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 3 Books
I write, self publish and sell
books about touring
Photo Use Info
Continue My Travels
Places I have been
(How can I
India and Neighbors
May 2010 to present
/ Canada / USA
May 2008 to April 2010
Sept 2007 to May 2008
Sept 2006 to Sept 2007
SE Asia / China
Nov 2004 to Sept 2006
June 2003 to June 2004
AZ, Mexico, and
March 2002 to April 2003
How I started
The 5 years before I left
Support this Web Site and Continue My Travels.
Equipment Pages Index
How Much to Bring and Weight
Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
more about Sponsorship)
HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames
Steel Repair Myth.
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
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Sealed Cartridge Headsets
How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps
Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground
Pots and Pans
Solar Power for Camp
Bike Touring Shorts
Bicycle touring lights
Pictures of Equipment Failures
all 3 book)
In Nov. 2004 we purchased 2 world travelers at a discount with the agreement
that we could sell the bikes on a commission basis. The carrot dangled in front
of us by the first Koga USA
distributorship owner was that this relationship could lead to full sponsorship
of two new bikes/year. A few days later we flew to Bangkok to begin our Asian
leg of our trip. As expected, with bikes in this price range, they performed
well and we had no moral conflict in endorsing and selling these bikes on our
While we were in Vietnam and China during the spring and summer of 2005 our web
site moved to a faster dedicated server and we saw another wave of growth in our
traffic. This was good for our Koga
pages and we sold many bikes and earned a 5% commission.
I am not certain what happened to the first Koga
USA distributorship owner but it changed hands late in 2005 and we had to start
our relationship over with the second owner except this time we received a box
of replacement parts (chains, cassettes, chainrings, etc) and a 3% commission.
During the spring and summer of 2006 while we were in Thailand, Malaysia, and
Singapore our web site continued to grow and our Koga
sales doubled with us continuing to earn commissions. Besides normal moving parts
wearing out we continued to enjoy our bikes and could honestly recommend them to
people. Also, during this time we began receiving emails from Europeans,
Japanese, and others who said that they liked the information they found on our
web site about touring bicycles and bought Kogas in their respected countries.
We did not have agreements with shops outside the USA so we earned no
commissions on these sales but were happy to have helped and thought Koga would notice this (we forwarded
some of the emails) and these sales would increase our chances of landing a real
sponsorship with them.
While we were in Australia in early 2007 our head sets started showing signs of
wearing out. I considered this normal because we had toured on them for more
than 3 continuous years and, as we all know, nothing lasts forever. In email I
brought the head sets up with the new Koga
distributor who offered to send me new ones free and then went into complicated
instructions on how to replace the head sets. He said something about filing a
notch in the side and more but I did not pay attention because I had been around
bikes for decades and had years of experience working in bike shops with
removing and installing the older threaded and newer threadless systems.
This is when my problems with Koga
started. When I took the bikes to a highly recommended specialty bicycle touring
shop in Melbourne, Australia to have new head sets installed they reported they had never
seen a head set system like the one on our Kogas and did not want to attempt
replacement for fear of damaging the bikes.
Several months later in another high end Australian bike shop I tried again.
They refused as well because it was a head set system they were unfamiliar with
and again feared damage to the bike. This time I inspected it closer in a
campground. It seems that Koga uses a
1inch threaded fork in a 1 1/4 inch head tube. This very special headset must
need the extra room or something. I was not sure about this because I was afraid
to take it apart myself.
When I contacted Koga USA again they
sent more detailed instructions, two new head sets, and a large (for a bike
tour) flat head screw driver with part of the tip filed off as a "specialty
tool." Needless to say I
was confused by all this. I kept asking myself 'why don't they use a standard threadless headset that can be found and installed in most bike shops around the
world; this bike is called the World Traveler isn't it?'
Koga Europe refused to return any of my numerous emails and
only through the USA distributor they somewhat admitted the head set was tricky
to install and, as a solution, offered to sell me (at a discount) 2 new frames
and forks, with the head sets factory installed. These are expensive bikes so,
even with the discount; the price was way out of bounds for two international
travelers living on a tight budget.
Knowing that this bike, in my opinion has this huge design flaw meant that I
could no longer endorse or sell these bikes. I would have never bought any bike
knowing beforehand it had this kind of head set so I considered it unethical to
continue recommending them to others. I dropped them from our website even
though we were earning commission sales.
In late 2007 were were finally able to find a bike/machine
shop in Auckland, New Zealand that was able to put new head sets in our Kogas
which lasted until now. It was this visit to the shop in New Zealand where
we were quoted above. We are currently looking for different bikes for the
next leg of our tour in India and neighbors.
Tips & Advice
Tools and Spares
Pots and Pans
Preventing Flat Tires
Bike Touring Shorts
Have Learned On The Road
Injustice of Poverty
Much MORE Gear Here!
Cycle Touring Racks
Tents and ground