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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

(see all 3 book)

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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

Phil Wood:  The Best Bicycle Hubs with Maintenance Free Sealed Cartridge Bearings Built Specifically For Bike Touring


Choosing the right hubs for a touring bicycle is extremely important because hubs support the entire weight of the rider and the load.  Bicycle hubs may look similar from the outside but the interior contains big differences in quality and durability.  There are two main types of hubs used on touring bicycles: loose bearing and sealed cartridge systems.

If you need a wheel fast here are my favorite mail order wheels that can be used for loaded bicycle touring

Shop for Touring Bike Wheels 26 - 700 - 29

A loose bearing system means that the interior of the hub is basically screwed together but still exposed to the elements.  This makes the interior of the hub vulnerable to water and dirt.  Once dirt enters the bearing system it acts like sandpaper grinding down all the moving parts.  Because bicycle tourists are regularly exposed to bad weather, loose bearing hubs need to be regularly disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled while paying close attention to spacing and adjustment.  The only advantage to loose bearing hubs is that they are cheap to manufacture.  Shimano mass produces the vast majority of the hubs found on bicycles these days and has stuck with the loose bearing system to cut costs.  Do not be fooled by Shimano's claim to have a "sealed mechanism."  This only means that there is a cheap rubber sleeve attempting to cover the bearings.

The alternative to a loose bearing hub is a sealed cartridge system where the interior workings of the hub are permanently sealed at the factory.  Moisture and road grime never contaminate the system.  This means that the bearings and grease last much longer than a loose bearing system because there is no contamination from the elements.  Phil Wood & Company makes the best sealed cartridge hubs that I have used.  They even have a special model designed specifically to handle the extra weight and punishing conditions of bicycle touring.  As with anything; better equipment costs a bit more, but will pay for itself with years of trouble free use.


What's wrong with using standard mountain or road bike hubs for touring?

I hear it all the time, "But Tim, I've used my Shimano hubs while touring and never had a problem."   This may be true for short trips, especially when the hubs are new.  However, if Shimano hubs are not maintained frequently, it won't be long for a beautiful trip to literally grind to a halt because dirt has entered the hub mechanism.  Another common problem is that Shimano hubs were never designed for the extra weight of a loaded touring bike.  This extra weight causes broken axles and cracks to form in the hub body.  Once the hub body cracks, the entire hub needs to be replaced.  This is expensive because the hub has spokes and a rim built around it that have to be completely taken apart.  Broken axles can be replaced but this requires a high degree of mechanical skill to completely disassemble the hub and rebuild it with a new axle.  Few people we meet know how to do this or carry the special tools, grease, and replacement axle necessary for the job.


Why I only trust and relay Phil Wood Bicycle Touring hubs

I don't like worrying about mechanical problems while I'm on the road.  My cycling adventures are about the people and places I visit as I ride around the world.  With my Phil Wood Bicycle Touring hubs under me, I can forget about breakdowns and concentrate on more important issues like finding a better taco or reading Chinese road signs.

Another major benefit to using the high quality Phil Wood hub sets is not having to carry specialized cone wrenches, spare ball bearings, replacement axles, and grease.  If you like to travel light and hassle-free then consider the value of spending more money on components before you hit the road.


Phil Wood make many other types of hubs besides touring.


Phil Wood Sealed Cartridge Bearings


Mechanical break downs due to using the wrong hub are common among the bike tourists I've met.  It's a problem that can leave a cyclist stranded.  I usually know how to repair broken hubs but because I use Phil Wood sealed cartridge hubs, I no longer carry the additional hub tool, spare parts or grease in my panniers.  If you haven't got the tools or knowledge to repair a hub, often the only option is catching a ride to the nearest shop. Quite a hassle in places where it's hundreds of miles to the nearest well-stocked bike mechanic!

I recommend buying a sturdy set of wheels hand-built by someone who understands the kind of punishing situations touring cyclists experience and the extra weight they carry.  It is all about picking the right tool for the job.


 

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Bicycle Touring
Tips & Advice 
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