Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Today's training vid and new stove (beer and gear)

I busted out of town for a few miles and shot this video. I want to post a few of these from the road, too, so this was a chance to practice uploading. I'm getting down to the wire for my departure. I'm taking my bike down to the shop for packing and shipping on the 3oth. Just a few more rides, then off she goes.


(Sorry--some snafu with the video. I'll use Google next time!)

You see below my successful! attempt to make a Pepsi can alcohol stove. Many thanks to Rob over at 14degrees.org for turning me onto this technology. Apparently, long distance hikers have been using these for a while, and a recent survey of Appalachian Trail through-hikers (those who go the whole distance in one push in contrast to those who hike a long tail in sections over more than one season) found that this was the only stove with zero failures. It's made by drilling, cutting and mashing together a couple of aluminum cans. A combination of Pepsi and English ales works best. Great fun. Slam down a brew and set the living room on fire. What's not to like? It burns denatured or methyl alcohol and performs quite well. I was able to boil a liter of water in about 8.5 minutes. Fuel is more expensive than a stove that uses gasoline from the pump, but it has no moving parts, requires no pumping, and burns almost silently. It has to be refilled more often, but that's a pretty minor inconvenience given its strengths. Zen Stoves gives a good overview of this technology. Check here for instructions to build your own.


10 comments:

ps said...

Hi Scott,
My name is Peter Stanley and I met an acquaintance of yours today, Santa Rosa physical therapist Doug Schrift. Unfortunately my connection with Doug is over a hand injury that has kept me off my bike for the past month and in commiserating with Doug he told me about your upcoming adventure. I have to say that in light of the recent meltdown in the Protour peloton I was so impressed with Doug's description of your plans for the summer and cycling for the love of the sport. I wanted to wish you great luck and a great time in your Journey. I look forward to reading your blog and vicariously experiencing this great ride!

Scott Wayland said...

Hi, Peter: Thanks for the note. I've known Doug and his wife Audrey for many years now. Today I just read that Rasmussen has been cut, too! What a mess. I'm very excited about my ride. As for your injury, please consider getting into recumbents. If you look at some of my earlier posts, you'll see that my current bike, our tandem, and an earlier model all had under seat steering. This allows control with virtually NO stress on the hands--totally relaxing and a total blast to boot.

Be well and feel free to comment again!

Cheers,

Scott

Dwight Jones said...

Hi Scott,

It's probably too late for equipment recommendations, but I thought I'd mention the Trangia alcohol stoves. They have the same 100% reliability you mentioned with several advantages over the home made stoves:
1) You can put the cap on a stove that has fuel in it. That means less waste and more convenience- just remove the cap and touch the stove with a match.
2) The stove, pots, and accessories fit into one compact package.
3) It's very safe and stable. Other stoves should be used a long way from your tent. The Trangia can be set up outside your tent door before you go to sleep. In the morning, you just remove the cap and light it before you get out of bed. You'll have hot breakfast waiting by the time you are dressed.

The Trangia mini or "28" is ideal for solo travelers going ultralight. The "27" and accessories make a nice cook set for one or two people who want to eat well. The "25" is like the "28" with larger pots for a big group. All Trangias use the same little burner that may be a bit underpowered for big groups, but is ideal for our purposes.

I have read several of your cycling blogs. They are very well done and I'm looking forward to reading your next adventure!

Dwight

Dwight Jones said...

Oops,
There's a typo in my other post. The "25" is like the "27" not the "28". The 28 is a basic ultralight kit, while the others are more complete.

The accessory tea pot is a nice addition to the 27. So is the strainer/cutting board. The accessories nest with the rest of the kit, so they take up no space.

I pack a margarine container lid with the "28". It serves as a cutting board and it keeps the fry pan from getting scratched

Dwight Jones said...

Not to be spamming you, but I left out the major advantage of Trangias: They're great in bad weather. The 27 is the BEST stove for storm conditions. And, you can safely use it at the door of your tent.

The simmer ring is nice if you need to reduce heat while cooking.

REI sells the Mini 28. The 27 usually needs to be ordered from internet dealers.

No, I don't work for Trangia. I'm not even Swedish. :-)

Scott Wayland said...

Hey, Dwight: Okay, now you got me thinking. What you say makes a lot of sense. At this point I'm a little burnt out (pun intended) regarding expenses, but I'm going to check out the Trangia's. They sound very cool. Part of me wants to go with my home built just because I can. You've given me some good advice, however, and I'll probably own a Trangia in the future. Glad you like my journal!

Cheers,

Scott

Robert said...

Great to see that the stove worked out for you Scott. What did you use for the pot stand? At the moment I am using thre tent pegs pushed into the ground.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/14degrees/903650188/

This isn't the best setup, coz you need to be on soft ground to use the stove, but I have always managed to find somewhere to cook.

As for the Trangia stove, for me it's all about weight. Can't beat 10 grams for the Redbull can stove plus another 40 or so grams for the wind screen. I've used the Redbul can stove with windscreen in very windy conditions too with no issues (fuel burns quicker though).

By the way, looks as though I'll be heading across the US from mid-September probably from Florida across the south, on my longboard. Will be buying a map in London in a few days time to dream up a route. I'm guessing finding water will be the biggest issue in some of the dryer states.

Anyway, keep on trucking!

Rob

Robert said...

What is your planned route, by the way?

Rob

Scott Wayland said...

Hey, Rob: Great to hear from you. Yeah, these stove are just the bomb. I made the stand from some welded wire fencing. Just bend it into an appropriate diameter and bend over the top bits so the pot sits about 1" (25 mm) over the flame. I just wired the ends together--it's super light and stable. I'm sold.

I've been working on getting the stove to simmer better. I made a ring with a can top as suggested, but it seems like the stove still burns pretty dang hot. Today, I practiced with just removing the windscreen and propping the pot up on a small aluminum can with some holes punched in it. This seemed to provide a decent simmer. I'm concerned about cooking rice and such. Any suggestions here?

If you go to my main blog page and check out "The Love of Maps," you'll find description of my route. I strongly urge you to check out the Adventure Cycling "Southern Tier" route for your crossing. These maps are made for cyclists and might be just the ticket for you, too.

Water will be the biggest issue once you get deep into Texas, so I suspect there will be times when you've got a pretty heavy pack. Going in winter, of course, will make all the difference. Besides some storms, you'll find it quite pleasant in the Southwest. You might want to consider some sort of water purification system--some are quite light--so you can tap into roadside streams, stock tanks, and the like.

Happy Long-Boarding!

Scott

Robert said...

Scott, I had a look at the Southern Tier blogs from Advenutre Cycling Association. Got me all excited it did! Definitely looks doable on the board.

Good point about the seasons. I am guessing it will take me about four months to do the route, so towards the middle it should be getting towards November. Hopefully that will keep temperatures down.

Cheers,
Rob