Welcome to TotallyTandem
Before we even started this mission, there have always been a lot of questions;
Why do this by bicycle?
Why a tandem bike?
How do you plan distances & time frames? (physically and mentally)
What are the daily averages?
How much does it cost?
What gear do we use?
What tech equipment will we need?
How do we maintain everything on the road?
Whats the blog about?
Why do this by bicycle?
By Brendon; I have to admit, I pushed the idea past Emma a lot in the beginning and for 3 years it was the topic of many conversations. In order to convince Em that she had what it takes to bike tour, we did a 2 week ‘mini-adventure’ in Vietnam riding 700kms from Hanoi to Hoi An. It gave us a good feel of what it was like to travel by bike and we loved the new challenge of everything required of us for this full-on, self-powered, extended traveling business.
From the logistics of planning the route, to everything that it has taken to complete the goal, there has been constant planning, debating and a whole lot of negotiations. The challenge of this new travel experience completely captured our imaginations and the preparations were entirely full-time.
How do we manage distance & timing?
Originally Bren thought we could ride Vancouver to Santiago over a 12 to 15 month period. This timing derived from planning around travels visas, weather conditions, potential distances per day and overall budget.
How much does it cost?
Tough question to answer. We had to buy pretty much everything we needed before we even started this trip. It was quite the shopping experience at MEC! Some days on the road were very cheap and some not so much. Depending on the country, how the bike performed and how hungry we got! So we try to break it down into 2 categories; start-up and on road costs.
Start up costs – The biggest commitment for us is was of course the bicycle itself. We chose the Hase Pino tour bike.
This design is from Germany and is a called ‘semi recumbent’. The need for special bike came about because of our vastly different riding styles and some physical factors that Emma suffered with on a traditional bicycle set up. It was a hard decision to commit to mainly because of cost, coming in around $8000 it’s more than any car we have bought in our entire lives! Deciding to go with one bike instead of two was also difficult because tandem bicycles have limitations as to what type of terrain they can handle, more maintenance due to added stresses on the running gear and the uncertainty of how the bike would handle in different road conditions. All this was out-weighed by the simple fact that we were able to enjoy the travel together on the same bike (and Em wouldn’t do it unless we had the Pino).
We were lucky enough to secure Crowd Funding through Pozible which made purchasing this bike achievable.
The next major money drain came from the tech side of things. This was more due to the cost of keeping things charged than the costs of the actual items. It was an interesting learning curve and with technology constantly developing, its fascinating to see how many new items became available even in the space of our journey.
Then there was the standard camping and cycling gear that needed. Starting from scratch this stuff adds up really quickly.
All up we looked at about $10,000 to get this project on the road. That seems a lot of money, and it is, but if we divide that by around 400 days on the road it comes out to $25 per day.
On road costs – based on past traveling experience, we aimed at about $50 per day between us.
All up this is a lot of money. By the time we got on the road the entire project was already over 3 years in formation with about 2.5 years of solid saving to get to where we thought we could financially make it to our end goal. It was a unique situation where you save a huge amount for a big journey then spend it all at once (mostly in the same store) before we even started.
Do we need a blog?
Brendon: This one took me a while to get on board with. I tend to love the idea of planning and doing rather than documenting. However after our first extended 18 month travels around the world we really only have some short emails and a bunch of photos to remember it by.
Em was very keen to document this trip in more detail and the blog seemed like the easiest way to get started. Em is a little more organized than myself and a much better writer so she took care of the blog and sharing our tales from the road.
I have also came to realize that we gained so much information from all bike blogs out there, and without them, we wouldn’t have been able to prepare so well for our time on the road. We learned a lot from other cyclist’s blogs that saved us a lot of time and money. So it only seemed right that we too should try to pass some of we learned to the next people who may need a little inspiration to get out there and see what is possible.
So have a tour though our site and enjoy the show.
And please do get in touch with us to share any advice and comments you have.