When you are out for a long ride there might occasionally be a situation where you will need to recharge an electronic device. However, if that device is attached to your handlebar and it should remain there while you continue your ride, you will need a power bank near your handlebar to provide that recharging energy.
I did some research to find such a recharging device. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the perfect ready-to-use solution for my use case. I therefore decided to assemble my own ‘Cycling Power Bank’. My requirements were:
- lightweight and small in size
- approx. 5000 mAh charging capacity (enough to recharg a smartphone and a Garmin device)
- storage for a USB charger, a Lightening and an USB micro cable
- decent visual appearance
As not everyone has the same requirement there might be some ready-to-use products that are of interest for you. So let me first introduce some products that don’t need any DIY efforts:
- Probably one of the products that comes closest to my requirements is the Goobay Bike Power 5000. At only € 16.00 it has a very competitive price. However, I can’t use it because I don’t want the battery on my handlebar and because I can’t attach it to my frame as all of my bikes have massive frame tubes.
- The second option is the Topeak Mobile PowerPack 5200. Unfortunately, this product also needs to be attached to the stem/handlebar and has a very steep price tag (€ 73.00).
- The last option to be presented is the Lupine 3.3 Ah hard case battery (€ 66.00) together with the Lupine USB One adapter (€ 15.00). The battery comes with a strap, so it can be attached e.g. to the top tube. However, this solution is also quite expensive and visually not very appealing.
Required material for the DIY solution
For the DIY solution you will need the following products:
- Anker PowerCore 5000 mAh (€ 13.00)
- Khanka EVA hard case box (€ 9.00)
- Velcro cinch straps (e.g. Noname Velcro straps or Purovi Velcro straps, etc.) (€ 5.00 to 10.00)
- USB charging cable(s) (e.g. delayCon Lightening cable, Goobay USB micro spiral coiled cable, etc.) (€ 5.00 to 10.00)
- Optional: USB charger (e.g. iprotect USB slim charger, etc.) (€ 7.00)
- You will find hundreds of different Velcro straps on Amazon or similar webshops. You can choose whatever you like. Just keep in mind that you need the right length and that a wider strap is a more stable strap. You might ask why you need the right length? The straps surround a certain circumference depending on their length. So measure the circumference of your handlebar, stem, frame tubes or seatpost or anything else where you want to attach you power bank. In my case, I was able to use a spare strap from my Lupine bike light.
- You will need the right USB charging cable. In my case, I need a Lightening cable for my iPhone and a USB micro cable for my Garmin. I use 0.5 m length for both cables. Depending where you attach your power bank you might need to use longer or shorter cables. Also note that if the cables are not too long you will be able to store two cables in the Khanka box.
- Of course, carrying a USB charger with you is optional. You can use any type of USB charger as long as it fits into the Khanka box. In my case, I use a spare charger from one of my old iPhones.
- Total cost: The battery and the box cost € 22.00 together. You might have the straps, the cables and the charger somewhere laying around at your home already. If not, expect to spend around another € 20.00.
Follow the steps listed below:
- Step 1: Use a cutter to make two cuts at the bottom of the Khanka box (also see image below). If you are using two narrow straps instead of one wide strap, then make four cuts, two at each end of the box.
- Step 2: Cut out a rectangle in the size of your USB plug at one end of the the Khanka box (also see image below). Of course, the rectangle should be perfectly vertical and it should exactly fit with the USB opening of the Anker battery when the battery is inside the box.
- Step 3 (optional): The zip slider is made of iron. This can make annoying noices when riding on uneven roads. I removed it with a pincers tool and replaced it with a zip slider from a defect rain jacket. If you don’t have a spare slider, you can buy 10 sliders from Amazon for under € 2.00 (also see image below).
- Step 4: Thread in the strap through the two cuts from step 1 (also see image below).
- Step 5: Insert the battery, the USB cables as well as the USB charger into the Khanka box (also see image below).
- Step 6: Attach the box to your bike and you are all set (also see image below).
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