Pack your bags

My name is Scott and I’m an addict.

I’m addicted to all sorts of things. Nothing that would cause me any particular harm, but plenty that harms my wallet.

I haven’t bought a bike for a while, so that’s good. But as well as the bike addiction (and a serious case of guitar acquisition syndrome) I’m also reasonably addicted to cycling kit. Except the clothes. They just make me look stupid and fat.

Part of planning The Dutch Raid has meant planning how we’re going to carry everything. I learnt from the Chatham 2 Poole ride that rucksacks get uncomfortable after a few hours and this is going to be more than a few hours… The bike I’m using doesn’t have the lugs for a rear rack nor does it have the lugs or brake pillars on the forks for a front one, so panniers and racks are out (unless I use one that clamps onto the seatpost, but they can shift from side to side as there’s only one point of contact). So that leaves me trying to sling everything onto various parts of the frame. And this is where the kit addiction comes in…

This is the bike pretty much bare.


Obviously it’s going to need a lot more storage space than that. So what I’ve got lined up so far is…

Handlebar Bag: two main pockets that will hold a pump, food, money, passport etc. It clips on and off easy enough and has a strap so I can sling it over my shoulder if I need to. There’s also a couple of side pockets that will hold the spares, tools, first aid stuff and so on. Then there’s a strap on the top of it that will hold a jersey or a jumper rolled up and out of the way.

Top Tube Bag: Well, I have two of these. The one at the front will sit behind the stem and has room for a waterproof jacket with an extra pocket for my phone (and enough room for a portable charger). The second is a bit smaller and will sit in front of the seat tube and will take some waterproof trousers and some other random items.

Frame Bag: This is quite a bit bigger than a standard triangle bag, but not custom made, so it’s not perfect (but a lot cheaper). I’m thinking that to start with this will have clean clothes inside, but as they start to get used it will gradually start to accomodate the dirty clothes… In order for this to fit properly I’ll probably have to either lose the bottle cage or move that somewhere else. I have got some jubilee clip-esque bottlecage mounts, so I could do that, but I’m thinking that taking my Camelbak would be a better idea.

Seat Bag: I managed to get a large seat bag, made to order, very cheaply from Uraltour. It’s HUGE and about half of the price of the regular stuff you see around. This is where the stuff I don’t need to have to hand will go. Clothes, stuff for the hotels and hostels in the evening.

And this is what it looks like with all of that in place.

Everything fits securely, no cables are snagged and clearances are fine.

I suppose, looking at that set-up, this is essentially a first foray into bikepacking – although without the camping part. I would really like to give that a go at some point, so I guess this is really a test of the kit for the bike. At some point soon I hope I’ll get to do a test of the camping gear (which is all sitting in the basement waiting for a chance to go out).


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