Two Islands – UK & IOM: Bike Equipment Set Up

Posted on Jul 12, 2015 in Bike Setup

This is some of the equipment I used for the Isle of Man trip.  For additional details about this trip, check out this project.

Sun, Dirt, and Stones - photo - Rob Vandermark

This trip was a bit unusual because I was using a loaner Seven Axiom SL Endurance bike rather than my regular Seven Evergreen travel bike.  Here’s the setup I used for the Axiom SL:

  • Equipment Mounting System:  Prototype compression rear rack.  Stainless steel.  Collapsible.
  • Bike Equipment:  In my Revelate saddle bag.  9.2 lbs. including Spare tire, one thousand tools, spare tubes x3.  I had clothes in there, too – not as part of the 9.2 lbs.  See below for the clothing.
  • Gear on the Bike:  Three gps units, four headlights, one taillight, and a Garmin Virb.
  • Feed Bag:  Bedrock Tapeats To-Go Bag.  I keep my camera, phone, mini tool, and lens cleaner in this.  I really like this for the way I use it.  This bag has two features I really like:  first,   I can set this up so that it doesn’t hit my knee while climbing; it has a narrow rectangular profile.  Second, it has a fold over flap so it’s completely waterproof when closed, and the size is very adjustable depending on how much stuff  I might pack in it.
  • Backpack:  I used my Osprey Raptor 10 without the hydration pack.  I carried food, some tools, clothes, maps, and an iPad in the pack.
  • Hydration System:  We knew we’d be close to civilization so I only carried two, and sometimes three, 26-ounce bottles.  Equivalent of 2.25 liters.  This is 4.9lbs of water.
  • Street Clothes:  Long pants and one pair of socks.  In the sleeping bag I wear nothing other than a liner; this helps keep the bag dry and warm.  I wore a base layer shirt as a t-shirt.
  • Cycling Clothing:   Aside from what I was wearing, ~1.4 lbs.  Including second base layer shirt, knee warmers, arm warmers, long fingered wool gloves, vest, rain cape, hard shell, second pair of socks, 3-season cap, and a lightweight neck gator. I didn’t carry a change of bibs or shoes; rode the same for all six days.

New Items and Tests:

  • Backpack instead of a handlebar bag.  I really don’t like bar bags and mixed-terrain riding for a long list of reasons.  This is the first multi-day bikepacking trip where I’ve not used a bar bag.  Of course, I’m not excited about carrying a backpack either.  for this trip I found the pack to work well.  Ultimately the answer to everything is to carry less weight.  Some reasons I’m not a bar bag fan for mixed-terrain riding:
    • Stuff in the bag rattles.
    • Stuff in the bag gets chewed apart from rattling against other items in the bag.
    • The bag itself tends to rattle.
    • The bag can slowly rotate regardless of what clamping system I use.  The two I have most experience with are the KlickFix bar mount and the Ortlieb mount.  I’ve actually modified my bag in order to make it more stable, quieter, and less likely to damage what’s in there.  I’ve found the Ortieb bar mount does not hold well enough offroad.
    • Bar bag mounts are a drag to travel with; they always seem to get in the way of S&S case packing.  Unfortunately, each time you loosen the mount to rotate it out of the way it want ever be as tight again.
    • If you put 6+ lbs in the bag I can start the feel it in offroad handling.  Not great.
    • Accessibility is no better than a backpack.
    • Backpacks are more functional off the bike.
  • Less street clothes.  The only true street clothes I brought was a pair of long pants.  These are hiking pants so they’re super lightweight.  No shirt.  No underwear.  This worked out fine, too.  I might bring underwear next time.
  • Drying wet clothes:  It’s an ongoing challenge to get items dry when it’s raining all night and sometimes during the day.  Putting items in the sun isn’t really an option a lot of times.  I’ve started sleeping with wet items.  I feel like I can dry a jersey and shorts during the night if I do them one at a time in the bag and liner with me.  Body heat slowly drys the clothing out.  It’s not great but it’s a lot better than putting cold wet clothes on first thing in the morning.
  • Pushing the dirty riding clothes limit:  I rode the same pair of bibs for 6 days.  Three of these days had some day rain so the bibs were wet most of the time.  It was all fine.  I had two pairs of riding socks and one pair of camp socks.  That worked fine.  I wish I had camp shoes so I could keep my feet dry when my cycling shoes were soaking.
  • Waterproof socks:  I tried Patria’s and they were awesome. I’m definitely bringing mine next time.
  • Transitioning from Rapha clothing.  I’m weening off of Rapha.  The items I brought were rain cape, hard shell, two base layers, one pair of socks.  I expect by the next trip I’ll be down to zero Rapha.

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