How Do You Charge Stuff?

1st timer question. How do you folks charge up all your stuff? I’ve seen pix of what look like charging stations. I’m iPhone and Garmin dependent. I’m more concerned about the phone since I use it for photos.


14 Replies

CyclingCyclone, June 4, 2012 at 8:25 am

Over the years I relied on finding an outlet whenever I could. This spring I bought a solar charging kit from Goal Zero. They have a lot of different options depending on what you want to charge. I have one called the Adventure 10 which is good for phones, my Garmin 705, mp3. You can charge directly from the panels using the different cables attachments or use the AA recharge batteries it comes with. Nice, small kit, looking forward to using it on the ride.
Used is a few times. when I first got it to test it I charged an empty mp3 off the solar panels in 2 hours. My cell phone had about 50% juice left, plugged it in and in an hour had 80%.


RonB, June 4, 2012 at 10:25 am

If you are going with a charter, most will have a rig to charge stuff after you get in for the day. If you’re on your own, I’ve heard others say they go into a library, church, etc. and ask to use an outlet. Or, try to break that iPhone/Garmin addiction for one week….it might even be peaceful. :-D


kurmdgn, June 4, 2012 at 11:12 am

I had the same question myself this year. The last few times I’ve relied
on finding a outlet here/there and made do but I decided I wanted a different
approach this year- Note I ride solo, no team, just DMR baggage truck etc..

I looked at a bunch of solar based charger options and found several at REI
that looked promising but rather pricey I thought- >>$100. And I looked at
a little gadget that you can find online that some enterprising Engr student
had whipped up that uses a couple of AA batteries and boost charger ckt(
this all fits in an old Altoid case). When the charger is dead you just
get a couple of new batteries at any store.. But I had a gift card to use
up and so I settled on a plain USB battery brick. Best Buy has several models
but Amazon has them cheaper.

Mine cost me ~$60. It’s a bit larger than a deck of cards and will charge
almost any Android/Apple smart phone and even recharge a tablet( not that I would recommend you take a tablet on RAGBRAI… ) You charge the brick up at home before you leave via a wall outlet. Mine requires a USB wall plug which
I had( or if you have a Iphone you have you too ) If you don’t use it the charge is supposed to be good for 2-3 months. When you do use it, it
provides 3-4 full recharges of your phone. My phone goes a couple of days
between charges. During RAGBRAI, I usually keep it turned off unless I’m
using it or I’m in the overnight towns. ATT coverage in Iowa is bad and
it uses a lot of battery just searching for connections.

Anyway- I used my brick camping over Memorial Day weekend to test it out
and was quite satisfied. I recharged my phone 2x over the weekend and my
wife’s and still charge to spare.


Scott, June 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I’ve used one of these for about a year now. I get about 6 to 8 charges of my iPhone with it.


Scott, June 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I’ve used one of these for about a year now. I get about 6 to 8 charges of my iPhone with it.


Scott, June 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I’ve used one of these for about a year now. I get about 6 to 8 charges of my iPhone with it.

New Trent


Scott, June 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm

I’ve used one of these for about a year now. I get about 6 to 8 charges of my iPhone with it.


“Bicycle Bill”, June 4, 2012 at 2:01 pm

You are going to be but one small part of a ride that involved at least 15K people. You will almost never be out of sight of another rider — except for maybe in the Kybo — so I personally believe that it is impossible to get lost. Therefore, you could most likely leave the Garmin at home.

And for that matter; doesn’t iPhone have a GPS feature/app on it anyway? Android phones do….(snicker)



longrider42, June 4, 2012 at 3:13 pm

I built my own recharging unit for my phone and mp3 player, cost me about 6 bucks for the parts. Mine uses 8 AA batteries, held in a battery pack I got from Radio Shack, attach a lighter plug to that, then use a 12 volt to 5.5 volt USB adaptor. Easy to build, easy to use. if any one is interested, PM me and I can send pictures of mine. Also if you keep your phone turned off for th ebulk of the day, just turn it on in the morning and evening. Your charge should last all week. But if you use your phone as a camera, yeah, you will need to recharge it.


havencoffeehouse, June 4, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Marshalltown is working on arranging “Charging stations” for people to use

Here at Haven, we are wireless, and there are outlets near every table — although there aren’t very many tables. We will have “Haven’s Annex” open across the street just for July 25th to accommodate more people. There we will have several surge protector strips where you can “check-in” your phone and cord and get a number tab. We’ll plug you in and charge you while you eat (or wait in line and finally eat). Bring us back the tab before you leave and check your phone back out.


Ken, June 4, 2012 at 7:03 pm

New Trent has a 2 for 1 sale going on right now. Use the code “CONGRATS”


Sandaltan ., June 4, 2012 at 8:32 pm

A review of Trent from our friends at Bike Iowa:



Tony, June 4, 2012 at 9:44 pm

The follow images are of a charging station I built for our charter service. We have two of them now. With a total capacity of charging 100 devices at a time. The charging stations cost about $75 each in material. This solved the charging issue for our members.


igor, June 4, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Thanks everyone! I decided to go the New Trent route. I love to take pics with the phone so I definitely need something to charge it if I can’t find an outlet.


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