The Pedalshift Project 045: Bicycle tour budgeting

We all want to save a buck (or a euro… or a… whatever you’re spending these days) but what’s the best way to set up your bicycle tour budgeting? I’ve got a few ideas to share on this episode along with some gear talk on dynohubs and batteries, plus a mega-connections section where I learn I made a mom feel better about her daughter’s epic bike tour. I know, can you believe it?

Bicycle tour budgeting

Hey it’s the direct download link for episode 045: bicycle tour budgeting (mp3)

Reach out to the show via email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Don’t forget to join the newsletter too.

Have some bike touring or overnight stories to share? Send your pics, audio or a quick tweet – all welcome. Email the show at or call the lightly-used Pedalshift voicemail line at (202) 930-1109.

The Journal

Bicycle tour budgeting

Camping over hotels… wild camping or free camping when you can. I would recommend getting an account on Warm Showers because they can be helpful on the TransAm for a free place to stay in places that don’t have good camping options.

Making your own food is another thing that can save money… sometimes I prefer the convenience of eating at towns along the route, but you can make your own meals for a lot less if you have the energy to cook or make them.

Often you’ll end up riding with others you meet along the way… sometimes you can share expenses on things that are nice little luxuries like a campground at an RV park that would normally run $30US, but with a group of 5 cost $6US when shared. I’ve seen groups split groceries for a couple of days too.

My number one rule when it comes to riding is to travel as cheaply as possible, but don’t be afraid to make a problem go away by spending money. This is a ride of a lifetime (I wish I had done the TransAm at 22!) and if spending a little money solves a problem that would impact your enjoyment, spend the money and budget for it down the road!

Revisiting flying with a Brompton

Behold the Dimpa Bag!
Behold the Dimpa Bag!

Backup plans for gate checking: The Dimpa bag from IKEA… going to carry it on every flight with the Brompton for sure after my experience without the bike last trip! Full flights are way too common now.

(Future episode will be all about flying with a full size bike.)

California dreamin – plans for April and PSTJ Vol 5

About a month away! Shedding weight on me and my gear to get things as light as possible for the big Brompton California ride. MJ and I are getting excited for the rains to diminish and for a fun, chill ride.

A new C+O adventure in May

Mother’s Day weekend I’m aiming to do a partial tour of the C+O! I’ll take Amtrak out to Harpers Ferry and ride out as far as light will last me. I’ll probably ride further out Saturday before turning back towards Harpers Ferry and eventually returning to DC Sunday before sundown. Bike touring season!

Touring with my dog Mookie… maybe?

I have a half baked idea to try an overnight with Mookie on the C+O to see how he does. If he can hack it, I plan to bring him on more! Anyone else tour with their neurotic, separation anxiety addled pets?

The Lab

Powering your gadgets – batteries over dynohubs?

H/T to Paul aka glacierbandits for his work on dynohubs.

Tips and tricks for keeping your devices powered up on bike tours


Pedalshift around the globe!

Hey Tim,
My name is Ayana, I am 22 years old and I’m from Kibbutz Be’eri, Israel.
I’ve been binge listening to your podcast since I’ve discovered it a couple of weeks ago, and in one of the episodes you asked people from around the world to contact you so it was a great reason for me to email you and ask you some questions.
I’m going to ride the trans american this summer, and I read a bunch of blogs and advice on the net. Still, there are some questions I wonder about and wanted to ask you. I really hope I would’nt be bothering you too much with this..
1. Navigation- One option is the ACA map set and the other one is getting a bike computer/GPS. I wanted to hear your take on that issue..
2. Do you have any advice that you would give to a non-american tourist, maybe something that an american biker would take for granted that you think is important to know..
3. Any advice on touring on a budget?

I also wanted to thank you for doing what you do. The podcast is very informative and helped me a lot. I am planing to tour alone, and my folks are not too crazy about it, since as a young woman I’m an “easy target”. I sent my mom the link to your podcast, and after she listened to some of it I think it totally made my plan more approchable for her.

Well, this turned out to be a very long e-mail, so thank you very much for your time. I really would appreciat any respons, and thanks again.

I hope you have a great day,

What do American listeners think about advice for Ayana? What do we take for granted that might be a surprise to international travelers? My advice comes in part from everyone’s favorite Belgian bike tourist, Hugo.
– Food is abundant, varied and easy to get in the States compared to elsewhere.
– Some expenses are high (lodging) and some are low (food) relative to many other places
– People in motorized vehicles are sometimes difficult to deal with, but a well traveled bike route helps.
– Americans are, by and large, very friendly.
– Follow your instincts.
– Bicycle tour budgeting is a good idea, but don’t let it get in the way of solving an issue or preventing you from having a good ride!



Bike touring music playlist

While you’re basking in the bicycle tour budgeting knowledge, a reminder to check out our Spotify playlist from our bike touring music podcast… if you’re looking for it manually in Spotify search for Pedalshift Sprocket Project.

Jason Kent is a musical genius

The Pedalshift Project theme is America courtesy of Jason Kent off his self-titled solo album. Check out his band Sunfields‘ album, Habitat, wherever cool music resides.  I heard Jason’s new album in January and it is AWESOME. More info when that drops this spring!


  1. johnnyk says:

    I have some thoughts about your dynamo setup. Couldn’t you use your dynamo to charge and keep your backup battery charged? Anyway I have to agree. With the batteries getting lighter and their power output is climbing along with the advances in small portable solar panels I think dynamos will not be seen as much anymore. Such as these I have always wanted to get one of these and use them. I think they would be great and ideal.

    • Tim Mooney says:

      That’s what I typically do – I use the battery as an electron sink for the hub. I might spend some time doing data collection on my C&O ride next month to see what it truly generates. The good news is the hub’s resistance is so low I don’t notice a drop in performance. I suppose I should hook the battery up no matter what!

      • JohnnyK says:

        Well the link I posted above is a bit on the expensive side. There are similar on Amazon that is a lot cheaper like you were saying in the episode.

  2. Jonas Bergvall says:


    You requested to know what the swedish word “Dimpa” means. It not easy to find an english equivolent word. The word is used to describe when something arrives at a destination and hits the floor. For example when a letter arrives and hits the bottom of the mailbox, or then you step on to the floor of the airport after a flight.

    Make sense?

    Thanks for a great touring site!

  3. “Don’t be afraid to spend the money, to avoid a problem.”

    Awesome advice.

    I just bought a new $125 rear wheel, so I could sleep better at night and not worry about breaking spokes. I couldn’t really afford it, but I think it was cheap considering the potential pain in the ass it would be if I kept breaking spokes.

    I love Pedal Shift! You do an awesome job Tim!

    • Tim Mooney says:

      Yeah I saw that – bummer but totally right call! I just had a tire fail on me and it’s causing me to bail on the last 60 miles (won’t have time to get back and pick up the dog waiting on the minimal replacement tire options). I think underscores the original point in a different way – my tires are a little more expensive so I let them go a little longer rather than bite the bullet and replace them early. Won’t make that choice again! Also… might look at a light folding tire now as a backup.

      Glad you dig what’s happening here! Hope you get a cool snap to knock those temps down soon!

What do you think?