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The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions, and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world. My Plan

My 3 Books
I write, self publish and sell books about touring

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Places I have been
(
How can I afford this?)

India and Neighbors
May 2010 to present

Alaska / Canada / USA
May 2008 to April 2010

New Zealand
Sept 2007 to May 2008

Australia
Sept 2006 to Sept 2007

SE Asia / China
Nov 2004 to Sept 2006

South America
June 2003 to June 2004

AZ, Mexico, and Central America
March 2002 to April 2003

How I started
The 5 years before I left


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 Written on the road as I travel around the world on my bicycle


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Equipment Pages Index

Introduction
How Much to Bring and Weight
Some Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
(See more about Sponsorship)

START HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames 
The Steel Repair Myth.
Steel and Aluminum Derailleur Hanger Repair.
Bicycle Touring Wheels
Phil Wood: The Best Bicycle Hubs

Panniers / Bike Bags
Cargo Trailers Vs Panniers
Tires for Bike Tours..
Bicycle Touring Saddles.
Women's Specific Bike Touring Saddles
Brooks Leather Touring Bicycle Saddle Care and Conditioning
Bike Computer
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Kickstands
Sealed Cartridge Headsets

How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps

Camping
Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground Cloth
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad
Camp Stove
Pots and Pans
Water Filter
First Aide Kits
Solar Power for Camp

Clothing
Bike Touring Shorts

Electrical
Short-wave Radio
Computer
Internet
mp3
Bicycle touring lights

Books
Packing list
Pictures of Equipment Failures
Shopping


See My Videos Here



(see all 3 book)

The Travel Notebook Computer that I Carry on my International Bicycle Tour

What kind of laptop computer would you buy if you were planning on living in a tent?

Most people are surprised to hear that I am carrying a laptop computer on a bike tour.  After all, space is limited and computers weigh a lot.  There are cycle tourist who consider it very bad form to carry anything but the bare essentials.  They really get upset to hear that I bring such a big heavy luxury thing on my bicycle tour.  It is like I am breaking some kind of cosmic cycle tourist rule in their eyes.  I believe that a person should bring whatever makes them happy on a bicycle tour.  I have seen many cyclist with things like dogs in trailers or electric guitars and plug in amplifiers with them.  I even met a man who was pulling a trailer with his mountain and road bikes aboard just in case there was some good single track or a big group road ride on his route.  I say again, bring what makes you smile because smiling is what itis all about.

Why do U bring a computer?  Because I like it and use it almost every day. The computer entertains me and helps me think and be creative.   It is my connection to the world, my music jukebox, the DVD cinema, the language learning tool, encyclopedia, and it lights up the tent.

My Search for a Durable Tough Rugged Laptop Computer

Before I left on my world bike tour I spent hours looking for the perfect digital companion. I cruised the internet looking into every option that I could find.  Several things factored into this decision.  Price, durability, battery life, music clarity, capacity to edit and store video, and weight.  I was sure that this thing would see rainstorms and get dropped, crashed, and sat upon.

I am not a computer expert and it is safe to say that computer hardware is my weakest area in this large topic.  I have always been much more interest in the things that you can do with a computer like software and internet applications than the size of the processor or hard drive.

My main concern was how long the batteries would last and how I would charge them.   I expected to be in hotel rooms occasionally and in my tent the rest of the time and that is exactly how this bicycle tour is unfolding.  There are even those 24 hour rainstorms when I am stuck in the tent and the computer is a great source of entertainment.

I was also concerned with size and weight.  I would not just be carrying it to the office; I was going to be carrying it over mountains and across deserts on a bicycle.  Every extra ounce would add up over the months.  Also, my bags have limited space and the smaller the computer the more space I'll have for something else.

My First Computer (for the trip) and the Problems I Had With It.

During the first two years I used a Dell laptop.  I initially chose Dell because it was a name I knew well.  I had owned several Dells over the years.  Unfortunately my Dell held up poorly and was not a good value. 

When the Dell laptop arrived in the mail I was shocked at how large and heavy it was.  It weighed 10 pounds (5 kilos) which felt like a brick in my rear pannier.  I thought it would be smaller and lighter even though the size and weight were listed on the website when I bought it.

My Dell also slowly developed several problems during my second year in South America.  These problems needed to be repaired before I went on to China and South East Asia.  These major problems included:

Defective Power Cord

The power cord slowly developed a short and quit working in the mountains of Ecuador.  This caused me to panic because if the computer cannot receive power it is rendered useless.  We arrived in a large city of Cuenca, Ecuador with its many high tech computer stores.   I thought it would be easy to find a Dell replacement power cord but instead, I found out that I could find power cords for most major makers of computers except Dell.  I resorted to having the cord repaired by an electrician but it broke again in a different place in Bolivia.  I searched again for Dell replacement parts in Bolivia's capital city of La Paz but again found everything except a Dell power cord.  I resorted to another electrician who did a good job.  I started wondering how smart it was to travel with a computer that does not have parts available in all foreign countries.

Cracks in the Shell

After 18 months of use, my Dell Laptop started developing little cracks in the plastic shell.  I had never had a laptop computer do this before.  These cracks grew as time passed.  When I sent the computer back to Dell for warrantee service they accused me of dropping the computer and refused to fix it.

CD / DVD Drive Quit Working.

Out of the blue my CD / DVD drive stopped functioning.  Because I could not find Dell replacement parts abroad I just had to do without.  This should not have happened with a product that is as expensive as a Dell notebook computer.  Dell blamed the problem on me and refused to replace it.

Keyboard Scratched Screen

During my travels, the keyboard permanently scratched the screen.  This is very irritating and caused headaches during extended use.  This was clearly a manufactures defect.  Dell gave no excuse for this but refused to warrantee it.

Loose Screen

Through time and use, the screen on my Dell notebook computer developed some play in the attachment system.  This seemed easy to repair with most likely only a screw needing to be tightened.  When I sent the computer in to Dell they did not fix this problem either.  There is no excuse for this lack of backing of their products and I began wondering why they were losing interest in their customers.

Dell's Terrible Outsourced Service

When I bought my Dell Laptop I paid an extra US$300 for an extended 3 year mail in warrantee.  I sent Dell my laptop computer while it was still under this warrantee.  I expected them to warrantee the defective components but they refused to repair anything.  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!  They blamed me for the defective computer, accused me of dropping it and spilling liquids on the keyboard, and sent it back without repairing a thing.  I know that Dell used to have excellent customer service and a well deserved reputation for backing their product and taking care of their valued customers.  I wondered what had changed in their attitudes and customer service department.  I believe that the answer can be summed up in one word, "OUTSOURCE!"

Dell Outsourced Their Service Department

I have owned several Dell computers and contacted Dell's service department several times over the past decade.  They had always been excellent to deal with until now.  Something had changed.  I received my first clue of this change when I called Dell's toll free number and after surfing through a phone tree and waiting on hold for an hour I found myself talking to a man in New Delhi, India.  I often heard "I am sorry sir I am not trained in this topic but I will happily transfer you to another department."  I sat on hold for another hour.  It seems Dell's quest to improve the bottom line came at the expense of the customer.  After that I learned that warrantee claims are no longer handled in house by Dell.  This was outsourced to a third party company which was not interested in my satisfaction.  Still, I explained my situation as best I could given the language difficulties.

When they refused to repair anything under my US$300 three year extended warrantee I asked to speak with a manager.  I explained that I have been a faithful Dell customer over the past decade and freely endorsed their products on my busy web site and even sold dozens of Dells from our web site through the affiliate program.  This manager pulled up my site and found the page explaining how much I liked Dell and how good their service is (was).  He could care less and coldly told me that Dell was not going to repair anything because nothing was covered under my US$300 three year extended warrantee.  I immediately removed my endorsement from our site and all buttons that link to Dell.  I can no longer endorse Dell or even say that their computers are suitable for travel.  Please do not reward this company for building computers that fall apart on the road and a service department that could care less about customer satisfaction.

We Switched to a Small Lightweight Notebook Computer.

I always try to look on the bright side of any situation.  It was good that my Dell prematurely died and their service department was bad.  It caused me to open my eyes to other manufacturers.  This time, when looking for a computer, I focused on what matters to a bicycle tourist: size and weight.  I set my sights on computers with the same or better capabilities, as my previous computer, but much smaller.

While I was traveling I met other foreigners traveling with computers and they usually had a much  smaller Sony Laptop.  (See link below.)  I was envious of the small size and weight.  Sony kept coming up in my searches in Amazon.com and then I found one that was even considered small and light by today's standards I bought it.  Amazon has very good prices for these computers.  The jury is still out on the dependability of this machine but it is amazingly small and light.  Keep checking back on this page to find out how everything works out.

 


 

 

 

 

 

World traveling and bicycle touring with a laptop computer. World electricity 110v - 220v for a notebook.  Connecting to the internet around the world in different countries.


Book, Video, and Software Store


Bicycling !
- World Bicycle Travel Books and Videos
- Famous Bike Movies
- Bike Racing
- Cycling History and Bike Culture
- Bicycle Mechanics

Around the World Budget Travel
-Backpacking
-Dangerous Places
-Work Your Way Around the World

Arizona
- General Information for Arizona
-
Apache Indians
-
Ghost Towns in Arizona
-
The Lost Dutchman Mine
-
Hiking, Backpacking, and Trekking in Arizona
- Biking in Arizona
- Prescott Arizona

Mexico
- General Information About Mexico
- Mexico City Information
- Mexican Archaeological Sites and Ruins
-
Maps of Mexico and Mexican States
-
Movies
-
Chiapas
-
Copper Canyon and the Tarahumara Indians
- Learning Spanish
- Miscellaneous

Central America
- Guatemala
- El Salvador
- Honduras
- Nicaragua
- Costa Rica
- Panama

South America
- General Information
- Inca Archeological Sites, Ruins, and Culture
- Ecuador
- Peru
- Bolivia
- Chile
- Argentina

Southeast Asia / China
- General Information
- Thailand
- Cambodia and Angkor Wat
- Vietnam
- China

- Hong Kong
- Silk Road
- Malaysia
- Singapore
- Indonesia

Languages
- Learning Spanish
-
Learning English

Equipment
-
Computer and Software
-
Shortwave Radio

- Mp3
-
Miscellaneous

Finances
-
How to Save Money
-
How to Invest
-
Newspapers and Magazines

Future Destinations
-
-
Other

Book and Photo Picture Publishing / Selling
- Book Publishing / Selling
- Photo and Picture Publishing and Selling

Miscellaneous
- Birding
-
Books We Read For Pleasure
-
DVDs that We Carry
-
How to Make Movies

- Herbs, Massage and the Natural Healing Arts
-
RV Repair and Service

 


Amazon USA


Amazon UK


Amazon Canada

More Shopping Here

 


Bicycle Touring
Tips & Advice 
(see all Equipment Pages)

Touring Bicycles
Panniers
Racks
Saddles
Tires
Lights

Fenders
Tools and Spares

Tents
Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress
Camp Stove
Water Filter
Pots and Pans
First Aide Kits
Solar Power for Camp

Bike Maps
Preventing Flat Tires

Bike Computer
Cargo Trailers
Kick Stands
Pedals
Handelbars/Grips

Helmet
Bike Shoes
Bike Touring Shorts

Much MORE Gear Here!

Sponsors (how?)


Cycle Touring Racks

Tents and ground cloths
Sleeping Bags
Camping Mattress Pads


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