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The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions, and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world. My Plan

My 3 Books
I write, self publish and sell books about touring

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Places I have been
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How can I afford this?)

India and Neighbors
May 2010 to present

Alaska / Canada / USA
May 2008 to April 2010

New Zealand
Sept 2007 to May 2008

Australia
Sept 2006 to Sept 2007

SE Asia / China
Nov 2004 to Sept 2006

South America
June 2003 to June 2004

AZ, Mexico, and Central America
March 2002 to April 2003

How I started
The 5 years before I left


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 Written on the road as I travel around the world on my bicycle


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Equipment Pages Index

Introduction
How Much to Bring and Weight
Some Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
(See more about Sponsorship)

START HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames 
The Steel Repair Myth.
Steel and Aluminum Derailleur Hanger Repair.
Bicycle Touring Wheels
Phil Wood: The Best Bicycle Hubs

Panniers / Bike Bags
Cargo Trailers Vs Panniers
Tires for Bike Tours..
Bicycle Touring Saddles.
Women's Specific Bike Touring Saddles
Brooks Leather Touring Bicycle Saddle Care and Conditioning
Bike Computer
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Kickstands
Sealed Cartridge Headsets

How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps

Camping
Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground Cloth
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad
Camp Stove
Pots and Pans
Water Filter
First Aide Kits
Solar Power for Camp

Clothing
Bike Touring Shorts

Electrical
Short-wave Radio
Computer
Internet
mp3
Bicycle touring lights

Books
Packing list
Pictures of Equipment Failures
Shopping


See My Videos Here



(see all 3 book)

The Best Bicycle Touring Tire and Bike Commuting Tires from Schwalbe, Continental and Vittoria Randonneur. 

Off Road and Dirt Trail Bicycle Touring Tires. - Studded tires ice and snow riding - Just bike tour tires - Touring Bicycle and parts - Equipment Index - Bicycle touring Sponsorship - All Equipment Index


Inspecting a tire for the razor sharp thorns in northern Argentina.

Tires are a hot topic in the bike touring world.  Many readers of DownTheRoad.org want to know where to buy the perfect high quality tire that will never go flat.  Others want to tell me about their favorite bike tour tire they believe is "bulletproof" and will never puncture.  What I have learned from years of traveling on a bicycle is that nothing is "bulletproof." Even brand new top quality touring specific tires can get flats.  If something on the road or trail is sharp enough, it will cut through any tire.  Because there is no perfect flat-proof touring tire, you should expect to fix flats during your travels.  My advice is to always carry a good pump, patch kit, tubes, and tire levers and get some practice patching punctures before you leave home.  Bicycle repair is best learned at home and not on the side of a busy road. 

It is best to start out with the highest quality tires.  I had to learn this the hard way.  Before my long bike tour in South America I ordered tires at the last minute (mistake).  The store only had one of my preferred cycling tire in stock (these tires sell fast).  I could not wait for their back order system so I had to substitute a cheaper city or urban tire.  I used this lower quality tire on the front of my bike knowing it would receive less wear but it still performed miserably.  I had numerous flats and punctures in my front tire which turned into a continuous problem.  This tire finally shredded completely, only a few months into the trip, and at the worst possible time.  I was riding across the world's largest salt lake, the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia.  It took four days to cross this barren expanse and there was absolutely no possibility for help when my tire gave out completely.  Fortunately, I had a spare folding tire in the bottom of my pannier just for such emergencies.  I rode on this spare for several weeks through the remainder of Bolivia and northern Argentina until I found a suitable replacement.  I learned from this experience to never leave home with substandard equipment.


My cheap city urban tire is rendered useless when the sidewall ripped apart in Bolivia.

The world's largest salt lake and worst place to destroy  a tire.  This is why I carry a spare.

I have had excellent experiences with two brands of bike tires on tour. The Schwalbe and Continental Touring tires have lasted the longest (most kilometers or miles) with the least flats, slices, and blowouts.  These bike touring specific tires have tread patterns that can meet most cycle touring needs.  They can be purchased two sizes: 26 inch (MT mountain bike) and 700c (road).

The only problem with the Schwalbe and Continental Touring tires is they are hard to find in bike shops, especially when you need them, while traveling on the road.  Often the best traveling tires I can find, without shopping online, are Vittoria Randonneur Touring.  These tires, in my opinion, are not as good as the ones mentioned above but are usually better than other tires on the shelf in a retail store and provide pretty good value for the money. 

The lightweight Kevlar folding spare tire will always occupy the bottom of one of my bags.  Bad luck usually strikes when you are the furthest from civilization.  My advice is to start out with the best long distance touring tires and travel equipment and always be prepared for the worst scenarios.

 Shop for Folding Spare


 Tim's Favorite Recommended Bicycle Travel and Touring Tire

Schwalbe Marathon Mondial (Cheaper - Wire Bead)

Schwalbe Marathon Mondial (Folding Bead Tire)

(from Tim) This is the tire I currently use and recommend. I have seen an increasing number of them on the bikes of other travelers I meet. They are very tough but expensive. I have to give Schwalbe credit for including a Kevlar bead to make these tires lighter and the ability to be folded makes them easy to carry as a spare or have them sent in the mail. It is surprising how many bike tourist and traveling cyclists find themselves needing tires mailed out to dark corners of the globe because they are picky about there tires (like me) and can only stand to use tires found in local bike shops until the package arrives. If you want a worry free trip, and do not mind spending the money, then this may be your best choice.

Best prices Shop for Schwalbe Tires Here


Schwalbe Marathon Plus

Punctures become obsolete with the MARATHON PLUS! The SmartGuard layer made from a flexible, special rubber offers particular resistance to shards of glass and flints. Even a thumbtack cannot penetrate this protective layer. The SmartGuard belt does not increase rolling resistance. The MARATHON PLUS rolls as easily as a tire without protection.

Best prices Shop for Schwalbe Tires Here


Continental Travel/Contact Tires: 

(from Tim) I waffle between the Travel Contact and the Schwalbe tires (above) as my recommended favorite best bicycle touring tires for the kind of bike tour I am on. Especially this year when a rock cut a four inch gash in the sidewall on my Schwalbe Marathon Plus while riding on a dirt road in Nepal. Maybe this was a fluke, any tire can have problems, but The long trusted Continental Travel Contact is a very dependable tire and a good deal for the price. In my experience they get the highest mileage compared to other bike tour tires in the same weight category and possibly the highest miles of any I have used. I especially like the slick smooth tread on top like a bald road tire and the knobs on the edges do not touch the ground until you hit the dirt. It seems to be the best of both worlds and reaches an optimal compromise between pavement rolling efficiency and loose dirt handling and stability. The square-ish profile seems to float on top of gravel and sand better than other tires the same width. The only draw back is there is no folding option so I recommend starting with two new Travel/contacts and, if your trip is in the developing countries, more than six months long, or over rough terrain then carrying a folding spare tire in the bottom of a pannier sold below as insurance against a very bad day.

Buy Continental Travel/Contact Tires HERE


Continental Touring Plus

A compact, highly elastic rubber breaker makes the Touring Plus extremely resistant. Stones, glass splitters and thorns have no chance. The layer strength of the Breaker is adapted to the rolling movement of the tire. Features and Information Touring Plus

* Security breaker makes tire extremely resistant to punctures


Vittoria Randonneur Touring Tires

There are many great tires on this page but the Vittoria Randonneur line of tires are the lowest price touring and commuting tires I would buy. Think of them as economical: the best value for the maximum miles/kilometers. I used these tires in Argentina and New Zealand and know they can handle long distances on pavement or dirt, while carrying a heavy load. If your travel budget is tight but you still want good quality tires, look no further. It would be too good to be true if a tire in this price range was folding so I suggest you start with two of these and carry a folding spare tire below if needed. With the money you save buying these tires you will have a few more days of cash to extend your adventures.

Buy Vittoria Randonneur Touring Tires here


 

Off Road and Dirt Trail Bicycle Touring Tires. - Studded tires ice and snow riding - Just bike tour tires - Touring Bicycle and parts - Equipment Index - Bicycle touring Sponsorship - All Equipment Index

Camp Stove
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Tools and Repair
Topeak Deluxe Kit

 

Studded Mt. Bike Tires Sold Here

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Tips & Advice

- Bike Stuff
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Touring Bicycles
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Tires
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Fenders
Tools and Spares

Tents
Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress
Camp Stove
Water Filter
Pots and Pans
First Aide Kits
Solar Power
Bike Maps
Preventing Flat Tires

Bike Computer
Cargo Trailers
Kick Stands
Pedals
Handelbars/Grips
Headsets
Commuting Bikes

Camp Shower/Toiletry Bag

Lights

Helmet
Bike Shoes
Bike Touring Shorts

Stealth/Free Camp

What I Have Learned On The Road

Dreaming of Endless Travel

Injustice of Poverty

Much MORE Gear Here!

Sponsors (how?)


Cycle Touring Racks

Tents and ground cloths
Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress Pads


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