The Wheels Start Turning

TR3 start of day 2 at K2 ranch

Well the website is under construction. Karen has done a very minimal amount of web creation in past and has a lot to learn. The website is being slowly populated.

In the mean time we are looking for ways to save more money, the goal is to have 100,000 CAD saved before we leave. We figure the more money we have behind us the better. On top of all that we are beginning to research gear, what panniers to use, what racks to use, and most importantly what bikes to use.  All our gear etc. needs to be purchased, and in the case of the bikes … well they need to get built.
Mike after finishing TR3 (2009)

Mike after finishing TR3

Both Mike and I are big into mountain biking. Most of our summer consists of going on numerous trips to hit the trails in Jasper, Kananaskis, Fernie, Invermere, Squamish and local trails in Edmonton; we even do a little bit of racing! Mike actually took part in the first ever TransRockies Lite; a three day version of the full seven day course that traverses to Purcell and the Rocky Mountains from Panorama to Nipika Ranch, British Columbia (BC).

Since we enjoy mountain biking so much we want to make sure that where the opportunity exists, we can drop the panniers and racks and hit the trails! Therefore we are both looking at building custom mountain bikes that will double as a touring bike for this purpose.


Overall we want bikes that are durable, will last a long time and are easily maintained. We have come up with some key features we want these bikes to have to suite our needs:

CHROMOLY STEEL FRAME – well we aren’t convinced from the research that we have done that an aluminum frame won’t suffice but we prefer a steel frame for a few reasons:

    1. It absorbs more shock than an aluminum frame, therefor more forgiving on the body; and
    2. Can be easily welded.

FRONT SUSPENSION FORK – not 100% convinced on this, but we are considering front suspension forks to absorb a bit of the bump on the roads we will be traveling, also to make for a better ride when we do get to hit the trails for some fun. However considerations include added maintenance and weight (although I’ve been told that weight really isn’t that big of an issue on a touring bike). I think if we go the front shock route, it will be a coil vs. air shock (less maintenance).

GEARING – we want the gearing to be simple, minimal maintenance and long lasting. Our touring friends from Germany, Martin and Nadine, convinced us early on that the Rohloff Speedhub was the way to go. This is an internal gear system that can be shifted from stand-still, only maintenance is an oil change every 5,000 km and a chain change when necessary. Although this system is very costly upfront ($1,700 CAD) we believe it will save us a lot of money and headache in the long run. Just think by having this gearing system you eliminate the need for both front and rear derailleurs, cassette, front shifter and can shift on the fly and from stand still. I think I especially will enjoy this as I am sure I’ll have a few wipe-outs where my bike will note be in the right gear.

Keep posted to see how our trip evolves and we always welcome any feedback, please check out our contact page!

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