The Pedalshift Project 017: Brewing the best bike tour coffee and the right stove for you may be none at all

It’s April and we’re all itching to get out on tour – on this episode of The Pedalshift Project we talk about a quick overnight tour as fodder for episode 018, brewing the best cup of bike tour coffee outside, to stove or not to stove, and much more.

Hey it’s the direct download link for episode 017

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The Journal

Reminder to share your April overnight stories! All month long we’ll feature Pedalshifters trips big and small. Pics, audio or a quick tweet – all welcome. Email the show or call the brand new Pedalshift voicemail line at (202) 930-1109.

In two weeks we have a special treat – I’ll be tagging along with Nathan Clevenger on Day 1 of his cross-country tour starting outside of DC. We’ll have some sounds from the first day and an interview with Nathan about Simple Touring.

The Lab

Making the best bike tour coffeebike tour coffee pourover

  • Is instant good enough for your needs?
  • Aeropress or pour over?
  • Pre-ground coffee or hand grinder?

The next lock? LITELOK on Kickstarter

  • FOTS MJ wonders if this would stand up to a butane lighter. Unclear if it can withstand a melt/burn option, but this feels like the future to me.

Gear Talk

  • To stove or not to stove?
  • Ultralights, including alcohol stoves
  • Jetboils and other “burly” stoveslit alcohol stove
  • Real talk: do you even need to bring a stove? Arguments for a stove-free tour.


Five stars!

Very informative and relaxing – by Jrockfbm – Love listening to this podcast, it’s easy to understand and I really like the different portions of the show. 

If you use iTunes and dig the show, ratings like these helps to spread the word… thanks Jrockfbm!

FOTS Ethan Georgi on our bike maintenance topic from episode 016 had a good story about tire blowout

FOTS Johnny K as usual ALL over the comments, but had some smart things to say about coffee on the road and the choices you have to make to bring a stove to make it.

FOTS Scott Morgan once again is the best advocate of the show on Twitter in front of the Bike School crowd. Ditto with Pete from the UK and @CycleTourStore. Thanks again Scott and Pete!

Thanks also to Logan, Boris, Daniel, Meg, Nathan from @simpletouring, and Troy for giving some thumbs ups on Facebook.

And way more on Instagram too… thank you all for your support!

Remember in addition to all of these great ways to connect we can I’d like to start getting more voices on the show now… just call in to Pedalshift’s fancy voicemail at 202-930-1109.


The Pedalshift Project theme is America courtesy of Jason Kent off his self-titled solo album. Check out his band Sunfields‘ new release, Habitat, wherever cool music resides. And hey, new video for Ghost!

Featured image (cc) smcgee on flickr:


  1. Hi Tim,
    Great episode! Also looking forward to our ride to Harpers Ferry next week.

    Coffee is hugely important to me on tour. In fact, getting coffee in various cafes/bakeries was my main splurge my first three weeks touring France last year. (Cafe coffee might of even been about 20% of my total trip budget, but was certainly worth it as it often got me out of the rain!)

    I like the idea of grinding your own coffee. Of course that is always best. For convenience, I usually boil water and use those coffee bags which resemble little saucers, the kind sold cheap and commonly used in machines here. The flavor really wasn’t so bad and I found it to be a great pick me up, especially on a nasty weather day.

    I guess that’s why I like bringing my stove for anything more than a weekend out. I think you mentioned you use the stove less the longer you’re out. I actually tend to be the opposite, using it more and more after my first few days out. I have a small Esbit stove-kit and a penny alcohol stove I use (instead of tabs.) I have a few one pot meals I like to make, and the warmth often lifts my spirits – both the flame itself and the hot food/beverage. For clean up, I carry a small amount of dish soap and tiny sponge here in Europe (but will use Dr. Bronners once I’m back in the States). This arrangement suits me nicely.

    Okay, have a good weekend/week, look forward to seeing you on the 11th!


    • Tim Mooney says:

      Those “tea bag” coffees taste a whole lot better outside than inside! I forgot to mention on the podcast that there are some good DIY versions of those bags and you can fill it with your preferred coffee too. I was thinking a steeper for looseleaf tea would probably do as well so long as you had a coarse enough grind to stay inside the steeper. Those bags pack so small you’d have to be wildly against the use of paper to justify the extra space I suppose!

      I think it’s mentioned in some of the older posts I link to on alcohol stoves, but I use a folding titanium Esbit stove, one tablet and I supplement by soaking it in denatured alcohol or Heet (which is a brand of alcohol-based fuel line cleaner here in the States that is found at nearly every gas station and mini-market, even in the most rural of places). I find the Esbit tabs are difficult to light on their own, but the added alcohol makes it a snap and also adds a little to the burn time to ensure a rolling boil on a full pot of water.

      We’ll compare stoves on the 11th! Here’s hoping for some sun and warmth… but we can deal with rain and cool too 😉

      • That’s a great idea with the Esbit tabs. Last year I think I saw that folding Esbit being used on Youtube with wood as a fuel source. It reminded me somewhat of the stove that Nimblewill Nomad uses I’d actually prefer something similar to avoid having to buy/carry liquid fuel. I also have a Pocket Rocket with my hiking gear currently in storage in Michigan. It was always pretty nice to use, but these days I’m trying to move away from these types of trash producing items. The fuel canisters are bulky anyway.

        I hope we have warmer weather too! I’m ready for Spring big time.

  2. JohnnyK says:

    I like your idea of not bringing cooking stuff. Personally I bring survival stuff with me like a Eating tool and Can opener and something like this to start a fire but of course I also bring a lighter and maybe some kind of plastic or metal food container and some kind of canned food usually beans of some kind just as a backup. Tim you are correct usually unless we are really doing wilderness bike camping usually you are within an hour or 2 ride to some place with food and water but like most guys we tend to over compensate so we bring junk we probably don’t need. When you get right down to it I think it’s about what makes you feel comfortable and safe like recently I got this from REI and it fits my 20oz Stanley cup you can get here Like I said it’s the little things you bring that can make you feel more at home on your bike. Anyway Tim another fine episode and yeah I put your show in the same category and level as The Sprocket and PedalHub podcasts. Your podcast has some really good info and since it is specific of our favorite past time I really enjoy listening. Anyway thanks again and Godspeed my friend.

    • Tim Mooney says:

      That Stanley insulated bottle is a classic… in fact a lot of those tools you link to feel like old school camping to me (in the best way of course). I’ve never used one of those magnesium tools, but I think they’re ideal for starting alcohol stoves. I keep using one of those Bic-style lighters and I’m convinced I’ll roast the tip of my thumb one of these days if I’m not careful.

      Thanks again for pairing this little corner of the internets with such fine shows… we’ve got some good stuff coming, so stay tuned!

      • JohnnyK says:

        Yeah those items are old school camping tools for sure and I only carry them because they can be condensed to a footprint I can carry in my pocket on my person for emergencies that way I have something tried and true to fall back too. If you are just riding between cities which I do often to see family and friends I don’t have to carry a tent and other camping gear since I am not staying out in the woods but you never know what might happen on the road.

What do you think?