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Old 05-17-12, 02:46 AM   #1
yiffzer
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App for Tour Cycling Packing

Hey guys,

I saw a thread of someone recommending an application that lets you add up all items and find out the total weight. The said application is designed for backpacking however (http://www.backpacking.net/featured3.html). Is there any application developed for mainly tour cycling? I haven't seen it.

I have some general ideas about what this application should accomplish:
  1. Allows you to enter items and their respective weights.
  2. Allows you to select pannier locations such as the following:
    • center-front (e.g. center of front rack, handlebar)
    • front-left (i.e. left small pannier)
    • front-right (i.e. right small center)
    • center-rear (e.g. center of rear rack, saddle bag)
    • rear-left (i.e. left large pannier)
    • rear-right (i.e. right large pannier)
  3. Indicates weight ratio of left versus right.
  4. Indicates weight ratio of front versus rear.
  5. Indicates low versus high gravity weight (if this is possible somehow).
  6. Allows you to move these items around until your desired weight ratio.

If there is absolutely no application like this, I'd be happy to develop this as an exciting project under C#. And later on, if possible, port it to Android.

But never mind all of this if there is already such a program out there.

Yours truly,
Jeffrey
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Old 05-17-12, 03:01 AM   #2
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You can do most of that in Excel.

Column A - item
Column B - weight
Column C - pannier location (could even set up a pick list using Validation)

And then you could use formulas to calculate your items 3, 4, and 5. Your item 5 would only be possible if, as a part of your pannier location in Column C, you indicated whether the items would be placed high or low, and you could designate rack bag and handlebar bag as high.

Excel would allow you to change the information in Column C, and your formulas would automatically update.

I could probably whip something like that up in an evening.
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Old 05-17-12, 04:56 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
You can do most of that in Excel.

Column A - item
Column B - weight
Column C - pannier location (could even set up a pick list using Validation)

And then you could use formulas to calculate your items 3, 4, and 5. Your item 5 would only be possible if, as a part of your pannier location in Column C, you indicated whether the items would be placed high or low, and you could designate rack bag and handlebar bag as high.

Excel would allow you to change the information in Column C, and your formulas would automatically update.

I could probably whip something like that up in an evening.
Now if someone would just come up with an app to do the packing...

Aaron
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Old 05-17-12, 05:17 AM   #4
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Now if someone would just come up with an app to do the packing...

Aaron
No kidding! It would be great to just sit back and watch and app help me pack.
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Old 05-17-12, 05:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka View Post
You can do most of that in Excel.

Column A - item
Column B - weight
Column C - pannier location (could even set up a pick list using Validation)

And then you could use formulas to calculate your items 3, 4, and 5. Your item 5 would only be possible if, as a part of your pannier location in Column C, you indicated whether the items would be placed high or low, and you could designate rack bag and handlebar bag as high.

Excel would allow you to change the information in Column C, and your formulas would automatically update.

I could probably whip something like that up in an evening.
Or maybe a google docs spreadsheet. I use google docs for mine. While I don't have any desire for the left-right front-rear numbers, it would be easy enough to do. This list is just tailored to me and not even up to date with my current choices, but it shows what I am talking about. It has a column where I can check whether the item is taken on a particular trip. That way all of your stuff can be in the list whether taken or not. If checked an item gets counted in the total also the cells change color to make it more obvious what has been selected.
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Old 05-17-12, 06:51 AM   #6
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Rather then spend a bunch of time entering all the items into an App or spreadsheet, why not just walk over to the bathroom scale and weight the bags. Much more accurate and far less time then weighting each item separately.
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Old 05-17-12, 07:10 AM   #7
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Rather then spend a bunch of time entering all the items into an App or spreadsheet, why not just walk over to the bathroom scale and weight the bags. Much more accurate and far less time then weighting each item separately.
That would require assembling the gear in one place, a great approach for knowing what you are carrying, but not so hot for planning in advance. The spreadsheet is useful for playing around with the numbers, in some case before buying a gear item. Questions like "Will my gear be lighter if I take the 45F bag, liner, and enough clothing to use it at 20F or if I just take the 20F bag?", "Is my planned list going to weigh close to what I think it will?", or "How much weight would it save if I bought a, b, and c items to replace x, y, and z items?" can all be better addressed with a spreadsheet.
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Old 05-17-12, 07:35 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by VT_Speed_TR View Post
Rather then spend a bunch of time entering all the items into an App or spreadsheet, why not just walk over to the bathroom scale and weight the bags. Much more accurate and far less time then weighting each item separately.
Using a scale and your brain is a great idea, except it doesn't work if you are factoring in the weight of your toilette paper since, unless you are taking several rolls, the bathroom scale won't be sensitive enough to detect its weight. That could result in you putting it in your left fron pannier instead of your right rear pannier, resulting a weight imbalance that strays from the optimal by .00006% and causes you to ride off off a cliff and plunge to your death. But that's a chance I am willing to take.
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Old 05-17-12, 07:46 AM   #9
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There would also have to be some consideration of the sizes of items or you might get everything balanced but then discover that things don't fit into the specified pannier or other bag.

But in practice I don't find that I even notice rather large variations in weight from one side vs. the other. What matters more is that everything is tight and secure.
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Old 05-17-12, 08:16 AM   #10
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I tend to do a quick lift test before putting the panniers on the bicycle.

I have certain things in each pannier (and I only tour with two panniers), and generally speaking they work out to approx. the same weight, but sometimes one might be heavier than the other because of something extra I'm carrying, like food or a book or something. So, in the morning when we're packing up camp, I'll lift both panniers and if they seem noticeably different, I'll moving something from the heavier one to the lighter one.

But that said, I've ridden with one pannier fairly heavy and the other quite light, and haven't noticed a difference in handling or anything.
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Old 05-17-12, 08:22 AM   #11
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With regard to balancing left to right and fore and aft...
I have never found it to be a huge deal with any load I have carried. I do generally avoid huge imbalances when packing, but when for example I used a couple liters of water from one side during the the day I really didn't notice the imbalance. I suspect that folks worry about that and give it way more attention than it deserves.
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Old 05-17-12, 10:33 PM   #12
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I should've mentioned that I am aware you could do it in Excel. I figured that since there's already a backpack weight app (of course, anyone can do that in excel too), I might as well try to program an application for tour cycling. I see this application as a perfect match for mobile users (i.e. Android users) who prefer to keep track of their weights over time with ease. I was a bit disappointed that I didn't have something easy to keep track of my weight over time when I was cycling in the Middle East. I thought I actually lost weight over time as I started leaving things behind. If anything, it comes down to convenience and awesomeness (because of how cool the program would be designed, haha). But first testing grounds would be in the Windows environment.

Another feature that I'd be happy to add is to allow mixing of different weight measurements (e.g. grams, ounces, kilograms, etc.) because sometimes you may not have a product that weighs significantly to make a difference on your scale but you can use the information stamped on the product's box or product itself.
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Old 05-18-12, 06:23 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
That would require assembling the gear in one place, a great approach for knowing what you are carrying, but not so hot for planning in advance. The spreadsheet is useful for playing around with the numbers, in some case before buying a gear item. Questions like "Will my gear be lighter if I take the 45F bag, liner, and enough clothing to use it at 20F or if I just take the 20F bag?", "Is my planned list going to weigh close to what I think it will?", or "How much weight would it save if I bought a, b, and c items to replace x, y, and z items?" can all be better addressed with a spreadsheet.
This ^^^

I worry less about the side to side weight distribution and more about the front to rear. But even a 3-4# disparity isn't critical. I do pay a bit more attention to the side to side weight distribution in the front panniers that can affect steering if you aren't careful. I have a basic equipment list of things that always go along with the seasonal and specific ride list. I like that google docs sheet that staehpj1 has set up pretty handy. As far as the bathroom scales...I found out that mine reads 7# low and isn't consistently accurate. But then again what do you expect when you dig something out of the trash

Aaron
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ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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