The Bicycle

The Bicycle and Gear

When I talk about a year-long bike ride, most people imagine riding a high-tech, light-weight, carbon-fiber bicycle designed for speed and efficiency. Bicycle touring, however, requires equipment designed for comfort and durability. My touring bicycle was built by a mechanical engineer at Lockheed about 25 years ago, using the most durable components available at the time. Fully loaded, it weighs 80 pounds! Here are some specifics:

  • The frame is aluminum and was made by a fellow named Gary Kline. (Some years ago, Gary sold all of his technology and patents to Trek.)
  • The wheel hubs were built by Phil Woods of Menlo Park, CA. (Phil Woods hubs have been known to last for 50,000 miles. Mine have over 25,000 miles on them and have never been serviced or lubricated.)
  • The wheels are aluminumĀ and boast 36 spokes each for added strength. I prefer 700/28 mm wheels, since it is a standard in most countries.
  • I use a triple chain ring and 6 sprockets on the free wheel. This gives me a low-end of 20 gear-inches, which is better than most mountain bikes. The low end is particularly important for hill climbing. On the high end, I have 96 gear-inches which I rarely use.
  • The bike can accommodate 6 bags: 3 on the back and 3 on the front. Everything I will use for a year fits into those bags!