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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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Travel Plan

My Books
About Me
Media/Press Room


Photo Use Info

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

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

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.
Sealed Cartridge Headsets

How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps

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

Bike Touring Shorts

Short-wave Radio
Bicycle touring lights

Packing list
Pictures of Equipment Failures

See My Videos Here

(see all 3 book)

Full suspension or front shocks for touring bicycles

I personally have never bicycle toured with a front shock or other types of frame suspension.  I owned several mountain bikes in the past that had a suspension front shock fork but I have never used these bikes for traveling.  My mountain bikes were for single track trails.  I know what a suspension mountain bike feels like but that does not seem the same as the new breed of road specific suspension forks.  I have always been comfortable just using a solid front fork when touring. 

What worries me is adding unnecessary moving parts to my tour bike.  I have said it before: nothing will last forever on a bicycle tour.  Suspension forks, as with any moving parts, require regular maintenance and will eventually experience breakdowns.  I have never tried but I suspect shocks are difficult to service in developing countries.  Maybe this is why most high-end touring bikes have no suspension system or shock fork.

Facts about touring bikes with suspension systems

Scientifically speaking, a shock robs some pedaling energy.  This is why guys racing on pavement in the Tour De France do not have them.  Mountain bikes are usually on rough dirt roads or single track where the fatigue of bouncing around outweighs any loss of pedaling efficiency.  If your tour is mostly off road then you may want a shock but it is never a requirement.  Cyclist rode long rough off-road routes decades before shocks for bicycles were invented and many riders succeeded and had a good time.  So, in off road situations you may prefer a suspension system but it is not a neccesity.

Any time a suspension system is added to a bicycle it makes it a bit heavier.  I will be the first to admit the bike's weight is a low concern when it comes to touring cycles but it is still a fact to consider before buying a bike with suspension.  All the extras add up.

Sometimes there are reasons to use a suspended touring bicycle

Arguments can be made for and against suspension systems on touring bicycles.  I have received a couple emails from riders telling me that their suspended bike has cured various body aches like shoulder and back pain.  If this works then by all means get a shock but if you do not have these problems it may not be worth the loss of pedaling efficiency and mechanical trouble.  It is a personal choice.

Alternatives to front shock suspension systems for touring bicycles

If I know I am going off road (dirt or gravel roads) I will buy the widest tires I can find or at least let some air out of my tires.  I also have a Brooks saddle with springs in the seat.  I believe this takes a lot of the road vibration away without losing pedaling efficiency.  Another option I have not tried is a suspension seat post.  I know bike tourists who really like their suspended seat post but I am picky about my riding position and the seat post moving up and down constantly changing the seat height would drive me crazy. From every body I have talked to: the trick with a suspended seat post is purchasing a high quality one like the one below.

Check Out The Best Selection of Suspension Seatpost HERE

How to mount front racks and panniers bags to a suspension fork

In the past it was always a big mystery as to how to mount front racks and panniers to a suspension fork.  I have seen many interesting homemade solutions.  If you're not handy in the workshop, you might be more interested in this commercially available front rack.

The bikes below are sold online and shipped to your address.  Online bikes are a very good value but hard to find so I have rounded up my favorites.
Shop All Touring Bicycles Here

This is the type of bike I have done most of my traveling on.  Great for road and off road with an agile geometry and accepts wide or narrow tires.

REI brand Touring and Trekking Bikes

This is the bike I am buying next. I am tall and recently bought a mountain bike with 29er wheels and really like how it rides and would like to try this in my next touring bike.

Salsa Fargo

If comfort is your first priority check out these great bikes.  I have never toured this light but I know a ton of cyclist who like this style of bike.

Salsa Marrakes


The new breed of off road bike packing and snow bicycle. I have never owned a bike like this but I bet someday I do.

Fat Bikes


Seasonal - Surly bikes are not always available on line but they are a great deal. 

Surly LHT touring bicycle




eXTReMe Tracker

Bicycle Touring
Tips & Advice

- Bike Stuff
- Camping

Touring Bicycles

Tools and Spares

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
Commuting Bikes

Camp Shower/Toiletry Bag


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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