Self Support Cycle Gear List

I have fine-tuned my gear list for a self-support European touring cycle trip. I usually ride with a small hydration-shaped pack, a rear rack trunk bag, a top tube frame bag and a water cage container. This configuration of bike bags allows for about 10-12 pounds of gear. This gear list includes; a 2-man tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, full bike kit clothing, two sets of non-riding clothing, some electronics, and toiletries. All items are chosen for lightness, compact-abiIity, ease of cleaning and ability to dry quickly. I carry no cooking gear. And remember, if in doubt, don’t bring it, buy it when you need it.

For an updated self support gear list, check out my book Euro Tours.

Cycling bags

  • Bontrager Trunk Deluxe (Trek Interchange System) Note: This model has built-in rain condom, but doesn’t have the drop-down panniers. I think the drop-down model is too much backend weight for a rear rack. The Interchange System makes fastening and removing your trunk bag fast.
  • I have switched to a Jandd Frame Bag, it fits on a 54″ frame. Primarily, it carries my non-riding shoes. I tried a Relevate Frame Bag but it was too big to fit within my 54″ frame triangle.
  • REI Flash Pack (without hydration system) I try to load this pack with no more than two pounds of gear, otherwise, it becomes uncomfortable for long riding days. It is nice to have a small pack along for grocery runs or day hikes.
  • Soma Stash Bottle (fluids or easy access to raincoat) This a good place to store the Sugoi rain jacket, very accessible.

Camping Gear

  • ThermaRest Neo Air Full-length Sleeping Pad. This year I upgraded from a 3/4 to full length for more comfort.
  • Western Mountaineering Highlite sleeping bag (1lb) good to about 35F-40F temperature range
  • 2 man TarpTent Note: that the Cloudburst is very roomy for two people.
  • 6 tent aluminum tent pegs

Bike Clothing

Zero gear preplanning happens
  • Pearlizumi X-Road Shoes (Hybrid: bikeSPD/hike) Because you might want to go hiking some days. Standard road bike shoes are worthless off your bike.
  • Pearlizumi Riding Shorts
  • Sugoi leggings
  • Assos Full Zipper Jersey
  • Catlike Riding Helmet
  • 3 pairs bike socks
  • 1 pair riding gloves
  • Pearlizumi glove liners (optional when colder)
  • Pearlizumi wind vest (optional when warmer)
  • Assos Full Zipper/Sleve Riding Jacket (optional when colder)
  • Sugoi Rain Jacket. I keep this in the Soma Stash bottle, for quick access. This jacket works fine as a breathable wind breaker too.

Evening Clothing

  • Bison Belt (nylon webbing/Fastex belt buckle) Bison does have a money belt version of this belt.
  • REI Adventure pants, 4 zipped pockets, dries quickly and light weight.
  • Pearlizumi or Nike black nylon stretch pants
  • one dress shirt (optional)
  • long sleeve nylon shirt
  • short sleeve nylon shirt
  • Nylon Baseball Hat
  • Pile Hat helmut liner cap
  • Crocs: Santa Cruz evening shoes; lightweight, packable, comfortable Evolv Cruzers ($75): These are climbing approach shoes. Does everything that the Croc Santa Cruz plus a great climbing tread. These would make much better Via Ferrata shoes than the Crocs.
  • 1 pair high socks
  • 3 synthetic Patagonia underwear
  • MontBell Ultra-Light Down Jacket (7 oz.) Very light and compact able. Perfect for cool mornings or evenings. This is also the down for your pillow case.
  • small toilet bag (you can reduce weight here)
  • ThermaRest Pillow bag
  • REI small or medium backpacking towel
  • nylon bathing suit, quick drying as always.

Small Items

  • Apple iPhone; GSM unlocked, iPhone headphones, & USB Cable/Charger. I highly recommend an unlocked GSM phone, with GPS and Google Maps app.
  • New Trent rechargeable battery (optional) Good at campgrounds without charging plugs or for charging in a tent, and when public outlets are insecure, strangely pronged, or emit unfamiliar voltages.
  • North America to European plug adapter (critical) for charging iPhone or Trent battery
  • Prepaid SIM card of country I am riding in. ($10)
  • 1GB Flash SSD memory stick for photo backups or carrying around digital files.
  • Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS camera & USB Cable iPhone4 camera is my only camera now. (optional)
  • Compact nylon grocery bag, there are pack versions of this too.
  • Lexan Spoon. This is the only kitchen/eating utensil I bring along.
  • waterproof Dry-Pak for camera or iPhone. (optional)
  • Headlight
  • Sunglasses with dark and rose lenses.
  • Folding reading glasses (optional)
  • mini carabiners
  • Passport and credit card. Take pictures of other wallet id cards (health insurance, etc.) and leave cards at home.

Bike Gear

  • Richey Breakaway Bike
  • Continential Gatorskin tires 700/25 especially for the extra weight over the rear wheel
  • Bontrager Rear Rack (Trek Interchange System)
  • Shimano A530 SPD dual platform road touring pedals. SPDs during the rides, flat platform with evening shoes.
  • Rear rack light, nice for dark long tunnels and heavy traffic
  • Knog front light. This light can be easily fastened on any tube area of your frame and is waterproof.
  • Lightweight bike lock. I try to never leave my bike unattended in public.
  • Slime Skabs patches, instead of a tire tube
  • tire levers
  • Presta valve adapter, when you can’t find a good floor pump. This can be used at most gas stations.
  • small bottle of chain lube
  • Spin Doctor mini 4 hex tool (55grams)
  • Blackburn AirStix pump 58 grams
  • pant leg straps with reflector strips to avoid pants shredding
  • One Clean water bottle, type that can be opened and cleaned from the bottom
  • Michelin Road Atlas as iPhone photos or Google Maps with GPS and data capability
  • iPhone Apps: SBB Mobile (Euro trains), Google Translate, FXChange (currencies), iPhone Kindle (books), Google Maps

iPhoto Photography to WordPress Photo Gallery

iPhone camera to WordPress photo gallery

The best photography happens for me when I carry a small camera in my pocket at all times. The camera chip on my older iPhone was horrible and I deemed it unacceptable. The new camera chip (5 mega pixel) included within the iPhone 4 motivated me to upgrade from my older iPhone. A secondary goal was to eliminate my point and shoot Canon Powershot camera and carry just one camera; in my phone. I have always liked my Powershot, but having a decent camera integrated into a smart phone is just so much more practical and convenient when you want to travel simple and light. The whole process of getting pictures online can be accomplished with one device now. This post covers how I take iPhone pictures and upload them into a WordPress site with a NextGen photo gallery.

Here are the challenges: You have a bunch of trip pics that need to be uploaded, possibly image enhanced, resolution corrected, add a text image description, and finally, thumb-nailed and sorted within a photo gallery on a WordPress post or page. You might not have a computer or a wifi connection, and maybe you want to upload additional pics to your photo gallery as your trip progresses. The following process is how I get my photos online into my WordPress trip post.

Before I leave on a trip, I create a standard WordPress post for my trip. I also create a Nextgen photo gallery for my trip. Next, I embed the NextGen photo gallery into my WordPress post. Initially, I might not have any images for my photo gallery. As I start accumulating  photos of my trip, I upload my desired images to my WordPress server and FTP them into the desired NextGen gallery folder (yourdomain.com/wp-content/gallery/mytripfolder/). The only step I need to do in the WordPress/NextGen admin is to have the NextGen plugin scan for any new images uploaded recently. NextGen will scan my gallery folder for new pictures; resizing them, and creating the necessary gallery thumbnail images.

Below is a NextGen photo gallery of pics all taken with the iPhone 4 camera. If I need a wide angle shot, I use the Pano iPhone application. Pano can stitched together multiple pictures to create the wide panorama pictures you see in the gallery. The iPhone’s camera lens is flat and not optically adjustable, so the zooming function is created digitally; which usually results in poor image quality.

With the iPhone’s high resolution retina technology it is actually possible to do some image correction functions from the iPhone’s small but very crisp display. If I have an image that needs some tonal adjustment, cropping, or sharping, I can make those adjustments with my finger with Adobe’s Photoshop Mobile application. I have found that many of my iPhone’s images do not need much digital correction.

My images were uploaded from my iPhone’s camera roll with an application called FTP on the Go. This was the best uploading application with many FTP functions; including the ability to change image sizes and adjust server file permissions. It also works over Wifi, 3G, and Edge networks.

There are other options to get your iPhone pictures to your WordPress site. WordPress for iOS is an iPhone app that allows posting and uploading of pictures to a post. But the WordPress for iOS app can’t match NextGen when it comes to organizing and displaying multiple photos within a blog post.

Note: The pictures below were taken with iOS 4.01. Since then Apple has released version 4.1 which includes the HDR photography feature. HDR supposedly deals with pictures with varying light intensities and takes three pictures and combines the best areas of each of those adjusted shots. Ever taken a shot with a washed-out sky? This technology deals with those kind of challenging shots. I will experiment with HDR as soon as my jail broken phone allows me to update to iOS 4.1.

Euro Tour 2010 Summary

These are photographs from an April-May bike tour to Spain and Portugal. The route was planned by noticing that there are a large amount of scenic designated roads (per Michelin Motor Atlas) in Northern Spain and Portugal. You can piece together a beautiful scenic route; riding coastlines, mountains, and vineyards with almost no traffic. Maybe 90% of my route was deemed high quality euro touring.

I was on this tour exactly a month. I rode 27 of 30 days, probably over 2000km. About half the day, I rode, and the rest of the day, I would sight-see or do work related tasks online. As hotels are fairly cheap in this area, about half the nights were spent in hotels, but I carried camping gear (tent, pad, bag) on my bike, the remaining nights were spent at euro camp grounds. It’s nice to have your own choice at each destination; camp or hotel, depending on your current mood, needs, and the weather.

I carried only only a latex spoon, so all my meals were taken out. I don’t have accurate bookeeping of my trip expenses, but I estimate approximately two grand for a month, this includes my $800 RT airfare; Denver-Madrid-Denver. I probably spent $100 on prepaid Internet data charges with Vodaphone.

There have been a number of posts about keeping my gear lite. I have a rear trunk bag on my Richey Breakaway bike and I wear a small hydration-like REI Flash pack, no panniers for me. All my gear weighed 11 pounds total. This is light enough to ride comfortably in the mountains. I have decided that 10 pounds is the golden threshold for comfort and speed. Reaching this threshold weight does require a lot of gear research. Almost all touring riders I met had too much gear. Everything needs to be light-weight, multi-purposed and compact.

Next trip I think I can eliminate my Canon Powershot camera, camera battery charger, and USB upload cable with the new iPhone 4 (half pound lightened?). The iPhone 4G camera has a 5 mega pixel camera with a 5x zoom which is probably good enough for most trip photography. Many of the panorama shots were taken with the Pano iPhone app which stitches together multiple lined-up photos. This app really helps with the limitations of the cell phone’s crappy lens allowing you to capture wide angle vistas.

The biggest technical problem with my bike tour camping is not being able to recharge electrical devices from a tent site. In my case this means my iPhone; my only electrical device. I have been researching small camping solar panels. There are some promising solutions that would allow recharging while riding or from panels connected to your tent’s roof.

The second biggest challenge is finding a place to leave your bike box if you are traveling overseas. Upon landing, I had my bike tuned at the Bike Room in Madrid, they allowed me to leave my box at their shop, super friendly too.

The Google map below shows my route. The white placemarks show my overnights in hotels/pensions. The green placemarks designate campground overnights. I traveled from Madrid to Talavera and Bilbao to Madrid with my bike on the bus.

The kewlest phenomena about euro bike packing/touring is going lite and being able to be spontaneous and mobile. If you desire other Europeans tour destinations, check out my book Euro Tours.

Related links:
Gear list
Camping Souvage
Digital Michelin Maps
Virtual Travel Laptop
iPhone Data Plan Spain
iPhone Travel Blogging
Only Digital Travel Books
Travel with Google Voice
Goal0 – Portable Solar Products
Bikepacking.net