I've been fantasising about going on an extended cycle tour for a long time. In 2008 I rode around New Zealand on and off for a few months but I haven't done any extensive touring since then.
I recently found out that a friend of mine, Tom Donhou has been building custom bicycle frames for a while now. I didn't have a clue that he was in that line of work. With one look at all the glorious bike porn on his website I knew I had to get him to build me a frame for an expedition bike which I had been planning on building. You should take a peek at his site: Donhou Bicycles. Tom is based in Norwich and recently won the "Best in Show" category at the Bespoked Bristol UK Handbuilt Bicycle Show 2011. I challenge you not to drool over his designs!
I put the deposit down as soon as I had the chance. Setting up recipients with Lloyds TSB when you're living in South Korea is a pain in the arse. It takes 7 days to register a new phone for internet banking..
Today I got the draft design emailed to me and I'm getting feverishly excited about it! Now I just have to figure how I am going to get it to South Korea. I can either ship it directly to Korea, or try to get my sister to bring it with her to Malaysia where I'll be spending Christmas with my family. Go on Pip! I'll pay for the extra costs!
Tom and I first met in Marseille in 2002. I was skateboarding at the infamous skatepark on the beach whilst he was riding his BMX. He was riding towards me, so I spoke to him in French as I guessed he was a local, to which he replied, "I thought you were English". Correct assumption Tom! We got chatting and little by little figured out that not only did we both live in Sheffield at the time, but we both studied in the same building and we had a bunch of mutual friends, most notably Lucien, "The Panda". When I was living in London I shared an apartment with another mutual friend of ours George Marshall, so I got the regular pleasure of having Tom round for drinks.
I've spent hours ogling at the bicycles on his site and suggest that you do aswell! I'll keep you posted on the development of my expedition bike. I've got a lot of parts to think about and would welcome any advice.
Below are some photos that I've lifted straight from the Donhou Bicycles website.