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Bike tour

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In a nutshell[edit]

Appropriate technology. Isn't that something for hippies and poverty-stricken nations? Open source. Isn't that a strange hobby only relevant to computer nerds?

We don't think so. We're convinced that appropriate technology is just good design and open source is just good practice, and that we're not alone; a burgeoning socially and environmentally conscious appropriate technology hacking movement is spreading across the United States.

There are hackers out there, and two young engineers are biking across the United States to find them and tell their stories. Instead of loading up on the newest, slickest commercial gear, they're creating and cobbling together open-license and public domain appropriate technologies for their water, food, shelter, and even bicycling needs as they tour the country from Boston to Burning Man writing a book on the people and projects they find.

The bikers[edit]

Chris Carrick is a 22-year-old photographer from Florida who happens to also be a mechanical engineer and appropriate technology enthusiast and hacker.

Mel Chua is a 21-year-old writer from Illinois who happens to also be an electrical and computer engineer and open source programmer and advocate.

We're open to companions for any segment of the ride; contact us if you're interested.

The route[edit]

The equipment[edit]

The timeline[edit]

How you can help[edit]

Trip planning[edit]


  • Calorie breakdown
    • Two theories
      • 60-70% carbs, 20-30% fat, 10-15% protein
      • 40% carbs, 30% fat, 30% protein
  • When riding:
    • Drink 1 water bottle per hour
    • Eat 250 calories per hour
    • Eat minimum of 30-60 grams of carbs per hour riding
  • For day:
    • Eat 300-600 calories per hour ridden
    • Eat food with both high and low Glycemic Index (GI)

General Info[edit]

  • Expect to pay $10-$35 per day for expenses
  • Aim to ride 55 miles per day with a weight load of 20-45 lbs
  • Ride length can vary from 30-120 miles per day
  • Aim for 6-8 hrs cycling per day
  • Don't carry more than 45 lbs



  • Wheels
    • Get at least 36 spoke wheels, cross laced
    • Aluminum rims, 22mm
  • Frame
    • 28mm wide clearance for tires & fenders
    • Rack mounts
  • Gears
    • Top gear of 95in
    • Low gear of 22in
    • 24-28 teeth on small gears, 30-34 on largest

On Bike[edit]

  • Cycling Helmet
  • Touring shoes- can both walk & ride
  • Cycling gloves
  • Cycling shorts (2 pair)
  • Socks (2-3 pairs)
  • 2 Short sleeved shirts
  • Long sleeve shirt
  • Long underwear
  • Rain jacket & pants

Off Bike[edit]

  • Shorts
  • Pants
  • Underwear (3 pairs)
  • Flip-flops
  • Wool or fleece hat
  • Fleece jacket
  • Gloves

Bicycle Repair Tools[edit]

  • Spare tube
  • Spare tire
  • Tire patch kit
  • Mini-pump
  • Electrical tape
  • Duct tape
  • Spoke wrench
  • Spare spokes
  • Allen wrench set
  • Leatherman- screwdriver, pliers
  • Chain tool
  • Brake cable
  • Derailleur cable
  • Chain lubricant and rag
  • Extra nuts and bolts
  • Plastic zip ties
  • Spare brake pads
  • Clipless pedal bolts
  • Hoseclamp

Bicycle Equipment[edit]

  • Front bicycle light
  • Rear bicycle light
  • Rearview mirror
  • Lock and cable


  • Sleeping bag (synthetic)
  • 2-3 person shelter
  • Sleeping pad
  • Ground tarp
  • Eating utensils (spoon, fork, knife, cup, bowl)
  • Pots and pans
  • Stove


  • Toiletries
  • Pack towel
  • Water carriers (1-3 gallons)
  • First aid kit
  • Bandanas
  • Sunglasses
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Nylon cord
  • Bungee cord
  • Sewing kit
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunblock
  • Water filter


  • Start at least 4 months in advance

Feb: Base Training Miles

  • 20 hrs total on a trainer at 90 rpm, aim to get between 300-600 miles
  • Train 4-6 time a week
  • Start stretching exercises

March: Building Strength

  • Mix in more difficult training along with easy rides and rest days
  • Practice sprints
  • Ride hills at least once or twice per week

April: Build Endurance

  • Longer rides 1 or 2 times a week
  • Should be riding 40-50 miles a day, two days a week
  • Start carrying weight 2 weeks in, starting with 20 lbs

May: Adding Weight

  • Continue riding with weight
  • Gradually increase to trip weight
  • Ride 3 to 4 days per week
  • Work up to 70 miles per day

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