Category Archives: Uncategorized

Platypus Wine bag for storing wine on your bicycle

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Think water storage is the bicycle tourists only concern?  Hah!  What about wine?  If you’re looking to keep spirits up you need the Platypus Wine Bag.

Platypus Wine Storage Bicycle bag

Platypus Wine Storage Bicycle bag

Whether you are a connoisseur, an enthusiast or a casual admirer of wine, one truth remains: the delicate taste of wine change upon exposure to oxygen. That means wine is best enjoyed within a few hours of being opened. If not properly preserved, wine can go bad in as little as 2 to 8 hours.

  • PlatyPreserve is the best way to protect the taste of an opened bottle of wine by completely eliminating the presence of oxygen. While alternative methods might have you pump air out of the bottle or inject gas into the bottle- PlatyPreserve has you transfer your un-finished wine into an air tight reservoir to truly protect the taste of your wine so it may be enjoyed several days or even weeks later.
    • Collapsible containers offer an easy, light-weight alternative to pack and enjoy wine wherever you go.
    • Select materials ensure superior leak protect and provide zero taste transfer to your wine.
  • The three environmental factors that damage wine are: oxygen, temperature, and ultraviolet light. The PlatyPreserve solves the first factor by isolating your wine from oxygen. You can deal with the other two factors by storing the PlatyPreserve in a cool dark place. Ideally the storage temperature should be held constant at 50 to 52 degrees F. Higher temperatures and bright sun or fluorescent lights can damage wine no matter what the container.

You can buy the platypus wine bags online at the following retailers:

Backcountrygear.com

Mountain Sports

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Winter Training for the Long Haul for Hunger Bicycle Tour

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Seoul, South Korea- On a typical weekday morning, long before the sun has risen, we can be found by the Han River battling through the debilitating winds and freezing temperatures that can make even the most dedicated athletes call it a day. The rest of our time is spent thawing our toes and studying our maps.

With less than 50 days until we embark on the Long Haul for Hunger bicycle tour, Derek and I are stepping up our training programs, no matter how cold it is outside.  We look like aliens with all of our winter cycling clothing on.  Really loving my Gore Windstopper jacket at the moment.

Seoul Bicycle Training Weather

Seoul Bicycle Training Weather

Our current training program is in its 2nd phase and we’re transitioning to our final phase of preparation.  From now on we will spend 5 mornings a week on our bikes, I will be putting in 30 miles a day during the week, and doing a 50 mile ride once every weekend.  We want to get plenty of time in the saddle before getting to China.

So far our Surly LHT bikes have held up great in the city, we can only hope they do the same on the tour.  Stay tuned for more updates and check out our event website at http://www.theultimatetrek.com

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bicycle

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I came across this interesting idea this morning.  Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies has made a Hydrogen powered bicycle capable of doing 25km/h and more than 300 kilometers on a single fuel run.

Hydrogen fuel cell bicycle

Hydrogen fuel cell bicycle

From the company’s website:

“The fuel cell systems in these light electric vehicle applications are much smaller than for automobiles or motorcycles, requiring less hydrogen, with readily available hydrogen storage technologies – making the proposition easy and attractive. The fuel cell bicycles have a top speed of 25 km/h, and can travel 300 km on a hydrogen refill. With many more fuel cell vehicles on the road, visibility is increased, meaning that the investment in public outreach and education is more efficient. Also, while providing mobility, the systems on the bicycles are also small portable power systems able to run radios, computers, lights, power tools, medical equipment, even generate heat. The possibilities are endless and the start of a critical mass can spark wider deployment of higher power applications including fuel cell powered automobiles.”

This got me thinking that as great of an idea as getting more people on bicycles is, isn’t it such a great idea because they aren’t using any energy but their own?  Hydrogen doesn’t pollute, so that’s a plus.  But I don’t see what benefits consumers really get from this bike.  25km/h, that is 15 miles and hour, and I can do that on my touring bike fully loaded to the gills with gear with a headwind.  I’d say that 90% of people don’t ride with that much gear anyway and could go faster than this bike. The website says it will be useful for police officers, couriers, and the like, but I just don’t see it.  Hydrogen cars are a good solution, but just because a hydrogen bike is cheaper doesn’t mean millions of people in developing countries or elsewhere are going to buy these up.

There are more companies producing hydrogen bicycles and they talk about the same things.  Hydrogen bicycles claim to be energy savers, when compared to people driving cars, but not when compared to people riding bikes.  They are also being touted as having much faster refueling times than electric bikes because they lessen the time from 3 hours to about 30 minutes.  Who wants to wait at a gas station for 30 minutes?  I’m sure they got to have faster options, or at least I’d hope so.

You can find the whole story on http://www.horizonfuelcell.com/mobility.htm

A real solution is the Fuel Cell Hydrogen Powered Motorcycle from a company called Intelligent Energy.  This thing looks really cool and useful.  If you’ve ever been to a developing country you really can feel the impact of motorcycles and scooters on the environment.  Imagine rolling this out to millions of people.

Intelligent Energy Fuel Cell Motocycle

Intelligent Energy Fuel Cell Motocycle

Performance Data

  • Acceleration 0 – 20 mph in 4.3s (32kph)
  • 0 – 30 mph in 7.3s (48 kph)
  • 0 – 50 mph in 12.1s (80kph)
  • Top speed 50 mph (80kph)
  • (note: ENV has been tested to 50mph – however, with further refinements and redevelopments, this top speed is expected to be exceeded)
  • Range At least 100 miles (160km)
  • Physical
    Bike mass 80 kg (Total mass including CORE)

Fuel

  • Hydrogen 99.9% purity
  • Oxygen Taken from air
  • Hydrogen refuel time less than 5 minutes

Check this out http://www.webbikeworld.com/Motorcycle-news/fuel-cell-motorcycle/

Bikeblogs.com

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I spent a lot of the last month or two looking for good bicycling blogs on the net. Since I live in South Korea, don’t really have reliable access to bicycling magazines. Bikeblogs.com is an interesting blog because it links to a lot of other blogs and also offers some insight on cycling products in the market. Check ’em out if you’ve got time, find the blog at http://www.bikeblogs.com

Cycling Nutrition on a bicycle tour

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We haven’t spent any of the last couple of months posting about cycling nutrition and it’s finally time to start.  While we’ve been researching and testing different products and methods of staying energized on a tour, we’ve kept quiet on the blog, but we are just about ready to release some of our findings.  As you know it’s winter here in South Korea, so we’ve been freezing our boots off training for the upcoming Long Haul for Hunger, an 8,500 mile bicycle tour for charity.  I’ll never forget the first week of training and nutrition testing when we set our base levels for the test, refueling on water alone before, during, and after our rides.  Those 75-mile rides with four loaded panniers were more than painful and the last miles of each day were excruciating.

Over the next week or two we’ll be featuring a series of articles on cycling nutrition.  We encourage all of you to comment back on your own experiences with nutrition supplements, recipes, and anything else that might be helpful to our readers.  Remember to check out our 8,500 mile trek at www.theultimatetrek.com.  We are accepting entrants if you can ride all or part of the trek, drop us an email or comment.

long-haul-for-hunger-logo

Continental Top Contact Tires

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We’ve just bought some new bicycle tires for the ride and they seem just about perfect for our Long Haul for Hunger.  Our Surly Long Haul Truckers come equipped with Continental Contact tires, and they are just fine.  Nice rolling resistance, good traction, and able to handle our load.  Since our trek is over 8,500 miles, we need to pack some replacements with us.  We needed a reliable tire for touring that was foldable so we could fit it in our Ortlieb panniers.  Turns out the best-rated tire that folds is the Continental Top Contact.  It is a beautiful tire, hand-made in Germany, and super strong and very puncture-resistance.  We’ll update you all when we’ve got the tires installed and have given them a good ride.

Continental Top Contact bicycle tires

Choosing the right cycling shoes

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To clip, or not to clip?  Clip.  We’ve already written a post about cycling pedals, but I decided to go ahead and put up a post about shoes for the new year.  We’re going to look at the benefits of the different types of shoes you can buy for your ride and hopefully help you choose the correct cycling shoe for your ride.

Remember these things when choosing the right cycling shoes:

  • The stronger the sole, the more power is transferred to the pedal.
  • If you have wide feet, be careful choosing road style shoes, they often come narrowly designed.
  • Ensure a snug fit with a little room in the toes to move around in cold weather.
  • Ensure the fit at the ball of your foot, where you connect to the pedal, isn’t too tight or you will suffer from numbness in your toes.  You need a little up and down space to keep blood moving.
  • Ensure there is no slipping in the heel.  You need a nice heel cup and not a flat sole.

Cycling Gear is on Sale

Cycling Gear is on Sale

In general, there are three types of cycling shoes on the market.  There are a number of special variations, but we’ll focus on the main three.

  • BMX
  • Mountain
  • Road

Road shoes are what most people conjure up when thinking about the Tour de France and cycling.  These shoes are designed for riding and are often difficult to walk in.  Since they are specifically designed for cycling, they often have exposed cleats to ensure the sole is made of one strong piece of material.  As you’ll learn later, mountain shoes often have recessed cleats that cut into the sole and lessen it’s strength.  Road shoes are often of a much narrower design, more lightweight, and stronger than other shoes.  Have a look at the exposed cleats on this model and imagine walking around in them:

shoe

Road Cycling Shoes

Mountain cycling shoes are a little different than road shoes in that they usually have recessed cleats.  This makes the shoe much more comforable to walk in when not clipped into the bike.  Typically these shoes will have rubber/nylon soles on the outer rim of the sole to shed mud and pad your footsteps.  Because of this added sole, the weight of these shoes is generally higher than a road shoe, but not a ton.  You can check to see how good the shoes are at shedding mud and water by checking the gaps between the sole pieces.  It’s hard to explain further, but you’ll understand if you flip the shoe over and check the spacing.  Bigger spaces lead to better clearning ability.    I briefly mentioned earlier that having a recessed cleat can weaken the sole of a cycling shoe.  Basically there is a 2x3cm piece taken out of the sole to fit in the cleat.  Remember this is you are going for speed, it might make a difference for you and make it worthwhile to pick up road shoes and carry another pair of shoes for walking around.  For us bicycle tourers, a softer sole is worth saving on bringing an entire extra pair of shoes to walk around in.  Having two shoes in one is priceless on a long bike tour.  Looking at the picture below, you can see the recessed cleat, the extra rubber sole and mud-clearning gaps, and the heel cup.

Sidi Mountain shoes

Mountain Cycling Shoes

BMX shoes come in models with or without clips because BMX riders use platform pedals and don’t require clipping in at all times because it can become dangerous.  Imagine doing a nice backflip and having your foot stuck in the pedal.  That would suck.  Some riders do prefer the feeling of clipping in and so there are models of BMX shoes available with slips.  BMX shoes typically look like skate shoes because of their wide, flat soles .  Have a look at a typical BMX shoe below:

bmx

BMX Clipless Shoes

Once you’ve chosen the style of your cycling shoe, you’ve got to choose the quality.  Generally, there are three levels of quality when it comes to buying bike shoes.

  • Beginner
  • Economic
  • Performance

Beginner

Obviously, these shoes are of the lowest quality and lowest price of our three choices of cycling shoes.  The soles of these shoes are the flimsiest of the bunch, often made of rubber (heavy) or nylon (cheap).  The upper part of the shoe is made of nylon,synthetic  leather, suede, or mesh.

Economic

These are your mid-range cycling shoes, usually these can be bought for anywhere between 80-120 dollars.  A lot of Shimano, Forte, and Pearl Izumi models fit into this category.  These bike shoes typically come with some sort of composite sole made up of nylon or some carbon fiber.  The upper part of the shoe is made of leather, nylon, mesh, or other materials.  Most of these models will also come with a molded heal cup to position you for max power.

Performance

These are your expensive cycling shoes, usually ranging from 150-250 and higher.  If you are a serious road racer or cyclist, this is your target range.  These bike shoes come with carbon-fiber soles and high quality upper materials made of pure leather or microfibers for maximum breathability.  Some popular performance models include Sidi, Cannondale, Lake, Vittoria, and Adidas.

I hope this helps you choose the right cycling shoes.  Remember, if you’re on a tour and need extra space, get a multi-purpose biking shoe with a recessed cleat so you don’t have to carry an extra pair of shoes.

Don’t forget that one of the most important aspects of power transfer are the soles of your shoe.  A weak and flimsy sole isn’t going to transfer as much power at a solid piece of sole.  Because of this, cheaper shoes are going to be much flimsier than the more expensive models, mostly because of build materials.

REI January Super Clearance! Jan 9-19

Learn more about my upcoming 8,500mile bicycle trek from South Korea to Portugal at my new website.  Click on the logo.

the Long Haul for Hunger