Posts written by Paul Tolme

Droid app 1Droid app 2Droid app 3

You can’t play a solo on your Gates Carbon Drive belt, but you can measure the belt’s tension like a guitar hero with a new Android app. The Carbon Drive Android app is available for free download in Google’s online store and is a followup to Gates’ popular iPhone app, also available for free in the Apple iTunes store. The Android and iPhone apps allow users to measure belt tension and determine the correct belt and sprocket combinations to achieve a desired gear ratio. A third screen on the apps provides a catalog of the Carbon Drive product range.

Gates iPhone App2

The sonic frequency meter on both apps operates similar to a guitar tuner. It uses the microphone on the smartphones to measure the frequency of the belt. Simply pluck the belt like a guitar string, check the frequency and adjust the tension on your bike. Rock and Roll!

Gates App Reading


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Alleykat_riding in sunset

Alee Denham and Kat Webster recently completed the bike trip of a lifetime, bicycling through 30 countries from Europe to Asia and back to their home in Australia over two years–all documented on their website, The couple overcame adversity, enjoyed thrills, camped in stunning landscapes, ate incredible foods, persevered through nagging injuries and pains, befriended countless individuals and created enduring memories. The couple started in the Netherlands in 2012 with two Surly Long Haul Truckers modified to use a Rohloff hub and Gates Carbon Drive belt, then switched to a Co-Motion Equator with Gates belt drive and Rohloff hub. Riding without chains and derailleurs gave them more time to enjoy the sites and relax instead of doing drive-train maintenance. We recently caught up with Alleykat, now back home in Melbourne for several months, to get their story.

Alleykat_Kat with bike in Malaysia

Alleykat_camping in Kyrgzstan

What is Alleykat, who are you, and what is your cycling history?

Alleykat is our combined name (Alee+Kat) which our friends gave us when we first started dating. We are both in our mid-20′s and are passionate about the world. So much so that we decided to dedicate two years of our life to travelling the world and meeting its people. We believe that bikes are the best way to experience the planet as we can work our way into all the places that regular tourists don’t often get to. Our bike offers no physical barrier between us and local people, so we meet people more regularly and get to experience the world’s amazing hospitality. We’ve never had to worry about waiting, timetables or understanding a transport system. We do what we want, when we want. Bikes give us the ultimate freedom.

Alleykat_Kat phoning home from Thailand

Alleykat_pickled produce in Turkey

Tell me about your trip: how long in length and time, and what countries did you hit?

We spent over two years cycling 31,000km (19,000 miles) between Amsterdam to Melbourne in Australia. We zig-zagged through Europe to Turkey, then headed into Georgia, Azerbaijan and Iran before cycling through the ‘Stans (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan). We were denied a Chinese visa at the time, so we flew over it to Korea, and then caught a boat to Japan. The typhoon hit the Philippines late last year, so we went over to help. We then flew from there to South East Asia to cover six more countries before flying into Australia to complete the rest of our trip.

Alleykat_night in Croatia

Alleykat_disaster relief in the philippines

What kind of bike and gear did you have?

We started our big trip in two separate bikes (both with Carbon Drive) before realizing that a tandem would allow us to go further, faster. It turned out there were other benefits too, such as the extra space given to us on the road, overwhelmingly kind responses from the people who saw us, easier communication between us on the bike, and the feeling of a team effort. We got a custom tandem bicycle made by Co-Motion in the USA, and we carried around 40kg (88 pounds) of gear between us in five bags (no trailer… woo hoo!). You can see our gear breakdown here.

Alleykat_camping in Japan

Alleykat_Georgian home in the gloom

What were the high points of the trip?

The most mind-blowing thing about our trip was undoubtedly the people. It is always the people who make a place special, who change our perceptions and who open our hearts and eyes. We have had the most incredible travel experiences in the dullest of places. We’ve learned that we can trust more people than we ever thought was possible. We’ve learned that people are incredibly hospitable and on the whole, people are very kind and generous if you give them a chance… even in your own country!

Alleykat_night in Iran

Alleykat_Montenegro gate

What was the most difficult experience of the trip?

The hardest thing to deal with was how Kat was treated in some countries. Men felt it was their right to touch her inappropriately and even kiss her. Sometimes it happened multiple times per day, making it very hard to have a good time. This problem was localized in small pockets of the world, and we did become a bit better at dealing with it over time. We don’t want to discourage women from traveling, so let’s put it in perspective: Kat was treated very well 99.99% of the time.

Alleykat_Bosnian night

Alleykat_mosque in Uzbekistan

Tell me about your experience with Gates Carbon Drive.

We had a very positive experience on the three bikes we’ve used with Gates Carbon Drive. At the time we left, we were unsure as to the durability of the system, but we thought we’d give it a go anyway. We carried a few spare belts just in case. Our first (and only) belt lasted 31,000km. Try getting a chain to last that long!

Alleykat_night swimming in Germany

Alleykat_cooling off in Albania

How did the Gates belt and sprockets compare to chains you’ve used? Did using the Carbon Drive belt make the trip easier or less maintenance?

The best thing about belts for us was the maintenance-free nature of them. We cleaned our belts with water and a toothbrush about once a month on average. We found that they required more frequent cleaning on dusty roads with really fine grit, but those kinds of roads were only a few short sections of our journey. On the whole, the Gates belts certainly made our life easier.

Alleykat_original bikes in Netherlands

Alleykat_pedaling in Laos behind bus

What are your plans now that you have returned home?

We are taking some time to think about and remember and reflect on all that has happened over the past few years and determine how to implement some of the amazing ideas we’ve come up with. It would be easy to float back into jobs, but we think it’s important to extract everything we can from our life-changing experience. With that in mind, Kat has recently started writing a book about our journey. She has also decided that it’s time for a career change from teaching to dietetics, so she will be studying as of next year. I’ve decided to devote some time into making our bicycle touring website even better, and will invest time into learning new skills, notably the ins and outs of documentary film making. Work will have to wait.

Alleykat_dinner in south korea

Alleykat_food market in Vietnam

The few images we’ve shown in this post are just a tiny sample of the incredible video and photo archive Alleykay have compiled of their trip. Below is their video report from Laos. It’s hard not to love these guys once you see and hear their enthusiasm for this beautiful nation, its people, wildlife and culture. Who knows? Their joyful attitude may convince you to embark on a bicycle journey yourself. // Alleykat Loves Laos (EP.12) from Cycling About on Vimeo.



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Koga Signature Pinion Gates

Gates Carbon Drive is headed to Utrecht in the Netherlands for the Bike Motion Benelux trade show (Oct. 17-20), where we will display a handful of innovative and stylish bicycles with Gates belt drives from Schindelhauer, Santos, Koga, Idworx, Riese & Muller and Cube. Gates representatives and technicians will meet with consumers, bike shop owners and journalists from the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg to discuss the clean and easy advantages of Carbon Drive.

The Netherlands is an important market for Gates Carbon Drive and the country is home to many bike brands with models equipped with the Gates belt system. The desire for a belt makes sense in the Netherlands, where people ride year-round but where foul winter weather can rust and corrode chains. That beautiful machine pictured above is the Signature WorldTraveler from Dutch brand Koga, a favorite of long-distance touring bicyclists. Last year, adventurer Reza Pakravan rode 11,000 miles from Norway to South Africa on a WorldTraveler, using just one Gates belt while his riding partner changed three chains.

Gates will also display the Santos Race Lite, a road bike featuring a Rohloff hub and Gates belt drive. The Race Lite, pictured below, is perfect for road cyclists who want a low-maintenance bike for long rides in sloppy weather.

Santos Race LiteMade in Berlin, Schindelhauer bicycles mix modern style with high performance. Gates will display the Ludwig VIII, a touring and city bike with Shimano Alfine eight-speed hub, pictured below. Watch this crafty video of a Schindelhauer being ridden in an industrial warehouse to check out their style.


Gates Carbon Drive is increasingly popular on electric bikes, with many new models available for sale in the Netherlands. Below is the Charger Hybrid NuVinci Beltdrive from Riese & Muller. This pedal assist eBike features the leading combination of Bosch mid-motor, Gates belt and NuVinci continuously variable planetary hub for seamless shifting. Read more about this powerful combination of technologies here.

RieseundMuller_Bluelabel Charger_Nuvinci belt

The Cube Hyde Race commuter features a Gates belt and Shimano Alfine eight-speed hub. This sleek and fast machine is perfect for navigating the streets of any city in Europe. Wish we had an extra one to ride along the canals of Utrecht during our visit.

Cube Hyde commuter Alfine 8

Gates will also show an Idwork trekking bike with Pinion gearbox. Many other brands with Gates Carbon Drive bike models will also show their bikes at the show, including BMC, Van Nicholas, Canyon, Grace, KTM, Scott, Pilot Cycles (pictured below) and more. Come visit us at Bike Motion Benelux in the Gates booth (10.A001). Find a bike, then go for a tour of the cobblestone streets and canals of Utrecht, a city of 330,000 on the banks of the Rhine River, where historic buildings in the city center date to the early Middle Ages. The Netherlands is a bike-friendly nation where 27 percent of all trips are made by bicycle, and where cycle paths connect many communities via a national network of separate bike paths and streets. In other words, it’s perfect for Gates Carbon Drive.

Pilot Cycles 29 mtb Gates Pinion


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©Earl Harper

With more than a century of cycling heritage, Raleigh is one of the most respected bicycle brands in the world. The company is also a leading innovator and supporter of the Gates belt drive revolution. For 2015, Raleigh USA has expanded its lineup of Gates Carbon Drive equipped bikes to six models. Pictured above is the colorful XXIX singlespeed 29er mountain bike–a flashy yet low-maintenance machine for SS racers–or a dream quiver bike for geared riders who want to simplify. It features a Fox Float 100mm fork and hydraulic discs on a nimble Chromoly frame.

Not a mountain biker? Raleigh offers a broad spectrum of belted bikes, from cyclocross and urban commuting to fitness and comfort models.

©Earl Harper
Above is the brightly colored Alysa i8 women’s fitness bike. The Shimano Nexus 8 internal gear hub paired with a Gates belt and women’s specific frame geometry make the Alysa i8 a speedy and functional machine for riding city bike paths. Mount fenders and a rack and this bike doubles as a grease-free daily commuter.

©Earl Harper

The Cadent i8 is a fitness bike with a Shimano Alfine eight-speed hub. Hydraulic disc brakes, a lightweight carbon fork and commuter-friendly geometry make the Cadent ideal for riding to the gym or work.

©Earl Harper

The Mesika 4.0 i8 above is in Raleigh’s urban utility line. Raleigh USA calls it “the perfect, hassle-free commuter.” It comes with a Gates belt drive attached to a Shimano Nexus seven-speed internal hub, a comfy Selle Royal saddle, Kenda tires with puncture protection and “set it and forget it” Shimano roller brakes.

©Earl Harper

The RXS is a performance singlespeed cyclocross race bike with a lightweight alloy frame, carbon fork, Clement tires and TRP hydraulic brakes for added control while cornering or charging downhill on muddy cross courses. The Gates Carbon Drive CenterTrack belt system is a proven winner and eliminates the hassle of cleaning and lubing a chain after a race. Just hose it off, put it away wet and go grab a beer. After you get off the podium, of course.

©Earl Harper

The Misceo 4.0 is a do-it-all fitness and country road ripper with hydraulic disc brakes, puncture resistant tires and an eight-speed internal hub mated to a Gates belt. The styling is sleek and understated, perfect for no-nonsense bicyclists who want a clean and fast tool to get the job done. With a Gates-equipped bike for everyone, Raleigh has joined the Carbon Drive revolution that is simplifying cycling. How about you?

©Earl Harper

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Gates German website image

German version below, English at bottom:

Gates Carbon Drive, das branchenführende Riemensystem für Fahrräder und eBikes, hat neuerdings eine deutschsprachige Website (, um auf dem wichtigen deutschsprachigen Fahrradmarkt einen noch besseren Kundendienst anzubieten. Deutsche Fahrradmarken nehmen den Spitzenplatz unter den Anwendern des Riemensystems von Gates Carbon Drive ein, und unsere deutschsprachige Website bietet Kunden tolle Möglichkeiten, diese Räder bequem finden und kaufen zu können.

„Zum Personal von Gates gehören viele Experten aus der Fahrradbranche, die in Deutschland leben und die eng mit Herstellern zusammenarbeiten und Kunden auf der Suche nach Produkten von Gates Carbon Drive helfen” sagte Frank Schneider, der deutsche Verkaufsleiter des Gates-Fahrrad-Laboratoriums Deutschland.

Zu den deutschen Fahrradmarken, die ihre Räder mit Gates Carbon Drive ausrüsten, gehören u. a. Bergamont, Canyon, Cube, Stevens, Schindelhauer, Focus, Tout Terrain, Flitzbike, Electrolyte, Maxx, Mika Amaro, Mi-Tech, Nicolai, Norwid, Poison, Smart, Veloheld …und viele andere. Erfahren Sie mehr auf


Gates Carbon Drive, the leading belt system for bicycles and eBikes, has launched a German language website ( to better serve customers in the important German bicycle market. German bicycle brands have been leading adopters of the Gates Carbon Drive belt system, and the German website is a great way for consumers to find and buy those bikes.

“Gates has a large staff of bicycle industry experts located in Germany who work closely with manufacturers and help consumers find Gates Carbon Drive products,” said Frank Schneider, German sales manager of the Gates Germany Bicycle Lab.

German bike brands with Gates Carbon Drive equipped bikes include Bergamont, Stevens, Canyon, Cube, Schindelhauer, Focus, Tout Terrain, Flitzbike, Electrolyte, Maxx, Mika Amaro, Mi-Tech, Nicolai, Norwid, Poison, Smart, Veloheld…and more. Visit and click on Deutsch to learn more.

Canyon URBAN 7.0 white

The Canyon Urban 7.0 exemplifies German style and innovation.


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