Tag Archives: bicycle touring

The Long Haul for Hunger Route Map


I’ve been fiddling around with a cool website called trimbleoutdoors and have gotten a route map up for our upcoming bike trek.  With all the twists and turns, the ride has changed from 7500 miles to about 8500, no biggie.  Anyway, here is our current idea for the Long Haul for Hunger route.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m about to embark on a ridiculous journey from South Korea to Portugal to raise money for charity.  Check it out at http://www.theultimatetrek.com


T-shirt design


the Long Haul for Hunger is trying to design some t-shirts to put up for sale to raise money for our charity the Mercy Corps and we’re looking for some cool designs.  If you’ve got any skills, please come up with something and email me at owner @ theultimatetrek.com.  Thank you.

Bicycle Touring Racks. Jandd Racks.


Longer, Warmer Days Ahead! Get the inside line on

I think it is easy enough to search around for bike racks if you know their names, so we’re just going to introduce a large variety of models, their prices, quality, and load capacity.  We’re also only going to look at the strongest and best designed (for touring) models each manufacturer offers.  If you have reason to differ in opinion, feel free to let me know via comment.  Choose your racks by yourself based on your own research or by our mini bike rating.

Cycling at REI

(In alphabetical order)


Extreme Front Rack:

Width 15cm / Length 34cm

Weight: 37 ounces

Capacity:  25 pounds

Strength: 3/8 inch aluminum

Est. Price: $70.00

Jandd Extreme Front Rack

Jandd Extreme Front Rack

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Expedition Rear Rack:

Width 15cm / Length 41cm

Weight: 36 ounces

Capacity:  50 pounds

Strength: 3/8 inch aluminum

Est. Price: $75.00

Jandd Expedition Rack

Jandd Expedition Rack

As far as ratings and issues with the Jandd racks, I have not experienced or come across much in the form of problems with these racks.  I would say overall, this rack gets highly favorable ratings around the cycling community.  I think there have been a very normal amount of problems with mounting the front rack, and issue solved by an email I saw posted on the bulletin board from Jandd themselves:

Our racks fit a majority of bikes, however there is not a standardized
distance for fork eyelets so we do run into this problem occasionally.
Since our racks are constructed of solid rod and not tubing, you can
manipulate it if necessary. The lower arms that attach to the lower eyelets
can be bent up to shorten the distance between the rack eyelets and the
above slots. Before you bend the arms, we recommend heating up the rack a
bit. Simply leaving it in the sunlight will do the trick. Next secure the
lower part of the rack as to not put too much stress on the weld when you go
to bend the arm. Finally, bend it up to achieve the desired distance. If
you have any other questions, let me know.”

SKS Bicycle Accessories. Gearing up your touring bike.


We’re going to start a series of threads discussing all the accessories you can think of when it comes to touring bikes.  We welcome comments if you’ve owned, seen, or use any of the accessories we mention.  If you have other recommendations, post them in the comments.


Fenders are nearly essential accessories for your touring bike.  They will protect your gear from water and mud, and also keep your components and backside clean.  There are a couple of types of fenders, so let’s take a quick look at them.

Full-length:  These fenders typically wrap around most of the tire, leaving about 6 inches of ground clearance on the rear wheel, with less coverage up front.

Clip-on: These usually clip on to the seat post and are completely useless, don’t buy them unless you are in the unfortunate situation where you don’t have fork or brake clearance for full-length fenders.

Mudflaps: These are really just extensions for short fenders and give a little extra protection.

SKS Fenders

SKS Fenders

I ride with SKS fenders on my Surly because they are well-designed, cheap, and rugged.  I’ve installed the P50 model because they are designed for the 700cc tires and can accommodate tires up to 700 x 45!  Here is a sizing chart.  They retail for about 30-40 US dollars.  Lots of support posts and sturdy, easy install.  No Problems.  Made of a aluminum wrapped in a tough plastic that makes them strong and flexible (called Chromoplastic I think).  Adjustable supports too.

color section rim tire
P35 silver 35 mm 28 700×20-28
P45 silver 45 mm 28 700×28-37
P50 silver 50 mm 28 700×38-45
P55 silver 55 mm 26 26×1.6-26×2.30
P65 silver 60 mm 26 26×1.6-2.30
black (suitable for Big Apple)

Korean Bike Touring Club Formation

Korean Bike Touring Club

Korean Bike Touring Club

Do you own a bicycle?  Do you ride for fun?  Are you a serious biker?  Do you live in South Korea?  Well, this is the first post for the newly formed Korean Bike Touring Club (KBTC), and we’re invited any interested bikers to join our group mailing list.

What we’re trying to offer to those who join the club:

  • A place to gain information about bicycle riding and touring in South Korea
  • A place to obtain maps and routes for bike tours in South Korea
  • A place to meet fellow riders and discuss your hobby
  • A place to learn more about bicycle touring
  • A place to organize group rides around South Korea

Please click the link below to join the group mailing list and stay up-to-date with the group.  We’d like to start a weekly one-day ride group that goes out for rides together on the weekend as well as a group that does extended tours during long weekends or long holidays.

To join, simply click on the link below and send a blank message.  That’s it! We’ll be in touch shortly after receiving your email.

Join Us!

Choosing a touring bicycle; Kona Sutra


REI.com for Cycling

Choosing a touring bicycle; Kona Sutra 2009.

Now that I’m back from Hong Kong, even though I didn’t actually get to go, I’ve got another touring bike for you all.

Next up is the Sutra from Kona.  Please comment if you have ever ridden, owned, or know anyone who owns this bike.  Email photos of your setup to me at recklesscognition @ gmail.com and have them posted on this site.

2009 Kona Sutra

2009 Kona Sutra

Before we begin….Check out the links on the left side of the page.  Go to the “About Me” page to the left and read about what this journey is all about.  If you are into it, support my journey by helping others and adding to the donations I will deliver to the Mercy Corps organization. Donate, Sponsor, or Pledge on a per-km/mile basis, anything will help.  Learn more by here…Bike Journey

Let’s have a look at the Long Haul Trucker’s spec sheet.

Frame- CroMoly steel.

Chainstay Length- 440mm or 17.3 inches

Brakes- Avid BB7 Road Disc

Tires- Continental Contact 700x32C

Hubs- Shimano Disc 36 spokes

Components-Mostly entry-level Shimano Deore components with an XT rear derailleur.

Price- $1200

First off, the 2009 paint job is much improved over the drag colors on previous model years.  I love colorful frames. The Kona sutra is a dedicated touring bike and comes with front and rear racks for your heavy loads.  Although our initial review stated the bike only had 32 spoke wheels, further review and helpful comments from our visitors have led us to the conclusion that there are actually 36 spokes. Thanks for the input! Expect this bike to be heavy, disc brakes, racks, fenders, etc are really gonna load this bike down.  Even though it is heavy, from what I’ve heard, the frame is super rigid and actually handles the weight well. There has been a set of complaints about rear-wheel spoke breaking being quite frequent.

There are also disc brakes on the bike, which are good for poor weather, but not necessarily good for bike tours.  Looking past the brakes and spokes, there is a bit of an issue here with foot clearance.  Just looking at the photo of this bike with racks hints at a possible problem.  They look mighty close to the pedals, especially that front rack mounted at such an angle.  There have been numerous issues with lack of foot clearance with the Sutra.  If you’ve experience otherwise, please let me know.

How are ratings calculated?

Overall Rating:

Kona Sutra:

Value:  3.6/5

Quality: 4.2/5

Compliance: 4/5

Overall: 11.8/15

Let’s look at the ratings a little more in detail.

Value:  This bike retails for about $1,200. This price is too high for the package.  You’re getting basic components, and a steel frame.  Sure, you’re getting two racks, but is that worth $300?

Quality: I don’t think there are any problems specific to this bike frame, but the wheels have caused problems to numerous customers.

Compliance: Disc brakes and a short chainstay (lack of foot clearance) are the main issues here.

I didn’t think think bike would score so low but looking at it closely I think the rating is justified.  I’d love to hear otherwise, so let me know if you’ve owned this one before.

We’ll be compiling all of the ratings on a new page, look for it to be complete shortly.  Check it out here.

Shimano Bicycle Components. Too many names! Part II


Before we begin….Check out the “About Me” page to the left and read about what this journey is all about.  If you are into it, support my journey by helping others and adding to the donations we will deliver to the Mercy Corps organization. Donate, sponsor, or Pledge on a per-km/mile basis, anything will help.

In this post we’re going to delve into Shimano components. We’ve recently reviewed the mountain component sets, and here are the road sets.

Road- These components are designed for road use which means they are usually lighter and more durable.  They are able to take repetition and speed and continue functioning at peak performance.

Entry-level Road Component Group:

Sora. The Sora component group is comparable to the mountain bike Deore set . This group of components is considered to be low entry-level.  This package of components would be found on most of the cheaper stock bikes you see at your bike shop.  It is designed for recreational riders and should not seriously be considered as an option for your long-haul tour.  Most of the components in this package are made of aluminum and could not be expected to hold on long enough for a serious rider or tour.  Expect an unreliable crankset.  While these components may be acceptable for some riders, for a touring bicycle, they won’t do.

Shimano Sora Component Package

Shimano Sora Component Package

Shimano Tiagra- This is the next step up on the Shimano component ladder.  Comparable to the mountain version called Shimano XT, this package features hyperglide (HG) sprockets for slick usage.  It is designed for cross-country riding and trekking.  It is still consider to be an entry-level component set, but more acceptable for touring than the Sora components.  There is a slight weight improvement when upgrading from Sora to Tiagra.  Consider this as ‘decent’ or ‘somewhat acceptable’ for your long-haul tour.

Shimano Tiagra Component Package

Shimano Tiagra Component Package

Mid-level Mountain Component Group:

105–  The 105 component package is where casual riders make the jump into the realm of serious bikers.  Superior performance without serious money.  That describes the 105 line very well.  It is like getting a present without wrapping paper.  The components aren’t super light, but they are smooth and reliable.  Sounds good enough for me.  This is where you should start for a serious long-haul journey.  Anything less than this and you are risking failure.  Sure, if you are doing city commuting, the Tiagra components are fine, and if you are teaching your kids to ride a bike, the Sora will do.  But for touring, this is the starting point.

Shimano Deore XT Component Package

Shimano Deore XT Component Package

High-level Mountain Component Group:

Ultegra- This is getting to the top of the line.  Designed for hardcore professional racers, the Ultegra components are lightweight, well crafted, and designed. You’re going to get better craftmanship and a pretty much universal weight reduction on most of the components in this set. This package is something to consider if you are really looking to ensure a couple of thousand of miles on your bike with absolutely no problems.

Shimano Ultegra Component Set

Shimano Ultegra Component Package

There’s still more with Shimano….

Dura-ace- This is the serious stuff people…titanium, super light-weight, nickle-plating, etching, you name it, it’s here.  If you’ve got the money, go for it, if not, stick with the 105 or Ultegra.

Comparing the weight of the front derailleur of a 105 or a Dura-ace….232g vs. 180g…

Shimano Dura-ace Component Package

Shimano Dura-ace Component Package