Bike mirrors and the Japan premium

Long ago, when I was a college student, I had a helmet mirror and it was perfect for my needs. For my current bike, Ol’ Paint, I have a mirror mounted low on the front fork. It’s not nearly as effective as my old helmet mirror.

I started searching for mirrors the fit on eyeglasses. (I wear prescription sports glasses with flip-up shades when I ride.) I quickly came across this article on Ice Bike. The Take A Look mirror looks like the bee’s knees, and can be used on either side.

Bike Peddler Take A Look Cycling Eyeglass Mirror
Bike Peddler Take A Look Cycling Eyeglass Mirror

I quickly found the unit on Amazon for a very reasonable price. That’s cool. I wonder what the price on Amazon JP will be? Anywhere from 3.6x to 13.6x as much.

To be fair, it’s not Amazon that’s jacking up the price.

Warm Showers and Couch Surfing

Friend Lee shares two resources for crowd-sourcing hospitality:

  • Couch Surfing

    It’s not a niche (cycling) crowd, and I found I put more time into considering which people NOT to send requests to. But hosts are all ages, so one simply rapidly gets better at identifying hosts you’d imagine being comfortable around.

    But when a profile says ‘Join for a beer now’ and you’ve just finished 90 miles on the bike in a day, you’ll be damn happy to meet them, whoever they are.

    Often the Couchsurfing mentality is that a host will be super happy to show you local stuff — sights, eats, drinks — like the classic middle eastern hosting tradition. It’s a great way in, and an instant connection.

  • Warm Showers

    Everywhere you go, you can find / meet / stay with people who have done cycle touring 😉

    You can see the active members by count once logged in.

    I had all great experiences through finding a dozen or more hosts …

Warm Showers banner
Warm Showers

Hot java to go

Friend Lee chimes in response to the 25kg gear list post with his personal selection of gear for enjoying a hot cuppa while cyclotouring. First up is the 73g MSR PocketRocket 2 camp stove.

MSR PocketRocket 2
MSR PocketRocket 2

Lee likes to mix his freshly boiled water with some instant Starbucks coffee directly in a Hyrdro Flask vacuum bottle. And clips that to his bike with the Modula Java Cage from Topeak.

Modula Java Cage
Modula Java Cage

Lee has certainly given us some food for thought, particularly if we decide to do any cooking of our own along the way. On the other hand, the jury is still out on the 790g Hyperjuice AC Battery Pack. It could certainly power all our devices for more than a single day’s ride, but it would require us to have access to a wall outlet from time to time to recharge.

HyperJuice AC Battery Pack
HyperJuice AC Battery Pack

25kg gear list

CyclingAbout stalwart Alee has compiled a list of his gear for his incipient tour of the Americas. He’s put together what he figures he’ll need to live for two years, and got it all into 25kg (less the bike, of course).

25kg of clothing, toiletries, cooking gear, bags and tents.
25kg of clothing, toiletries, cooking gear, bags and tents.

I’m hoping to do a lot better than that for lejog. Of course, we’re packing for two weeks and not two years, and we’ll have a far less extreme range of weather to prepare for, insh’Allah. For a start I think I can do without a razor for a couple of weeks.

One detail I’ll need to discuss with Fearless Leader Joe is whether we’ll be cooking our own meals or living off the land: i.e., dining at whatever restaurants are available along the way. If the latter, we may want to consider some options for a hot morning cuppa. While the Airspresso Espresso Maker looks clever, it would require us to bring a stove that wouldn’t otherwise be needed. I’m thinking it would be easier just to bring a thermos and ask restaurants to fill it full of piping hot coffee each evening.

Airspresso Espresso Maker
Airspresso Espresso Maker

I’m absolutely certain though that we can get by with far less than 5kg of electronics. As for me, it will be a smartphone, Garmin and compact camera, with the chargers/adapters for those. Alee is planning on charging up at each town. But for those of us sleeping rough, we need other options. I believe FLJ’s new bike will have a dynamo hub, and I’m looking into solar chargers (risky for the UK, I know).

The real challenge for me will be to lose 10kg (or more) of the ol’ BMI before the big ride.

Resfeber

Resfeber

n. The restless beat of a traveller’s heart before the journey begins, a mixture of anxiety and anticipation.

You’ve been counting down the days, and now you’re counting down the hours. Your hearts knows that it’s going on a journey and you cannot sit still as a result. So pick up your backpack, put on your boots, and go boldly into the adventure and the unexpected!

From Lost in Translation, by Ella Frances Sanders