Most people who do long-distance bicycle endurance racing are somewhat obsessive/compulsive about their gear. That’s putting it kindly. I’m definitely no exception and my blog is littered with posts on the most esoteric aspects of bike setup, equipment etc.
Providing power to your gadgets (GPS, lights, phone, trackers, etc.) during races is an area we spend a lot of time on, and has provided endless hours of entertainment and frustration over the years. Since my first attempt at the Tour Divide in 2011, I’ve refined my approach—and there have also been sea changes in technologies—so I thought it was timely to put down my journey to hopefully assist others in finding the best solution for their needs, be it endurance racing or just touring.
If you don’t want to read further, here is the 30 second elevator pitch:
- If all you want to do is to have power for your GPS or phone, don’t bother with dynamos etc. Get a couple of small 5000+ mAh power banks and use these. I’ve run my Garmin 1000 for almost 40 h on one of these—before it had to use the internal battery.
- If you are going to be running multiple gadgets and doing night riding get a dynamo and headlight
- The SON 28 is the best dynamo—but expensive.
- The Luxos U is great for road riding—particularly because it has the integrated USB converter and a cache battery. Plug and play. Only challenge can be getting it mounted …
- For mountain bike riding the Luxos is probably too fragile so better getting a K-Lite, Exposure, Supernova or similar.
- If your light has a USB output (like the Luxos U):
- Get a Goal Zero recharger with Eneloop 2550 mAh AA batteries and which passes through while charging. You will be able to power your devices when the dynamo can’t and have 4 x AA batteries as well if you need them.
- If your light does not have USB output:
- Get the ZZing or Reecharge Powerpack which will convert the dynamo power to USB, and have integrated cache batteries. Alternatively, get the PedalPower Universal Cable and the Goal Zero recharger. The latter is best if you have extra devices which run on AA or AAA batteries.
I’ve bought most of my gear from Peter White cycles in the USA. His site has excellent information on dynamos and a wide selection of gear.
- Updated 11/3: Additional details including run times for battery packs
- Updated 27/2: Included Reecharge PowerPack
- Updated 17/2: Included ZZing