Having just upgraded to the new iPhone, my BioLogic iPhone 4 bike mount has just become redundant. The company have reassured me via Twitter that they are working on a new mount for the iPhone 5 which is wonderful news. I use the mount every day in conjunction with the CycleMeter app that allows me to track and keep a record of my cycle times from Reading to Henley-on-Thames every morning. It’s like having a little dashboard on Reggie’s handlebars. Yes, he’s on Twitter too… Here I am by the way (just for the record). Anyway, iPhone bike mount aside, I was having a good look around the BioLogic website and my! Do they have some wonderful kit on there. Two things in particular caught my interest, both of which could be potentially very useful for next summer’s long trip from Athens to Cadiz.
First up is this beauty; the BioLogic Joule™ 3 Dynamo Hub. This is what the website says about it: “The Joule 3 currently is the lightest, most efficient bicycle dynamo hub on the market. It can be built up to create super-light dynamo wheels and its patented magnet configuration yields barely noticeable drag. Polishing, laser etching, and a precision machined flange pattern give high performance in a beautiful small package. Available in disc and non-disc brake versions. Winner of a 2012 Eurobike Award.” It is definitely in that category of cycling gear know as ‘Bike Porn’ (along with Koga Trekking Bikes, the Rohloff Speed Hub & the Crane Bell Suza (Brass)). I want one! (Of the other things in that list incidentally, I only have the bell. So far…)
Now, you are probably thinking ‘OK. But what’s it for?‘. This is what it’s for: the BioLogic ReeCharge™ Power Pack! I have died and gone to heaven. I bought a solar ‘charger’ before embarking upon the trip along the Eurovelo 5 from the UK to southern Italy. It was an utter waste of money. Useless, crap, rubbish. On the occasions that I tried to use it, it managed to dribble a pathetic couple of percentage points worth of charge into my phone after many hours spent idling in the Sun. It was the lay about, benefit cheat of the charging world. The BioLogic on the other hand, powered by the cyclist him or herself is the Dragon of the charging fraternity. Or so it appears… Here are a couple of videos to whet your appetite for more. I want one of these too!
Facebook friend and ex-Emmerdale Farm (it will always be a farm to me, despite its modern-day aspirations; Seth Armstrong would never have approved the change) actor Richard Moore has just contacted me asking about new bikes. It got me dreaming again and I headed off to the Koga website to drool… I have now wiped the saliva from my keyboard and can share with you the results of my research. Three Koga bikes are compared below. I just love the fact that the Dutch company make trekking bikes which have trekking bars as standard. Now, who wants to give me 2,000€ to invest in a bike that will take me around the World. No? OK. World Trip (see previous post) cancelled. I’ll be back in school on the 16th April and start saving my money. For my trip from Athens to Cadiz along the Eurovelo 8 in summer 2013 however, could it be time for Reggie to be replaced with Kevin Koga? Or Keith? Kenny? Kieran? (Stop now.) Kyle? (Shut up!) Click on the picture below to see the detail…
Thanks again for your kind words and add on your blog. Your trip to the south of Italy sounded awesome, there are so many good trips to do out there! Yeh, I was a bit hesitant telling the kids at first but I have had a really good response from them, looks like I will have to get them to apply to join us on the first leg as so many want to come! All good!
What bike did you use? It looks like our attempt to get three bamboo bikes might be a bit unrealistic now so I will probably get a new hybrid/tourer but not really sure where to start, My budget will be around £800, any ideas thoughts would be appreciated.
Anyway, thanks again
Apologies for the delay in replying – I don’t function on a non-teaching level until I wake up on a Saturday morning. I’m sure you know what I mean. I bought a Ridgeback Panorama which cost about £1,200. I get good use out of it however as I use it every day to cycle to and from work. I always try to think of the costs involved with the bike in comparison to what I would be spending if I had not given up on a car a few years ago, so £1,200 seemed reasonable, especially for the long trip I was planning last summer. It did, however, take me quite a while to decide what I would buy – see the page on my website where I listed some of the alternatives – but once I had decided, I was happy with the choice. The Ridgeback is a strong but light bike with both back and front pannier racks (some just had the rear ones) which had good reviews when I read up in magazines and online. If I had the money, I would have loved to buy a Koga Miyata – the bike that Mark Beaumont (and others) used to cycle around the World and from North to South America, but to get a good one, you are talking thousands… I did make one main modification to the bike and that was to replace the drop handlebars with butterfly bars. I can’t recommend enough these bars. They are extremely comfortable; I would have come back from southern Italy bent double if I had kept the drops. Unfortunately they don’t tend to come as standard with “cheaper” (!!) bikes, only with the likes of the Koga Miyata. One last thing to note; I bought my bike via my employers (Oxfordshire County Council) and was able to reduce the cost by about 35% as it was deductible from tax. Most large employers run the scheme and it’s worth looking into. I suppose I ended up buying my £1,200 Ridgeback Panorama for about £800 which actually brings in into your price range…
Anyway, best of luck with the trip. I’ll be following you every step (or
turn of the wheel).
Darren from ??? (his Facebook page only gives a few clues – Australia? Camden town? Somewhere where it has been snowing recently from his picture so anywhere in the UK?) has messaged me on said social network…
Hello Andrew, I am a complete novice cyclist and am considering attempting the Eurovelo 5 route in summer 2011 as I see from your blog you have done. Could you please help me with the type of bicycle I will need and possibly some suggestions where I can purchase one? I assume an ordinary bike wouldn’t work as I will need some way of carrying my bags, etc. Cheers Darren
Now bikes have been on my mind slightly over the course of the past couple of weeks since making the decision to (probably) cycle along the Eurovelo 8 in summer 2013. Reggie Ridgeback – my “pimped” Ridgeback Panorama that I bought to cycle along the Eurovelo 5 (“pimped” by the addition of the flat, butterfly handlebars) – will, by then, have commuted his way back and forth along the back roads from Reading to Henley for three full winters as well as the 3,200 km from Reading to Brindisi. He may be looking forward to retiring. And, let’s face it, I’d love another bike! It would be hard to resist the allure of a machine from Koga Miyata (or Koga as I think they have recently renamed themselves), the Dutch company that has supplied so many of the serious long-distance cyclists, including, of course, Mark Beaumont. The one shown here is the Koga Randonneur – what a beauty! The problem is that they are bloody expensive. But they are presumably robust and reliable. Reggie’s back wheel spokes were his Achilles heel en route to southern Italy (remember the fun I had south of the St. Gotthard Pass? See “I spoke too soon“). Another Darren, Darren Whittle actually bought himself a Koga Miyata prior to cycling along the Pennine Cycleway earlier this year. I was very jealous at the time but I seem to remember it costing him…. take a deep breath…. £2,500. Ouch! But it did come with ready-fitted butterfly bars. So perhaps I am dreaming but it will give me reason to save up.
So back to Darren’s question; what type of bicycle should he buy? Well you are correct that you would need a bike with some pannier racks (although I assume these could be fitted to an ordinary bike). I went for the Ridgeback Panorama after much thought and research; it had pre-fitted racks front and back and recieved some good write-ups in the magazines. And it’s still going strong. When everything is working (which it usually is), it cycles like a dream. Would you be able to manage with a “normal” bike? Probably. Chris Hammersley (see his own blog here) didn’t invest a fortune in his bike and he made it as far as Greece (albeit with a few train journeys). You may want to get in touch with him to find out what make and model it was.
As for where to buy one, I’m going to assume you are in the UK. I bought my Ridgeback Panorama at a local specialised bike shop – AW Cycles in Caversham, Reading (although they weren’t happy about me changing to the flat handlebars; I had to go to the chain shop Evans to get that done without a battle). Most bike shops have people who can give you better advice than me with the exception of Halfords which tends to employ wide-boys who are more interested in blinging their cars (they are the ones always parked nearest to the entrance of Halfords shops with their unemployed mates sitting on the bonnet all day) than acquiring a good knowledge of touring bikes. And then there is the Internet although I would imagine most bike shops would match an online price if you quoted it to them…
Good luck with your efforts to cycle along the Eurovelo 5. Why not start a blog?!
Posted in Cycling, Eurovelo 5, Eurovelo 8
Tagged AW Cycles, Chris Hammersley, Darrell Whittle, Darren Rose, Eurovelo 5, Eurovelo 8, Evans, Halfords, Koga, Mark Beaumont, Ridgeback