Tag Archives: Electronics

Samsung Galaxy SII


As of today if i was to go on another bike tour i would do the same as I did last time regarding phones. Almost the same. Take a phone device, that has no phone service, to use apps and have music and get online at wifi spots. But this time drop the iPhone 3G (that I quit using as a phone in mid 2011) and take the Galaxy SII(that i bought used late 2012). The SII is no longer the best phone out there but it does a lot.

  • Better camera w/ flash
  • Bigger screen
  • More storage
  • Swype will make Touring notes easier to do
  • I don’t like the music player as much as iTunes

None of this matters though. It’s gonna be a while before I do any tour long enough to cancel my phone service for. And by time that happens who knows where I’ll be phone-wise. I guess this is just me daydreaming about gear and travel. I keep looking at touring sites and photos online, imagining that I’m in my tent when really I’m really just trying to sleep in my bed. Today I weighed my two different tire lever sets to see the actual weight difference. 2 Park levers are .8oz (24g) and 2 Pedros levers are 1.4oz (42g). My passport weighs 1.1oz (34g) for comparison, and my SII is 4.7oz (134g) w/o charger.

Previously: iPhone (no phone plan)

PowerFilm USB+AA Solar Charger

PowerFilm USB+AA Solar Charger

I’ve only just seen this on the web. But could look like something to get before my next tour.

Some info from MEC site. They say it’s made in USA but they are not always accurate with that info. I do know that Eneloop batteries are made in Japan.

PowerFilm Solar USB + AA Solar Charger

Product Number: 5024-540
Made in USA

Weight: 215g

This flexible solar charger is foldable and packable, so you can bring it wherever you’re bound. Under full sun, it charges the included 2AA batteries in about four hours. You can then use the batteries to charge other devices when no sunlight is available.

  • Panels are made of amorphous silicon which captures a broad spectum and works well in sunny or cloudy conditions.
  • USB port for direct charging of most micro USB devices, like cell phones, smart phones, and iPods®.
  • Battery charging current is 400mA at 3.6V.
  • USB charging current up to 1A at 5V.

Drift HD Action Camera


I have one of these and only use it a little bit. But if i wanted to take a wide angle video camera on a bike tour this would be the one, versus a GoPro or one of the lesser brands.

I like the Drift HD for three main reasons.

1. It has a dedicated screen. Some of the others are catching up on this point but they are add-ons. Or phone apps that have a time delay. Drift got it right early on.

2. The lens can be rotated. There are so many places a camera this small can be mounted. And many more if it need not be mounted level to the horizon or even right side up. The sensor rotates with the lens. So if i mount this at an odd angle i can look at what I’m getting on the screen and rotate the lens until im getting the shot I want.

3. It has a standard 1/4″ tripod mount. I have no idea why, other than selling more plastic crap to their customers, any camera would NOT have a 1/4″ tripod mount. GoPro does not have this so theirs must be mounted with their shitty plastic mounts that break and fail all the time.

I mount this to just about anything with a nano clamp and mini ball head

The battery life is good. The video quality is good. The sound is good. Its size is good. It charges with a common cable. It costs about the same as its competitors. Its weather resistance is good. And Drift sells replacement parts, if you were to crack the lens cover.



Princeton Tec Fuel LED Headlamp


I had a Pretzl, or however that popular brand is spelled, LED headlamp but it would start to flicker like the guts of it were weak and it didn’t want to give a steady stream of light. To the point where I’d used it less often because I didn’t like the light it gave, high, low, twitching in the middle all depending on what mood it was in. That thing was junk really.

This one has a few differences the on/off is a button vs. a sliding switch, and the up/down adjustability is over a greater range. Real high to point up the road if I have my head down while biking or low like aiming right down my nose for reading or such.

Another thing is this is made in the US, the package reads “Made in USA with domestic and foreign components”. I was looking at the pretlzs on the next shelf and they were from all over, France, Bulgaria, and Madagascar from what I saw.

EMS in Manhattan for $24

Made in USA



Panasonic RF-P50 FM-AM Radio

Shiiiiiiit. How am I not gonna take a radio?

I have an iPod but I never use it. Why? I don’t have one of those add-on speaker things and I can’t ride with headphones. There is no NPR on my iPod. iPods have to charge on a wall somewhere. This has a speaker, tunes NPR and runs on double A’s.

Bought at B&H in Manhattan


Made in Indonesia


Cateye Strada Wireless

On my first and second solo tours I did have a computer on my bike. Later I did a supported group tour on a bike sent out by a sponsor and I didn’t add a computer to it until more than half the trip was ridden. I bought a cheap one on sale just to read the cue sheets better with some on-the-ground distance info from the cycle computer. It helped a little. But it had a wire and a big dumb button on the side that would get held down if I was not careful how I leaned the bike. Holding that button would clear all the info.

I remember a few people in the group had this model and spoke good of it. So wanting something better I ordered one from QBP for a little more that that dumb one I had cost.

Simple. One button. Wireless.

I did notice one thing about the wireless feature. Sometimes while riding, I might walk. I might walk a few blocks or a mile or more. If I have a computer I got into the habit of pushing the computer up from the stem mount. Just enough to break the sensor connection but not too much that it falls off. I guess my logic is that I only want to tabulate the distance ridden, keep my average speed up, and have an accurate ride time. Well with this one I can push the sensor halfway off the mount but that wont break the sensor. I have to put it in my back pocket if I don’t want to know that I walk 3 MPH.

Made in Japan

iPhone (no phone plan)

An old iPhone 3G that has no service. I’d use it like an iPod Touch. No phone, no data plan, no bill.

I can check email, weather, maps, and twitter and such. What more would I need?

The thought of bringing this has been on the seesaw more than anything else. Not for the decision to have a phone(that makes phone calls) or not. I know I do not want a phone while on tour. But rather the decision of having the internet in my pocket at all. I don’t really want to have the internet with me if I’m touring. But I likely will(meaning i think i will bring this). Although internet would only be in places that offer it, coffee shops, spots like that.

I figure I can post here and on twitter and email friends. I’d use the calculator in grocery stores to get the best deals.

It has an alarm and I’ll put some of my favorite Lil’ Wayne songs on there too.

Worth the weight? We’ll see.

I don’t think it would last through a long trip.

I bought this used from a friend who upgraded. I did use it as my phone for about 6 months but I got sick of giving AT&T money.

Cost: $80 used

Weight: 4.8oz (138g) w/o charger

Made in China