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My eyes open, I climb out of bed, and make my way to the salon. While it’s likely that visiting the head may be my next order of business, it’s equally probable that the task following that one will be to check the state of charge of our battery bank. Yes, after living on a boat for 7 years, most of which has been spent at anchor, sans-shore power, we have become very in-tune with our electrical needs, and the processes that we need to go through to meet them.

Given that our transitioning from a life on boats to one on bikes is not going to completely eliminate our dependency on electricity, coming up with a way to meet those needs while pedaling has been part of our planning almost since day one. Fortunately, with today’s technology, it’s pretty easy to do.

I think it’s super cool how our close friends have embraced our new plans, sending us private messages of support, and sharing articles and gear links that they think will be helpful. Thank you all so very much!

How we’ll generate electricity:

Taking advantage of the latest technology, both of our bikes will be fitted out with dynamo front hubs, specifically a Son 28. Functioning much like our Amel’s shaft alternator, this device generates electricity as the bike’s wheel spins. The wires from it will be fed to a Sinewave Cycles Revolution charger which allows our motion-generated electricity to power any USB device.

electricity

Son 28 Dynamo hub

What can a system like this power/charge? Plenty of things. Here are some examples:

  • Lights
  • GPS
  • Smart phone
  • Camera
  • Cache battery

Cool, eh?

And perhaps solar too!

Of course, in addition to what I’ve described above, there are a number of micro solar chargers available. Just as on a boat, the available real estate to deploy such a thing would be the limiting factor. We may or may not try to incorporate something like this too, after we determine what our true needs are.

Want some more cycle touring eye candy? Check out this very professionally-edited video filmed in Baja, Mexico. It features one of the routes that we’re considering taking, and some amazing scenery.

16 Comments

  1. That is really cool!
    As a kid we had those dynamos that had a knurled wheel that contacted the tire to generate lights, but this is way cooler.

    Eric

  2. Include a clothes pin and playing card on your spokes for sound along with this technology and you’ll definitely be one of the coolest kids biking. Unless of course your trying to sneak past an Alaskan bear

  3. That video gives me an opportunity to voice how I am truly, totally stoked about your trip. As you can imagine, the rest of us here in Grenada that know what you’re heading out to do feel the same way. Can’t wait to get the true nitty gritty as you leave the very north, to the middle zone (Grenadaish) and the very south. On on, Tarzan and Jane

  4. I haven.t researched it at all– But one would think/Hope you two will be wearing Helmets during your next Journey.. Solar Panels on Helmets?? Wouldn’t,make much juice..

    • Yes, we’ll likely be wearing helmets most of the time. Solar panels on top of them? Uh, no. They look silly enough as it is.

    • The most significant problem with that concept is interfering with the primary function of the helmet … protecting your head.

      Mike, we carried a 3-section solar panel that we were able to hang at an angle (not completely vertical or horizontal) off of a pannier. Typically, we would recharge up to two rechargeable batteries, but we were also able to charge a cell-phone. I’ll have to go find which panel, but it was one that received a pretty high rec from OutdoorGearLab.com

  5. Shutter Precision dyno hubs are a fraction of the price(like 45%) of SON and have lower drag numbers at load. SON has slightly better no-load drag numbers but the added cost of the hubs, and the fact that your energy needs will probably require you to be running the hubs most of the time, make the SP hub a better choice IMHO. SON’s warranty looks good on paper but the limited service facilities are another huge downside. Last I checked Peter White was the only SON authorized service center in all of North America. He has a tiny operation and turn-around times are in the months. There may not even be one in South America at all.

  6. I have a SON hub and really like it along with some nice LED lights; I ride with it on all the time. You can feel the drag in the stand turning the wheel by hand, but I don’t notice it on the road at all. There is no comparison to the old bottle generators that ran on the tires; absolutely no comparison. Compass Cycles also sells SON hubs, http://www.compasscycle.com.

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