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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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Read Sample Letter
Continue My Travels


Places I have been
(
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


*Help Support this Web Site and Continue My Travels.


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)



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 web site www.DownTheRoad.org

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.

Bicycle Touring
Tips & Advice

- Bike Stuff
- Camping

Touring Bicycles
Panniers
Racks
Saddles
Tires
Lights

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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