Get started bike touring on a budget at 2nd Cycle!
Shadow Auri discovered Second Cycle and built their own touring bike at the shop. They plan on bike touring on across the united states. We were able to catch up with them and talk about their experience at Second Cycle and how much of a resource we have been for them. This Just goes to show the versatility of old steel 90's mountain bikes. It's something that we have know for years - and have built for years!
How did you hear about 2nd Cycle and what
were you first coming in to do?
Friends here in Tacoma heard my plan to build an old steel bike to tour the continent on and told me I should check out 2nd Cycle. At first, I'd bought the totally wrong bike. It was a ‘94 Trek 400 that was wayyy too tall for me and had flats, so I didn't even test ride it before buying. After getting the tires I discovered a 60cm road bike was too uncomfortable for me to ride down the street let alone cross a country, but luckily was able to flip it to a friend for the same amount I paid. Soon after, I found a ‘89 steel Norco mountain bike (47cm) to convert for touring...and now knew where to shop for parts.
How did the project progress and your time at 2nd Cycle help it along?
Without busting out a spreadsheet of costs versus retail value, I'll say once I had the bike my life was a constant RPG game on the search for experience points and upgrades. I would spend days researching and digging through the used parts in the store to look things up about. This took shape with things like getting butterfly handlebars instead of a flat bar, pedals with toe clips, pannier racks, etc. After a while being consulted on these things, it occurred to me maybe 2nd Cycle would make a good first sponsor. I was very fortunate to be accepted for such, because it led to 20 hours or so of shop time that taught me nearly everything there is to know about my bike and its maintenance. Not to mention saved me A TON of headache compared to if I'd just been scratching my head at YouTube videos and attempting everything on my own.
What made you want to get into bike touring and how did you afford it?
I always wanted to. I remember riding old bmx bikes around as a kid and wishing I could just take off.
It's been something always daydreamed about, but put off because I never had money. When I became more nomadic in my earlier 20s, I heard tales of old steel mountain bikes being used instead of expensive custom ones. Then I found examples and discovered not only could they be used, but are easier to maintain with more common parts around the world. This was extra relevant because ever since I became a traveler I've been living on less than $2k a year. Things finally aligned in the last two months with a place to crash here in Hilltop a block from 2nd Cycle, along with funds. All my funds are actually the result of salvaged electronic goods from different cities and thrown away hiker gear found hiking the Pacific Crest Trail I later cleaned up to sell. It's like my last adventures entirely paid for this one and it’s one of the things I feel most unique about my preparation. You can find a few examples via Google of people doing a little bike touring for nearly no money, but someone who set up something pretty nice with decent gear...and made a profit doing so? Well, I could be one of the first!
~A picture of Shadow's bike with all of the gear
What's your plans and where can people follow the adventure?
I'm hoping to complete the California portion of the Pacific Coast Highway, and possibly the Southern Tier. I'm trying to not have an itinerary and have a few other plans as backups. Such as maybe touring California national forests or visiting ecovillages across the country. Travel by bicycle opens up so many possibilities for me. We'll just see what happens when I get there. I start the tour in less than a week!