Environmentally friendly commuting
14degrees off the beaten track
home | about | route | blog | photo gallery | vids | gear | FAQ | links | contact | 14degrees off the beaten track in Japanese
Reason for not biking across China
August 11th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, planning/prep, China

Lynley asked why it is that I took a train across China rather than biking across. I think this is a very good question and it deserves a good answer.

Actually it is quite easy. I need to get through Tajikistan before winter.

I am planning on cycling the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan. This is a road that at parts follows the border between Tajikistan and Afganistan. It is also a road that for its majority is at an altitude of over 3500m, and has passes at 4600m. To do this in late autumn or early winter would be rather dangerous. Therefore unfortunately I could not afford to take up to two months to get across China on my bike.

Maybe next time. ;)

   permalinko   comments (8)

July 21st, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, planning/prep

Final preparations are coming together.

I have 26kg of equipment.

Including bottle cages, fenders, racks etc, the bike weighs 19kg.

I am 77kg.

My next blurb will be from Korea.

Leaving the Fukuoka Hakata Bay International Terminal at 12:30pm tomorrow (Sat. 22nd of July, 2006).

I leave you with this:

“To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence”. Mark Twain

I would like to assure you all that I have no idea about cycle touring. It’s gonna be a steep learning curve!

   permalinko   comments (8)

War on Weight III
July 21st, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, equipment, planning/prep, war on weight

Today’s savings: 292g
Total savings to date: 1038g

Today the maps were in my sights. I removed all areas of the maps that I do not plan on going to, and in that way saved 292 grams. This brings my total amount saved to date to over 1 kilogram. Considering that wieght is the same as one litre of water, that’s a very important saving.

Maps cut / 切った地図

   permalinko   comments (2)

Website updates
July 20th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, equipment, planning/prep

Some updates to this website today:

  • My profle. Let’s you know a little bit more about me.
  • Detailed gear list. It’s massive. Any comments about things you think I should be taking but haven’t listed, or things I have listed that you think I don’t need would be most appreciated. The list was organised while referencing to the organisation of Martin Adserballe’s comprehensive gear list.


   permalinko   comments (6)

Using all space available
July 19th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, equipment, planning/prep, recumbent bike

Under the seat of the 14degrees bike, there is a rack to attach some small sized pannier bags. There was a space here to stow a small drybag filled with tools and spare parts, so I have attached some nylon straps and clips to hold the drybag in place.

All done / 出来上がり

All done / 出来上がり

   permalinko   comments (1)

War on Weight II
July 13th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, equipment, planning/prep, war on weight

Today’s savings: 689g
Total savings to date: 746g

Right. No holds barred today. All handles in my sight were removed. Shaver handle, toothbrush handle, cone spanner handles, chain whip handle…

Who needs handles 4 / ハンドルなんて要らない!④ 

Who needs handles 2 / ハンドルなんて要らない!② 

Who needs handles / ハンドルなんて要らない!

Who needs handles 3 / ハンドルなんて要らない!③

As for the shaver handle, if you’re using the Gillette Mach III, then the little stub is just big enough to hold between the thumb and forefinger for an exciting shave. I say exciting because for the first few shaves, there is a tendency to push to hard. Expect a few chainsaw massacre episodes…

I also put my fourth form sewing class skills to the test and made a roll-up tool case for all the ‘hope I don’t need to use these too often’ tools.

Tool case / 道具巻き

I call it ‘The Brick’. 2.2kg of metal. Argh.

Tool case open / 道具巻き

From left to right, top to bottom: Suspension/Tyre pump (spare), spokes and cable ties, bike multi-tool, spanner, crank remover, chain whip, bottom bracket socket, cone spanners, plier multi-tool, expoxy resin (for seat repair), freewheel socket, grease, fibreglass cloth, hacksaw blade, length of chain and various bolts.

   permalinko   comments (7)

The war on weight
July 11th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, equipment, planning/prep, war on weight

Today’s savings: 57g
Total savings to date: 57g

Today begins a series of posts on reducing the weight of my gear that I’ll be taking on the trip. Not one measley one gram will escape my obsessive eye. This war on weight is in part inspired by another recumbent rider, also called Rob, who is currently slowly being grilled like an English Rice Pudding under the Chinese sun on his way through a 25,000km trike ride around China. Hang in there, Rob!

Today I removed the unneccessary tools from my bike multi-tool. The ones I removed are not only small and useless (take a look at the ‘pliers’ there - they are too small to be of any use), but they are also found in much more substantial form on my large folding pliers multi-tool.

Saving Weight / 軽量化

Saving Weight 2 / 軽量化 2

Saving Weight 3 / 軽量化 3

   permalinko   comments (8)

New video
June 4th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, planning/prep, recumbent bike, vids

On a scale of cheap processed cheese to thick and creamy Swiss fondu, this video is dripping with fondu. I have made a video where I am describing the recumbent that I’ll be riding on this trip. It sounds more like an infomercial than anything else. But the goal of the video isn’t so much to introduce the bike, but to assure potential sponsors that I can actually speak Japanese. Already I have had a nibble on the sponsorship side of things, so it will be interesting to see how things pan out over the next couple of weeks.

Check out ‘The 14degrees Bike‘ video.

   permalinko   comments (4)

Bandwidth issues
May 28th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, website, planning/prep, vids

As expected, having my videos uploaded to my server has caused a big spike in bandwidth use. Currently this month’s bandwidth usage is 3.5GB compared with 250MB last month. My bandwidth limit is 5GB. Therefore considering that I only uploaded the videos halfway through this month, next month would definitely be suspect if I left the videos on my server.

I have fixed the issue by linking to the videos as they are on Google Video. This means that a new page opens up with the videos in their embedded state in Google Video, but I guess there is nothing better I can do at this stage, apart from buy more bandwidth, which I’m not too keen on doing.

Embedding the videos on my website is proving to be more of a headache than it’s worth, so I’m giving up at this point. I did have the VideoBlogger plugin working for a bit, but then the blog comments wouldn’t work…

   permalinko   comments (5)

Trip overview document
May 27th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, planning/prep

Long time no post…

Just in case any readers feel like they need to brush up on their Japanese, here is my media briefing document (pdf 1.3MB) that I’ll be handing out to some local Japanese newspapers and TV stations either this week or the next. I hope to get some media interest so that I have some more omph when I come to approaching sponsors. With only 50 days left till departure, I’m starting to feel the pressure to get things moving. I don’t plan on approaching any places in my home country of New Zealand, so I doubt I’ll ever get around to writing up an English version of the briefing…

   permalinko   comments (3)