Thursday, October 4, 2012

Stuff I like

The wide variety of bikes, parts, and accessories these days can be difficult to navigate. But, lucky for you, the customer, some of us bike shop professionals are in the trenches, trying various products so you don't have to. Here are a few things that I like:

Except for my Ortlieb panniers, this is pretty much my touring set-up from last week's north woods excursion.

There's a lot to see here. The bike is my Curt Goodrich custom touring bike, but for all practical purposes it could be a Surly or any other similarly rugged steed. The racks are from Surly, but there are other good racks, too.

The frame bag is a Revelate Tangle bag, which is handy as heck and comes in 3 sizes. We have them in our online catalog priced between $75 and $78 at the moment. That's the large one shown here. What fits in it? I carry a 3L Hydrapak water bladder, a multitool, a small pump, tent poles and stakes, a tube or two, and this time of year, it's a good place for some gloves or a hat. Sometimes I put extra nuts or bacon in there, for a snack.

 Now on the front end, I've strapped a Hyalite dry cylinder. These come in different sizes (20L, 25L, 35L). This is the 20L size ($30), which is enough to fit my sleeping bag, 2-person tent, and a full-size feather pillow. The plastic window is handy for when you dig through the bag to find stuff. A person could easily do a comfortable bike tour with two of these and a few Surly Junk Straps. That would be an economical and extremely versatile touring set-up.

Speaking of Junk Straps:
The Surly Junk Strap is, in my opinion, the greatest recent innovation in cycling. It's basically one of those cheapie nylon toe straps from old-fashioned pedals, but it's 120 cm long, which is just shy of 4 feet if you're not into the metric system. I think every cyclist should carry at least 1, but preferably 3 or 4 of these at all times. They are so useful for so many things. $8 each, quantity discounts available.


KM said...

Please list all the tools you typically carry. I am particularly interested in the combination pocket lathe/arc welder.

Jim Thill said...

The latest Topeak multitool has all that, and more.

Anonymous said...

Jim that is an interesting and non traditional approach to carrying gear. I am a longtime saddlebag/handlebar bag user - it serves me well for all uses shy of expedition style camping in severe/extreme climates. I use 2 space blankets (one below me and one to cover me) in temperatures down to 35 degrees farenheight. I shop daily for food (although I carry two cans of liquid Ensure in the event I do not find food). I use a rolled up woolen long sleeve shirt as a pillow. I attempt to keep my bike/pack/gear weight below a total of 35 pounds. My bike is made from super light tubing and I use 700x32 tyres. This way, I am able to maintain an average speed to within 1 MPH of my unloaded racing bike. Both bags fit neatly into the vertical footprint of my body (with hands on the drops) - aerodynamics are nearly unaffected by the additional baggage. I am fascinated by your setup however - can you share what the fully loaded weight of your setup is? What kind of tubing did Mr. Goodrich use in the construction of your frame? Thank you for your time!

adventure! said...

I dig those Surly straps, have a few myself. The "Irish" straps that Rivendell sell seem to work good as well. I use either (depending on the size of the load) to strap my tent to my Carradice Nelson Longflap bag.

Jim Thill said...

Anon: thanks for your input. I don't know what my bike weighs, but I'm confident that it's substantially heavier and less aerodynamic than your rig. Curt Goodrich built my frame from steel tubing. That's as much as I know about the metallurgy, but I like the way it fits and the way it handles.

Lanny said...

I've got a wide selection of dry bags that I've used for kayaking. I've never thought of using them for bike camping. Your use of the hyalite bags is an obvious way to make them multipurpose! Nice catch, Jim.