Folding Bike Blog

Brothers Touring: California, Nevada, and Arizona

When we last checked in with Alex and Gregory, they were preparing to head south from San Francisco and continue their worldwide bike tour which at the time had already led them through 22 countries on their Montague bikes. Let’s take a look at their journey through California and the Southwestern United States.

Golden Gate 1

“Leaving San Francisco had been incredibly difficult. One month without cycling, sleeping in a proper bed, a nice city, incredible hosts, a kitchen, beers… We had trouble readjusting to our cycling lifestyle of camping and eating plain white rice daily.

SF Bay 2

Luckily the views along the California coast were nothing short of amazing.

CA Coast South of SF

After our easy living in San Francisco, we decided to challenge ourselves by trying a polyphasic sleep cycle without really knowing how it works. We both had a vague idea of the thing, so why not cycle all day and night with small naps here and there? Sounds like a really stupid idea, so let’s do it!

CA Coast South of SF 2

After nearly two days of periodic naps while riding almost constantly, we laid down for another nap at 8pm on the second day. When we woke up it was 6am and we knew we should put a stop to our sleep cycle experiment.

CA Coast More South 2

CA Coast Even More South

En route to Las Vegas, you can choose between the Mojave desert or the Death Valley. Both seem very attractive for cyclists don’t they? The Mojave is quite flat and we decided we could cover this route much more quickly. Motivated by our choice we rode about 90 miles a day until we reached Vegas.

CA Nevada Border

It’s an impressive city, Disneyland like with tourists everywhere. Those nuts reproduced famous buildings from all over the world. Mini New York City, small Paris, Venice, Egypt, etc. Inside the casinos and hotels there are even streets with fake buildings and painted ceilings that emulate the sky. You have no clue if it’s day or night outside. The mock Venice even has channels and gondolas.

Las Vegas 1

While the architecture and decorations were impressive, the people were like zombies at the slot machines and we had few meaningful human interactions.

Hoover Dam 2

Our next destination is the Grand Canyon. In between we have a look at the Hoover Dam, a 200 meter thick beast of a dam built in 1936.

SW South of Vegas

Unfortunately, we leave Nevada with a poor opinion of the local police. We noticed them yelling at tourists around the dam for seemingly nothing at all, and the day before we were wild camping on an empty field and were kicked out and treated like dangerous criminals.

Nevada After Hoover

We have to put that in perspective though. The french cliché about americans couldn’t be more disconnected from reality. The locals we’ve met are way ahead on a professional or personal mindset. A lot take classes after work and speak different languages. You can feel the famous entrepreneur spirit in whatever topic you bring up and their hospitality and positiveness is always refreshing.

Nevada After Hoover 2

Back on the road, we are in the desert and the temperature drops while we get close to the Grand Canyon. We regularly find our water bottles frozen in the morning. 13°F last night ? No wonder my feet were so cold! Luckily we do have have good tents and sleeping bags.

Grand Canyon 2

Once we arrived at our destination we discovered one of the greatest places we’ve seen during our whole trip. It’s almost as amazing as China’s Great Wall. A few pictures can’t do justice to the Grand Canyon, you have to go there to experience it.

State Parks AZ Wildlife

We keep going on the shortest road to Mexico: Flagstaff-Phoenix-Tucson-Nogales. Goodbye USA!”

Keep an eye out for the next post from Alex and Gregory to see their journey through mexico on their Montague folding bikes.

Camping near Mexico Border

Related posts:
Gear Roundup: World Tour on Montague Bikes
Brothers Tour the World on Montague Bikes

One Comment

  1. brian lindsay
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Hi, seems the paratrooper/p.pro are becoming the weapons of choice for multi-transport folding world tourism.
    it would be really cool if you could develop a tour-specific bike with proper racks and a cro-mo solid front fork…you might want to look at my award-winning photos sent from Laos. my axiom rear rack self-destructed on the chinese laos pavement unfortunately so my ortleib panniers were strapped to the top of the rack…woa, talk about high c.g.

    not much original left on the thing…new pedals, hubs, brakes, b.b and cranks., chain, cassette, project2 front fork, shifters and brake leavers, bar grips, tires and tubes…too bad about the paint, the vietnamese musta found a coupla stale-dated cans left over from the war LOL. the original equipment was pretty low grado for bush-wackin’ the back 40 of Laos. should have just bought the frame, i guess.
    there’s some interesting journals on http://www.CGOAB.com one guy even hooked up an extra wheel trailer, mixed reviews.
    what irks me is the LBS still calls it a hummer, there’s tons of these chinese knock-offs kicking around here!!! still no montague dealer in bangkok. this is when even brompton’s here, not to mention bike friday, dahon’s everywhere WTF? shit, there’s even a knock-off Monty dealer in chiang mai!!! the country’s gone bike crazy, you guys are missing the boat.
    anyway, thanks for the t-shirt, arrived in my bangkok box a while back…damn good quality cotton.

    waitin’ on your rendition of the new world tourer: super low mountain bike gearing, solid fork, detachable japanese pedals, higher stem (i put on the kona project2 fork and did’t cut it down.) quality components, now there’s a concept. stick with the 26″ wheels, we don’t need another circus bear bike. so you don’t think there’s a market for touring bikes…just ask Surley and Bike Friday, even Dahon has a thing called a Tournado, folds. Surley long haul trucker doesn’t fold but some miss-guided people are getting couplers installed…that’s a 600dollar hit.
    head-winds an’ granny gears
    the lash

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Removing Disc Brake Squeal

If you’ve ever owned a bike with disc brakes, you may have experienced some squeaking from time to time when the brakes are applied. When new disc brakes are first broken in, some of the material from the pad is actually transferred to and embedded on the rotor. If this layer of pad material isn’t uniform to begin with, or it gets compromised by contaminants, the pad doesn’t slide smoothly on the rotor and creates tiny vibrations leading to noise. Oil is the worst contaminant, and excess chain lube or spray from the road that contains an oily substance are common culprits.

I’ve been riding in really nasty winter conditions lately, and I began to experience squealing from my disc brakes when they were wet. While the noise is certainly annoying, it’s also your brake’s way of telling you it requires maintenance.

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Any vibration of the rotor itself can also lead to noise, so it’s important to ensure it is straight and the calipers are positioned parallel to the rotor. If everything appears properly adjusted, you’ll need to do some cleaning and work on the surface of the rotor and pads. Thoroughly cleaning is key, and there are several products made specifically for this. Muc-Off Disc Brake Cleaner is a favorite but automotive brake cleaner can be used as well.

A simple cleaning will likely get rid of squeal temporarily, but to get to the root of the problem you’ll need to rough up the surface of the rotor. This removes the previous braking surface and any irregularities that may be there. One method is simply sanding, but I have a product called Squeal Out for this experiment. This is a paste that cleans and also roughs up the surface of the rotor and pads when applied.

After cleaning the pads and rotor, open the Squeal Out and mix it up before use. I added a few drops of water in this case as is seemed a little dry and difficult to spread.

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You’ll need to treat one brake at a time with this product as it initially reduces braking power. The best way to work in the paste is riding the bike and engaging the brake, so this will ensure you have at least 1 brake functioning at 100% power. First, apply the paste directly to the rotor being sure to cover the entire surface with a thin layer.

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Now roll the bike forward while applying the brake on and off, and do the same while rolling it back. The idea here is to crush the paste between the pads and the rotor. Squeal Out’s instructions say to continue this while rolling the bike 30 yards, but I did it a bit extra. I just rode the bike a bit while dragging the brake and applying it off and on.

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Next, take off the wheel, remove the brake pads, clean off any excess paste and wipe everything down with isopropyl alcohol. (Note: blue ispropyl with minty aroma not necessary, but it worked…)

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Once everything is reassembled, ride the bike again and brake hard a few times to transfer some of the pad material back to the rotor and restore full braking power.

Review: So far I haven’t experienced any squealing since the treatment, but it did take longer than expected for full braking power to return. I didn’t find it unsafe to ride, but the brakes were just slightly less effective for a few commutes to and from Montague HQ.

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Folding Bikes and Long Haul Truckers

The life of a trucker is that of constant travel and unfortunately, long hours of inactivity. One athlete turned truck driver is bringing a new culture of fitness to an industry that has some of the highest rates of obesity and lowest life expectancies in the US, and he’s doing it with a Montague bike.

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Siphiwe Baleka was once an Ivy Leage swimmer with Olympic aspirations. After majoring in Philosophy at Yale, he took a philosophical journey of his own to explore the world and find his roots. After 15 years of travel that took him through Europe,Trinidad, Honduras, Togo and Ethiopa, he’s back in the US and having a major impact on an industry he never thought he would be involved in. He began driving a truck in 2008 as a way to continue his nomadic lifestyle and maintain an income.

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While Siphiwe enjoyed the travel, he began to see the affects of sitting for long hours every day. After developing his own routines for working out on the road, he turned his attention to his fellow drivers. In 2012, he gave up driving and became an in house fitness instructor for Prime Inc, one of the country’s largest trucking companies. Siphiwe has introduced the Prime Transformation program for their drivers which includes exercise and nutritional components. One component he’s now sharing with fellow drivers: a Montague bike.

siphiwe1

The compact nature of Montague’s folding bikes gives truckers the ability to stow a full size bike on board their rig. Having a bike gives drivers a way to get outside, exercise, and see even more of the countryside. It can be difficult to find the motivation to work out at a truck stop with no equipment but a bike gives you freedom, and an exciting form of recreation.

Prime Inc has teamed up directly with Montague in order to offer their drivers easier access to bikes through a purchase program. The more drivers we can get riding bikes, the closer we come to reversing the trend of obesity, heart disease, and low life spans for truck drivers. Siphiwe’s efforts are only growing. He was recently featured in an issue of Sports Illustrated for his work and he’s begun advising other trucking companies on their fitness programs as well. It looks like the trucking industry’s fitness revolution has begun, and it’s thanks in a large part to this one man.

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