When you are looking at that entry form and wondering how your signature magically appeared on it, the first question that will come into your mind is: Why?... But there’ll be plenty of time for philosophy in the saddle. You’re going to be keeping a good pace, day and night – and to ride safely, you will need light. Plus, you’re going to want to bring your mobile phone. So, a more important question is: How will I power my electrical devices? Some options are available. Here, we’ll be asking: Which is best: hub-mounted dynamo or Li-ion battery pack? Dynamos do have advantages. They provide power when you move, and only go dead when you stop. They are also part of a simple, integrated solution that takes up little space.
Let’s work it out mathematically. If you weigh 70 Kg and are pedaling at 15 Km/h on a straight, flat road, you will be generating around 60 watts of power. If a dynamo is consuming 3 watts of that power, it will impose an effective penalty of 0.75 Km/h, slowing you from 15 Km/h to 14.25 Km/h. So what, you might think. It’s not such a big number… until you realise that your total ride time will have increased by 5%. 5% of 1 000 Km? That’s 50 Km extra you have to cycle! If you put it in terms of time, it doesn’t get any better: over a total night-riding time of 40 hours (8 hours x 5 days), that drag penalty will steal an extra two hours from you. So you want a dynamo? Say Goodbye to any hope of a reasonably-placed finish. Two fully-charged Panasonic 7.4V 6.8Ah lithium-ion battery packs give you a total of 100 watt-hours. (To put that into perspective, they will supply 1 watt for 100 hours, 2 watts for 50 hours, and so on.) Mass? There is a 100g increase over a dynamo. However, if you weigh 70 Kg, then that is a relatively insignificant 0.14% increase - which may actually give you an advantage. Why? Because in the Manga, you start at an altitude 1 300m higher than at the end. So, on average, the mass of the battery pack will actually have helped your forward momentum!
Let’s think about a complete solution. Say you’re using the XP3 Cycle light. In theory, you could get away with using a single battery pack to power it, as using only the light’s Low mode would deliver up to 40 hours of light. Then, the second battery pack could be used as a backup, as well doing double-duty as a power bank for your electronic devices (connected using the Powerbank USB Adapter). You may think you could get away with using a conventional 5V power bank instead of our 7.4V alternative, but it’s not a fair comparison. The 5V power banks simply don’t have the amp-hour rating you will need to complete the race, meaning that at some point, you’ll be groping forward in the dark! To recap: we are able to offer you a complete, turn-key battery, power bank, and lighting solution that will effectively give you a 5% or greater advantage over every other competitor using a dynamo. Let us know what you think in the Comments section below.