Tires. The most important part about touring around the world on a bicycle is the tires, obviously. The only thing was that I had no idea about what I should look for in in touring tires other then what I read on the internet and word of mouth. I had one source in tires that I could trust, that was the “Mustached Prince of Michelin” Himself, Randy Richardson. His presents on Instagram is the stuff of legends and I the pleasure to be his friend on there. So I reached out and asked for his input on what tires to use on this extreme journey. Being that he was more on the motorcycle side of Michelin, he got in contact with the right people and they recommended me getting the new Power Gravels and test out the longevity and strength of these higher end gravel tires. I basically was going to torture test tires that weren’t meant to hold 300lbs for an ungodly amount of miles, but I was up for the challenge.
Getting the tires, I noticed right away that they were a very aggressive tread pattern and a medium compound which is not ideal for the lifespan. I also decided to go tubeless on this trip knowing that these tires were setup for it so I wouldn’t have to mess with those pesky tubes on every flat I got. Once mounted on the wheels, I quickly realized I couldn’t make time for a test run. That meant me going out without even knowing if these tires can hold and maintain the weight of everything on the bike or not. Luckily my first leg of my journey was in the great country of Australia and if I came across any issues with the tires, I wouldn’t be far from a bike shop.
I got rubber to road 7 days after landing in Australia and floated over to Tasmania. My plan was to ride along the east coast of Tassie. It was slow going at the start and pretty tough with the hills, but had no issues with the tires throughout Tasmania. Actually I didn’t have anything wrong with the tires for about 300 miles when I got my first puncture which was fixed within 5 minutes with a plug. After that flat is when I started to notice the tire ware on the rear tire. It was a slow ware, but it was starting to be more prominent. I brought a spare tire that fit in one of my bags on the bike just in case the worst happens. After about 630 hard miles on rough asphalt and dirt roads, the back tire finally needed changing. Hoping for another 600 miles on the fresh tire, I set off to my ending destination in Australia. Unfortunately a short time after I got caught up in the bush fires that was covering most of the east coast of Australia, forcing me to the coast and some of the roughest road on the trip. I got to the only campsite that was open at this time which is where I noticed an inch long cut in the side rear tire and was somehow still holding air, but I wasn’t going to trust it. The rest of the trip in Australia was done with a cheap off-brand tire on the back.
As a result of the end of my Australia portion of the journey, I made the choice to buy tires that were meant for touring so I wouldn’t worry about tires for the remainder of the trip. That does not at all mean that these were “bad” tires or that I wouldn’t recommend these tires to buy. I would say to not buy these tire if you are planning a world cycling journey. There’s other great tire brands in that market that are proven for that. As for what these tires are meant for in the gravel/cyclecross class, I would say that they could hold up to a lot of abuse. You got to keep in mind that it was torture compared to the weekend rider that would be looking for these tires. One month of my trip would be the same as year of a casual rider. I would personally use the Power Gravels for riding back home when I’m not living on the bicycle.
I’m not a professional of anything, let alone a pro cyclist which means I am not really qualified to give a review about bicycle tires. That being said, I did live on this bike with these tires for about 5 months and got some quality time on the road. The Michelin Power Gravels are great tires with premium grip although they rolled smoothly. The Power Gravels are well made in the fact that they hold up an oversized bicycle with no blowouts. My favorite part of these tires were the really good protection for flats because no one likes to deal with a flat tire with a trip like this.
I was happy to get the chance to try out these fairly new series of tires for Michelin and hope I could do some more of these in the future. I would like to personally thank Randy Richardson for the help and introducing me to these tires.
I dreamed of going to Australia since I was 11 years old. I managed 31 other countries before finally setting off to my dream destination. I would’ve never thought that I would be cycling through the country that I imagined in my head for 20 years, but I did. After Tasmania, I got the worst flu of my life putting me out for at least two weeks in Melbourne. Once I was healed I was on the road heading east with the final destination being in Brisbane, which is not what anyone would say is a short distance.
Going through the small towns of Australia was a bit of a joy while meeting interesting and cool people couch surfing and staying in pub accommodations. That was a bit short-lived after stopping off in a small town called Lakes Entrance to rest for a couple weeks and get my bearings in my mind straight. I had the opportunity of staying in a somewhat abandon hostile for as long as I need it for no charge by a fellow cyclist that also owned property, but after and unfortunate accident well cooking, giving myself second and third-degree burns on my hand I was forced to stay there for a little longer than planned. That was not at all a bad thing thinking back at the situation. I managed to meet and hang out with some of the best people in the world and hear their stories of how they got to the small town by the water. They all pitched in to help me out while I was healing my hand. There is three owners of the pub in the town which were all very different, but all had a very laid-back attitude about everything. One of them was named Kev and insisted on taking me on late night 4×4 trips in the bush looking for deer and other animals around the area and even let me drive majority of the time. The locals that enjoyed a beverage from time to time there were also very kind and caring. I managed to make a lot of lifelong friends while my hand went back to normal.
After about a month I finally set off once again, now heading north towards Sidney. It took me a bit and a quick bus ride through some very sketchy parts of the highway. I finally made it to the southern part of Sidney called Cronulla. That’s why I stayed in the messiest, yet friendliest hostile I have ever stepped foot in. One of the employees there even took me out to dinner and a Shisha bar with her girlfriend. The day came where I jumped on the tram i’m headed off to downtown Sidney where I lived out my dream of seeing the opera house in person. I managed to stay in Sydney for as long as I could afford before heading north to Newcastle and unfortunately peddling myself into the brushfires.
I stopped in a town called Port Macquarie where I went into a bike shop to fix a broken spoke. The mechanic wouldn’t let me leave and insisted that I would stay with him and his family because he had a fear if I continued on, I would get caught right in the middle of the red zone. I stayed with them for the night and in the morning it seemed that everything settled enough so I could head on my way. I didn’t get far before the fires were becoming an issue again. A kid that was working at the campsite I stayed at managed to get me a ride to the train station and I took that as far north as I could go. I ended up in a famous town called Byron Bay.
Unfortunately Byron Bay was not somewhere I enjoyed and I left soon after arriving towards my final destination in Brisbane. I stayed in Brisbane for two weeks and even manage to take a bus to a town called Noosa which was a fairly nice beach town north of where I was staying. In that time I managed to get the bike in a box and ready for my next destination to Southeast Asia.
Australia was everything I could’ve imagined and more, but I did manage to go through some highs and lows which is typical on a trip like this. There’s a lot to learn about the people I met on this portion of the journey. Australians are naturally laid back and nothing really seems to bother them including the ones that lost their homes in the brushfires. Once at a campsite I talked with a family that got news that they just lost their home that morning from the fires but it didn’t seem to faze them at all, telling me that it’s all material stuff and everything except our lives can be replaced.
It took me a little over five months to finish this portion of my trip and I was really looking forward to going somewhere different being that Australia is so much like home but with a different accent.