Help touring in western honshu and kyushu

gyros74

Warming-Up
Feb 26, 2012
11
0
0
Shinjuku
#1
hi all,

my name is tim, and i'm about to endeavor on a tour down in western honshu and kyushu before moving on to china and south east asia before heading to australia.

i'm going on a cannondale bad boy with tubus front and back racks, ortlieb panniers and such. i'll be camping in some places, staying at cheap hostels in some places. i'm open for suggestions.

i'm wanting to get my wheels redone with cable disk brakes and a dynamo hub to power lights and a tout terrain plug ii. i'm hoping someone with expertise in this area can guide me.

i'm also hoping that people out there who have been there and done that can give me advice with things that i need to take, need to remember to leave home, places to stay, places that need to be seen and the like.

i'm looking forward to what you guys may have to suggest about my endeavor.
 

StuInTokyo

Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
1,662
62
78
#2
About bloody time you posted up here Tim :D

Folks Tim is a friend of mine and also of Timdesuyo's, he has met Tim S. when we all helped Timdesuyou move last year.

I have suggested that Tim switch over to disk brakes, I think for touring they are the best way to go, they offer a lot more stopping power and if you prang a rim, you still have brakes.

Some questions I'll put out on Tim's sake, as I also do not know the answers to them.

When we convert his bike to disk brakes, will the same brake and shifter pods work?

The bike has V-brakes right now.

Wheels, Right now Tim has the 700C wheels on the bike, but by going to disk brakes this also gives him the option of running 26" wheels and getting a bit fatter rim and some fatter tyers which might be a better idea for touring, especially if he is going to some countries where the roads are not as nice a Japan.

If Tim were to change to 26" rims, now would be the time.

He could keep his 700C rims and ship them home with the rest of his stuff.

I think the Bad Boy Disk was actually designed for this, commute on the weekdays with the 700C slick wheel set, the put some knobbies on some 26" wheels for the weekend trail rides.

More to come!
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,512
639
133
Kanazawa
#3
Hostels here in Japan are okay if they happen to be in the right place, but I wouldn't go out of my way for them, or plan stops or an itinerary because of them. And there aren't many of them. You can usually find a minshuku with dinner and breakfast (or without) that will easily be cost-competitive.

As for brakes, I'll play the devil's advocate here. I'm putting V-brakes on a brand new touring frame I'm working on now. Much of that (or canti as an option) is that I don't know jack about discs, and don't want to start learning now. Besides, both V-brakes and canti work fine, esp. for touring, so if it ain't broke, why fix it? You've got brakes now--what's really wrong with them, why rebuild for discs and all that entails? You could probably just go out and buy a set of 26" wheels, if that's what you're after. I'm an amateur, but I'd offer that the proportion of world tourists using disc brakes, while changing/increasing, is still far from dominant. Performance? Okay, but you're touring, not racing... Leave your wheels/hubs/brakes(and pods) alone, they're fine. Think about other things.

You might want to look at tent/bag vs. hammock. I think the latter will do fine here in Japan, but I'm not sure about your other destinations.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,512
639
133
Kanazawa
#4
Also, for some world touring tips (and packing lists), look up SteveT here, and his site, that is titled something like "turn left for Japan".
 

gyros74

Warming-Up
Feb 26, 2012
11
0
0
Shinjuku
#5
thanks for your help there stu,

that's a nice point about going to 26", something i hadn't considered.

one of the reasons i'm hoping to redo wheels is to put the dynamo hub in the front to power the lights and plug ii charger. while i'm making the change, going to disk brakes at the same time seems to make sense.

jdd, thanks for your posts. i'm planning on taking a tent and the relevant camping gear also. i hear that there is a fairly good camping setup throughout japan in general. it is just a matter of getting into that grapevine.
 

StuInTokyo

Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
1,662
62
78
#6
thanks for your help there stu,

that's a nice point about going to 26", something i hadn't considered.

one of the reasons i'm hoping to redo wheels is to put the dynamo hub in the front to power the lights and plug ii charger. while i'm making the change, going to disk brakes at the same time seems to make sense.

jdd, thanks for your posts. i'm planning on taking a tent and the relevant camping gear also. i hear that there is a fairly good camping setup throughout japan in general. it is just a matter of getting into that grapevine.
The Hammock idea is a fine one, lightweight and gets you off the ground too!

I hear you on the "If it ain't broke don't fix it front" but, I really do think that disk brakes really beat everything out there, especially for a touring bike. They are a bit heavier than V-brakes etc, but they are NOT effected by the weather and they have a LOT more braking power over v-brakes or cantis.
JDD have you ever ridden a loaded bike with disk brakes? I have, and compared to cantis or V-brakes.....? Night and day! You also have a lot more control with disk brakes, IMHO you can feather them much better. Ever prang a wheel and lose your brakes? I have and if you have 30 Kg of gear on your bike in the rain it makes going downhill a lot more work. :D

Tim's Bad Boy has all the lugs on the fork and frame for the disk breaks, so why not go that way?
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#7
Stu - But no one apart from you carts 4 ton of hich octain booze on thier bike.

I raced XC for years on bikes with V-Brakes, even after everyone switched to disc - still a very good braking system.

However - disc brakes are a cake walk to set up, even hydraulic systems.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,512
639
133
Kanazawa
#8
gyros--okay, go disc.

You're wanting a dynamo, and then since you have someone offering to do it for you..., why not? ;)

Also, I'm unclear, or it's not quite clear from your initial post, just what kind of touring you might have in mind. You mention camping kit, but also hostels. At least thru Japan, are you going to be cooking mostly on you own (or just sometimes, like breakfasts), or eating out of conbini and restaurants?

On the other hand, at end of your trip--oz--I'd suppose you'd need to be fully self-supported, maybe for several days. In between, China and SE asia, I guess I'd only be babbling on about camping/cooking there. Who knows. (I doubt they have any/many 'campsites' like Japan. It'd be camping wild.)
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,429
874
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#9
Fatter tyres and/or more fender clearance for muddy roads is definitely a good option for back roads in China and SE Asia.

The Shimano DH-3D72 would be a good dynamo hub for disc brakes. It's Ultegra level.
 

StuInTokyo

Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
1,662
62
78
#10
gyros--okay, go disc.

You're wanting a dynamo, and then since you have someone offering to do it for you..., why not? ;)

Also, I'm unclear, or it's not quite clear from your initial post, just what kind of touring you might have in mind. You mention camping kit, but also hostels. At least thru Japan, are you going to be cooking mostly on you own (or just sometimes, like breakfasts), or eating out of conbini and restaurants?

On the other hand, at end of your trip--oz--I'd suppose you'd need to be fully self-supported, maybe for several days. In between, China and SE asia, I guess I'd only be babbling on about camping/cooking there. Who knows. (I doubt they have any/many 'campsites' like Japan. It'd be camping wild.)
Tim is from OZ, so I don't think he'll be doing much touring there, but maybe the last leg of the journey?

Here in Japan, I'd think you would make your own breakfast, eat lunch where you could and depending on the weather, dinner either cooked or at a restaurant, or included in deal at a ryokan etc...?

I think that here in Japan touring would be fairly easy really, there is support in the way of stores and shops just about anywhere, thus it will be a good place to get his feet wet touring, and figure out what works and what doesn't.
 

Forsbrook

Maximum Pace
Feb 13, 2008
399
64
48
Katsushika-ku
#12
Yes,I second that Crazyguyonabike site.
Excellent journals about Peter Gostelowe's trip around Hokkaido and his epic adventure cycling from Japan back home to the UK on a Cannondale Big Boy among others.
 
#13
What a great trip !! It will be fantastic. And I am so jealous ...

First, with regards to cycle touring in honshu/kyushu, the info contained here will probably answer a lot of your questions:
https://tokyocycle.com/bbs/showpost.php?p=7485&postcount=5

For the onward stuff into China/Asia, I have a few comments based on my own experience:
- Most important rule with regards gear is Simple is Best. Cantilever brakes have never failed me - I've never used disc brakes but if they are as easy to fix as cantilevers/v-brakes then fine, go with them. The nuances of braking power never really bothered me as I tried to stay away from trafficed roads, and on fast downhills you have to be extra extra careful anyway, because it's unlikely you'll be near any decent medical facilities ...
- Thumbs up on the 26" rim suggestion - easier to get MTB tyres in the third world. Go for the heaviest & strongest you can find - they'll be heavily stressed, so don't go all weight weenie on these !
- Don't know how strong the brake/shifter pods are, but my guess is they have a thousand moving parts inside... might be an idea to carry a spare.
- I think 1.5" wide tyres are wide enough. Get slicks - most roads will be paved, so you want to consider rolling resistance. For those 5 or 10% of roads which are truly atrocious, the weight of the bike will provide all the traction you need...
- Bear in mind that Eastern China is pretty industrialised and you may have challenges finding a private place to pitch a tent.

If you google "turn right for japan" (not left ! that would have taken me over the north pole...) you will find a slightly younger me. Look at the "equipment" link for the kind of stuff I took with me. I'm sure you've already done a lot of research but any questions, do ask, though forgive me if I'm a little slow to respond.

But in any case, most of the fun is not knowing what to expect :D
 

StuInTokyo

Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
1,662
62
78
#14
What a great trip !! It will be fantastic. And I am so jealous ...

First, with regards to cycle touring in honshu/kyushu, the info contained here will probably answer a lot of your questions:
https://tokyocycle.com/bbs/showpost.php?p=7485&postcount=5

For the onward stuff into China/Asia, I have a few comments based on my own experience:
- Most important rule with regards gear is Simple is Best. Cantilever brakes have never failed me - I've never used disc brakes but if they are as easy to fix as cantilevers/v-brakes then fine, go with them. The nuances of braking power never really bothered me as I tried to stay away from trafficed roads, and on fast downhills you have to be extra extra careful anyway, because it's unlikely you'll be near any decent medical facilities ...
- Thumbs up on the 26" rim suggestion - easier to get MTB tyres in the third world. Go for the heaviest & strongest you can find - they'll be heavily stressed, so don't go all weight weenie on these !
- Don't know how strong the brake/shifter pods are, but my guess is they have a thousand moving parts inside... might be an idea to carry a spare.
- I think 1.5" wide tyres are wide enough. Get slicks - most roads will be paved, so you want to consider rolling resistance. For those 5 or 10% of roads which are truly atrocious, the weight of the bike will provide all the traction you need...
- Bear in mind that Eastern China is pretty industrialised and you may have challenges finding a private place to pitch a tent.

If you google "turn right for japan" (not left ! that would have taken me over the north pole...) you will find a slightly younger me. Look at the "equipment" link for the kind of stuff I took with me. I'm sure you've already done a lot of research but any questions, do ask, though forgive me if I'm a little slow to respond.

But in any case, most of the fun is not knowing what to expect :D
Lots of great info on your site Steve, the equipment list is great too!

Tools, I have to ask about some of the tools, did you ever need the chain whip or the cassette tool? I would think that just about any bicycle shop these days would have these, no? Even in the third world are not the cheap 26" wheeled geared MTB the standard now? Just wondering.

Cheers!:D
 
#15
Hi Stu - yes, you would ask about the hardware wouldn't you :rolleyes:

Actually I managed until China before having to visit a bike shop, and they were well equipped - got a wheel rebuilt in Urumqi, and a complete new replacement Shimano XT chain set in Xian.

I really only used the chain whip for removing the cassette for regular cleaning - I made sure that at least the transmission was always clean, if not the rest of the bike (or my own self …).

But perhaps more than that, it was sometimes reassuring to sleep with a metal cosh close to hand ... :)
 

gyros74

Warming-Up
Feb 26, 2012
11
0
0
Shinjuku
#16
hey there all,

thanks for your replies and info.

jdd, that crazyguyonabike site looks like a great reference.

steve t, nice detailed information that'll i'll be sure to call upon.

fareast, i haven't had any problems with my v-brakes, but for reasons of better braking control and availability of tyres, changing the size and braking system is the way to go too i think.

as i'm a relative novice, and this will be quite a large undertaking, all that you're helping with is greatly appreciated. the bike is starting to come together with all the bits and pieces i've had to order. this will be a big month of preparation!

as parts get put on and tested, i'll let you know how it goes.
 

StuInTokyo

Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
1,662
62
78
#17
I know that Tim G is busy, and I have a moment here now so I'll post up some progress. We have the front and rear racks fitted, neither went on without a fight, as the Cannondale Bad Boy is not designed for racks:rolleyes: No files, hammers or hacksaws were harmed..... and the black touch up paint is drying nicely :D

We still have a bit more to do on the front racks, I do not like how they are held to the fork with what is basically a pipe clamp, but I'll improve on that in the next couple of days, pics to follow.

I have some thoughts on tools to take along for the ride and I want some input from the group. I do not think that Tim G needs a huge tool kit, but some basics will go a long way to helping with roadside repairs.

Basic Tool Kit

(this will live in the bag under the seat):
Spare tube
Tyre levers 2
Glue
Patches
Small piece of sandpaper
Multi Tool
Small Rag
Rubber Gloves

Deep Six Tool Kit

(This will live in the bottom of a Pannier and be called upon for bigger jobs)
Second Spare Tube
Folding Spare Tyre
Spare Patches
Spare Glue
8mm Combo Wrench
10mm Combo Wrench
6" adjustable Wrench
Leatherman Multi Tool
Chain Tool
Spare Chain
Two Missing Links
Chain Lube
Cassette Cleaning Brush
Allen Key Set
Zip Ties
Bailing Wire
Duct Tape (about 1 M)
Sm bottle Blue Loctite
Large Rag


OK that is about it for now, is there anything else that you guys would add?
I would suggest that this all goes into one bag, so it is all in one place. Maybe the folding tyre and tube can be in another bag. Remember the first while he'll be in Japan, so it will not be hard to add a bit of this or that while he going along.
A hammer is a nice tool to have around camp, but a rock can usually work well enough, and you don't have to carry it with you.

Now a question about knives. The law here in Japan is strict, I think 5.5 cm or 2 5/32" is the law. What about in his camping kit, would he be allowed to carry a larger knife for say chopping up his veggies?

Tim G has a very nice Swiss Army knife with a locking blade and some other bits on it, if this is carried deep in his Pannier with his cooking stuff, do you think the cops would bother about it? I wonder what the law is on that?
I'm sure I've missed something, so please speak up. :D

I mean it is not like this kind of stupid law has not caused trouble... :eek:

I think the law has provisions for knives used for cooking, if it did not, every sushi chef in the country would be in jail... :rolleyes:

The knife he has is this one....

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.knighton-tools.co.uk%2Facatalog%2Fpicknicker.jpg&hash=98af5e3b0e02e2c03b4609275ceecdac

.. I think, it is called the Picnicker. The blade is 8.5 cm long.

For cooking..... no? If it is in the pannier with the cooking tools, this should not be a problem....?

Cheers!
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,429
874
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#18
I mean it is not like this kind of stupid law has not caused trouble... :eek:
Not that I particularly trust the police here (there have been plenty of wrong convictions, for example), but I always had problems with believing this story. Something about it just doesn't ring true. For example, the Japanese tend to respect age. It's their culture. They might pick on a young guy, but a senior citizen? Not unless he was confrontational in some way already. I could be totally wrong of course.

I think in practice you'd be unlikely to get in trouble for a knife that you carry packed in your bike/camping baggage where you have a plausible reason for it. If you carry it in your pocket things may be different if you get searched, but the police here is not allowed to search you without your consent, unless you are already under arrest. Other searches are voluntary. They do ask people if they agree to be searched and most people say yes, even if they carry drugs or other contraband, because they don't know how else to respond.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,512
639
133
Kanazawa
#19
I know that Tim G is busy, and I have a moment here now so I'll post up some progress. We have the front and rear racks fitted, neither went on without a fight, as the Cannondale Bad Boy is not designed for racks:rolleyes: No files, hammers or hacksaws were harmed..... and the black touch up paint is drying nicely :D

We still have a bit more to do on the front racks, I do not like how they are held to the fork with what is basically a pipe clamp, but I'll improve on that in the next couple of days, pics to follow.

I have some thoughts on tools to take along for the ride and I want some input from the group. I do not think that Tim G needs a huge tool kit, but some basics will go a long way to helping with roadside repairs.

Basic Tool Kit


(this will live in the bag under the seat):
Spare tube
Tyre levers 2
Glue
Patches
Small piece of sandpaper
Multi Tool
Small Rag
Rubber Gloves

Deep Six Tool Kit

(This will live in the bottom of a Pannier and be called upon for bigger jobs)
Second Spare Tube
Folding Spare Tyre
Spare Patches
Spare Glue
8mm Combo Wrench
10mm Combo Wrench
6" adjustable Wrench
Leatherman Multi Tool
Chain Tool
Spare Chain
Two Missing Links
Chain Lube
Cassette Cleaning Brush
Allen Key Set
Zip Ties
Bailing Wire
Duct Tape (about 1 M)
Sm bottle Blue Loctite
Large Rag


OK that is about it for now,??? is there anything else that you guys would add?
I would suggest that this all goes into one bag, so it is all in one place. Maybe the folding tyre and tube can be in another bag. Remember the first while he'll be in Japan, so it will not be hard to add a bit of this or that while he going along.
A hammer is a nice tool to have around camp, but a rock can usually work well enough, and you don't have to carry it with you.

Now a question about knives. The law here in Japan is strict, I think 5.5 cm or 2 5/32" is the law. What about in his camping kit, would he be allowed to carry a larger knife for say chopping up his veggies?

Tim G has a very nice Swiss Army knife with a locking blade and some other bits on it, if this is carried deep in his Pannier with his cooking stuff, do you think the cops would bother about it? I wonder what the law is on that?
I'm sure I've missed something, so please speak up. :D

I mean it is not like this kind of stupid law has not caused trouble... :eek:

I think the law has provisions for knives used for cooking, if it did not, every sushi chef in the country would be in jail... :rolleyes:

The knife he has is this one....

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.knighton-tools.co.uk%2Facatalog%2Fpicknicker.jpg&hash=98af5e3b0e02e2c03b4609275ceecdac

.. I think, it is called the Picnicker. The blade is 8.5 cm long.

For cooking..... no? If it is in the pannier with the cooking tools, this should not be a problem....?

Cheers!

Something I should maybe have posted after an earlier reply, when I was innocently playing devil's advocate: (post # 3, page 1)

(sorry for making fun, but...)

Never, ever, get between Stu and a project!! ;)
 

gyros74

Warming-Up
Feb 26, 2012
11
0
0
Shinjuku
#20
it's all good jdd, stu has been a great help with this, an expert in a field i know little about...

my goal is to just go home, but thanks to stu, i'm going to be doing it right, and i may just get there, where otherwise, who knows!