kurt3Kurt Sandiforth is currently on the bike tour of a lifetime. He is circumnavigating the globe by fat bike, on a modified Surly Pugsley that he built and named Davie. We had the pleasure of interviewing Kurt about his past, present and future plans. Where did you grow up, wheres is “home?” I grew up in Northern California, bouncing between the Sierra foothills and the Bay Area. I’ll always call Nevada City, California home. I’ve been away longer than I was there but it occupies a big place in my heart. When did you pick up mountain biking / fat biking? I didn’t dive head long into mountain bikes till about 2001. Living in Oakland, CA I had been into bikes for a little while and started working at a shop. A friend showed me the local trails and introduced me to “Free Riding”. I built a full suspension and never wanted to get off of it. I rode in my sleep. I had been in awe of fat bikes for years but never rode one, not until I built Davie for this bikeplaneting ride. What was your first bikepacking experience, were you instantly hooked? In 1997 I rode a beach cruiser across California. I had two milk crates strapped to it. One full of cassette tapes and a sleeping bag and canned food in the other. That pretty much got the ball rolling for traveling by bike. Bikepacking for me just sort of morphed out of bike touring. The more I rode the more I continually wanted to get off the beaten path, away from traffic and into more natural beauty. You did the Triple Crown in 2012, had you ever done any races before that or did you jump right into it? I had done a bit of road racing a few years earlier. Though as far as ultra endurance or mountain bike racing? No, I was a total newbie. I shake my head at some of the mistakes I made, but all in all it was an awesome time and a fantastic challenge. I’ll be back for more when I finish this little lap I’m doing. You’re currently touring across the world, what was your motivation for this? I’ve wanted to be an adventurer as long as I can remember. As a kid on “career day” I looked for the World traveler sign up sheet. All I’ve ever done is dream about far away exotic places and how I would get there. I’ve had a love for traveling for so long, I don’t know what’s it’s like not to. I started hitchhiking at 18 and that led to hopping freight trains. I’d work a little here and there and then go run around the country. I guess you could visualize it as an “into the wild lifestyle,” but with punk rock, skateboards and rowdy beer drinking as the back drop. I’ve been back and forth across the U.S. more times than I can count. Though I always had a wandering mind eye on the bigger picture of global traveling. I just wasn’t sure how I was gonna do it. So when I discovered bikes as that means, it was like finding the key to a lock I have wanted to open for years. How long have you been on the road? On this ride I’ve been pedaling for 14 months. What bike are you touring on? I’m on a custom built Surly Pugsley. Sponsors? Peoples Bicycle has been behind me 100%. They really have gone above and beyond for me in so many ways. Spiderflex noseless saddles. Hands down the best on the planet. Soto camping stoves. I run their Muka multi gas stove. It’s been incredibly reliable and efficient. My dream is to find a coffee and tire sponsor… I noticed on your site, bikegreaseandcoffee.com, that you are raising money for a charity. What was your motivation behind this? I had been wanting to do some good for the world with all this effort I’d been putting into see it. Wanting to put something profound behind all the pedaling and help folks out in some way. Give back a little as I go along taking. One day after a particularly good ride. I was looking down at my muddy legs. I was thinking about how much I love cycling and man, what would I do without these legs? Then it hit me like a wave of hammers. I’ll help those who have no legs. I’ll use my legs to help others get some. Legs for legs. I did a bit of searching around and found this organization called: Limbs for Life. They help to get prosthetic limbs to those in need. Those who cannot afford them or are from places where they would never have the option. So this global bikepacking ride is now to promote Limbs for Life. I hope to do what I can to raise a few bucks for the cause. You made most of your packs, but just recently changed some things up, why? I taught myself how to sew and weld. So I made some custom racks, small panniers, handle bar bag and frame pack. My thought was to run fairly light for a 4 season world tour, but a little heavy for rugged, backcountry mountain biking. The set up with slim panniers worked great and was good for thousands of miles. Though several things prompted the change. I felt I was still carrying too much for how I wanted to ride. I saw some ways I could slim down my over all bulk, and then a scaled down side trip sealed the deal. As we all know, carrying less is the hot knife of the butter world. I sent my racks and small panniers back to the states and adopted a seat bag (made by Scott at Porcelain Rocket) and I threw together some fork leg bags and brackets.  The overall handling has improved and maneuvering in tight spaces is much easier. I have a lightweight backpack that I drag out for when I need more than two days of food.  I’ll have to change it up again for Africa; needing more food and water carrying capacity. I’ve got a few ideas stewing but that’s a long ways off yet. What tires are you running?  You must be doing a lot of road riding.  Do you fluctuate your PSI much depending on the terrain? I do have to ride a bit of pavement but it’s mostly means to get to the next dirt option. I run 120tpi, folding bead 26×4, Origin8 Deveist8ers (made by Vee Rubber) real bang for the buck. Surly tires would cost me twice as much and they certainly don’t last twice as long. Fluctuating air pressure on a fat bike is essential. The handling is completely compromised if you have too much or too little. If the pressure is to high the ride is harsh and bouncy. To low and it’s squirmy and wants to wander all over. Kinda like me. What has been your biggest challenge on your circumnavigation of Earth thus far? The most challenging part thus far has been trying to avoid flying. I really wanna stay on the Earth as I make my way around it. Finding sail boats for the oceans is gonna be tough. I’ll have to be patient, persistent and leery of ass hat captains. Of course, financing is gonna be difficult. I plan to stop and work along the way but I’m also looking to concoct an honest scheme to bankroll myself. Meaning, I’d like to find a way for the ride to pay for itself without pleading to big companies for sponsorship. And finding good coffee… Brutal. How many hours in the saddle / hours of sleep did you average? Average time in the saddle is probably about 8 hours on business days. It really depends. If the weather is bad I’m pretty chill, but I’ve also had many 12+ hour days. Not much by race standards but fairly aggressive for touring. The sleeping also really depends on where I wind up. Bush camping is rather unpredictable. I’m a pretty light sleeper. So things like wind, rain or barking dogs can mean the difference of what feels like a nap or a full nights sleep. My average is about 7 hours. What has been your biggest rewards on your trip thus far? I’d say the biggest reward is purely the act itself. Topping out on long climbs, meeting new people and learning new things. Crossing continents by your own power. They all add up. Where are you now? I’m in southern Patagonia. What does your itinerary look like? After I hit the bottom of South America, I’ll begin looking for a boat to Africa. From South Africa I’ll be heading for the Himalayas and Mongolia. Then I’ll turn back down through Asia pedaling for Australia. Boats onwards to New Zealand and Hawaii are gonna be real crap shoot. But we’ll see. That’s the rough outline anyway. I’m making it up as I go. Do you miss home? When are you expected home? I miss my freinds and family for sure. I’ve been jabbering about a 5 yearish time frame. Missing any food? I miss Burritos. Badly. I lived in the California Bay Area a long time. We would be at the bike shop eating burritos, talking about where we were going go get burritos.


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