Packing for Bike Touring in Korea

Some have asked how to pack for bike touring in Korea.  It’s based off my tour divide packing list and will work on any route in the world where resupply is not a huge issue — you need to be able to get food from restaurants.

  • The first axiom of packing for any tour — the less you bring the more comfortable you will be on your bike.
  • The second axiom of packing for any tour — the less you bring, the more awesome your bike can be.

I tour on a bike that weighs 26 pounds, fully loaded with my two person tent and bag.  It is a Felt Cyclocross bike so I can throw on nubby tires if I want to grind gravel and singletrack, or I can throw on some slicks and destroy mountain passes.  Compare this to a Koga touring bike that starts at 40 lbs— I live light.

  • UNU Ultrapak Tour 10000mAH Portable Charger — This is more expensive than other batteries out there – but it charges much faster, nearly 100% in an hour.  This means you can top off this battery during lunch and dinner and recharge your cellphone/gps/etc at a more leisurely rate.  It also supports passthrough charging, so you can charge this and two devices at the same time.
  • Tires — I recommend starting with a good quality set of tires.  I like the Continental Grand Prix 4000 S II as a balance between flat protection and still being a zippy, fun to ride tire.  For the ultimate in flat protection the Continental GatorSkin DuraSkin Tireworks well.  For those on Mountain bikes, going for the SCHWALBE Marathon Plus is a good options for various sizes.  In any case — carry at least one spare.
  • Tubes — bring two tubes at a minimum.  If you use rims that require longer valves — bring an extra valve extender or two.  They will allow you to pick up tubes along the way from shops or other cyclists.
  • Patch kit — I like a small, glueless kit to patch tubes that have minor damage.  The Lezyne Patch Kit is a great option as it will give a set of tire levers in a small package — otherwise their Lezyne Essential Patch Kit will just give the necessary materials for patching.
  • Repair tool — the key is that your multi-tool needs to have the tools needed to repair your bike.  I use the Lezyne V10 because it works for everything I need it to, the chain tool is compatible with my 11 speed chains, and it is tiny.
  • Pump — This is the hardest thing to find of quality in Korea — I’ve been using a Lezyne Road Drive (size medium) and it works well enough, but for longer tours I am willing to pay the weight penalty for the Lezyne Floor Drive HP (for road bikes) or for those with MTB: the high volume version.
  • Change of Clothes — additional set of cycling shorts and jersey.  I also bring a set of clothes to change into for sleep or doing laundry in.  I like wool arm and leg warmers rather than adding extra “warm” clothes for transitional seasons.  I also prefer to wear wool in the rain rather than a rain jacket — as usually the rain jacket will make me just as wet from sweat.
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect Repellent
  • Sun Sleeves
  • I bring two packets per day of hydration mix — Skratch Labs to be specific.  I will supplement with gatorade or whatever I find, but this is the stuff that really gets me through the rough parts without upsetting my stomach.
  • Finally, I like to put on aero bars, it gives a nice advantage in speed when there is wind, a way to get off your hands and bum, and I find it much easier to open food down in the aero bars.  Just note — never use aero bars when riding near/with/drafting someone.  No brakes on the bars means your reaction time is delayed.

My sleep system (if I am camping) consists of the following:

  • Thermarest Neoair Xlite — the best purchase I have ever made.  It packs to the size of a coke can and makes everything comfortable to sleep on, from cold to hot and rocks to pavers.  I would have considered this a waste when endurance racing, but it makes sleep so much better and is so small, it is impossible to pass up.
  • Zpacks Sleeping Bag — super light and small and very warm
  • Big Agnes Copper Spur line of tents — choose a size — freestanding (so you can pitch it in a gazebo if you want), light, with oodles of room
  • Zpacks Bivvy Sack — This is great for keeping the bugs off and splashes off when either under one of the many gazebos or under the tarp below.
  • Zpacks Tarp — use it to keep the big rain off, for shade, etc..

As far as carrying things:

  • Porcelain Rocket MCA on the handlebars for sleep system, electronics, and snacks.  Waterproof and light!
  • Porcelain Rocket Saddle Bag for all my clothes/etc…  Waterproof and Light, doesn’t create excess drag.

Cycle Computer / GPS Selection

In getting back into cycling — particularly mountain biking — I decided to look into new cycle computers.  My Bianchi has a sweet retro wired in computer complete with gear display — unfortunately it only works with Campagnolo components so it won’t work on the bruiser.  My thoughts on what to use ranged from an old iPhone 3gs, my current Android phone, a Garmin 510/810 series cycle computer, or a handheld Garmine Oregon unit with a stem mount. Continue reading

Rough Draft Bike Build Complete

Here’s the Rough Draft Build of a 9:zero:7 135mm Fatbike Frame with a gates Centertrack and Alfine 11.9Zero7 135mm Sliding Dropout Frame

Race Face Turbine 100mm BB/Crankset Installed
Bling Chainring Bolts and Brooks Installed

Brooks Saddle, Carver MyTi Bars Installed — Trying to figure out the look I want with crankset bolts.

Gates and Alfine Work, Rear Wheel is Spinning
I decided to go with a white bashplate to tie the black/white colors together.  Mike at did an excellent job on some Tron Blue Rolling Darryls.  Here the rear wheel is turning!  The gates and Alfine are happily married!  Cannondale Lefty with clamps from Mendon Cycle Smith.

Rear tire is on!
Got the rear tire on — Surly Knard along with the rim strips…

Reflective Blue Tape Behind Tron Blue Rolling Darryls
Retroreflective Blue Tape for some nice nighttime light shows and safety!

Rough Draft
Front Wheel on and Everything _ALMOST_ together! I am waiting on a rear brake bracket I ordered one last Wednesday shipped next day air — but it didn’t ship until Friday 😦

Stick a Fork in It

Surly Pugsley Fork

I have been piecing together a mountain bike — a sort of prototype to decide what I really want.  So far I’ve selected a 9:zero:7 frame which will use Shimano alfine hubbed wheels.  To complete the basic frame, I need a fork.  The fork that  makes the most sense is the Surly Pugsley fork — so I could run a single speed rear hub as my front wheel, and in the case of a hub failure I could swap front and rear wheels and go on Singlespeed style.  My other options were the Salsa enabler, Carver TI and Carbon Fiber O’Beast forks, 616 Fork, and various other takes on this.   Continue reading

Which Bike?

Soft snow

I had decided to get into mountain biking, so I had to decide on a kind of bike.  I wanted something that would be the mountain bike I would ride to go places rather than just a mountain bike I would go places to ride…   I spent a good while in paralysis by analysis, but first I wasn’t sure if I would go with a mountainized road bike like the Surly Long Haul Trucker with knobby tires or if I would go with something like the Surly Moonlander that can go just about anywhere with crazy traction.   I wanted something that if I have enough time in 2014, it would work for the great divide trail. So I set out to determine my acceptance criteria for what the ideal bike would have:

  • Comfort over Speed (I am not doing insane Downhill/Freestyle flips in the air)
  • Fun — some bikes just make you feel like a hooligan and I want to be a hooligan every day
  • Practical — I need to be able to use this for grocery shopping, single track, and maybe even a trailer from time to time. Continue reading