Every long-distance biker knows it. Power (for your laptop, camera, cellphone, etc) and the lack of it can be very hard on the road. Especially when you are in desolated areas with a lot of kilometers to cover between you and the next town. You just want to take a quick picture for your Instagram of this one beautiful landscape but the juice of your phone ran down to zero and nobody to help. There are some easy and quick solutions, depending on your needs, to fix this (not life-threatening) problem.
E-werk, keep on biking.
Firstly, I want to talk about the E-werk by B+M. It is a little device that can transform the power you generate while cycling into useable electricity. This doesn’t work on every bike and it’s one of the more expensive options. You would need a hub dynamo to be able to use this device. It is a great and powerful tool when you cycle big distances. At a low speed of 8km/h it already charges. It charges quickly your phone, power banks and so on when you are just cycling. For me this is the best since I like to keep my impact on nature as low as possible, but, I still can survive while generating my own electricity.
The only small disadvantage is that when you need to use your lights that are normally connected to the dynamo, you need to disconnect the E-werk.
The E-werk attached to my bicycle.
But most people don’t ride in the dark, so most of the time this isn’t a big issue. Pricing would be around 100 euro for the device itself (there are some extra accessories, like a power bank that you can connect directly to the device, for when you are not charging anything else).
Power to the (power)banks!
If your trip is not too long and you have almost daily the possibility to charger your devices, then a small power bank would be enough to meet your needs. There are a lot of options depending on which devices you use and how much you use them. A power bank of 3000mAh can charge your phone about 1,5 times. For small trips this is perfect. However, when you need a lot of power and/or it is not possible to charge every day, there are better solutions. It is always good to have a fully charged power bank around for whenever you would need it.
My recommendation would be The Anker PowerCore 20100. It works perfectly and it has enough juice to charge your phone at least 5 times! Of course, there are thousands of power banks on the market and I am sure you will find one that fits your needs.
Oh, lovely sun.
When you don’t have a bike with a hub dynamo or you don’t cycle at all it is worth thinking about a solar panel. Nowadays there are some really good brands out there and they mostly have a decent power bank included. The good thing about this is that you don’t need to do anything to let it charge. The only disadvantage is that it can be slow to charge and obviously you need sun. However, like an E-werk, it is super clean and you can use it anywhere (except during the night). When I was checking this option out, my eyes fell on a Waka Waka solar panel. They try to make a difference in the world with good (humanity) projects and they are a fair trade product.
There are many good options out there to fulfill your need for power. None of them has the upper hand in my opinion. It all depends on your needs. Just think smart and think a bit about what is best for nature. And also remember, power isn’t everything. Enjoy that free moment without your phone or tablet. Feel the freedom. Feel nature. Sometimes disconnection is the best way to recharge yourself. Reconnect when you are ready again.