The Charger Issue

22 years ago, on the TransAmerica bike tour, do you know how many rechargeable batteries I took? None.

But today, whether on a bike, car, or plane, there always seems to be a shopping bag full of electronics to lug along.

I decided that the following battery-powered devices were important enough to bring on this trip:

  • Camera
  • LED flashlights (2)
  • Cell phones (2)
  • iPod touch
  • Netbook
  • Cyclometer

The cyclometers use button cells that are not rechargeable, and merit no further discussion. The camera and LED flashlights both use AA NiMH batteries, so we must bring a AA charger. The iPod touch has a unique Apple connector. We have two cell phones, each with a unique charger. The netbook has its own power brick. This is the largest of the chargers, when the line cord is taken into consideration.


Clockwise from top left: iPod charger, netbook charger, standard cord for netbook charger, AA/AAA battery charger, Motorola cell phone charger, Tracfone charger

And here is what I’ll be taking:


Clockwise from top left: (3) USB wall plugs, iPod cable, netbook charger, shortened cord for netbook charger, AA/AAA battery charger, short Motorola cell phone cable, homemade Tracfone cable

I was able to find very short cables for the iPod and one of the cell phones on the internet. I couldn’t find a short charging cable for the tracfone, so I got a regular data cable, and shortened it These three USB cables plug into the wall adapters at the top left. If we had infinite time, we might get away with two or even just one adapter. However, having three will let us charge all our devices at the same time, and also, if one breaks, we won’t be dead, just slowed down.

The Panasonic battery charger I got at a flea market for one dollar. It works great, and has the feature of fold-in power prongs, so it packs nicely.

Nothing could be done about the netbook charger, which is already smallish for a laptop charger. However, I was able to pick up a spare cord for a dollar at a flea market (I get a lot of things for a dollar), and shorten that to about a foot long.

The final set of chargers is smaller, lighter, and has the added bonus of not having long cords to tangle.


  1. Fuzzy Bunny says:


    It is really cool that you are going on your second cross-country bicycle tour after 20+ years! This time with your son, making it all the more enjoyable for both of you! Nice battery + charger setup you have for your trip. I have had plenty of battery and charger experience with my son being deeply involved in remote car racing. But will save that for another occassion, given you have 4+ days left for the trip. Really look forward to tracking your touring progress.

    All the best and here’s to a safe and enjoyable tour!


    • roderick says:

      Thanks Fuzzy! I thought I knew who you were, until you mentioned your son. Now I have no idea.

  2. Reuben says:

    Have a great ride Roderick & Elliot! Hope u find the right pace in the beginning until u acclimate ur bodies. Wish I could pass on my belly fat for you to burn as reserves. I’d especially like to see photos of the people u meet along the way, and anything else u find interesting.

  3. Janice says:

    Looking forward to tuning into the rich experiences you will have along your journey. Some movies that follow a similar theme include: Emmanuel’s Gift (cross country bike journey of a 1 legged man), Long Way Round (cross continental motorcycle journey), 10 mph (Segway journey). Have a wonderful, safe, father/son bonding journey!

    • roderick says:

      As usual, you’re a fount of knowledge. Where do you find out about stuff like this?