Author Topic: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.  (Read 14171 times)

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Offline valygrl

Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2009, 01:57:05 am »
I guess if it was me I would get rid of the SPOT and the GPS.  I just don't get the utility of the SPOT for a road-based first-world tour (I'm making assumptions here, possibly incorrect).  And the GPS is a horrible medium-long distance planning tool.  Paper maps are much easier to use.  If you really want on-board computerized mapping capability, you could load some mapping software on the laptop, and the iPhone's GPS will be useful in some places as well.

Anyway, I don't mean to be critical, I'm just offering some suggestions.  The amount of weight you carry can really have a huge impact on how happy you are on your tour.   Don't forget to add up all the extra batteries and chargers and downloading cords when you look at what you are taking.

It's amazing how fast all the stuff can add up.  You have to think it all through with all the rest of your gear too - camping, cooking, clothes, tools.... 

Back to the OP, downloading data about my rides is something I also enjoy for my local road riding.  On my last tour, I had to take a laptop (for work), and considered bringing my Garmin 305 and the downloader cord... but it didn't make the cut.  Mainly, because it would have meant I felt really obligated (to myself) to not miss any data, which would mean obtaining a daily charge for the Garmin.  In the end, I didn't want to put myself through that, so I did what I always do - just write down the miles and stuff off my regular bike computer in a little notebook. 

I think everyone has to find their own balance on what they think is important to take with them vs. what they might enjoy but are willing to live without.  I think I fall in the middle/heavy range, and am trying to work my way towards lighter.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2009, 07:53:07 am »
I agree with Valygrl.

It is your call of course, but I know that once in the mountains a few days my opinion on what to carry changed drastically.  All kinds of stuff that seemed necessary, got boxed up and sent home.  I didn't pack all that heavy to start with but still sent several batches of stuff home.  I can tell you that getting rid of a few pounds makes a huge difference in the comfort of the trip.  iPod, GPS, and all kinds of other stuff went home early in the trip.  Clothes got cut to a minimum too as did lots on little comfort items.

The one big splurge I might make weight-wise is a DSLR, but only if photography was one of the primary reasons for the trip.  Memory cards are cheap and very light weight, so just take enough for all the pictures that you will take instead of carrying the laptop.  If it was me, I would forget the daily journal updates and photo uploads.  Do a quick journal entry only when you happen to have the opportunity without too much inconvenience.  Once in a while upload a picture or two.  You will be able to do this from a public library or host's home.  If it is once a week, two weeks, or even three weeks fine.

Keep a paper journal and transfer it to your online journal when you get home.

As I said, I would skip the laptop entirely, but if not at least go with something like the eepc.  I would also skip the Spot and the GPS.  If someone at home is super paranoid and was going to pay for it I might carry the Spot, but only if it would set some very worried family member's mind at ease.

Consider using twitter from your cell phone as your means for frequent updates to home, but don't promise daily contact to any one.  Cell service can be pretty spotty and pay phones are becoming extinct.  I know we went quite a while at times without calling or contacting home and it really annoyed my wife because I had lead her to expect daily updates before we left.

I know that for me the one of the single biggest factors in whether a trip is enjoyable is the load carried.  A few pounds make a huge difference IMO.  If in doubt about an item leave it home.  Once underway a while review each item and send anything that is iffy home.

Offline ravencr

Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2009, 06:03:08 pm »
Great info guys...I really appreciate it. I could stand to lose 40-50lbs myself, let alone what I carry...LOL!

Chris

Offline Cycnus

Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2009, 12:53:01 pm »
Thought I would throw a few pennies worth of experience in here.

I use an HP IPAQ handheld for everything; and I do mean everything.  It is actually a very small laptop - word processing, spreadsheets, project planning, wireless, Internet, etc.  My system has GPS capability which I used extensively when I actually owned a car.  I can purchase a GPS unit that fits on the bottom of my system if I want the portability and use of GPS as I travel on my bike.  Either a handheld or a mini-computer are great tools for travel or even business use.  I started using a handheld a number of years ago and haven't owned a laptop since.  I have no difficulty finding free wireless access in most places I travel to; although, the free wireless isn't always the strongest link when you need it to be.  I even have Skype loaded on my system and it does work well. 

The only drawback is the size of the screen and the fact that some Web sites still do not have alternate sites for mobile units.  Otherwise, this isn't a bad way to go, it lets you keep up with all things Internet, listen to music, et.al.  Here is a site that even sells handle bar mounts for systems like mine and many others - http://www.ram-mount.com/Products/PDAMounts/tabid/143/Default.aspx

Just a thought.
Follow me on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BarefootCyclist

FredHiltz

  • Guest
Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2009, 07:24:50 am »
I use an HP IPAQ handheld for everything...

Interesting! Is it waterproof? Or do you use a rain cover? Apparently vibration has not hurt your unit; have you heard of problems from other people?

Fred

Offline Cycnus

Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2009, 08:36:29 am »
No, the unit is not completely waterproof.  I have walked roughly 3 miles home in a violent rain storm with the unit attached to my belt and nothing happened.  However, this unit is my laptop so I try to exercise care in getting the unit wet.  I have a Rhino metal case for this unit and it is a tough case.  I dropped this unit twice, on cement sidewalks.  Other than a bit of bruising, (scuff marks, etc.) the unit works beautifully.  As for vibration - I wear this unit on my belt whenever I ride my bike and nothing has happened to it. 

These units are built to withstand quite a bit of roughness.  They do break, but do quite a bit of bending first.  No, I don't know if this is the case for everyone else.  I work for a university and in the college I am assigned to I am the only person using a PDA of any sort.  Have no comparison points for now.


I use an HP IPAQ handheld for everything...

Interesting! Is it waterproof? Or do you use a rain cover? Apparently vibration has not hurt your unit; have you heard of problems from other people?

Fred
Follow me on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/BarefootCyclist

Offline scott.laughlin

Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2009, 12:07:59 pm »
Electronic stuff is neat to own, but how do you keep it from being stolen while you're in the market replenishing your food stuffs?  How do you keep it dry?  Sometimes less is more.  Willie Wier has good advice...write your journals and send them back home to Aunt Nellie like letters.  If graphs are important you can add the raw data in your journals and then spend the winter reliving the journey while you connect the dots.

That's my personal opinion.

Scott   

FredHiltz

  • Guest
Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2009, 09:20:04 am »
Thank you, Cycnus. The questions of wetting and durability have come up in the GPS forum. It is good to have your real experience. Much appreciated.

Fred

Offline staehpj1

Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2009, 09:40:24 am »
Electronic stuff is neat to own, but how do you keep it from being stolen while you're in the market replenishing your food stuffs?  How do you keep it dry?
My handlebar bag goes with me everywhere regardless and is waterproof so neither of these are concerns.

I agree that less is more, but...  I am starting to shift more toward using some lightweight electronics in lieu of paper.  It is getting to the point where taking an ipod shuffle with audio books and something like a Nokia N800 can be less weight and bulk than a paper notebook, pencil, and a paperback to read.  I spec'ed out both ways and come up lighter with the ipod and N800 even including all the associated chargers and so on.  My thinking now favors using electronics over paper even more if your cell phone is email capable like for example a black berry.  Emails to home can easily serve as your notes and journal entries.  I prefer not to pay for data service on my cell though.

I don't want to carry even a mini laptop though.  Still, I can see how others might choose to given how small and light they are becoming.