Category Archives: Planning

Building an Ultralight Touring Bike [Video]

Earlier today I made a video showing how I piece together my ultralight touring bike. In the video I’m using the standard 7.6kg setup as described in detail in my book along with my 10.5kg road bike. The 7.6kg is not all on the bike as it also includes what I am wearing; cycle shorts, cycle jersey, socks, SPD MTB shoes, helmet and sunglasses.

Please let me know what you think in the comments below. Cheers!

Ultralight Cycle Touring Toolkit

When setting out to build the ultimate ultralight cycle touring toolkit, I first examined my old one. My old cycling toolkit was a dark and mysterious beast, I couldn’t really tell you what it contained as I rarely dug that deep.

On the odd occasion I did tip out the contents while looking for a small part I was bemused by what scattered across the floor. I knew there were several types of brake pad, five 4mm allen keys, two multi-tools and a bottle of lube in there, but there were also other more unusual things. Some I’m 70% sure had something to do with bottom brackets, others may not be anything to do with bicycles and I definitely found a bolt that belongs to my desk chair! That would never make it into an ultralight cycle touring toolkit.

Continue reading Ultralight Cycle Touring Toolkit

Cycle Touring Infographic of Weight

I made a Cycle Touring Infographic of Weight specifically for the Ultralight Cycle-Touring Guide. I decided I wanted a cycle touring infographic to show the relative weights of the items I had included.

Before I made the cycle touring infographic I kept thinking; “Kindle: 280g, camera: 360g, bivy: 510g – does that mean my Kindle is really heavy? How can it weigh more than half of my bivy, which is so essential to my survival in comparison to having an ebook reader”. But then in comparison to my camera, it seems pretty good. Most people would not question taking a camera, because they find the pictures valuable enough to justify the additional weight.

Continue reading Cycle Touring Infographic of Weight

Are energy gels useful for long distance cycling?

Grossglockner High Alpine Road
Beautiful agony on the Grossglockner High Alpine Road

When I’m on my road bike I often enjoy an energy gel, well perhaps I don’t enjoy an energy gel, but I certainly benefit from a little caffeine and carbs. But what about for touring? I think some insight into this question can be gleaned from a little light philosophy; when you’re out on a road bike you don’t need to ride in a sustainable way, you can ride vigorously all day before returning home to a warm shower and rest until you feel you have recovered again. Some gels can enhance your performance for a short time but at the cost of extending your recovery time. On a Sunday road ride this doesn’t matter. Chances are that you will be at work on Monday and able to rest and recover for the next cycling opportunity, probably a mid-week ride or the next weekend. On a tour there isn’t necessarily a day of rest coming up and so you must pace yourself – pacing yourself means that high concentration energy supplements shouldn’t really be necessary. Continue reading Are energy gels useful for long distance cycling?

How to plan an adventure

Planning for an adventure
Planning for an adventure

Often the most difficult parts of any trip is getting it started. It’s just about getting enough momentum for plans to emerge and evolve, tickets to be booked, equipment to be procured and for you to find yourself taking that first step on your journey.

Well, I have a trick to get this going, it’s one that many serial adventurers use and it’s a technique revered for its simplicity and effectiveness: ‘tell your mates.’

Yep, that’s it. Just tell people about what you are looking to do. If you’re doing it alone then telling people will reaffirm to yourself that it’s actually happening. Tell enough people and the idea will gain its own momentum and you will mercilessly be swept along with it. Continue reading How to plan an adventure

Solar panels, Travel electronics, Watts, Volts and Amps

Solar panels and travel electronics
There may be more exiting images but I hope this one is useful

WARNING: This is a purely practical and potentially dull article. If you’re not a fan of watts, volts and amps and have no need to play with solar panels then you might want to skip this one. My apologies…

It’s taken a lot of research to find an effective way to charge my assortment of travel electronics so I’ve decided to share a photo of my set up in the hope that someone else finds it useful.

The centre piece is the 21,000 mAh battery that can be charged by the 10 Watt solar panel or an assortment of mains adaptors. It’s able to pump out  5v, 8.4v, 9.5, 12v, 16v, 19v or 24v  and has a dedicated USB charging port for smaller devices. Continue reading Solar panels, Travel electronics, Watts, Volts and Amps