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

Methods for Attaching Water Bottle Cages without screws and bosses

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Attaching addition water bottle cages to our bikes without screws or bosses  is something bicycle tourers do often. There is often a need to increase the bike’s water carrying ability in order to increase our biking range.   Cyclists also add water bottle cages to carry camping fuel and endurance gels/powders.  Since so many of us doing it, it is a bit of a surprise that there isn’t a ton of information on the methods of attaching extra water bottle cages to your touring bicycle.   It’s often difficult to find hardware for these upgrades as well.  We’ll take a look at some of the different options for adding water bottle cages once you’ve run out of cage bosses.   At the bottom of this post I’ll include some useful links that will further help you out in your next bicycle upgrade.

Remember, there’s always an option:

My Surly long haul trucker with surly nice racks and water cages

My Surly long haul trucker with surly nice racks and water cages

First we’ll look at some of the companies offering mounting cages for water bottles without bosses.

Minoura Advance Pro Goods (Japanese)

Profile Design (Numerous hydration solutions for cyclists)

Nashbar

Topeak (Huge range of cycling products, check out their Modula Cage XL, it holds 1.5 L bottles!)

Handlebar Water Bottle mounts

These additional water bottle cages are useful for those bicyclists who have extra space on their handlebars for some water bottle cages.  For me, I have limited space because of my cycling computer, topeak handlebar bag, and mirror.  The only really useful option for adding water bottle cages to my handlebars is a single bar-wrap type mount which I can place on the bar.  Below are some options for adding water bottles to your handlebars.

This is the Minoura Bottle Cage Holder BH-95x.  This is my recommendation for mounting a single bottle on your handlebar.  This product is inexpensive, effective, and respected.

Minoura Bottle Cage Holder BH-95X

Minoura also offers a couple of other models for mounting cages to your handlebars.  There is the BH-60 one-bottle model and the BH-2B

Minoura BH-2b waterbottle cage adapter

Minoura BH-2b waterbottle cage adapter

model which allows you to mount 2 water bottles to the center of your handlebar.  If you don’t have a handlebar bag up there, this would be a great bicycle upgrade.

Nashbar offers a simple handlebar mount for 25.4mm handlebars only.

Nashbar Handlebar Mounting Adapter

Nashbar Handlebar Mounting Adapter

This is the Electra Cup Holder and this is more of a novelty than anything else.  It is way too expensive and isn’t actually a water bottle holder, it is a tapered cup holder.  I just thought I’d put it on here in case anyone was looking for a way to hold a coffee cup on their bicycles.

Electra Cup Holder

Our next handlebar mounting option comes from Profile Design and is called the AeroDrink Bracket.  This is a cool mounting option for Century and Airstryke handlebars.  It fits other models with adapters.  This bracket basically spans the bar gap and connects to both ends.  It fits bars up to 120mm wide.  The interesting thing about this bracket is that is can glue or screw onto the bars.  Versatile and not that expensive at around 12 dollars.

Profile AeroDrink Bracket

Seatpost water bottle mounts

A aerodynamic option of water bottle mounting is available with seatpost mounted cages.  These cages mount on the rear part of either the seatpost or the saddle rails and usually hold two extra water bottles.

The Profile RM System 1 mounts to the rails of your saddle (seat) and connects two bottle cages behind your seat.  Make sure you have enough clearance from your loaded rack in the back to make this work.  This model is 15.00 more expensive than the Profile RM 2.

Profile Designs Saddle Rail Cage

Profile Designs Saddle Rail Cage

Profile RM System 2 is very similar to system 1 except this mounts to the actual seat post.    There are a couple of problems that may arise using this mount.  It could mount too close to your actual seat, block the bottles.  It could also not tilt upward enough and interfere with your load.  Not saying it happens all the time, but it can.

Profile Designs Seatpost water bottle cages

Profile Designs Seatpost water bottle cages

A nice company called Tacx also produces saddle clamp bottle cages.  This attachement hooks up and has 3 different positioning options for your cages.  You can do one in the middle, or two on the outer holes, whatever you choose.  Retails for around 15 dollars.

Tacx saddle water bottle cages

Tacx saddle water bottle cages

Minoura also offers to seat post models, a one-version, and a two-bottle version.  They have similar setups to the other cages so I’m not going to go into that now.  Here are photos of the two-bottle version.

Minoura seat post bracket

Minoura seat post bracket

Minoura seat post bottles

Minoura seat post bottles

Frame water bottle mounts

If you’ve run out of mounting bosses on your bike frame, your also probably running out of space.  My Surly Long Haul Trucker comes with three water-bottle mounting options on the frame, and with those filled, I have a little space on the top tube, the down tube, and the seat tube.  With this in mind, companies produce strap-on cages so we can mount more bottles on our frame in those hard-to-get to places.  Just remember that mounting cages is good not only for water, but is useful for carrying camping fuel and those heavy jugs of energy gel that proves very useful on bicycle tours.

Here are some options for mounting a water bottle cage without screws or bosses:

Elite VIP Bottle Cage Clamps allow you to connect your water bottle cages just about anywhere on your bicycle.  They work up to a 50mm diameter and come with rubber pads to eliminate scratching.  They also come with tension-tightening screws which makes these a winner for you ultimate bicyclists taking your tour on road and off.

Elite VIP Bottle Cage Clamps

Elite VIP Bottle Cage Clamps

There is a German company called Rixen and Kaul that produces the KLICKfix water bottle cage adapters.  These are some serious looking adapters and coming from German (producers of Continental tires and Ortlieb Panniers), I’d trust their quality.  There are three models I deem useful:

BottleFix is a basic model that clamps on right to the bike.  It is adjustable with an allen key before mounting the bottle.  This model with work on handlebars, frames, seat posts, and anything else between 15mm-60mm.

Bottlefix water bottle mounting system

Bottlefix water bottle mounting system

Rixen and Kaul also offer the KLICKfix model, which is a quick-release version of the BottleFix.  You can connect any regular water bottle cage to the quick-release adapter and then clip that adapter into the mounting system.  Simply install and you can clip-in and out the cage.  I’m still not entirely sure what the advantage of this system.  I guess it simply allows you to completely take off the cage if you needed to for some reason.

KlickFix Water Bottle Adapter

KlickFix Water Bottle Adapter

Here is a link to the mounting instruction manual if you want to know more about the system.

Other water bottle mounting options

For mounting to random objects on your bicycle, there are a number of universal water bottle mounting adapters available.

Minoura offers the QB-90 model, seen here, for less than 10 dollars.

QB-90 Minoura Water bottle adapter

QB-90 Minoura Water bottle adapter

Elite VIP Bottle Cage Clamps allow you to connect your water bottle cages just about anywhere on your bicycle.  They work up to a 50mm diameter and come with rubber pads to eliminate scratching.  They also come with tension-tightening screws which makes these a winner for you ultimate bicyclists taking your tour on road and off.

Elite VIP Bottle Cage Clamps

Elite VIP Bottle Cage Clamps

You could also try the following:

  • Wear a hydration pack (such as CamelBak).  These can lead to back strain, but may be necessary.  I use one.
  • Use a hip pack to hold your bottles.  These inhibit movement.
  • Carry water bags in your panniers.  I use Platypus brand and love them.  BPA free and inexpensive! They offer a number of models, some have drink valves, others are just roll-up bags that have caps on them.  I use the model shown below because I don’t need a drinking valve.  They offer a PlatyPreserve wine storage option as well, in case you need to preserve your fine wines along your tour.  Check them out here.
  • Platypus 1 Liter Water Bottle

You could also drill your own holes and install water bottle bosses.  We’ll get into that at a later date.  I’m sure there are many more options, but this is a good start.

Here are a good link with some other nifty ideas for products not so easy to find:

http://www.nordicgroup.us/cageboss/
If you’ve got the time, head over to the official website for the upcoming Long Haul for Hunger.

The Long Haul for Hunger Bicycle Tour

The Long Haul for Hunger Bicycle Tour

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

Bianchi Valle Review for 2009

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I was searching around for some new touring bike models, looking for upgraded 2009 bicycles, and generally anything else I could get my hands on, and I stumbled across the Bianchi Valle.  Bianchi also offers their ‘specialized’ touring bike the Volpe, a pretty nice touring bike with good features and a mid-range price tag.  But when I looked through the specs for the two bikes, I found the Valle to be a decent option for shorter-range tours.  It offers the same frame as the Volpe, CroMo steel frame and fork, and also has braze-ons to mount fenders and racks.  Actually, the Valle comes with front and rear fenders.  Another interesting difference between the two bikes is the Valle’s power-generating front dynamo hub.  Both bikes have 32 spoke rims which aren’t going to be too reliable with extremely heavy loads, which is why this bike is a decent possibility for shorter tours or commuters.

Bianchi Valle

I don’t like the flat handlebars on the Valle, the drop bars on the Volpe are much more my style.  I prefer the drop bars with the bar-end shifters.  The short chainstay length of 425mm might cause a bit of a problem when loading racks and panniers on the rear of the bike, if you’ve had any experience with doing that on this bike let us know.  I know the Surly Nice Rack offers enough clearance for this frame size with a properly adjusted rear Ortlieb pannier, I checked the pannier/rack combo on a lot of different bikes before I bought my racks.

I think this bike is worth checking out if you are in the market for a commuter or a short haul bike.  It’s another bike to add to your comparison list before making the big purchase.

Don’t forget to visit http://www.theultimatetrek.com to learn more about the upcoming Long Haul for Hunger Bicycling Trek.  Over 8,500 miles across 2 continents.  We’re recruiting riders and would love to have you join for all or part of the ride.

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.

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