Video Production on our tour

On this trip, we are hoping to step up our video production game a bit. On our last tour, our videos consisted mostly of us talking into the camera. It captured some real emotions and pretty backdrops at times, but they weren’t very captivating!

So I set out to see what we could produce solely using apps on our Android phones. After playing with a few video editing apps, I settled on two: PowerDirector and VideoShow Pro. I’m pretty amazed at the powerful features in both of these apps for about $10 for both. We also used Microsoft Hyperlapse to stabilize and speed up parts of the video.

Here’s the result! Click the link to watch our first real YouTube video for this tour.
It’s not going to win any awards, and we both think we sound like dorks, but I think it’s an improvement. Hopefully we’ll get better with time. Happy to hear your honest feedback.

It’s Not Always Going To Be Perfect

In this social media age, we tend to exaggerate the positive and distress about the negative.

The truth is: We will have bad days. We will get flat tires. We will get delayed in travel. We will have things stolen; we may even get robbed. We will have things broken. We will get sick. People will disappoint us, maybe even mislead or con us. Some places will not be like we’d hoped; we will find some things inhospitable despite our most open minds and positive attitudes.

But what it’s important to understand is: that’s not the point at all. The whole reason we are taking this adventure in the way we are choosing to do it is NOT to find the”perfect” experience, or even a comfortable one. It’s to find genuine experience. And genuine experiences are not always nice. But, they are the ones we will remember for our lifetime. They are the ones that will teach us something. They are the ones, arguably the only ones, that will make us grow as human beings.

Our goal will be to tell you about these experiences as honestly as we can, good and bad. We are looking forward to the adventure!

Downsizing “it’s just STUFF”

Hi…This is Steve my first post on our blog and I will start to post more now that I’ve figured this new app out.  More posts coming soon and thanks for subscribing.

The photo with my name on the side of the totes is what I’m putting in storage with my good friend Russ that offered as we pedal the world for the next 2 years.  The photo with the couch and boxes is when I stored all my “STUFF” in my friend Ann’s garage for 3 months when I moved to San Francisco in 2011.  

The process of downsizing in the last 6 months since our cycling tour last summer from Canada to Mexico has been freeing and enlightening to say the least.  While we were on that tour, there was very few things “stuff” that we missed besides the kitties, and for me the comforts of a good cup of coffee every morning to an extra pillow to sleep with.  I realized on that trip that I had everything I needed to be comfortable and I was carrying it all on my bike from my clothes to shelter in my one man quarter dome tent.  

The process getting to the 10 totes has been both prosperous and rewarding.  Prosperous in the sense of all the “stuff” I/we sold on OfferUp (a local selling app), and eBay.  We’ve sold a sofa, piano, queen bed, and other furniture to many smaller electronic items like an old film camera, to an iPhone 6, and kitchen appliances.  Rewarding in the sense that we’ve donated a ton of our “stuff” (dining table & chairs, clothes, and trinkets) to Auntie Helens here in San Diego that supports HIV/AIDS services to our local community.  We’ve also given a lot of our “stuff” (bedding, kitchen gadgets, and clothes) to several friends.  I can honestly say I don’t remember everything that is gone now and don’t miss anything that we’ve sold or donated.  

So what’s in the totes with my name on the side you might ask and what did you decide to keep?  I just had to keep my first cycling helmet that I pedaled 8000 plus miles with in 2016, and the Cubs t-shirt I wore to Spring Training in AZ and all throughout the season and World Series.  I also kept two blankets and a scarf my Mom has crocheted for me over the years.  I also kept old photos and albums as opposed to scanning all my pictures like Tim did….I’m just too “old school” I guess and will like looking through the physical pictures when I’m 90.  I also kept old letters from my Uncle Ed when he was in Indonesia for 30 plus years, magazines that my sister has been featured in for her design work over the years, t-shirts from fundraising walks I’ve done over the years to AIDS/LifeCycles I’ve been a part of in the past two years and where Tim and I officially met.   The totes will be like time machines when we return after pedaling 4 continents around the WORLD.  I’ll most likely wonder why I kept some “stuff” and downsize even more. 

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We will be posting more videos about our preparation and our trip as we go! There are lots of videos there from our last trip and we are starting to add some for this trip as well.


How to plan a 2-year cycling trip

Some friends have asked how do we plan where we are going to go, where to stay, and what to do?

The number one goal for us is to be open and flexible. If we love a place or its people, we will stay longer. If we learn about a new place to see, we will make a detour. If we run out of time on our visa or want a change of scenery, we’ll hop on a train and fast forward.

But a secondary goal is to be able to wake up in the morning and not have to make a plan if we don’t want to. Just be in the moment and enjoy the day.

To accomplish that, I’ve made two outlines of our trip. The first is a very general country-by-country list that includes information on the visa rules, climate, and any random notes that we’ve found about things to see, roads to ride, etc.
The second document splits up the entire trip into segments of about 100-300km. Each segment has turn-by-turn directions, specific things to see, lodging options, places to eat, etc. Most of these are empty right now and we will fill them in along the way as we meet locals and get advice.

I chose Google Docs to store these lists because it’s easily editable on my phone or laptop, and I can share it with Steve so he can edit it also. In addition, you can access and edit the docs offline so we can work on the plan even without an internet connection.

I think it’s important not to plan too much! By planning the turn-by-turn directions for the first entire year, we satisfy the second goal of allowing us to just go with the flow when we want to. By leaving the details of each segment empty and by keeping the document editable, we satisfy the first goal of allowing for spontaneous diversions and changes.

Since we don’t know what tomorrow might bring, it’s difficult to plan lodging very far ahead. But since we have camping gear with us, we have lots of options for finding last-minute places to stay, including wild camping if it comes down to it. From what we’ve heard, most campgrounds in Europe will allow cyclists to stay without a reservation, and when we can, we will book WarmShowers guest houses or other accommodations a day or two in advance.

This strategy worked really well on our last tour, so I’m hoping it keeps us happy this time around too!

We Have a Logo!

Huge thanks to our amazing friend, AIDS/LifeCycle teammate, and graphic artist, David Lowe, for helping us design this awesome logo, which perfectly captures our jaunt across the globe.

Everyone asks about the solar panels we have mounted on our backpacks, so I love how it’s featured in the logo! The palm trees and waves remind us of our home in San Diego as well as depict the mostly-coastal route we are planning to ride over the next two years.

We are printing a bunch of these stickers and are looking forward to handing them out to folks we meet along the way!

Tim’s Full Pack List

After 3 full-loaded test runs, we now have a pretty good idea of exactly what we’re bringing with us. I recently posted a video showing all of the gear I’m planning to bring, and I wanted to go into a little more detail for those who are curious.

We enjoyed touring with a very lightweight setup on our last tour, so our aim is to stay as lightweight as possible, but we have made a few exceptions to this rule for comfort, safety, convenience, and appearance. I think it will be interesting to see how we adjust our gear over the next two years, but so far we are pretty happy with this setup.

For comfort and appearance, we added a wider variety of clothing, including Bluffworks travel slacks, a nice polo so we might be able to have a nice dinner at a restaurant from time to time, and a Patagonia jacket to stay warm.

For safety, we added a number of USB-chargable lights and additional reflective material. We also added a lightweight water purification system to make sure we can have access to clean water when we are far away from public water supplies. In addition, we beefed up our first aid kit quite a bit to include better bandages and a few days supply of many medications that we may need (e.g. antibiotics).

For convenience, we switched from ad-hoc Velcro straps to a proper adventure gear system from Specialized, which makes it much easier to load and unload our bikes. We also upgraded to a freestanding tent that takes much less time to setup and doesn’t require stake-able ground.

All of this added some weight, and so far, we think it’s worth the trade-off. Although we love cycling and love the handling of a lightweight bike, this tour is more about smelling the roses versus riding fast.

So here’s my full list:

Cycling clothing

  • Bike shoes (820g) – Our Giro cycling shoes will double as our walking shoes.
  • Cycling shorts (160g)
  • Cycling jersey (195g) – I’m still trying to decide whether to bring a wool jersey or Spandex. The wool one resists odors better and is warmer, but the Spandex is quicker to dry and doesn’t spot up when I sweat a lot.
  • Prescription sunglasses + mirror (35g)
  • Gloves (45g)
  • Helmet (325g)
  • Socks (40g)
  • Sweatband (10g)
  • Road ID (10g)

Cold/wet cycling clothing

  • Arm warmers (60g)
  • Heavy wool socks (75g)
  • Cycling cap (25g)
  • Ultralight rain jacket (50g)

Off-bike clothing

  • Merino wool underwear, 3 pair (165g)
  • Lightweight shorts (175g)
  • Heavy-duty cargo shorts (385g)
  • Bluffworks travel slacks (395g)
  • 2 tee-shirts (245g)
  • Polo (155g)
  • Socks, 2 pair (60g)
  • Swim trunks – still need to find a good pair
  • Patagonia jacket (335g)
  • Cap (35g)
  • Sandals, Xero Amuri Z-Trek (405g) – these are great for walking/hiking in warm weather


  • ZPacks Duplex 2-person tent (605g)
  • Stand-alone poles (305g)
  • 48″ poles x 2 (100g) – for non-freestanding setup; we may decide to skip these altogether
  • Tent stakes x 12 (105g) – for non-freestanding setup
  • 40F down sleeping bag (415g)
  • Thermarest pad (360g)


  • TiGr bike lock (740g)
  • Front light (75g)
  • Rear light x 2 (140g)
  • Reflective straps (65g)

Bags, containers

  • Water bottles, 32 oz x 2 (215g)
  • Camelbak Lobo 100 oz (640g)
  • Specialized Handlebar mounting system (360g)
  • Specialized dry bag for handlebar mount (160g)
  • Specialized Stabilizer seat bag (530g)
  • Top tube bag, front (140g)
  • Top tub bag, rear (120g)
  • Frame bag (125g)
  • Food/extras bag (105g) – this is a lightweight backpack-like canvas bag we can use to carry take-out food and other supplies short distances


  • Water purification system + tablets (310g)
  • Mini lighter (10g)
  • Spork (10g)
  • Titanium stove (25g)
  • Titanium cup (75g)
  • Cooking chopsticks (30g) – rated up to 500F, great for use when grilling on a camp fire
  • Travel wine bottle opener (20g)


  • Emergency medications and antibiotics (150g) – includes Tylenol, Imodium, Ibuprofen, Colace, Azithromycin, Cipro, Amoxicillin, Zyrtec, Benadryl
  • Basic first-aid kit (135g) – includes gloves, bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, antibiotic ointment, steri strips
  • Extended first-aid kit (165g) – includes safety pins, gauze pads, antibacterial soap, povidone iodine, irrigation syringe, athletic tape, athletic wrap, transparent wound dressing, tinctures of benzoin
  • Salt tablets


  • Wet wipes, for “emergencies” (60g)
  • Tooth brush (camping), paste, and floss (50g)
  • Micro-fiber camp towel (20g)
  • Bar soap (120g) – use this for washing body, hair, shaving, etc.
  • Sunscreen (30g)
  • Lip balm (5g)
  • Extra contact lenses (20g)
  • Prescription glasses and case (185g)
  • Nail clippers (15g)
  • Deodorant (30g)
  • Deet bug spray (45g)
  • Roll of toilet paper (75g) – for India and Asia
  • Electric trimmer + USB rechargeable batteries + blades (145g) – The Gilette Fusion Proglide is pretty lightweight and very compact and also has an attachment for razors. Combined with USBCELL MXAA02 AA Rechargable Batteries, we don’t need to carry spare batteries and can simply recharge these as we go.
  • Reusable paper towels (15g)

Tools / Repair / Extras

  • Mini tool with hex wrenches, chain tool, and spoke wrench (175g)
  • Individual longer-handled hex wrenches and screwdriver (45g)
  • Pliers/wire cutter (115g) – will try to find a lighter one
  • Lots of patch kits (10g)
  • Chain lube, 1/4 oz (15g)
  • Teflon grease (5g)
  • Tire irons (25g)
  • Spare tubes x 3 (425g)
  • Spare folding tire (270g)
  • Extra disc brake pads x 2 (55g)
  • Extra cleats and bolts (55g)
  • Gorilla tape + electrical tape (20g)
  • Super glue (5g)
  • Camping knife (20g)
  • Frame pump (115g)
  • Large binder clips x 4 (95g)
  • Extra spokes x 8 (65g)
  • Extra chain links and pins (10g)
  • CR 2032 batteries x 4 (10g) – for head lamp, watch, etc.
  • Presta/Shrader valve adapter x 2 (10g)
  • Derailleur hanger x 2 (30g)
  • Cuben fiber repair tape (45g) – various sizes, strengths, and sided-ness – this stuff is amazing for patching anything, including sacks, our tent, sleeping pad, etc.
  • Extra zip ties, velcro, clothes line, elastic cord, zippers, hooks, etc (180g)
  • Safety pins (20g)
  • Bicycle shoe cleat covers (15g)
  • Extra watch strap (15g)


  • Phone + case (185g)
  • Bike computer/GPS (135g)
  • Point-and-shoot digital camera (305g)
  • Kindle (185g)
  • 16,850 mAh USB battery pack (295g)
  • USB-C adapters and cables (45g) – for charging cell phone
  • Headlamp (25g)
  • International power adapter with USB ports (110g)
  • Suntactics 5W (5V x 1A) solar charger
  • Ear buds (5g)
  • Camera case (95g)
  • Extra camera batteries (115g)
  • Camera charger (65g)


  • Waterproof wallet & credit cards (55g)
  • Waterproof passport holder (25g)
  • Passport (35g)
  • Bike lock key (15g)
  • Bottle opener (5g)
  • Pens and Sharpie (5g)
  • Zip lock freezer bags (5g)
  • Extra copies of ID, extra passport photos for visas, in waterproof container (70g)
  • Sewing kit with thread & needles (25g)
  • Tiny camp light (15g)

The total weight for me is somewhere between 13kg and 14kg, plus food and water. Steve’s is closer to 10kg. We will shift more weight to the faster rider as we go to keep us riding about the same speed and keep us together. Currently that means I’m carrying a bit more.

Test Ride #3: San Diego to S. Carlsbad

Another overnight test ride to South Carlsbad beach, about 55km each way. Pretty uneventful as far as our gear is concerned, so it looks like we are narrowing in on the ideal setup. We are also starting to feel a bit stronger, though the hills are still tough with the added weight.

Before I left, I spread out all my gear and made a video.

It was great meeting up with our friend Suzi on the way up and then spending the night by the campfire with our friend Darin and his puppy Lucy.

Cycling risk by the numbers

Many of our friends and family are understandably concerned about the risk of us riding our bicycles 25,000 miles around the world, so I took some time to figure out the numbers to describe our actual risk. TLDR: We aren’t worried, and neither should you be; we’re a little more likely than a car driver to be in a fatal crash, but the effect of the exercise on our overall health decreases our risk of dying from other diseases. Most importantly, the chance we’ll have a life-changing adventure is roughly 100%.

(Disclaimer: I’m basing this on US figures; cycling in some parts of the world will be safer than the US, and more dangerous in others, so I think it averages out.)

First, let’s talk about car safety to have a point of reference that most of you are familiar with. According to the US Dept. of Transportation, in 2014, there were 1.08 deaths for every 100 million miles driven in the US. For most of you who drive an average of 15,000 miles per year, that means that in the 2-year period we are gone, you will have a 0.03% chance of dying in a car crash. That’s about 1 chance in 3,000.

Cycling risk is a bit harder to estimate because there are no solid numbers on the number of miles cycled every day. But I found some statistics from 2005 showing somewhere between 3.7 and 12.6 deaths per 100 million miles cycled. It’s important to keep in mind that a sizable percentage of these cyclists were riding unsafely, without helmets, against traffic, without lights at night, etc. I have also read that experienced cyclists who ride with groups that promote safety practices (like AIDS/LifeCycle, which both Steve and I have ridden in) are up to 10 times less likely to be involved in a fatal accident.

Let’s say it’s 5 per 100 million miles, though I’d say Steve and I will be much safer than average. That puts our risk at 0.13% over our planned 25,000 mile route. That’s about 1 chance in 800.

So, cycling is a bit more risky than driving your regular commute. But, regular exercise also dramatically decreases your chance of dying from health-related illnesses such as heart disease. According to these figures from the CDC, about 0.05% per year of people in my age group die from illnesses like heart disease, stroke, etc., all of which are reduced by regular exercise. That’s 0.10% over 2 years, or 1 chance in 1,000. (For Steve it’s actually higher because he’s a bit older.)

So the risk from cycling is comparable to the risk from diseases that are preventable by regularly exercising! We will obviously be taking every reasonable precaution, including lights, mirrors, reflectors, safe riding practices, etc.

Test Ride #2 (last week)

I’m a week late posting about this, but I wanted to make a few quick notes.

Last Tuesday/Wednesday, we did our second fully-loaded test ride. On this ride, we rode 100km up the coast to San Clemente and camped overnight at a state campground. This is approximately the distance we expect to cover each day, so it was a good test of our fitness and gear.

It took us a lot longer than expected to get our bags fully setup as we’d made quite a few changes from our last run. Notably, we had an all-new expanded first aid kit based on what we learned at a wilderness training course we took. The kit includes a wider range of bandages, adhesives, an irrigation syringe, several types of antibiotics and other medications like Benadryl to treat any illnesses out allergies we get while too far from a hospital or clinic.

We also had new bike lights that charge on micro USB, a USB powered beard trimmer, and a few other things. To compensate for the added weight, I removed some extra tent stakes and also some tools that I decided we didn’t need, keeping my entire setup at 22kg. Steve’s bike and gear weighed in at 20kg.

The ride up the coast went very well, perfect weather and no mechanical issues, but we’d started too late in the day. I didn’t have time to stop at REI to get camp stove fuel, and we didn’t have any time to take a break. By the time we stopped for dinner in San Clemente, it was dusk. We quickly ordered take out sandwiches and rushed to the campground, where we setup in the dark using our bike lights to illuminate the ground.

Although we didn’t expect it to be cold, we had packed all of our gear, including cold weather stuff, and we were glad we did! The temperate was not supposed to get lower than 10°C (about 50° F), but around 2AM, it was 6° C inside the tent and probably around 3° C outside (37° F). So it was a good test of our gear, as we are planning to be able to be comfortable down to 5° C. For me, it took two pair of wool socks, wool shorts and tee-shirt, Patagonia jacket, a cycling cap, all tucked inside my 40°F sleeping bag zipped up over my head, to be completely cozy. Steve had trouble getting warm enough and is going to look into warmer long johns for the trip as well as full fingered gloves.

The ride home the next morning was uneventful, but it’s clear that we are not in the same shape physically as when we returned from our last tour. The last 50km was grueling for both of us. We plan to increase our training over the next several weeks to be more prepared. The nice thing about a long bike tour, though, is you can easily train your way into it by simply starting with shorter distances.