Review N°7 – USB charger The plug, Cliq5

This USB charger is integrated into the handle of my bike as an “addon”. It gets the electricity from the dynamo. This is a good idea though really not worth the money. First my Fairphone doesn’t charge when plugging it in directly, which apparently is a thing with some phones. We then used a power bank which also adds weight to our already heavy load. Secondly it only charges properly when riding a certain speed. We were heavy loaded and thus didn’t always manage to have the needed speed. It was just not sufficient we ended up having to charge our phones in cafes and camping places when we needed it. Hopefully a future module is more efficient in producing electricity.

1= Bad/poor      2= OK         3= Satisfying      4= Good         5= Very good

Design                          R            4                     M           4

Practicality                   R            2                     M           2

Durability                     R            5                     M           5

Overall rating            R            4                     M           4          =4

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Review N°6 – Bike Toutterrain Silkroad

Toutterrain bikes have different “addons” where you can choose different options. This bike has a stainless steal frame which makes it slightly heavier then a bike with an aluminum frame but it is definitely sturdier. The bike has 30 gears which is great when riding uphill as the pace can be slower than a bike with fewer gears. With this bike I had no troubles during our journey and I was very pleased. I was advised against a bike with suspension, but as Matt said, we would advise to get a bike with suspension because you will be riding on some very difficult roads and paths where suspension offer more comfort. In addition if suspensions would break you could still ride the bike just as normal. I also choose the Pitlock which is a coded centerline system which also secures the wheels onto the bike to secure it from theft. This way I didn’t necessarily have to make the look through the wheels which gave me a more secure feeling of my bike. It’s an expensive but very reliable bike.

1= Bad/poor      2= OK         3= Satisfying      4= Good         5= Very good

Design                           R            5                     M           5

Practicality                   R            5                     M           5

Durability                     R            5                     M           5

Overall rating            R            5                     M           5          =5

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Review N°5 – Bike Trek 920

I was very happy with my bike, it was strong and light weight. My bike had the dropped handle bars which did cause me some shoulder pain in the beginning, but after some time that went away. It also has the bar end gear shifters which I didn’t like very much because they can get in the way. My bike didn’t have suspension and because you often drive on badly built roads or off road I would suggest to get a bike with suspension.

1= Bad/poor      2= OK         3= Satisfying      4= Good         5= Very good

Design                           R            4                     M           4

Practicality                   R            4                     M           4

Durability                     R            4                     M           5

Overall rating             R            4                     M           4          =4

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Review N°4 – Schwalbe tires Big Ben, 20×2.15

We didn’t know what kind of tires I had. And by the end of the trip we knew that these are the tires to have. I had not one puncture in these 2740 km over rough and smooth surfaces. Obviously tires lose some air after a while so in general we advise to pump tires every 3-4 weeks when being on a bike tour. I would highly recommend these tires, they are perfect for a long bike journey.

1= Bad/poor         2= OK         3= Satisfying         4= Good         5= Very good

Design                            R            –                      M           –

Practicality                    R            –                      M           –

Durability                      R            5                     M           5

Overall rating             R            5                     M           5          = 5

Review N°3 – Bontrager tires XR1, 29×2.0

These were absolutely awful; I had over 15 tire punctures in seven weeks, which is horrible when you have a fully packed bike and limited time and energy. More often than not it would be a tiny wooden splinter that would puncture the tire. I would never use these tires again and would recommend that no one else does, unless you enjoy fixing punctures all the time. They also have a very deep tread which makes cycling long distance on the road slightly more tough.

Design                          R            –                      M           –

Practicality                  R            –                      M           –

Durability                    R            1                     M           1

Overall rating           R            1                     M           1          = 1


Review N°2 – Oertlieb handlebar bag ULTIMATE6 PLUS

A handlebar bag is definitely a good idea, you can keep your valuables in it and easily detach it and take it with you when you leave your bike to go for lunch or go into the super market. This specific bag was quite good, it’s waterproof, had good mechanics to attach to the front of your bike and was spacious. One problem is that when riding your bike a lot of the stuff inside this bag gets shaken around despite having separated compartments inside. Another annoying aspect is that due to the design of the bag there is a small dent in the top of it, which doesn’t affect the performance but it just does not look very nice. Again, we were very pleased with this product and would recommend it, but it is just not 100% perfect.

1= Bad/poor      2= OK         3= Satisfying      4= Good         5= Very good

Design                          R            4                     M           4

Practicality                  R            5                     M           4

Durability                    R            4                     M           5

Overall rating            R            4.5                 M           4.5         =4.5

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Review N°1 – Ortlieb Panniers

We used Ortlieb for both our front and rear panniers and in general we were happy with them. It was very easy and quick to both attach and detach them from the bikes. They also were very good when it came to being waterproof, as long as we closed them properly our stuff never got wet. In terms of size, they had plenty of space in them to fit all of our things. The only issues we had with them were the plastic attachments on the back that connects the bag to your bike. The plastic is quite fragile and a lot of the screws that connect these parts came loose. Also, the screws are a special type which we could not tighten ourselves, so we had to go to a bike shop which had to fix it with different screws. Overall, we were very happy apart from these problems.

1= Bad/poor      2= OK         3= Satisfying      4= Good         5= Very good

Design                         R           5                    M           5

Practicality                 R           4                    M           4

Durability                   R           5                    M           4

Overall rating           R          4.5                  M           4.5          =4.5

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200 years bicycle

The year 2017 is the anniversary year for the bike.

Due to the hardship in 1816 in Europe Karl Drais got inventive and invented the “Laufmaschine”. The eruption of the volcano Tambora in Indonesia changed the weather so badly in Europe that bad harvests and thus famine where the result. On the 12th of June 1817 he presented his invention by driving through Mannheim. He laid the ground stone for a new era of mobility. From that point on it wasn’t just the horse with which humans could move faster than themselves, it was also the bike. We believe after having had such a great experience on our bike tour that the bike is a great invention to be celebrated!

After having travelled to Portugal we went to Central America for three month. We where travelling with our backpacks from Guatemala thourgh Honduras, and Nicaragua to Costa Rica. This was a great experience. But next time we would go by bike 😉 Soon you can find a review of our journey through Central America on the blog.

As promised our gear reviews series are in progress, and shortly we will be posting them. We hope that you find usefull tips. Like us and keep posted 🙂

On days like these…

Yesterday, for the first time since we started thinking about and planning this trip I had this question in my head: “Why am I doing this?”
It was raining all day and after being outside for just a few minutes everything was soaked. I’m glad we invested in good rain gear, but when biking you sweat and get wet from inside as well. In addition I really don’t like to hold the handlebar with wet hands because I feel like my hands keep slipping off, and in general you just don’t have good grip when your hands are wet. Biking in continuos rain and then putting up a tent in rain doesn’t seem nice.
It seems like since summer started it has been raining most days. This is due to the increasing temperature of our planet leads to more water evaporating and more water comes down again as rain.
So I really hope that we won’t have much rain on our journey, because it makes it really uncomfortable to ride. Hopefully I wont have to ask myself the question “Why am I doing this?” again.

Sheepskin rug

Before the trip i got a great tip from a friend about cutting a sheepskin rug into the shape of my seat. She said that when putting sheepskin in pants when the bum hurts is the best thing. As sheepskin rugs are extremly good and comfortable for the skin. So I made some research.

I found that sheepskin rugs are breathable, temperature regulating, humidty regulating, hard-wearing and antibacterial. It nutralises sauernes and other chemicals so when wearing or sitting on it these are great benefits against smell. Lanolin which is wool fat also prottects the human skin. All these qualities show that sheepskin rugs are great when having a sore bum from driving long distances. Its also really soft and adds an extra layer of cusion.

I set off to buy a sheepskin rug and cut it into the shape of my saddle. Below you can see some pictures. We wear our padded bike underwear and put the sheepskin rug inbetween the underwear and the pants.

We both are very happy to have the sheepskin rug with us.

Tip: As we are sitting on it, it can easily get matted. So we advise you to brush it through with a hair brush regularly.