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The Pedalshift Project 077: Bike touring differently

Jeremy Mendelson joins the show to talk about his take on bike touring differently: from a bike touring focused lifestyle to vegan touring to riding  little clown bikes and much more.

The Pedalshift Project 077: Bike touring differentlyHey it’s the direct download link for The Pedalshift Project 077: Bike touring differently (mp3)

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

The Interview: bike touring differently with Jeremy Mendelson

Jeremy Mendelson is a transit planner, geographer, traveler, bus driver, advocate and co-founder of TransitMatters in Boston. He’s currently working in Colorado for the winter season and as we’ll talk about in the interview, that’s more of a means to an end in his bike travel oriented life setup. Living a more nomadic life that serves his bike touring is just the tip of the iceberg for how Jeremy tours differently. He’s a longtime vegan, which we chat about, and a fan of touring on the little clown bike itself, the Brompton. Such a great discussion…

Questions

  • So much to chat about, but I think we should start by talking about your lifestyle… you describe yourself as living a semi-nomadic lifestyle. What was your journey to end up there?
  • How did you get into bike touring differently?
  • How does your perspective being a geographer inform your bike touring? Do you think you tour differently because of that?
  • Let’s dive into the vegan thing. I find everyone who is fully plant-based eaters or trending in that direction have a good story to tell about how they got there. What’s yours?
  • My experience is it’s not hard to eat totally plant-based almost anyplace, but in parts of the country (and the world) the tradeoff tends to mean having to eat a lot of processed stuff or sugary foods I would rather avoid. What’s your experience like and what do you do in “food deserts” on tour?
  • Having just finished a weekend tour, I found my ability to stick with my eating plan was always battered by (a) my sudden intense caloric needs, (b) my weird cravings and (c) availability. What’s your general plan when you tour to eat plant-based?
  • One of the big benefits I see with plant based eating on tour is cost savings… can you chat a bit about that?
  • Let’s shift gears and chat about your adventures touring on a Brompton. What’s your favorite part about touring on “the little clown bike”?
  • What gear do you tend to leave at home or pare down on when on the Brompton and how do you split it all up on the bike?
  • You’re a bus driver and transit enthusiast so you’re a natural to chat about fast forwards. How do you use them and what’s your favorite one you’ve ever done?
  • What’s next for you?
  • Read and listen more at criticaltransit.com.

Resources

If you want to hear more about touring on a Brompton, check out Pedalshift Tour Journals Vol. 5: California Coast. Can a loaded Brompton handle the hills of Big Sur? An hour and 46 minutes of touring stories for 10 bucks… and it helps support the show! Here’s a preview:

Connections

Another 5-star review over on iTunes!

Pedalshift Society

A big thank you to all of the monthly supporters of the show! If you like what you hear, you can help me keep the show listener-supported while expanding the offerings. Five bucks, two bucks or even 1 helps with the costs of hosting the podcast and the website, and you can do it for a bit and cancel anytime. One-shot support is welcome if you’re not into the small monthly thing. Check it out and join at pedalshift.net/society. And society members please go to pedalshift.net/stickers and let me know where to send some Pedalshift stickers to you! On to the Society!

Ethan Georgi
Kimberly Wilson
Caleb Jenkinson
Cameron Lien
Andrew MacGregor
Michael Hart
Josiah Matthews
Keith Nagel
Brock Dittus
Thomas Skadow
Michael Riscica
Seth Krieger
Marco Lo
Terrance Manson
Noah Schroer
Harry Telgadas
John Sikorski
Richard Killian
Chris Barron
Scott Taylor
Brian Hren
Mark Van Raam
Brad Hipwell
Paul Mulvey
Stuart Buchan
Todd Stutz
Mr. T
Roxy Arning
Nathan Poulton
And all anonymous and past contributors for helping make this show happen!

Music

You’ve been hearing about Jason Kent and his music for 77 fine episodes. I got news for ya. New. Sunfields. Album. This August.

Bike Touring Gift Guide

Holiday Bike Touring Gift Guide

Just say no to the bikey pizza cutter. I mean, delicious, but no. This is a bike touring gift guide for the bike tourist in your life (hint: this might be you).  These are (almost all) things I personally use and love.

Bike Touring Gift Guide

Tent: Alps Mountaineering Zephyr 2 person ($125)

This tent saved me from a flood. Like, for real.

Sleeping bagHyke and Byke 32º down sleeping bag ($99)

A newer addition to my gear… works great and super affordable.

Ultrlight StoveEtekcity Ultralight foldable stove ($9.99)
Runner up: Trangia Spirit Burner alcohol stove  ($14.53)

Love the Etekcity, and the Trangia is a great value.

Lights: Portland Design Works Radbot 1000 ($29)
Runner up: Ascher USB rechargeable LED set ($13.99)

I swear by PDW as my rear light, and I just bought the Ascher set for Kimberly.

Bike Touring Gift Guide

Panniers: Ortlieb back roller classic (prices/colors vary)
Ortlieb front roller classic (prices/colors vary)

Look, there are a lot on the market. But Ortlieb stands the test of time for me. Plus: orange.

Dry Bag: Sea to Summit eVent Compression dry bag, large ($42.95)

I think this is one of the most clever items on the list… waterproof but lets air out for easy compression. I use the large size for sleeping kits, but all sizes are great.

Support the Parks: National Park and Federal Land Annual Pass ($80)

I ride the C&O a lot, and while there isn’t an entrance fee, this pass makes me feel like I support the system. Oh, it also lets me in all the others… which is nice.

Water Bottles: Brita Sport Water Filter bottle (2 pack for $16)

Filters built in make this a great way to help less than tasty water sources (it filters out iodine taste too for you backcountry types with iodine pills).

External Battery: Anker Astro E7 ($60)
Runner up: Anker Power Core 20100 ($40)

Anker is my brand for these.. get the biggest battery that makes sense for you.

Rain jacket: Showers Pass Double Century ($159)

Best rain jacket I’ve ever had. Looks nice too!

Tires: Schwalbe Marathon Plus (Price varies by size)
or
Schwalbbe Marathon Supreme (Price varies by size)

Nearly puncture proof, but more importantly, Schwalbe stands by their product with great warranties.

Tune up: contact your LBS (price varies by service)

Your bike will thank you.

Maps: ACA maps for a future tour (price varies)

For you paper types!

Stocking stuffers:

  • Freeze dried instant meals
  • Caffeine pills
  • Electrolyte pills
  • VIA Instant coffee packets
  • First aid kit
  • Tubes
  • Patch kit
  • Wool socks

For you big spender types… a touring bike: 
Brompton, Pedalshift Style from CelverCycles in PDX (Oregon has no sales tax!) or your LBS… (just no orange)
Runner up: Surly Long Haul Trucker from your LBS


FYI, some of these are affiliate links.

The Pedalshift Project 061: Bike touring Australia and eating on the road

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated with The Land Down Under, so it’s no wonder I’m drawn to bike touring Australia. On this episode of the pod, we take a look at a vintage tour and one that’s happening right now! Plus, cooking and eating on tour and connections!

the-pedalshift-project-061-bike-touring-australia-and-eating-on-the-roadHey it’s the direct download link: The Pedalshift Project 061: Bike touring Australia and eating on the road (mp3)

Reach out to the show via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube 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 pedalshift@pedalshift.net or call the lightly-used Pedalshift voicemail line at (202) 930-1109.

The Journal:  Bike touring Australia

Featured Historical Tour

  • Wendy Law Suart and Shirley Duncan circle Australia (1946-1949)
  • 11000 miles/18000 km
  • Planned to bike around Europe, but post WWII was not an ideal time for that
  • So… they decided to bicycle around Australia and do it in 6 months. 3 years later they concluded their epic adventure.
  • This wasn’t a time when women typically traveled alone, much less doing it by bike. Luckily we have a book written by each of them and this *amazing* Movietone News newsreel you can check out on YouTube and in the shownotes. Check out their single speed gear and ingenious drying methods:

Gear Talk

This segment brought to you by a couple of questions from listener Scott Taylor!

Revisiting Stoves

Scott asks on FB:

I was thinking about going “cat can.” But the stoves appear to be less fuel efficient. If I add the extra fuel weight, the cat can ends up cheaper, but heavier. What was your experience?

  • I love tinkering and making alcohol stoves are GREAT for that. Awesome winter work.
  • That said I don’t love the results. For about 15 bucks you can buy an amazing version by Trangia that are bulletproof and easy to use.
  • I also don’t love alcohol for fuel… unless you get the good stuff, you end up with Heet or less than pure alcohol and it burns messily and not so hot.
  • I’m currently loving that Etekcity mini stove I got from Amazon for less than ten bucks. It burns hot and is super frieking small. If you’re flying, you need to get a canister on the far side of your flight… so make time for that. Otherwise? Easy.
  • Second choice… I like the Esbit tab stoves for lightness. The tabs smell awful but they’re light and burn pretty hot. Might take more than one to boil a large pot of water though.

Revisiting food on tour

Scott asks on email:

I’m prepping for my first longer tour and I’d like to get an idea about what food folks carry.

Is it like backpacking?  Carry a week’s worth.  Or more like carry a couple days worth?  Or maybe, just carry a couple meals worth with an emergency back up ration or two.

Food’s a pretty big topic… I’ve talked about it before in the context of dehydration, freezer bag cooking, budgets, critter protection and (yeeg) weight gain.

1 – carry what you like to eat, but know you’re going to change your mind though.
2 – don’t carry more than you need, but always have at least one “backup” meal or bar
3 – if you’re not cycling in back country don’t carry multiple meals “just in case” because it’s a waste of weight and bulk
4 – remember fruits and veggies. Roadside stands are fantastic places. So are berry bushes.
5 – high calorie, low weight: oils, nuts and nut butters
6 – sugar and caffeine are performance enhancers, but use them wisely
7 – are you a cooker or just an eater?
8 – eating out adds up, but it might be worth it (less weight, time to charge gear, time in climate control)
9 – indulge on tour, but remember things change off the bike

By the way, Scott also stuck a fine looking Pedalshift sticker on his ride contributing to a higher orange to bike ratio on this fine planet:

pedalshift sticker

Connections

New Listener: Hels and her ongoing tour of Australia

Hi there,
I’ve been listening to your podcast for a few weeks now as I cycle around/across Australia. This is my first bike tour (save for one overnight from the Brisbane area) so I’m really learning as I go and your podcast has been most useful, so thank you very much for the work you do.

I’m listening to back episodes and you often mention you’d like to hear about people’s trips, and when you mentioned in an old episode that you’d like to hear from more female tourers I decided to write and let you know of my trip. You can see the blog at https://www.facebook.com/Helsonwheelswithmlt/

Keep up the great work,
Kind regards
Hels

FB page: “An attempt to cycle around Australia by rooky cyclists Hels and MetroLumberTaudevin” — they recently passed day 200 (!!) of their ride around Oz. Lots of goathead flats but what an adventure… go check it out!

bike touring australia with hels

Listener Fred in Texas: Commuting Champ

I’ve gotten into a Commute/Regular Ride practice. My commute can take from 90min- 3ish hours…but there is a catch. I drive my car to a light rail station, ride the train, then get off and ride into work. This is the 90 minute trip. It’s crisp and clean and included a 7.3ish mile ride into work. Fortunately, there are showers, yay! (I have four potential routes at 7, 12, 20, and 25 miles)

My ride home can be the exact same route in reverse but I prefer the longer 20 mile route that is mostly trails. It’s very nice. This can be easily extended to 25 miles. So, when you add in the driving, the train, and the bike ride: it’s 3ish hours.

I don’t consider this “commuting” even though I am. I consider it going for a bike ride and integrating into into my commute. When I don’t have evening rehearsals mucking up my time, I’ll do this three times a week. It’s much more enjoyable then having to deal with traffic, AND it basically frees up my weekends from miscellaneous rides.

Touring? not yet, but that’s OK. Still, I’ve determined that maybe, someday, I’ll do a cross Texas ride because that where  live.

All the best,

Fred

Pedalshift Society

A big thank you to all of the monthly supporters of the show! If you like what you hear, you can help me keep the show listener-supported while expanding the offerings. A buck, two bucks or even 5 helps with the costs of hosting the podcast and the website, and you can do it for a bit and cancel anytime. One-shot support is welcome too… annual or “choose your own adventure”  if you’re not into the small monthly thing. Check it out and join at pedalshift.net/society. And society members please go to pedalshift.net/stickers and let me know where to send some Pedalshift stickers to you! On to the Society!

  • Ethan Georgi
  • Matt Buker
  • Kimberly Wilson
  • Caleb Jenkinson
  • Cameron Lien
  • Andrew MacGregor
  • Michael Hart
  • Johnny K
  • Josiah Matthews
  • Keith Nagel
  • Brock Dittus
  • David Kolb
  • Michael Riscica
  • Seth Krieger
  • Marco Lo
  • Terrance Manson
  • Noah Schroer
  • Harry Telgadas
  • John Sikorski

Thank you for supporting the show!

Music

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!