on the world tour and at another time
*** I have not ridden a bicycle in this country
If you have any questions post it in a comment… comments welcome as well