Countdown to Cycle tour Japan , modifications to bike for trip , gear testing 

Leaving NZ for Kagoshima ( Kyushu Island ) via Tokyo mid April so I am now busy with my equipment list , ensuring I have all I will need for an unsupported 8 week solo adventure heading north across to Honhsu and finally Hokkaido. This trip will be mostly camping , often by late arvo stealth ,with maybe the odd hostel or hotel when the weather is problematic ( translation — pissing down)

My Basic essential equipment list 

Tent — Nemo Losi 2 ( half price ! ) — freestanding looks good 

Exped down mat ( gotta sleep well)

Soto muku petrol stove  ( runs on 91 octane reg gas so easy to get)

Helinox camp chair ( need a decent chair when camping )


 Fuji steel frame touring bike 

Replaced ( upgraded wheels ) to Sputnik 36h touring rims and shim xt hubs and running Schwalbe marathon 32 mm rubber

Modified / designed / manufactured comfort touring with the help of my engineer friend Paul Sutton. Length of Japan is a loooong —— loooong  way so comfort is worth investing in 

Ortlieb handle bar bag and carrier top bag

Powerful front and rear lights ( 9 volt battery with long run time ) 

Thudbuster seat post suspension ( clever Yankee design ) 

Old faithful Brooke’s leather touring saddle 

Shimano clip in touring shoes 

Bob trailer — first time for me after having used panniers for years. Thinking is that Japan can have a lot of wet and wild weather so a system that keeps everything totally dry in one roll top bag is a good idea. Also allows for carrying a bit more camping type gear — better tent etc 

 Comfort bar / design/ manufacture /

These pics give some good perspectives of the project that was finished yesterday and tested on the road. First impressions —-  ” really great ” love the option of still having unimpeded access to the regular bar and brakes , but settling into my comfort position ontop with the gear changing at my finger tips looks like it will work just fine . The weight of the mod is 603 grams before the tape and the gear shifters fitted — a small penalty for a big gain in comfort — I hope 🙂 

 Staying connected — electronics — navigation 

The heart of my electric supply is a 15 w RavPower solar foldable array that will be secured to the top of the yellow bob stuff sack . This will enable charging of a 15,000mAh Mophie power station battery and or the mini iPad . Mostly trying to stay with USB type devices 

Mini iPad 4 

Hire a mini wifi device in Japan 

Apps for navigation 

Pocket earth 


Google maps 

Japan GPS

BUNCH of Japanese Tavel and communication language apps 


    • Thanks Andy , enjoyed your recent post on the market and mindfulness required . Been also enjoying your book which I picked up online — reading now. Thought you might like to check out this book by a guy named Gordon Hutchinson . He went to Japan — years ago maybe 80 ‘s — into zen and meditation. His book title is something like gangsters , Geishas Monks and me. Fascinating look at social interaction peculiar to all cultures- in this case Japan . Thought you would enjoy the read as your journey , though different , follows a theme.

      • Hiya Bruce. Glad you liked the post and are going through JTL. Maybe it’ll inspire you to come over to China sometime. It’s not far away from Japan after all. I’ll check out your recommendation. BTW if you like JTL it would be amazing if you could write a couple of lines as a review on Amazon mate. PS I loved your inventory list. I’m just doing mine 😉

      • Ok will do — will finish first. I had it open at the kitchen table reading your description of meeting Chu Yan for the first time to Barb ( wife ) just about wetting myself.
        She smiles and says ,
        ” you haven’t got someone lined up in Japan have you ”
        Very human and believable Andy

      • Ha ha ha > Glad you like it and to think your reading it at the kitchen table. Awesome!!! I still contort when I think of what happened then

  1. Bruce! Can we come too??? Andrew and I love Japan and have often thought of a cycle trip there….

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