Breaking Chains and Not Burning Rubber

BREAKING CHAINS - Freedom: Cycle touring is the greatest way I have found to experience freedom. Whilst I celebrate mine I hope to help others gain and realise theirs, and protect ours, by fundraising for Amnesty International

NOT BURNING RUBBER - Environmental Awareness: Cycling is one of the most efficient and sustainable modes of transport. It's slow speed allows you to become more aware and connected with our surroundings, and therefore the pressures that they may be under. I intent to have a minimal negative impact on the environment whilst I travel, and will share my observations and experiences about my journey, environmental issues, and sustainable living here:

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Nature's Rights, Boliva

"Bolivia is set to pass the world's first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans. The Law of Mother Earth!" The Guardian

This is amazing and it will be interesting to see how it develops. Read more:

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Say cheese

I'll be honest I'm new to this trying to get publicity lark......But if I'm going to raise a few quid (or bucks) I have been told, by more than one,,,,that I need to have a facebook group, a twitter account, put posters up, join cycling groups, write to mags, call the pm, e-mail everyone you know...and raderara.....

e-mails have been sent,
expedition and cycling clubs joined
and I spoke to a Don-key!
Oh, and I have joined twitter...but god knows what I do with that....can anyone help???!


We had a wee bit of snow here in Christchurch on Monday. So it made a good scene for a few photos. Thanks Clara!
It's the one for my poster.
The words on the T-shirt say it all I think....

For bikers, I have added mudguards, a few stickers, got my bags sorted, and fitted an extra bottle holder to the handlebars.

Friday, 22 July 2011

First Sponsor!

A massive thanks to top Kiwi-bloke Jamin Booth for been the first to sponsor me and donate to Amnesty International. Cheers Bro!
It's great to get the ball moving.

I have already kindly been donated some equipment from a few others;
Gloves - Kai Chan (Hong Kong)
Buff - Daniela Grossenbacher (Swiss)
Head torch - Theresa (German)
Saddle - Mark at (Australian)

As promised I will match the cost of donated gear, so the counter will get another good boost!

It's awesome that all 5 donors are from different countries ;)

I must admit whilst sorting the gear out for the expedition is pretty much ticked-off. Figuring out ways to promote and find sponsors is still in the early stages. So this will be the focus for the next few weeks.....

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Gearing her up

Well last week my hubs finally showed up, so I legged it down to the touring-bike shop to get the wheel building process under-away.
Then on Saturday I was the proud owner of my first pair of hand-build wheels, and then spent the rest of the day stripping the bike down and dressing her up with all the new components I had been accumulating, with the help of the boys down at the local bike shop;
- 8 speed cassette (previously 7 speed)
- Gear shifters / break levers
- V-brakes!! front and back (pre. cantilevers)
- bottom bracket
- crank-set
- chain
- Derailleur
- raiser handlebars
- Ergonomic Grips with bar ends
- Brake cables
- Gear cables
and of course
- wheels

$1000 plus all up but the test ride clearly showed the difference:
- More upright riding position is far more comfortable
- wider bars give better steering
- much faster and incredibly smooth
- crisp and clean gear changes
and the extra gears, upto 24 from 21, will definitely come in handy with all the hills I am planning on tackling :)

All in all she now feels like a bike I could (and will) cycle 1000s of k's on.

Will give a more in-depth break-down of costs soon, and there has been a few more additions to her through the week.

Monday, 11 July 2011

"Starting positions please"

Well the start date has been sorted....19th August!
So that leaves five and half weeks to sell everything, finish my course, get my bike sorted (where are my hubs!!!), gather all my gear, hug a bit more of NZ's flora, and get my fitness up a few levels.

- Selling everything: going pretty well, on-line auctions are handy for this. This is what will to be funding my trip, (sorry expedition!) so is my priority for the next couple of weeks.

- Course: Do my homework.

- The bike: see last post. Plus name still needed.

- Gear: coming together nicely. Thank you Theresa in Canada for sending me my new Stove, Water purifier, and head torch! Thank you Daniela from Switzerland for the neck tube (Buff)!!
Need to make a final decision on: whether to take my notebook (small laptop), if I really need a new phone (one with gps would be nice!), is my tent really big enough (small one man), and what solar charger to buy (notebook and phone decisions needed for this). Clothes sorted!

- Saying goodbye to NZ: earthquakes seem to make it easier for some reason.....

- Fitness: Cycling as much as possible (will ramp it up over the next month), swimming (the sauna is great for escaping winter :) ), and yoga (great for the mind, and for stretching those tight cycling legs).
*Lonely Planet gives a pretty in depth pre-cycle-touring fitness guide. But I prefer one expedition cycle websites advice which was; that when you are going on such a long ride you have plenty of time to get your fitness up...:) *

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Keep the wheels going round...

Apologise but this is a wee bit of a rant with information between the lines.

Getting the right wheels for the trip is proving to be a bit more difficult than expected, or maybe I am becoming a cycle-touring snob.....
Following my usual level of research (= check as many cycle-tourist / trekker blog / websites as possible until I get side tracked), I decided I must have hand assembled Sun Ryhno lite rims, shimano XT hubs, with 36 swiss made DT spokes per wheel!
Well my local helpful bike shop just suggested a factory made set of mountain bike wheels with "god forbid" 32 spokes! Around $170 each
And the local cycle-touring friendly shop seemed more interested in the current wheels I had...
Was this quality advice or good-old Kiwi "she'll be right" attitude...?
Well after a few flicker thoughts of me stuck in the middle of the Amazon jungle with a bust wheel and a voodoo doll of Christchurch cycle shop owners, and what I would like to think is respect for (what will hopefully be) fellow expedition cyclists, I decided to stick to my guns and order the Sun Ryhno lite rims...36 hole!

**In an inspirational cycle-expedition book called "Cycling Home from Siberia" I seem to remember the only major problem he had with his bike on the whole trip was a rim busting. Plus I met a female cycle tourist in NZ whilst on my last tour who had a bust rim. You can replace spokes, fix chains, patch tubes, but you only have two rims (and hubs for that matter) and need both of them. I might sound theatrical but I like to take signs like that seriously**

Mountain bikers use DT spokes, great - not a problem..
Hubs with 36h...yes hubs with 36h. we have a problem;
The cycle-touring friendly shop had one pair, but the front was for road bikes...hurmm. Agreed at first, but then got the brain flickers again. So "no, I need mountain bike ones".... "Ah, can only get them for disc brake bikes". Ah....
So I ordered some "XT's!!" from the other side of the world (yes I know not very sustainable, but I can't beat globalisation all the time). Then after a week of waiting they came back with a "sorry the distributors have cancelled that line". Hurrmm... well now another overseas on-line shop has promised me a set of Shimano Deore hubs 36h, no disc space (*the disc space means the wheel spokes have to be less dished, and therefore puts more strain on the spokes*), great!

So there we are, I can't make anymore preparations to the bike until I get the wheels. Handlebars, gears, brakes, and grips will have to wait another few weeks.... good things come to those who wait apparently....;)