Keeping Your Electronics Charged on a Bike Tour 3


Keeping Your Electronics Charged on a Bike Tour

Keeping Your Electronics Charged on a Bike Tour – 9:00

Giving Them What They Want

One of my viewer on YouTube, Carol M, commented on my Lumos Helmet review to ask about how I keep my gadgets charged on a bike tour. So I decided to answer her question this week.

Carol M comment

The Most Essential

The most essential item to buy when you are trying to keep your electronics charged on a bike tour is a battery pack, preferably something with high milliampere hour, or otherwise known as mAh. Of course with higher mAh rating, you’ll notice that the packs get heavier as well.

So the trick is to find something that gives you a good balance of weight to mAh rating. Having these high-capacity batteries should allow you to charge your devices multiple times before having to recharge the battery pack itself.

How about the sun?

Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit on Grass

Carol M did mention that she was thinking about using a solar panel. We’ve been carrying a solar panel for a few years now on a few of our trips.

If you’re traveling in places that don’t have that much sunshine, it’s a bit of a waste. But if you’re riding through plenty of sunshine, it should work out very well. Therefore, getting an idea of the area’s weather pattern should be part of the legwork in planning your ride.

Check out my review of the solar panel that we use

Dynamo Hub

Shimano Dyno Hub

Shimano Alfine Dyno Hub

Another way to keep things charged is installing a dynamo hub on your bike to generate electricity on the go. The downfall of this is you won’t be able to charge your device as the bike’s rolling. It just  isn’t consistent enough to give you a full charge.

A better idea is to have it charge battery packs instead, so that you can use it off the bike.

My initial thought on this was that the high cost of installing a dynamo hub compared to everything else, just didn’t seem worth it. Of course, if you read the comments for the video, you’ll notice that there is a huge contingency of people using dynamo hubs and loving it.

Finding Places to Charge

5 Ways to Keep Your Electronics Charged on the Road

Previous blog post on this subject

So if you don’t have a solar panel or dynamo hub, there are several ways to get power besides asking a restaurant, laundromat, or a library.

Look Outside

Yes, behind those vending machines outside of a supermarket, you’ll find outlets to use. This is probably something the owners of the establishment would frown upon, so asking nicely beforehand would be helpful.

Ask RVers

You’ll definitely run into folks while camping who are doing it more luxuriously with an RV or mobile home. Ask them if they can help you charge your device. Offer something in exchange like food, beer, or even money. Most people would do it for free, but it’s good practice to offer something out of respect.

Get a Light Bulb Plug

This was something we read or saw somewhere a long time ago. Go to a hardware store, like Lowes or Home Depot, and pick up a light bulb socket with 2 plugs for about $3. Find a place like a bathroom that has an exposed light bulb. Unscrew that and screw the bulb and socket back in. You’ll have light and power.


Buy GE 54178 Socket Adapter Adds 2 Outlets to a Bulb Socket from Amazon.com. (Affiliate link)

Join in on the conversation

Do you have any other ideas for keeping your electronics charged? Leave your comment here or join in on the conversation on the YouTube video.

List of Products Mentioned in Video (Affiliate Links)


About Johnny Lam

Johnny is an avid cyclist who enjoys bicycle touring as well as anything bicycle related. Johnny has traveled the entire Pacific Coast by bike from Vancouver to the border of California and Mexico. He’s also toured through-out locations in Southern California. Johnny is also a League of American Bicyclists League Certified Instructor (LCI) and also completed the Adventure Cycling Association’s Leadership Training Course (LTC). He is an active member in Los Angeles bicycling community being involved in organizations like the Los Angeles County Bicycling Coalition (LACBC), C.I.C.L.E. (Cyclists Inciting Change through Live Exchange), and Bike San Gabriel Valley (Bike SGV) by taking part in ride marshaling, pedestrian & bike counts, and other volunteering opportunities.


3 thoughts on “Keeping Your Electronics Charged on a Bike Tour

  • Cycling Rambler

    Three tours, and 15k later. I would have to agree to most of what your write up has to say. I’ve found libraries to be very relaxing when charging my electronics. Large super markets usually don’t have a problem with someone using their soda machine’s outlets. I’ve never thought about asking RVers, they seem unapproachable at times. Stand offish and a bit skittish. The bulb plug seems interesting, but doesn’t really feel practical. Many lights are covered and practically impossible to access. I have placed some thought into solar panels, and now seems like a logical investment. Should be great to keep my battery pack topped off.

    Thanks for the article, it was great!

    • Johnny Lam Post author

      @Cycling Rambler – Thanks for your input on this topic. The solar panel have been great for the Southern Tier so far. Keeps the lights and phone charged up especially when the days are starting to heat up.

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