Tag Archives: touring

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

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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/

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.

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

New Cannondale Touring Bikes for 2009

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I was over at my local Cannondale dealer the other day having a chat about the new models rolling out for 2009 and happened to come across the European catalog for Cannondale.  Wow, you guys over there get the good stuff.  For us folks in the US, we have new Touring 1 and Touring 2 models for 2009.  In Europe, you get new models for the Cannondale Touring Ultra, Touring Rohloff, and Touring Classic.

touring-rohloff

This is the Rohloff version, see the shock on the stem?  Cool, it’s a new Cannondale Headshok, has anyone see one of these things before?  Post up here if you have, love to hear about the bike.

New water bottle cages on my Surly LHT

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In my attempt to create the ugliest Surly long haul trucker ever, I have installed two hideous looking water bottles onto my front Surly Nice Rack.  You might ask yourself why, and if you do, you need to visit www.theultimatetrek.com to figure it out.  The Surly LHT complete comes with 3 frame mount spots for water bottle cages or pumps or whatever.  Due to the nature of my tour, I needed to carry much more water.  Not only will I ride with these 3 bottles, I will carry a water bladder backpack, a water bag in my pannier, as well as 4 rack mounted water bottles.  I will use 3 of the 4 rack mounted bottles for water, and the 4th for camping fuel.  Here are some photos of my rig.  Notice that they are attached with zip-ties and rubber padding to keep ’em secure.  I’ve angled them slightly upward and away from the rack platform to ensure they don’t interfere with anything I’m mounting on the racks.  They’ve made a 50 mile ride no problem, so I think they’ll make it.  I’m probably going to use velcro for extra protection to ensure they dont slip out.

Surly Long Haul Trucker

And the front view…

Surly Long Haul Trucker

One last look.

Surly Long Haul Trucker

Please head over to learn about the Long Haul for Hunger trek, over 7500 miles on my Surly LHT for charity.  We need your help!  www.theultimatetrek.com

Windstopper winter soft shell jacket

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Well it is officially winter in Seoul, South Korea.  On Friday we got down to -12C with winds over 30km/h!  I’m using my WINDSTOPPER WindstopperWindchill-Calculator to see how cold it felt, it reads -30C with wind.  Wow!  With this in mind I headed out this Saturday to gear up for winter riding.  I usually ride 30 milers down on the Han River here in Seoul and it can get really windy even on a good day.  As part III of my clothing system I needed a weather barrier.  I did a little research and came upon a brand called Windstopper.  It was created by the people that made Gore-Tex, a company called Gore.  Simple design with three layers to provide windproof fabric with moisture wicking ability.  The soft shell version offers mild water resistance and snow protection as well.

I took it out for a test ride and was very happy with it.  Coupled with the rest of my clothing system I was very warm and dry.  Check out www.windstopper.com or www.blackyak.co.kr.