Cycling Around the World, Sadly had to return for major repairs

John Peel

Senior Member
Cheshire England
I posted this in response on a thread, but thought it would be interesting to post it here too. I've been told my vids are pretty crap, my blogs are dull, and I'm naive :smile:, so lets have it both barrels people, let me know how to improve my videos, my blogs, my whole approach maybe, I'm all new to cycling and cycle touring, but took on a world cycle all the same.

Cycle touring was never my hobby, and I rarely cycled, but I always liked the idea of cycling around the world, I thought it was the perfect speed, and to do it under your own steam too. I never thought I would ever get the chance of course, after all it would be a massive undertaking for “the average Joe”, and especially someone who has never so much as spent a weekend cycle touring.

Well after working hard and manually my entire life, bringing up 2 daughters, and putting myself last, I at last found myself at 54 years old with the opportunity to take on that crazy adventure, so I saved and made it happen.

I bought the KOGA because I knew nothing about bikes or bike mechanics, and just wanted the best bike I could afford, that would take me around the world, with very little in the way of repairing if I maintained it well.

I wanted to experience this whole thing as a complete novice, and maybe that was just a crazy idea, but at least I had the balls to give it a go, and it was what I wanted to do, so I set out. Aside from the pains in muscles I never knew I had, the mental side was really very tough.

My first 9 days were constant rain, day and night, hills were battering me, and the total weight of 206kg was proving very hard work. Strong in my work as a builder, this was a whole new thing for my body.

I started hearing a clicking and feeling it through my pedals. I took the bike to 2 separate bike shops as I travelled down to Portsmouth, and both took the bottom bracket out because I told them the noise appeared to be coming from there, and they cleaned everything and couldn’t find issue. Great people and neither shop charged me for the work.

At La Rochelle, I found a KOGA dealership. I took the bike in and was treated like a tw#t. I had never been treated like that in my life by a shop, I held myself back from dragging the lot of them outside, I need this fixed. 2 Days of trying to get them to deal with it, and on the second day they receive an email from Rohloff ( as I had contacted my dealer and he had been on the phone to Rohloff) on how to take the new splined carrier off and apply a thick grease to hide the noise.

It turned out that this was a known issue to Rohloff and KOGA, to do with the marriage of the new splined carrier / components, and the carbon belt. It turned out that Rohloff and Gates were working on a solution but didn’t have one yet, other than banging a load of thick grease in.

Grease in, and off I go. I cycle down the Atlantic coast to San Sebastian in Spain, then over Basque Country to Madrid, Madrid to Valencia, and then up the coast to Southern France. A total of 3329 km’s. Now look at that how you will, but to me, I had achieved quite something for a first timer, and an old timer, I was pretty proud of myself.

I made videos and took hundreds of photos, uploaded posts daily to keep those that were interested up to speed, and I experienced some amazing things and met some wonderful people.

Sadly, by the time I reached Marseille in France, the noise was back. After a number of phone calls, with the only help I was going to get was being mailed a tube of thick grease from Rohloff, I contacted Trading Standards.

I won’t go into that bit, but it resulted in my getting no offers of help from KOGA to return the bike for repairs, I hired a car in Marseille and dropped the bike off with my dealer in the UK.

I hope I’m not boring you up to now.

It turned out that the bad marriage of parts resulted in badly worn components, and it was just as well I brought it back, as I would not have got much farther on my tour. The older threaded carrier and components didn’t have this issue.

To best suit my needs, it was agreed that the bike will now be converted to a Rohloff chain drive system. Sprockets being 42 front 17 rear. A spare for each will be provided. Spare front and rear belt cogs provided in case I ever want to change back to belt drive, a new bottom bracket anyway, 2 new Schwalbe tyres and tubes, service, and tools so that I can change sprockets and carriers myself if need be.

I am sad to be back here just 3 months into my world cycle, but it could not be helped. I will now spend Christmas with my daughters and return to Marseille in the new year to where I left off, then I will continue on my tour.

Now it surely has to be refreshing to see an ordinary family guy with no experience, not too hot creating videos and blogging, get on a bike and attempt to spend a few years cycling around the world, solo, self-funded, self-supported, and just an ordinary Joe. Wish me luck anyway you lot. Cheers. Steve.
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Legendary Member
What a gripping story! At least you have got all the grief over with early!
John Peel

John Peel

Senior Member
Cheshire England
What a gripping story! At least you have got all the grief over with early!
I like your thinking. That's right, because I had done such a wide loop down through France and across Spain then up the coast into France again, I was as close to home as I was ever going to be, so a hire care it was. I didn't want to be heading into Asia with this going on.

Tin Pot

Personally I wouldn’t blog the journey.

I travelled around the world in 2001, not cycling, had built my own website to blog on, with a flash media animation of my route around the world. I took lots of photos and videos. Back then, there was no way but a few friends would see it.

I never got around to uploading everything, and I’m no poorer for it. In your place I would just keep a diary, enjoy the journey, the distance from everyone and the adventure. Tell everyone about it when you get back at parties and pubs.

Bon chance.
John Peel

John Peel

Senior Member
Cheshire England
It's impressive that you've even attempted this.
Your right of course, when I was planning this, the amount of naysayers was unbelievable, but I am doing this for me, and I will keep at it.


Eh up
What a great story and adventure, I hope all works out well and you enjoy the rest of your trip.
Bad luck with the Rolhoff, I ran one for a couple of years on a MTB and it was faultless, the only downside being the weight, it was chain driven.
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Puzzle game developer
I think it is a very impressive undertaking, Stephen, and good luck with the rest of the journey once you get back to it!

PS I think it would be better if you went to the other thread and replaced your duplicate post there with a link to this thread because otherwise you will be having two parallel discussions on the same subject, which isn't really desirable.


300km a week through London on a road bike.
I know what your saying, I think that being solo and on my own pretty much all day every day, it has felt like company. My daughters love getting them daily too. I do keep a journal too with me.
Great story and thanks you for sharing. Re sharing the ride, I agree, don't bother blogging (especially if you're no good at it.) Instead, get tweeting, now is a better time than ever due to the recently increased character count. This is all you need to keep in touch and keep people up-to-date.

I'll definitely follow and share your posts on there, so let us know if you sign up.

Good luck with the rest of your amazing journey!
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